This has already been the most exciting regular season of the SCBOY team leagues ever, and week ten continued to entertain with two late surprises. iG stole a vital point off TL by forcing an ace match, while GGG was able to defeat PSISTORM Gaming by a narrow 4-3 scoreline. That leaves TL, GP, and PSISTORM in a tight race for the seventh and final playoff spot as we head into the final week. Afreeca are also technically in danger of elimination, but they seem extremely likely to clinch a spot barring a second straight miracle performance from Invictus Gaming.
Assuming Afreeca win as expected, then PSISTORM control their own destiny and can 100% lock in a playoff spot with any kind of victory over Team NV (ace match or regular). However, if they should lose, there’s a chance that they’ll give up their playoff spot to the winner of Team GP vs Team Liquid. Depending on the specific outcomes of the matches, we could see GP and TL cleanly overtake PSISTORM on points, or have the final rankings decided on map differential.
If Afreeca should somehow lose to iG, or at least drop a point by being forced to an ace-match, that would add a whole other layer of chaos to the proceedings.
In any case, make sure to tune into the final week of the WTL regular season, where the final rankings and playoff seedings will be decided!
Week 11 matches will be played on Dec 21-23, returning to a schedule where two matches are played per day. Each match will start at 12:00 GMT (+00:00).
Week 10 Results
- 3 points for a victory in a series that does not require an ace match
- 2 points for a victory in a series that requires an ace-match
- 1 point for a loss in a series that requires an ace-match
- 0 points for a loss in a series that does not require an ace match
The playoff race might be attracting the most attention, but there’s also been an intense battle at the top of the table to secure the #1 seed. Last season’s champions Team NV are on track to finish the regular season on top, with a strong week 10 win over KZ putting them in pole position headed into the final stretch.
NV.Maru showed off his dominant TvT in the opening match against KZ.Spirit by taking a one-sided 2-0 victory. The first game was especially quick, as Maru got a build order win with his 2-Rax proxy Reapers against Spirit’s 1-Rax expand with a fast Reactor. The second game went on just a bit longer to the pre-stim skirmishing phase between Tanks, Marines, and Ravens. Maru set up a containment outside Spirit’s natural, and then proceeded to pick apart the Polish Terran’s defense with almost alarming ease to force the GG.
NV.Creator then made it 3-0 for his team by taking out KZ.Time on Glittering Ashes. Creator employed a curious speed-prism Colossus-drop strategy to start, which didn’t actually deal any economic damage. However, it did set up a nice 3-Colossus timing with ground troops which heavily punished TIME when he tried to take his third base a bit too quickly. TIME never recovered from that economic blow and eventually lost to Creator’s superior production. Still, TIME managed to stave off defeat for one more map by taking a point back on 2000 Atmospheres. Creator looked to play aggressively with early Gateway unit pressure followed by fast DT’s. However, TIME defended without much trouble, and even got in a Mine drop to put himself further ahead. This led to a powerful mid-game attack from TIME with Marines, Tanks, and Medivacs which killed Creator’s third and put him irrevocably behind. TIME continued to keep up the pressure until Creator had no choice but to surrender.
In the next game, there was a moment where it seemed like KZ.Solar could plant the seeds of a comeback when he scouted and held off NV.Bunny’s initial proxy 3-Barracks attack. However, it all ended in disaster, as Solar vs proxy-Barracks games often do. Solar, despite being fully aware of an impending second all-in attack with even more Marines, still managed to underdefend by sending out some of his Zerglings for a fruitless backdoor attack. This caused him to lose helplessly to Bunny’s frontal attack, and he had to cede the series victory to Team NV. Solar did manage to get a consolation point on Pride of Altaris, playing a solid macro game and trampling Bunny with Hydra-Ling-Bane-Lurker.
Afreeca’s peculiar schedule definitely painted an overly grim picture for their playoff chances throughout the regular season, with their matches against PREP eSPORTS and iG being saved for the final two weeks. However, it now seems like the Freecs are assured a playoff spot, barring a Christmas miracle from iG.
Afreeca actually got an early gift of their own against PREP eSPORTS, as PREP.YB had to forfeit his match against AF.KeeN for unspecified reasons, putting Afreeca up 2-0 to start.
