SSL Challenge Week 4
Although two match days remain in the regular season, a number of players have but one series to get through. The competition is fierce and the leading players of each group are neck and neck, which makes this coming Saturday appropriately relevant. Despite certain competitors already being down and out, there is still a chance for them to wreak havoc and introduce chaos into the brackets. Could we see StarCraft II moguls dethroned and knocked back to the qualifiers for season 2 of the SSL? Tune in to find out.
Match 1: Ryung vs Bunny
Having recently re-joined his former team True eSport, Ryung has achieved surprising tournament runs and victories against the scene's headliners. However, his performance in the SSL leaves quite a lot to be desired. With losses against Classic and Losira, the Terran player is currently sitting right at the bottom of his group with a 1-4 map score. Theoretically there is still a chance for the TES athlete to advance out of his group, but that would require him to defeat not only Bunny, which is a reasonable result to expect, but also TY, against whom he currently has a 0-4 score. Granted, the last time these two faced was the 2016 Pro League, when both lived in professional gaming houses under strict training regiments, and things have changed since. Perhaps a victory over the IEM Katowice 2017 champion is not entirely out of the question. But let us not get ahead of ourselves, as for now the former MVP Terran should first and foremost focus on his series against Bunny. The latter lost to TY on the second match day of SSL Challenge, but fought back and took down Losira in a close series 2-1 just last week. Perhaps the TvT series will not be as refined as the remaining games of the day, but should nevertheless be quite entertaining.
Match 2: jjakji vs herO
If you happened to watch the VSL yesterday you might have the impression that jjakji has become a Korean StarCraft 'meme'. With team captains teasing the audience by changing their minds and picking someone else for their team instead of the Revolution Gaming Terran. On one hand that might seem rather harsh, but the reality is that jjakji's performance has fallen off in recent years. Personally, I think his persistence is commendable, as not many pro gamers manage to have such long-lasting careers. Does he have a chance against herO? Perhaps he does. The ROOT Gaming Protoss has just lost against Impact 0-3 in the VSL Finals, raising quite a few eyebrows. Kim Jun Ho's signature Adept / Phoenix style has just received a nerf in the form of Adept hit point reduction. Does that make herO a one trick pony? herO took a stumble, but one defeat is not sufficient data to draw conclusions from. Should such upsets become commonplace, the Protoss might have to face the music and step down from the pedestal.
Match 3: Losira vs TY
The main event of the night, if you ask me. Losira has so far turned out to be the biggest surprise of the tournament, starting out on a high note and settling comfortably at the top of his group's bracket. Luckily for him, Losira has but one game remaining in the regular season. With TY being the final boss, the Zerg can pull out all the stops, as defeating the WESG 2017 victor is certainly an uphill battle for anyone. For TY this particular match is quite a vital one, as a loss might mean him being knocked out of the SSL altogether. Should he lose against Losira, he could still be overtaken by Bunny and Classic. Of course, TY still has yet to face Ryung in the fourth week of the regular season, but that should be a walk in the park, considering how easily the former KT Rolster Terran rolled over Bunny two weeks ago.
Match 4: GuMiho vs Dear
Dear has had a similar story to jjakji. Both being former GSL champions, they persevered as the background of the professional Korean StarCraft II scene, picking up occasional wins for their respective teams during the Pro League years, but falling behind in their individual results. GuMiho's performance in recent years is in stark contrast to that of Dear. True, he himself does not have a StarLeague championship under his belt, but has been showcasing a steady improvement pattern for quite some time. Known for rather unorthodox openings in all matchups, the Towel Terran should have no trouble dealing with the hurdle that is the former Samsung Khan Protoss.