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2019 WCS Global Finals Round of 16 Group A Recap

Starcraft WCS

Today marked the first day of the WCS Global Finals Round of 16. We got our first two players to qualify from Group A for the BlizzCon Round of Eight in Anaheim California, where the top eight players from the tournament will compete for the title of Best in the World and a prize pool of $600,000. Let’s break down the five games from today and look at tomorrow’s group, this tournament’s Group of Death. Group A was still deadly in its own right, with many of the matches going all 5 games.

Dark (Z) vs ShoWTime (P)

Coming into the day many people believed Dark, the number #1 player out of the Korean Circuit, would easily sweep this group. However, he struggled in his game against the #8 WCS Circuit representative, eventually taking the series 3-2. Dark managed to come out on top in this series but continued to struggle later on in the day. ShoWTime was able to catch Dark off guard with Macro focused play in game 1, and eventually took game 4 with a similar strategy. Dark utilized his renowned Swarm Host/Nydus play in all 3 of his wins, with the free units yet again enabling him to move on in the tournament.

soO (Z) vs SpeCial (T)

The Korean Zerg player ‘soO’, #5 seed from the circuit, took on the #4 seed ‘SpeCial’. This matchup was more or less a tossup, but the fan favorite was SpeCial by a mile. This series again went all 5 games, with SpeCial falling after a shaky game 1. Games 3 and 4 were rushes that broke soO and SpeCial respectively. Game 2 was a 40-minute slugfest with SpeCial and his mass BC/Liberator composition out-sustaining the mass Corrupters from soO. SoO did take game 5 with Ultralisks into SpeCial’s bio build.

Dark (Z) vs soO (Z)

The first region kill of the tournament came with the two Korean Zergs in the group. ‘Dark’, again coming in as the favorite, struggled to find a clean victory. Perhaps the fastest series on the day due to the level of aggression that comes with most ZvZ matchups. Ling/Bane and Roach/Ravager were the theme of games 1, 2, 4 and 5, but game three we saw Dark utilize Mutalisks to beat out soO’s Corruptor/Roach combo. Dark made it out as the first player into the Round of 8 but it wasn’t without problems. When looking at other groups, the likes of Stats, Maru, Serral, and Reynor are all arguably more difficult opponents than those he faced today.

SpeCial (T) vs ShoWTime (P)

The first elimination match saw yet another region kill. ‘SpeCial’ and ‘ShoWTime’ battled it out to keep their BlizzCon dreams alive. While neither player seemed to be at the top of their game, they gave us a quite exciting series. In game 1 ShoWTime again came out on top with some flashy Phoenix suicides into Widow Mines exploding over SpeCial’s army. Game two, while not convincing, fell the way of SpeCial with just a repeated brute force knock on ShoWTime’s door. ShoWTime went back to the four Phoenix opener, but focused on Disruptors and ended up getting a lot of great hits. Game 4 went the way of ShoWTime, as SpeCial just couldn’t find his groove. As such, the first tournament life lost was the Mexican Terran #4 seed for the WCS Circuit.

soO (Z) vs ShoWTime (P)

In the final match of the day we saw our second elimination match. The winner moved on to BlizzCon, with the loser heading home early. ShoWTime fell to soO 3-1 after a few close matches, with a Zerg battering ram in the final match that hit a little too hard for the Protoss player to recover from. Not the most glorious way to go out, but taking Dark to 5 games and knocking out SpeCial was no small feat for the lowest seeded player in the tournament. Dark and soO advance, and the Ro8 looks promising with heavyweight fights at all ends of the bracket.

Group B Preview

Group B is the “Group of Death” for this years’ WCS Global Finals Group Stage. Featuring the likes of 4 time GSL Champion Maru and 7 time Premier WCS Champion and defending BlizzCon Champion Serral, the man who has taken them both to 7 games. While Time isn’t considered the biggest talent in the group, he is nothing to look down on, and the rest of the group is almost a toss-up due to their history. The group begins their battle at 8pm MST 10/24/2019. If forced to choose the top two, Serral and Maru make it out as first and second respectively.

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