AF.Trap capitalized on the opportunity and immediately clinched the series victory with a 2-0 against PREP.ByuL. The first game on Glittering Ashes saw ByuL try to match Trap’s 2-Stargate opener in a straight-up macro game. Unfortunately, we’ve all seen how late-game compositions work for ByuL over this WTL season, and this game was another predictable massacre. ByuL then tried to change things up with a fast Ling-Bane bust on Curious Minds, which was completely shut down by a single Stalker blocking Trap’s ramp.
With the series already decided, AF.Armani ran up the score with a 2-0 against PREP.Has. The Taiwanese madman made some interesting plays that actually got him ahead in the early-mid/game, but blew his leads in ways that only he seems to be able to (for which he is beloved, by the way). Game one on 2000 Atmospheres saw Has go for 3-Stargate Phoenixes, which turned out to be a great counter against some indecisive, half-committed Roach pressure from Armani. Has looked to finish his opponent off by transitioning to mass Zealot-Archon-Immortal on the ground, but ended up a-moving his units into a deadly cocktail of Fungals and Biles to lose the game.
Has went for the unexpected losers pick map choice of Pride of Altaris, but somehow made it work early on by going for a bizarre fast-DT into DT-blink build. The theorycraft move of “blink DT’s onto their Spore and kill it fast” actually worked for once in a real game (don’t try it on ladder), and Has was able to kill one of Armani’s expansions rather early. If Classic had taken over from there, he probably would have won with a strong mid-game push. Unfortunately, Has couldn’t find a window to finish Armani off, and got dragged into a macro game where Armani showed exactly why you don’t pick Altaris against Zerg.
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For the second season in a row, Invictus Gaming dealt a serious blow to Team Liquid’s playoff aspirations by stealing a point off of them when no one expected it.
iG.Coffee got the ball rolling against Liquid`Harstem by pushing his team out to a 2-0 lead. Game one on Curious Minds followed one of the more painful PvT loss patterns, as Harstem was caught off guard by a proxy-Hellion drop and forced into a quick GG. Hidden buildings played a role in Coffee’s second victory as well, as he hid his Barracks deep in a corner of his main while he geared up for a big 2-base Marine-Tank all-in. Harstem just barely held off the first attack with his Phoenixes and ground units but had to GG out to the second wave of attackers.
The following series between Liquid`uThermal and iG.XY saw the two players split a pair of late-game TvT brawls. Everything seemed to be going uThermal’s way on Glittering Ashes as he got away with a fast third expansion AND shut down a reckless drop from XY in the mid-game. The Liquid Terran opted to play his lead out very patiently, content to go to a map-split scenario where he had a far bigger bank. However, allowing any kind of 200 supply vs 200 supply scenario can be dangerous, and uThermal ended up exposing his army at a weak angle while maneuvering around on the map. XY used his Ravens to nullify uThermal’s Tanks and started a huge rout, and ended the game with one big attack.
Despite his team being down 0-3, uThermal managed to collect himself and pass the baton onto Clem. The second game on 2000 Atmospheres followed a similar pattern as the previous one, with uThermal forcing a late game scenario with an economic advantage in hand. This time, however, it was XY who gave up the disaster engagement, losing most of his Vikings during a pivotal transition to Battlecruisers. This allowed uThermal to firmly seize control of the air and make a BC transition of his own, after which he closed out the game.
With Liquid`Clem safely deployed, it was time for the Liquid ace to lead a comeback and salvage at least two points from the debacle. Facing iG.MacSed on 2000 Atmospheres, Clem won in a typical Clem-style game, smashing his opponent with non-stop aggression as they tried to transition out of a Phoenix opener. Clem couldn’t find those same aggressive opportunities in game two on Blackburn, which left MacSed with the breathing room to go up to Carriers off four bases. However, MacSed got ahead of himself once he had Carriers backed by Disruptors on the ground, attacking uphill into encroached Terran forces before he was even maxed out. Clem’s Viking-Infantry kiting completely wrecked MacSed’s army, forcing the GG.
iG decided it would be iG.Coffee who would try to pull off the miracle against Liquid`Clem as the two aces headed to Berlingrad for the final showdown. The ace match was action-packed from the get go, starting with Coffee’s early Reaper-Hellion pressure, followed by Clem’s push with his first Tank, followed by a Banshee counter-attack from Coffee. None of those moves resulted in a decisive supply advantage for either player, but Clem did end up taking the lead in Viking count. Those Vikings gave Clem the foundation he needed to launch what would end up being the game-ending push, as he set up his tanks just outside of Coffee’s natural. Coffee made an aggressive move to try and dislodge Clem’s Tanks, but it turned into a disaster thanks to the help of landed Vikings. With no chance of turning things around, Coffee surrendered and gave Liquid the ace match victory.
