Amazingly it is already time for our final RO16 Group in this years SC2Improve Summer League! We've already seen Tefel, JonnyREcco, Noname, Satiini, Adonminus and Lucky make it through to the RO8 but tonight we find out which two players will be the final players to complete the RO8 line-up.
Tonight we will see Qxc, Storm, Pink and GraVe take part in the RO16 Group A. It's a pretty interesting group as we have the clear favorite, Qxc, but it's the first group in which there won't be a clear favorite to advance from the other three players. It really could go any single way - which is exciting because it means we will have one player in the RO8 to play the underdog roll.
So let's as usual start with the favorite, Qxc . Why is he our favorite? Probably because plain and simply he is the most experienced player with the largest set of results behind him and because of this he is probably the best known player heading into this group. You could potentially even claim he is the most popular player of all in the RO16.
There's not much else to say really. He is definitely capable of beating everybody in this group, with recent results such as qualifying to IEM NY showing that he is definitely in good form currently. Maybe GraVe and Pink will have a good day and can catch him off guard with some timings or with the general power of Protoss. Maybe Storm can hit some powerful Zerg all-in as well. He can be beaten, but it's unlikely.
So who are our other three Group A competitors? Well first up we have Qxc's first opponent, GraVe. GraVe is arguably the least likely to make it out of this group, but the evidence for this is pretty small. He played extremely well in all of the qualifier's which he participated in and was able to secure himself the top seed on overall points. He played so well in Season 2 he made it to the Season 2 Finals, where we sadly saw him get stomped 0-4 by Adonminus and TrOn.
But everybody has bad days and that was definitely one of his. In qualifier's we saw him play fantastic games week after week, his series against JonnyREcco in Qualifier 2 is one which personally I will never forget. So can he perform here today? Yes, I think he can. He is slightly below Pink and Storm on the ladder, but he has shown the ability to beat players better than him. He can beat both of them, in the same day? Maybe. Not likely, but maybe.
And now we come to the Danes. Pink is a Protoss player currently playing for FNATIC and streaming a lot of his ladder and online cup play. He's probably one of those guys you're unlikely to have heard of and you go 'who?' when he gets put out in a Clan War. But damn is he good. He's one of the best players in Denmark and while he hasn't had the same impact as Babyknight, Bunny and Sonder over there he is consistently making it to the top 8 of the Danish events.
He had an up and down road through qualifiers, but once he got going he was really going and taking some pretty decent players down on his way into the top 7 on overall points. I personally think that the second place of this group is going to be a toss up of Pink and Storm, which should be an interesting first game as both players talk to each other frequently about strategies and more.
Storm was our first player to qualify into the RO16 so it's been a long time since was saw him beat players such as Dignitas Dream and CMStorm's Pandatank to the first place of the first qualifier. Back then Storm showed us two things : he loves Mutas and he isn't afraid to switch things up. In a recent Dreamhack he was able to beatt ToD 2-0 as well - so with two Protoss players in his group surely he can only feel confident about making it into the RO8.
I also think that the fact that Pink and Storm talk to each other a lot will probably hurt Pink more than Storm. As a Zerg player you're the one who is going to benefit more from knowing what is coming so that you can react to it quickly and efficiently. I think if Storm is playing smart he will open up into a standard macro game against Pink, but will potentially go aggressive and a little cheesy if he plays against GraVe. If he plays Qxc, well it's ZvT and that's just un-winnable anyways, right?
I really feel this is a hard group to predict and to see who will come out from, so my predictions are based more on guess work than they have been in other days.
Storm 2 - 1 Pink
Qxc 2 - 0 GraVe
Storm 1 - 2 Qxc
Pink 2 - 1 GraVe
Storm 2 - 1 Pink