SC2Improve Winter League RO16 Group B Preview
Is this going to be the closest group of the RO16? Some would argue yes - at least for second place. Everybody will be expecting Patience to roll on through in this group. Maybe he will encounter some slight resistance from Tassadar or uThermal, but recently his results have just been a level above the others with RO8 finishes in two large tournaments, IEM Cologne and ASUS ROG Winter.
This is his final week in the Alien Invasion team house before returning to Korea, meaning that latency is not going to be an issue for him here (though it may be if he makes it into the RO8). His losses in major tournaments came from Stardust and Jaedong - two players who are a league above the other competition in this group.
Who takes second place is going to be the main point of discussion in Group B. uThermal put up a good fight against Snute in the WCS Challenger League, but we haven't seen too much else of him lately. He placed 4th in the Dutch Starcraft League Spring Invitational - losing 2-3 to Harstem and 0-3 to Sjaak, two Protoss players. This slight weakness to Protoss may prove to be a difficulty for uThermal if he gets past TomikuS - but it may not be the end of his run.
This is because if uThermal can take down TomikuS, but loses to the Protoss in the winner's match, he is very likely to play against TomikuS again. The Czech Zerg is a highly aggressive player and loves to play a heavy Baneling/Zergling style before heading into Mutalisks in ZvT. If he gets downed by uThermal, which isn't a certainty, he will drop to the losers match where he is extremely likely to play Tassadar, who he has already beaten in Qualifiers.
TomikuS has had a tough time against Terran lately looking at his Aligulac history (http://www.aligulac.com/players/463-TomikuS/) - but he did beat uThermal 1-0 in a GO4SC2 at the beginning of February. This initial match could go either way, but will greatly determine the rest of the group.
Tassadar only lost 1-2 to TomikuS, so it wasn't like it was a complete walkover. Tassadar will also have a better idea about how aggressively TomikuS plays now, should he even meet him. Tassadar's match history is fairly unimpressive - but you can never count a Korean Protoss player out.
It almost feels as though we just haven't seen enough of these three players recently to truly predict what is going to happen here and honestly I could see second place going to any of these three players depending on how well they are going to play on the day. The aligulac predictions say the two Protoss players will go through - but only just.
The only real way to find out is to see what happens so make sure to tune in from 1900 CET at http://twitch.tv/wardiii