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If Afreeca’s true strength was somewhat masked by their front-loaded schedule, Shopify have been exposed by facing Team NV and DPG in the latter part of the season. Brutal defeats to both of last season’s finalists suggest that despite an amazing regular season run, the Rebellion might not be built to truly compete for a title.
DPG.Zest began the beatdown against SR.ByuN on Curious Minds, using his Phoenix opener to shut down ByuN’s mine drop. Zest followed up with a speed-prism Colossus that didn’t really do much damage, but having Colossi helped him nonetheless against ByuN’s two-base Marine-Tank push. After fending off the Terran offensive, Zest added Chargelots and Archons to his composition and crushed ByuN with a counter-attack. Game two on Berlingrad was more straightforward for Zest, as his proxy-Oracle strategy went undetected and inflicted devastating damage that ByuN could not recover from.
SR.Scarlett was the next victim in DPG.herO’s recent rampage of weirdness. Game one on Glittering Ashes seemed to be going swimmingly for Scarlett at first, with herO ditching 2-Stargate play for a more ground-oriented approach. Scarlett was set up for victory after holding off herO’s first major attack with Stalkers, with Mutalisk tech coming online behind it. However, she ended up losing in a rather confusing base trade, where herO attacked with a newly mustered force of Stalkers while he allowed the Mutalisks to ravage his main and natural. Scarlett seemed to underestimate how efficiently herO’s Blink-Stalkers could rip through her limited Roach-Ravager defensive force, and by the time she returned her Mutalisks to try to defend, the game had already slipped through her fingers.
Predictably, Scarlett picked Pride of Altaris as the next map, and went for a fast gold expansion. However, herO had a prepared strategy in store, going for a 2-Gateways before expansion. While not an all-in, this allowed herO to apply a lot of pressure to Scarlett and prevent her from Droning up freely. In fact, this standoff continued past the early-game and into the mid-game, with herO continuing to threaten Scarlett with Glaive Adepts. While herO never actually pulled the trigger on a big attack, this unusual tension had the effect of keeping Scarlett’s economy in check as the two players headed into a more traditional mid-game scenario. herO was able to assemble a powerful army of Adept-Immortal-Disruptor under much better conditions than usual (especially considering the map), and he overpowered Scarlett’s Roach-Ravager-Bane to take his second victory.
With the 4-0 victory already in hand, DPG.Cure continued the beatdown with a 2-0 against SR.Lambo. The first game on 2000 Atmospheres went to a mid-late game scenario, with Lurkers coming out and the two players starting to split the map. However, the game swung almost instantly when Lambo failed to protect his Lurkers from Ghost snipes on multiple fronts, which allowed Cure to attack head on and secure victory. Cure then completed the 6-0 on Pride of Altaris, with his powerful mid-game Marine-Tank push overpowering Lambo’s Hydra-Ling-Bane.
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Despite being virtually eliminated from playoff contention, GGG still managed to affect the competition for others. PSISTORM would have been virtual playoff locks with a victory against GGG, but the ace match loss puts them in danger of being eliminated altogether.
GGG.Rattata started things off with an impressive map win over PSISTORM.MaxPax, holding off both his Glaive Adepts and follow-up Disruptor drop with ease. With a largely unimpeded economy, Rattata was able to overrun MaxPax with swarms of Roach-Ravager in the mid-game. Game two gave us the familiar scenario of Queen Walk vs 2-Stargate, but perhaps with a slightly unfamiliar ending. While MaxPax was forced to cede one of his bases to Rattata, eventually his three-Stargate Void Ray production kicked in, allowing him to kill all the queens. MaxPax found a window to counter-attack with his mass Void Rays before Rattata could get sufficient anti-air, and it was enough to earn him the 1-1 tie.
