I haven't always been a fan of the players getting to essentially seed the Groups in the Ro16 of the GSL due to the fact at the end of the day they're only human, which means sometimes pride & other emotional weaknesses can end up screwing with the later and ultimately more important stages of the tournament (I will never forget
this season's Group B, where a glorified game of chicken's outcome completely distorted the playoffs bracket) but over time I've learned to appreciate this idea, partially considering literally anything is better than random seeding or even using "pools" – just using the most recent example,
here is the list of "Tiers" that ended up creating the Code S Ro32 Groups for this season (to point out a few obvious examples, when you have players the likes of INoVation and aLive in the same pool or Stats and PartinG weighted equally it quickly becomes clear this isn't an ideal system by any stretch of the imagination).
What the "players get to pick their poison" idea does instead to circumvent these issues is that each person will likely try to set up as favorable an opponent for themselves as possible, meaning the Ro16 should be significantly more competitive & the better players will almost always find their way out – and that's why this system has grown on me & inspired me to do this thread, though do make sure to also tune in on May 15th around 18:30 KST in order to find out just how wrong this "mock run" of the group nominations will end up being.
Note: I've dug up this thread, where the rules of the Ro16 group nominations are explained & based on which I've modeled my "predictions", feel free to check it out if you'd like to better understand the semantics of what's coming next.
Heading into Wednesday the #1 WCS Korea seed – regardless of Maru missing – is actually Classic, who will have the most power here as a result (two picks, essentially) and the other Group leaders will be soO, Dark and Stats (currently ranked in that order). What this means is that the initial Group setup should look like this:
Group A | #1. Classic
Group B | #4. Stats
Group C | #3. Dark
Group D | #2. soO
The first four picks are done in seeding order, which allows Classic to go first. There really isn't a matchup I think he cares to avoid right now, but I definitely feel like his PvP is unmatched so here's where I consider the Super Tournament Champion should flex that strength and surprise everyone by picking a very strong player who crucially doesn't share the same prowess in the matchup. While there are significantly weaker opponents to pick from, I think this is where Classic should grab Dear by the hand, considering that almost guarantees the reluctant Protoss will pick up a Terran after that for both of them to style on (leaving Classic to select the final favorable opponent for himself, very likely another Protoss).
The second pick goes to soO – something, something, silver – which I expect is going to be the traditional "whoever the foreigner is" choice i.e. I see no reason why he wouldn't drag SpeCial into Group D, if anything just out of spite not to let Dark do it for his pick. Additionally, the Kong of Kongs did look a bit shaky in the Ro32 so I doubt he'll be looking to flex here & his ZvT feels like it should be up to par to handle the last foreigner in the tournament at least.
Likely already a little salty, Dark should then pick whoever he thinks is the weakest player with the highest name value, I assume it's going to be PartinG, considering the two didn't get to clash even though they shared the same Group in the Ro32 & I'm sure Dark would love the opportunity to show the level difference here. Alternatively, his ZvZ is quite deadly as well so he could go for one of the beatable Zergs too – but I think his pride will get in the way of that choice, potentially opening himself up to getting upset in the long run.
With the last pick of the first stage, I fully expect Stats to go with the Classic approach i.e. pick a beatable Protoss that's at least one tier beneath him, which I assume means it's going to be Hurricane here. I was quite impressed with the underdog's performance in the Ro32 against Classic, who I consider to be the best PvP player in the world right now, but regardless he still did lose 0-2 and never forget what Stats did as recently as IEM Katowice in the Group Stage against pretty much every other top tier Protoss player in attendance.
After the initial picks, this is what the Groups should then look like:
Group A | Classic vs Dear
Group B | Stats vs Hurricane
Group C | Dark vs PartinG
Group D | soO vs SpeCial
Using the snake method & starting from Group D, it would be Special's turn to choose an opponent at this stage and I think regardless of what he says/feels his strongest matchup right now is actually TvP (an opinion supported by Aligulac with some refinement, his only winning record being in that matchup) which essentially means he should pick a Protoss player and here's where I'd likely suggest he goes for herO over Patience, despite the name value of these players making that idea look confusing (it's hard to erase what the Protoss wildcard did in Group A this season from our memories, I definitely wouldn't be eager to pick him as a Terran player right now).
