The second season of the SC2Improve Team League is now running with full steam ahead as all of the Week 1 matches have been played and the Week 2 games are beginning to get scheduled. This article will bring you everything from a recap of the best series through to win-rates in each of the divisions and a quick look ahead to Week 2. Where do we even begin!?
Standings for all 5 groups of the team league can be found on the Liquipedia Page - but let's have a quick look at how the First Division groups lie at the end of Week 1!
Of course it is only the first week and we have a long way to go - but there are already a couple of surprises on the table. Group A saw no match go longer than 5 games and Group B also did not see a series go to the full 7 games - which is surprising considering the strength of all of these teams.
RuW, AT Gaming, against All authority and Alien Invasion found themselves off to the best of starts with all-kills against their opponents. This puts ALTERNATE, MiA, Spectre and PunchLine! at the bottom of the tables - not quite the teams you might expect. ALTERNATE are in my opinion one of the strongest teams to have joined the league only in Season 2. Punchline's recent addition of FireCake wasn't enough to put them on the scoreboard and MiA got a tough beat down from Dutch Terran player uThermal - which is perhaps the biggest shock of the groups as they finished 3rd/4th in Season 2.
If you look slightly above the all-kills we can see that Cascade got an unexpected beat down from Polish team MaxFloPlay. Zazu and souL took down just about the best line-up Cascade were able to send out with only Minato scoring a single map for Cascade. Hopefully last season's second place finishers will be able to pull back in Week 2 - but it won't be easy as we will see later on in this article.
As expected we see mYinsanity, Vega Squadron, ESC, Nuit Blanche and other top performers from Season 1 also gracing the tops of the tables.
We managed to stream 4 series on the main-stream this week, with multiple other casters covering games over on their own channels. It's really awesome to see the team league grow in popularity not just among teams but also among viewers. Our new system for getting matches streamed has so far been working well and will hopefully continue to allow many games to be seen on the streams each week!
I think series of the week has to go to either MaxFloPlay vs Cascade or to mYinsanity vs Karnage eSports. At the time of writing the mYi vs KRN game is yet to be uploaded, but you will be able to find it on our VODs page when it is up.
For me this series was one of the better ones I saw simply because of the dominance MaxFlo showed in a match where me and I assume many others saw Cascade as the favorites to win. It's the first time in the SC2ITL that Cascade has ever failed to hit their stride. The games were great - a lot of early aggression with a good measure of macro on the side made for an entertaining series!
In mYi vs KRN the main talking point was about the debut of mYinsanity's new player Balloon. The Korean Random GM player came out as mYi's second player and by god did he make some magic happen! Definitely another series worth catching at least one or two games of. If you want to see when series get uploaded make sure to subscribe to the SC2Improve Youtube Channel!
Because I'm a little bit crazy I thought HEY! Why not track the win-rates of each match up and of players this time around? So here we have it! It actually took a surprisingly short amount of time, thanks to the teams being extremely diligent in reporting their match results.
In terms of player statistics there is hardly much to talk about in Week 1 apart from those who have already pulled off an all-kill! In the First Division [Ai]Chubz, [mYi]Balloon, [RuW]KensShow, [aAa]PsiOniC, [ATcm]uThermal and [ESC]GoOdy took all-kills for their teams putting them currently in the head of the leaderboards. [RuW]KensShow was the only player to win more than two maps against a single race and is currently 3-0 vs Zerg.
A few Second Division players also pulled out all-kills, [AlloyE]TheDounat, [eSuba]UniQFazer and [FOX]Escargot were the players who put in the work to make it happen.
Now the most interesting part for me is actually the win-rates! Excluding mirror match-ups (because they don't really make much sense when you talk about win-rates) we took all of the games from Week 1 and compiled them to see how balance is looking in the First Division, Second Division and overall!
TvZ / 4 - 5 / 44.4% || PvZ / 11 - 8 / 57.9% || TvP / 8 - 3 / 72.7%
TvZ / 7 - 6 / 53.8% || PvZ / 13 - 8 / 61.9% || TvP / 5 - 8 / 38.5%
TvZ / 11 - 11 / 50% || PvZ / 24 - 16 / 60% || TvP / 13-11 / 54.2%
Obviously, this is just for a bit of fun and you can't really learn too much from it especially with such a small sample size! Seeing that Protoss is not heavily overpowered in PvT is evidence of the lack of reliability here ;D! Each week we will be updating and releasing the overall win-rates and the win-rates for each week, something which may interest a few statistic nerds (like myself!)
Week 2 Preview!
To finish off let us have a quick look at the awesome games which await us in Week 2! As I write a lot of the games are still to have schedules set for them, but you can always check the SC2ITL S2 Calendar to see which matches are upcoming and where you can watch them.
Straight away I'm going to call two series to watch out for this week - mYinsanity vs against All authority in Group A and Alien Invasion vs Cascade in Group B. mYinsanity, Cascade and Alien Invasion were all top 4 finishers in Season 1 of the SC2ITL and against All authority is an extremely strong French team who will be looking to continue their strong Week 1 performance.
If any team is going to really challenge mYinsanity for the top of Group A then against All authority is definitely one of the teams which will be doing it. It could be a deciding match in Group B as well as both Cascade and Alien Invasion are expected to make the playoffs again this Season and this could very well be the one series which determines where they get seeded into that playoff bracket.
Also in the First Division this week we see underdogs Team SC2Improve take on AT Gaming to try and prove that they are worthy of the spot they qualified for. Spectre will try and prove their new line-up was a worthwhile investment against ESC and Karnage will look to fight back from a tough first round drawing against mYinsanity by trying to bring RuW down from the top of the table.
Over in the other group two middle of the pack teams meet in DarkStar vs Deimos as the swedes take on the Canadians & Americans. Underdogs ReG Gaming opened with a victory in Week 1 but can they keep it up against Nuit Blanche a team which has yet to lose an SC2ITL Group Stage game? Finally in Group B I think Vega Squadron vs MaxFloPlay will be an exciting one to tune into on Sunday as both teams took dominant victories against tough opponents already in Week 1.
Thanks for taking the time to read guys, I hope you found it enjoyable! If anybody has any feedback for this Weekly recap please leave a comment or send an e-mail over to firstname.lastname@example.org - I'd be glad to accept any criticisms :)