The next series between GGG.Dream and PSISTORM.GuMiho also ended as a draw. Game one saw GuMiho start off in what seemed like a decent position, holding off Dream’s 2-Rax reapers with a 1-Rax expand build. However, he got a bit too aggressive with his drop tactics once he had Medivacs out, which resulted in Dream cleaning up his troops and winning with his own counter-drop. Game two on Curious Minds played out with the two players almost mirroring each other, as both opened with Tank-Medivac harass while building up to a fast Tank-Marine-Raven push. The two main armies ended up missing each other by taking separate paths in the center of the map, triggering a base trade. GuMiho played the base trade far better, sacrificing his SCV’s to delay Dream at his natural while his own forces made a beeline for the enemy main to camp production buildings. Dream was left without production or a way to advance deeper into enemy territory, and had to GG out.
Yet another tie ensued in GGG.Nice vs PSISTORM.SpeCial, which brought the series to an ace match conclusion. Game one on 2000 Atmospheres saw SpeCial go for the early 2 Cyclone + mixed early unit pressure he’s been favoring these days, only to have his attacking force cleaned up neatly by Phoenixes. Smelling blood in the water, Nice decided to go for mass Glaive-Adepts off three bases instead of teching up for a longer game. This ended up being a winning move, with the flood of Adepts overpowering SpeCial when he tried to take his third base (despite a ridiculous mine shot on all the Adepts). Game two on Berlingrad unfolded in a rather peculiar way, with SpeCial managing to kill Nice’s third base with his mid-game push of two bases, but declining to expand behind it. Rather, SpeCial stayed on two bases forever (even floating his main Orbital to his third base), going up to almost 200/200 supply. This still worked out for SpeCial, as the early loss of a third base had put Nice in a difficult position. The maxed out Terran army overpowered Nice’s forces, sending the series to a seventh and final map.
The ace match saw GGG.Nice and PSISTORM.SpeCial return to Berlingrad for one more game, though the strategies differed quite a bit. SpeCial opened up with 2-Rax Reapers into expand, while Nice opted for a fast Oracle. The early game exchanges saw both players lose a handful of workers and units, with Nice coming out slightly ahead. SpeCial stayed on two bases and tried to apply pressure on Nice with Marine-Marauder, but he couldn’t seriously threaten Nice before his Chargelots and Archons came online. Once the three-base production fully kicked in for Nice, he was able to overrun SpeCial with mass Gateway units on the ground.
Has the clock truly struck midnight? Is the magic gone for good? It’s definitely feeling that way as Team GP have gone 1-3 in the last four rounds (the one win being against iG). Meanwhile, Alpha X are looking like the solid team we’ve grown used to seeing over the last few seasons, almost assuredly locking in a playoff spot with a victory over Team GP.
αX.RagnaroK iced GP.Percival 2-0 to kick things off. RagnaroK got off to an economic lead in game one with some early Roach pressure, which was followed by a lot of skirmishing back and forth between Roach-Ravager and Marine Tank. While Percival seemed to trade evenly for a while, he was eventually outfought and swarmed over by a larger Zerg force. Percival went into his bag of tricks in game two, opening with a fast 2-Battlecruiser build. However, RagnaroK had plenty of anti-air ready, nullifying the attack and putting Percival behind. When Percival tried to move out with his infantry backed by BC’s, he was crushed by a huge force of Corruptors, Banelings, and Zerglings.
GP.RyunG continued to be a rock for Team GP, continuing his season-long streak of always winning at least one map. Facing αX.Zoun’s proxy Void Rays on Glittering Ashes, Ryung seemed to be in some trouble after allowing a couple of Cyclones to get picked off early. However, after several minutes of combat, Ryung finally stabilized on defense and broke out of Zoun’s Shield Battery containment with Tanks. Zoun tried to play out a ‘normal’ game from there, but couldn’t contend against Terran’s superior tech. Game two on Blackburn saw Zoun play defensive Phoenixes while Ryung committed hard to a two-base siege with Tanks and Turrets. Zoun was very patient on defense, gradually breaking down the Terran containment line with a series of effective engagements. Once the Terran line was completely broken, it wasn’t long until Ryung was forced to GG.