With that dose of controversy taken care of, it would then be PartinG's choice incoming, which is where I expect the streak of pride in Group C to be extended by him picking RagnaroK in order to lean on mind games related to their match in the Super Tournament and have to prepare for less matchups (with Terran players bound to run out before another one can be added to this Group).
Hurricane would then be up next with a difficult choice to make, considering he would likely want to go for PvZ but the fact Impact looked so solid is bound to make things complicated. In spite of the fact he dismissed Solar, I think he should go for the PvT here instead (really a coin toss though, considering his current level in both matchups) so I would have him pick FanTaSy and bet on the fact the Ro32 showing from the Terran was a bit of an over-performance.
The final choice at this stage would then go to Dear and I don't think there's any doubt he would immediately go with INnoVation, who has essentially shown TY-levels of being shaky (putting it lightly) in his TvP, while the Protoss player in question here was on an insane streak in the matchup before Maru broke his brain in the Ro8 last season. I think this choice would also benefit Classic, who got to lose a very one-sided showmatch to the Kingslayer recently & will likely mine that match for data in case he has to face the Terran.
With the second last round of picks done, here are the updated Groups:
Group A | Classic vs Dear, INnoVation
Group B | Stats vs Hurricane, FanTaSy
Group C | Dark vs PartinG, RagnaroK
Group D | soO vs SpeCial, herO
Going one last time through the players, here's where the very salty INnoVation would likely pick Impact (considering his only other choices are all players who've beaten him in recent memory) and I don't think he would even necessarily be a major favorite to take down the Zerg, leaving him pretty fucked in terms of reaching the Ro8 (and remember, this is pre-swap).
FanTaSy would then get to make his choice and I assume he will bite the bullet at this point, picking Patience in order to make it only TvPs for himself & essentially make his prep easier and certainly leave the door open to a potential Ro8 that would blow a lot of people's minds (as long as he can come in vaguely as good as he did in the Ro32).
I expect the last choice here from RagnaroK to be Trap for similar reasons – to limit the matchups you have to prepare for – not to mention you don't want to risk picking GuMiho, who might be second best Terran player in the world if he comes in hot right now. In any case, nothing feels good here for the Zerg, it would take a big overperformance to make it out at this stage (in this setup).
With the choice-less herO having to pick up GuMiho for Group D at that point, this would be where Classic gets to make one more move before the Group nominations are done and this is where I think his promise to fuck with Dark slightly will come in (admittedly only in a playful manner) by swapping Impact with PartinG, making his Group two Protoss players and one Terran – easier prep and preferable matchups at the expense of your rival, not much more you can ask for.
TL;DR: The final Groups "should" look like this by the end, if the players decide to stick to my script:
Group A | Classic vs Dear & INnoVation vs PartinG
Group B | Stats vs Hurricane & FanTaSy vs Patience
Group C | Dark vs Impact & RagnaroK vs Trap
Group D | soO vs SpeCial & herO vs GuMiho
"Predictions" if these were to be the Groups:
Group A: Classic 1st, Anyone's Guess for 2nd
Group B: Stats 1st, Anyone's Guess for 2nd
Group C: Anyone's Guess for 1st, Anyone's Guess for 2nd
Group D: Anyone's Guess for 1st, Anyone's Guess for 2nd
Hopefully at this point you can see clearly why this is the way I would set up the Groups – in my ideal world I'd like to make them as balanced as possible and give everyone a decent chance to reach the Ro8 (which the players themselves very rarely end up doing, funnily enough). In my scenario I genuinely think every Group would be straight fire to watch because almost anything could happen.
I hope you guys enjoyed this "mock run" of the Group nominations, I'm looking forward to the actual thing this Wednesday & getting pretty much all of these wrong.
Who do you think the players should pick? Is there any different particular choice that would benefit the higher seeds I missed?
Let everyone know in the comments below.
Thanks as always for reading & see you when I see you!
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