Tonight we will be broadcasting four SC2ITL matches, the results of which are really going to begin cementing teams into certain positions in their groups. There is still just about enough time for teams to turn things around - but it would require a win streak few teams have seen so far in the SC2ITL.
Match 1 - Alien Invasion vs Team DarkStar - 1800 CEST
Currently Alien Invasion sit in second place in Group B with a 4-1 match score and a postponed match against MaxFloPlaY coming up in the next few days. Team DarkStar sit on the scarier end of the table - 8th position puts them on the tipping point of the bottom 4 places, where demotion to the second division awaits.
It will come to no surprise that Alien Invasion sit where they do - last seasons semi-finalists were only stopped with a 3-4 loss against mYinsanity, the team who went on to become the champions in the finals. They suffered a defeat in Week 1 to Vega Squadron - who currently lead the group - but have been untouchable since. With this in mind DarkStar will head into this match as the heavy underdogs - but they will definitely be swinging and I personally feel they can connect.
Their team is a lot stronger than many will give them credit for. The all Swedish team have some heavy hitters in Avokado and Vanter, who currently reside in the higher end of the Grandmaster ladder. Last week it was this combination that took down ALTERNATE - with Vanter taking the first 3 maps and Avokado finishing up in the ace match. Having a strong two-man back bone makes them a much bigger threat than teams with one-man superstars. Even scarier are the players they use in the build up to the finale. Bloop has looked very promising recently and Multi has had strong runs in the swedish ESPORTSM tournament.
With the ability to vary up their start and fall back on reliable players DarkStar are definitely a team with the promise to take out Alien Invasion - who's well known players Patience, Golden and Strelok have rarely had to be tested up until now. Tonight we'll see if DarkStar can push the limits and bring Alien Invasion into unknown territory.
My prediction : Alien Invasion 4 - 2 Team DarkStar
Match 2 - Team Missing in Action vs Karnage eSports - 2000 CEST
On paper these two teams seem pretty even and they are within touching distance in Group A - a victory for Karnage, currently 10th, would tie them in match score against MiA who sit in 6th. The volatility in the middle of the group is rather scary, consdering a 4-2 or better victory for Karnage would drag them out of the demotion zone and within peeking distance of playoffs.
From another angle, the difference between the win and the loss for MiA today is a position in the top 4 or bottom 4 of the group. They are stuck on a ledge and the slightest of gusts will send them plummeting right now. Last season MiA were on fire - in fact they made it to the semi-finals of the playoffs following an impressive group stage. This puts them on par with Alien Invasion - and yet here they are. Since Starbuck left to join mouz, MiA seem to have lost a small part of their flourish. They are still an incredible team - this season they have taken down mYinsanity, against All authority and Derava Kapsa - yet they lack consistency as they have taken losses from AT Gaming, Spectre and ESC ICY BOX.
Karnage have had a pretty good season if you look at the overall picture - they defeated two of the current top 4 teams and in the coming weeks have some of their arguably easier matches to play - they are definitely in a position to turn around what is currently a bottom four performance.
It's an important moment in the league for both teams - one of them gets to walk away having made the statement that the playoffs are their goal - the other will look desperately to the drawing board to see if the playoffs are even worth thinking about anymore. The managers of both teams seem to agree with the sentiment, as Team MiA manager elephaNt states "I expect a tough match, but we need to win, if we want to aim towards the top 4! We pretty much played against the best, or should i say the teams we're most afraid of, so we`'e staying positive, but the results have to stay positive as well, for us to achieve our goal."
The Karnage manager, VitamiN, has similar thoughts : "So far we have been performing below or possibilities in SC2ITL. This is about to change and we are starting with MiA! Obviously they are a strong team but we are motivated and have what it
takes to take them out. I'm not saying this is going to be an All Kill but if MiA wants to
prevent that from happening they will need to pull some tricks out of their sleeves."
My prediction : Karnage eSports 4 - 3 Team MiA