αX.Classic closed out the series by defeating GP.Prince in a battle of tricksters. Fighting on 2000 Atmospheres, Classic went for a proxy-Robo strategy while Prince went for proxy-Oracles with a hidden expansion in the corner of the map. Prince’s Oracle harassment was largely nullified due to the presence of a Battery—on the other end of the map, he was put under heavy pressure by Classic’s Stalkers and Immortal. Batteries only allowed Prince to hold out for a brief while before he had to GG to Classic’s superior ground force. Prince did manage to take a consolation point off Classic in the final map—and it might actually mean something if the final standings are decided on a map-score tiebreaker. A bizarre game played out on Curious Minds with huge fields of Shield Batteries set up next to each other, offensively for Prince, and defensively for Classic. The game seemed all but over once Classic stabilized on defense and blasted through his opponent’s Battery containment with Immortals, but the veteran Alpha X player got reckless in trying to finish the game. Attacking into his opponent’s overcharged Battery turned out to be a game-throwing move, giving Prince the 1-1 tie.
Weekly MVP Award: DPG.Zest
This week’s MVP goes to DPG.Zest, whose 2-0 victory over SR.ByuN kicked off DPG’s 6-0 blowout win. While there were many 2-0’s on the week, a lot of them were mismatches—I believe Zest clearly overcame the toughest challenge in the form of ByuN. The next best 2-0 was probably NV.Maru over KZ.Spirit, or Zest’s fellow DPG player herO taking out SR.Scarlett.
Now, there actually was a 3-0 performance in week 10 which came from Liquid`Clem, who defeated iG.MacSed 2-0 and then won an ace match against iG.Coffee. However, given the dreadful past performances of the iG players in the WTL, I can’t really say Clem had a more impressive showing than Zest, or even Maru and herO.
- Week 1: GP.Cham
- Week 2: NV.Bunny
- Week 3: PSISTORM.MaxPax
- Week 4: GP.Prince
- Week 5: AF.Trap
- Week 6: AF.Armani
- Week 7: DPG.Dark
- Week 8: NV.Maru
- Week 9: NV.Creator
- Week 10: DPG.Zest
Week 11 Preview
Tuesday, Dec 21 12:00pm GMT (GMT+00:00) Matches
With PSISTORM gaming facing an uphill battle against Team NV, this could very well be a deathmatch that directly decides who earns the seventh and final playoff spot.
Team GP are enormously fortunate to draw Ryung vs Clem, considering the Liquid ace’s history of big TvT losses in high-leverage moments. Ryung has never been 0-2’d this season—I think he can keep that streak alive and nab a 1-1 in this pivotal match.
I think another 1-1 tie is coming in Prince vs Harstem. While Harstem is a better player overall, his anti-cheese defense hasn’t been particularly impressive (perhaps this is recency bias from his loss to Coffee). In the most important match of the season so far, I think Prince can come up with a one-time-only strategy that nets him at least one win.
uThermal and Percival is another tough match for me to call—both players are great at preparing strategies at build orders, but for some reason go for standard play a bit too often for my liking. Similar to the previous match-up, I think uThermal has the all-around edge, but not enough to take the clean 2-0.
If it all boils down to an ace match, I think Team GP will come out on top. I’m 100% certain that they have someone already preparing for the BO1 against Clem and have a Blackburn-specific strategy ready to go. On the other hand, Clem has the disadvantage of being the obvious ace, but not knowing who he’ll have to face. Liquid actually did try to change it up against Shopify by sending out Harstem as their ace (week 8), but I don’t think they’ll take such a risk in a do-or-die situation.
Prediction: Team GP 4 – 3 Team Liquid
GGG don’t have anything to play for, while the Golden Dragons are still trying to secure the highest seed possible headed into the playoffs. I don’t want to speculate too much about player psychology, but I would hardly blame the GGG guys if they had already settled into a holiday break mindset.
Whatever the case may be, the match-ups favor Alpha X on the whole. Classic has improved to a level where I see a 1-1 tie against Dream as the most likely scenario, while the other two Alpha X players are favored to take 2-0’s against their opponents.
Prediction: Alpha X 4 -2 Good Game Gaming
Wednesday, Dec 22 12:00pm GMT (GMT+00:00) Matches
This high-stakes match sees Team NV fighting for the #1 overall seed and regular season title, while PSISTORM Gaming can 100% lock in a playoff spot if they take three points.
