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[BSL13] Ro4 Preview

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December 18th, 2021 05:18 GMT

ASL11 Main Image
Now, we’re in the semi-final stage, and wow, we’re in for some juicy games, and not only that – but we’re also being introduced to some entirely new matchups.

Prior to this season, by the time we’ve reached the semi-final stage, we’ve always had some familiar matchups, ones we’ve occasionally seen before in foreign tournaments. The scene is only so big, and the same usual suspects tend to get quite far. This time around, we’re blessed with the presence of two newcomer terran players – Mihu, who has never played in the BSL before, and Gypsy, who reached the second group stage last season. Yet, based on what they’ve shown this season, both are strongly in contention for a spot in the finals. At the same time, their opponents have also showcased very impressive performances – and consequently, the finals weekend is gearing up to give us some fantastic games.

Group A Preview

Sziky is showing up here having redeemed himself from last season. BSL12 saw him eliminated by Bonyth, losing 1-3. This season, his previous match was him eliminating Bonyth – winning 3-1. Surely intent on proving himself even further, I expect he will showcase his strongest side.

Sziky’s ZvT in BSL, statistically, is not particularly impressive. He’s looking at a 6-7 record, with losses against Wolfix, Ultra, Koget twice, and Dandy three times. His wins are against Dandy, Ziggy, and four times against Ultra.

This statistic is, however, quite deceptive in terms of Sziky’s actual ability. Firstly, two of these losses were walkovers. (From BSL4). Secondly, he lost against Dandy in season 10 and 11 – season 12 saw him winning 2-0. While 6-7 is a rather mediocre overall statistic, his previous four zvt matches resulted in four straight wins – his trajectory is excellent. As highlighted in several past previews, Sziky in top form is a truly formidable opponent, then, he is one of the best players the foreign scene has ever seen, and judging by the evolution of his play, he might just be rediscovering his final form.

Additionally, while the statistics paint a somewhat iffy picture, Sziky’s stand-out ability is his mutalisk micro. Normally, this is one of the elements of how a player plays most influenced by lag, but judging by his group stage games against Ultra, Sziky is entirely comfortable microing mutas with less than perfect latency.

Mihu on his behalf has showcased his fantastic TvP on many occasions by now. In TvZ however, his abilities are a bit more up in the air. Now – there’s no question he’s a competent player against Zerg as well, players at Mihu’s level are never entirely one-dimensional or one-matchup players, and with his mechanical ability, there’s no reason why he can’t play a strong SK terran game. However, judging by the first group stage, where he faced off against babo, he did look a bit vulnerable. Babo is a fine player with good mutalisk micro – but his skill level does not match Sziky’s – nor does his mutalisk micro. Especially their game on Heartbreak Ridge had Mihu taking considerable damage, and against a stronger opponent, he might have fallen.

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[BSL13] Ro4 Preview

Yet, I’m left with the impression that these games weren’t really him at his peak level, and I assume we’re going to see a more impressive version of him this time around. Although I admittingly have a rather small sample size for my analysis on Mihu’s approach to TvZ, player tendencies tend to be the same across the board. Consequently, I’m certain Mihu is going to show us strong SK terran play. Perhaps we’ll see an 8 rax – but I’m a bit skeptical towards even that. I very much doubt we get any 2 starport wraith openings, and I don’t picture him going full out mech.

Sziky is much the same. He might try to deal some damage with some early lings, if there’s an opening for it – but he does not blindly commit to allins. Another player with impeccable mechanics, Sziky also favors entirely standard openings, and I think we’re going to see spire before hydra den 100% of the time. From what I’ve seen of Sziky, he also prefers going into lurker and defiler rather than crazy zerg iterations or guardian plays, essentially, focusing on not taking too much damage before he has four gas running, and then he starts running over terran.

Essentially, this matchup promises high level, standard TvZ. No crazy openings, wild basetrades are unlikely to happen (although I’m sure Sziky is comfortable backstabbing some), but amazing mutalisk micro, impeccable defense, vessel clouds, plagues and dark swarm and nearly constant action from the five minute mark? We’re bound to get a lot of all of these.

