The Players: MC, Maru, Oz, Squirtle
I’ve said before that PvP is hard to predict, and this group is going to be filled with them. First is MC, the two time GSL champion and, of course, champion of many fans’ hearts. Whether he’s casting at Homestory Cup or dancing after a victory at MLG, his antics make him a leading fan favorite. It doesn’t hurt that he’s also a sick player. While he made his name developing fierce timing attacks for every matchup, he is more than capable of playing a long macro game. His PvP stats are outstanding (in GSL he has won over 80% of the sets he’s played). On name alone he is the favorite to win this group. His strength in that specific matchup only adds to the likelihood.
… or it should. In nearly any other group with this many Protoss players, it would. But against Oz and Squirtle, MC’s performance in PvP doesn’t seem quite so strong. Oz boasts a slightly higher win percentage, and Squirtle has literally never lost a televised PvP. Yes, that’s right, his win percentage stands at 100% in GSL sets. Now, he hasn’t been around since the very beginning like MC, but that is not a number that is easy to look past.
In a group so full of excellent Protoss powerhouses, it can be easy to overlook the Terran Maru. He is also fairly fresh to the GSL (largely due to his young age). He is only 14 (Korean), the youngest player to have played in the the league (sorry, Leenock). You wouldn’t know it from his play, though . He has climbed up all the way through Code A, and now has a shot at advancing into the round of 8 and securing his Code S status for next season. He’ll have his work cut out for him with these opponents, but it’s worth noting that none of them have particularly good PvT. Also, Maru only needs to concern himself with one match-up, where as the others have both PvP and PvT to worry about. These advantages may go a long way towards affecting the outcome of this group.
*note, all sets after 2 are based on predictions.
Set 1: MC vs. Maru
While MC’s career numbers in PvT aren’t great, he has been around for a long time. There have been many Terran nerfs, Protoss buffs, and metagame shifts in that time. With today’s incarnation of the match-up, and Maru’s incredible inexperience compared to MC, the Protoss is the clear favorite to take this one. Maru’s only hope is an over-reliance on timings from MC.
MC 2-0 over Maru
Set 2: Oz vs. Squirtle
Two of the best PvP players in the world. While Squirtle has been perfect in the matchup, he hasn’t had the number of games that Oz has. I’m just hoping for some games that make it past 1 base. Either way, we’re all in for a very exciting series.
Squirtle 2-1 over Oz
Set 3: MC vs. Squirtle
Once again! Two of the best PvP players in the world. My prediction will run in the same direction although I would consider MC a greater threat to Squirtle than Oz. Even still I think Squirtle will take it.
Squirtle 2-1 over MC
Set 4: Oz vs. Maru
Last season, Oz lost in the round of 16 due almost completely to his choking against MMA. In the time since then he has improved his confidence and I believe this will lead to greater success in a match-up that he understands as well as the best PvT players. As long as Oz can keep himself together he will send Maru down to Code A.
Oz over Maru 2-1
Set 5: MC vs. Oz
Another epic PvP. MC’s control will help him edge out victories in faster games while Oz’ management gives him an advantage in longer matches. In the end, I think MC will be able to push himself past Oz with his brutal early game efficiency.
MC 2-1 over Oz
Squirtle and MC will advance to the round of 8
Maru and Oz will fall down to Code A