All things considered, I think it works in PSISTORM’s favor that Gerald gets to be the ‘sacrifice’ card against Maru. If he cheeses out a map win against Maru, that’s f***ing amazing. If he goes 0-2, that was the expected result anyway, and his two teammates get more favorable match-ups.
MaxPax versus Bunny is my personal pick for match of the week. Both players are on the cusp of breaking through into being true championship contenders in individual competitions, but both of them have trouble with consistency in big matches. Aligulac.com sees this match as being almost 50/50, and I’m curious to see if someone can come through with a clutch 2-0 victory.
Finally, GuMiho vs DongRaeGu is the match that makes me the most sentimental. These greats of Wings of Liberty and legends of the GSTL never actually faced each other in that competition, so it’s very nostalgic to see them facing off a decade later in the WTL. While DongRaeGu still has a leg up on GuMiho at this stage of his return, the GuMigod HAS shown some of his mech brilliance in previous WTL matches. DRG has some issues finishing off late-game Terrans, so there’s a chance for GuMiho to take a map or two if he can survive the mid-game onslaught.
Prediction: Team NV 4 – 2 PSISTORM Gaming
This is our second match with lopsided incentives, as Shopify are looking to improve their playoff seeding (and perhaps even take 1st place back) while PREP eSPORTS were already eliminated from the playoffs a few weeks ago.
Despite this, I think PREP could prove to be feisty considering the match-ups. ByuL matches up surprisingly well against ByuN, as ByuN is a Terran player who might actually agree to fight him in the mid-game instead of turtling his way to a free victory. Of course, that’s not to say ByuL is favored in mid-game combat, but it does give him a better chance of victory.
I don’t see Puzzle having much of a chance against Scarlett, but Has could be a surprisingly tricky opponent for Lambo. The Shopify mastermind is prone to the occasional defensive collapse in the early-game—he could either laugh off whatever craziness Has has prepared, or get totally wrecked by some nonsensical ploy.
Prediction: Shopify 5 – 1 PREP eSPORTS
Thursday, Dec 23 12:00pm GMT (GMT+00:00) Matches
Up until last week, Invictus Gaming were having what can only be described as a soul-crushing season. With zero wins and zero points, there was no reason to believe they could give anyone even the remotest challenge.
Well, headed into this week, they’re still winless, but now they have a point on the board. Last week, they pulled off one of the most shocking results of the season by taking Team Liquid to an ace match, throwing a wrench into the horse-dudes’ plans.
Does that make me feel any more optimistic about iG’s chances of hampering the Afreeca Freecs? Just a little, little, bit.
I will always root for maximum chaos in these end-of-season scenarios, and nothing would make things more exciting than an iG shocker. Just imagine: GP vs TL and PSISTORM vs NV have been played, and everyone thinks the playoff race has ended. Then, out of nowhere—BOOM, iG steal three maps off Afreeca and send it to an ace match. Trap vs MacSed with the fate of four teams hanging in the balance… Okay, Trap would probably annihilate MacSed there, but it would still be amazing drama.
Prediction: Afreeca Freecs 5 – 1 Invictus Gaming
It’s a testament to the history that the SCBOY team league has built up over the last few years that I still think DPG vs KZG is the most fitting end to the regular season. Even if KZ are temporarily struggling following INnoVation’s retirement, they’re still one of the twin pillars of the team league alongside DPG. Selfishly, I hope that during the off-season, they drop a huge bag on Reynor or Serral’s lap and bring them into the WTL.
Anyway, there’s no denying that the current iteration of DPG has a huge advantage over KZ. But there might be some hope for a KaiZi Christmas given the way the match-ups have turned out. I’d have to give DPG a solid edge in Dark vs Solar, but the inherent randomness of ZvZ gives Solar a chance at taking the 1-1. Similarly, DPG have the advantage in Zest vs Spirit as well, but the inherent randomness of ZvA (Zest vs anyone) gives Spirit a chance of taking a tie.
TIME vs herO is the match I see as being a true 50/50—TIME has shored up his TvP considerably since losing to Cyan in the DHM China finals, and it might actually be his best match-up now. Meanwhile, herO has improved greatly on the whole since his return from military service, and players are struggling to deal with his unique, aggressive style. Even Aligulac.com sees this match as close to even and I’m excited to see how it unfolds.
Prediction: Dragon Phoenix Gaming 4 – 3 KaiZi Gaming