There's plenty of surprises waiting to happen in Groups C & D for the WCS Season 3 Finals.
The last two groups of the StarCraft World Championship Series Season 3 finals are difficult to predict because so many of the players involved are in the midst of a sudden upswing or downswing. Few of the players here are playing at what has been their historical level of achievement, and so it remains to be seen whether they are surging, slumping, or they’ve just had an odd month. So it should be fun to see who emerges from the pack.
Group C: Dearly Beloved.
Players: Dear, VortiX, Oz, HerO
Likely to Advance: You just don’t bet against a GSL winner, and Baek "Dear" Dong Jun took his title over opposition from some of the biggest names in StarCraft. During his recent run, he sent Park “DongRaeGu” Soo Ho packing, beat defending GSL champion Cho "Maru" Sung Choo, and then triumphed in the finals over the generally excellent Eo "soO" Yoon Su. While this is really Dear’s first major career accomplishment, that’s not a fluke. That’s excellence.
Protoss Puzzles: Song “HerO” Hyeon Deok was all over the map during this past season of WCS America. During the round of 16 he was barely competitive until he abruptly snapped out of his funk and sent Kim "Hack" Young Il packing.
But then HerO was swept out of the quarterfinals by Kim "Oz" Hak Soo. That was not just a troubling continuation of HerO’s recent inconsistency this fall, but also bodes ill for his possible rematch with Oz in this very group.
Oz himself played extremely well in Season 3, but the most consistent thing about his performance in the last year is its inconsistency. He’s always decent, sometimes great. If he can do to HerO again what he did in the quarterfinals, and keep up the great Protoss vs. Zerg play he used to smash through Sasha “Scarlett” Hostyn in the round of 16, he should be able to slip past HerO and Artur "Nerchio" Bloch.
Group D: Up-and-Comers
Players: ByuL, Maru, SoO, duckdeok
Contenders: Three of these players have enjoyed surprising success as of late. Han "ByuL" Ji Won is playing tremendous StarCraft right now, coming out of nowhere to finish second in the American division this season. When he faced a surging Xiang "MacSed" Hu in the finals, he showed that his Zerg vs. Protoss is first-rate.
That matchup will come in handy against his first opponent, an often inconsistent Kim "duckdeok" Kyeong Deok. Duckdeok has not been anywhere near the form that let him win the Season 2 European championship, but he’s not to be taken lightly.
Maru is another interesting possibility. He enjoyed an amazing run in Proleague last season, defeating both Jung "Rain" Yoon Jong and Lee "INnoVation" Shin Hyung on his way to the title, but he did not look anywhere near as dominant at the Season 2 Finals. Still, he’s coming off another Korean division semifinals appearance, and increasingly it looks like Maru is going to be a big name for years and years to come.
Finally, there’s Eo "soO" Yoon Su, who had a brief and fairly successful Brood War career, and who just had the best result of his entire StarCraft 2 career. He’s not on a hot streak like Maru and ByuL are, but he’s arguably the most seasoned player here and that could make the difference at a major tournament like the season finals.
We’ll find out what happens with these groups on Friday afternoon, when Group C begins at 2 PM PST, and Group D commences at 3:30 PM. All the games will be streamed live at Battle Net and on Twitch starting at 11 AM for Group A.
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