I have, truthfully, never seen Mihu play against a Zerg player of Sziky’s skill. However, I read that according to one of the Chinese posters, his TvZ is comparable to his TvP, and that he’s known to have a weaker TvT. In TvT, Gypsy exposed him, showing that indeed, he’s certainly not untouchable or much better than the rest of the foreign scene. Going by that, and knowing how well he’s fared in TvP against our top foreigners, I’m inclined to give him a small edge.

It is, however, small. Personally, I’ve had the opinion that Sziky’s ZvT is better than his ZvP. With how he just dispatched of Bonyth in the Ro8, he should be at the level where this is an entirely competitive matchup, that can go either way.

Prediction: (T)Mihu wins 3-2!

Group B Preview

For Dewalt, we have a huge backlog of games to determine how he prefers playing Protoss vs Terran. In short, Dewalt is quite comfortable with every approach. He will sometimes be aggressive with early zealots, attempting to get a lead that way. At the same time – if the map permits it, he might open with a 12 nexus. He favors utilizing reavers in the mid game, not quite as predictably as you see from Bonyth – but just about equally well. Following that, he’s comfortable going into speedshuttle templar, arbiter, or carrier, and he does well with every approach. Again – Dewalt is a complete player, and while it has not translated to BSL success yet, I maintain the belief that he’s the ‘least flawed western player’.

Gypsy’s history isn’t quite as detailed, but it is still sufficient to make reasonable estimates from, and possibly, he’s going to challenge that last statement of mine. Gypsy’s play has been incredibly controlled so far. The games against Oya were supremely convincing. Oya is no slouch – going into these games with a stellar PvT BSL record, he still ended up getting dominated. There was a moment of their game on Aztec where Gypsy was in danger, almost losing his bunker (which might have led to losing the game), but aside from that, Gypsy was in command all game, every game.

I’m guessing Dewalt watched those games, and that he might be inclined to drop the early zealot harassment. Gypsy’s marine and scv control has been absolutely immaculate so far, and it seems like the standard 1 zealot 1 probe poke at best trades some mining time for the life of your probe and half your zealot’s hp. The final game against Oya showed how dire this can be – where this trade going favorably for Gypsy enabled him to pull the trigger after seeing Oya follow up with a greedily fast nexus.

Essentially, these games are going to be the closest mimicry we can get of a ‘korean’ game from two western players. Last season’s final between Terror and Bonyth was great, but these players have a more distinct, personalized playstyle. Dewalt’s reaver micro is great – but not a necessary component of every game. He can be aggressive with zealots and dragoons, but again, not every game. His carrier control is fine – but sometimes, he goes arbiter. Gypsy does favor the upgrade heavy reactive TvP style – but is willing to pull the trigger against an overly greedy protoss.

Where I’m a bit torn is whether I think Gypsy actually should bring something wilder to the table. Normally, I’m a big fan of mixing it up, especially in a bo5 or 7. But with how Gypsy is playing, he might just be best served doing what he knows the best – fast expand, fast armory, big explosion after that.

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[BSL13] Ro4 Preview

I have great expectations for this match, too.

The prediction is a tough one, as both players seem on top of their game.

They’ve both delivered stellar performances so far, but Dewalt really is one step up from Oya. While Dewalt was in trouble against Ultra, that trouble happened because of the early game backfiring a bit. In this series, especially their game on Wavelet, we saw Dewalt open ultra-safe – presumably because he was a bit afraid of a 2 factory opening, while also thinking that his superior skill would enable him to win later on. Then, he was a bit sloppy with his first dragoon batch. What happened after that point was a master class in PvT. One of the things that most consistently impresses me when I watch Dewalt, is that he seems to know precisely what the right moment for taking an engagement is. If a terran has established a siege line somewhere, you’ll see him cut off reinforcements, and then wait for juuust the right amount of gateway rounds before the reinforcements can march up and where his units demolish the established force, often with fantastic shuttle use.

Again, he’s obviously not unbeatable. The showmatches against Mihu were very close – but did ultimately go Mihu’s way, 5-4, twice. Gypsy beat Mihu 2-0 – but there’s probably some difference between the two in terms of what matchup is their preferred matchup.

Prediction: (P)Dewalt wins 3-2!

Writers: Liquid`Drone
Graphics: v1
Editors: BLinD-RawR
TL+ Member


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