ACL Pro Brisbane Predictions
As we all know ACL Brisbane is coming up very soon! With the groups being announced I thought I’d do a little analysis on them and my predictions for the group stage. Given that it is rather unknown who will be attending the open bracket, I will leave out the x-factor of who will come through for this analysis.
1. PiG is a man that needs no introduction! Whilst he is favourite for the group and this tournament as a whole, I think this group might cause some upsets in the series for PiG. Whilst PiG’s zvz is very strong, it is not unbeatable and given the volatile nature of zvz, I fully expect PiG to drop a map or two against NXZ and Law.
2. Law. Although I am trying to avoid being bias and objective in my predictions, my SLCN teammate Law’s play excites me too much to rank him below NXZ. Law is an unproven player at LAN’s and has shown great potential in online qualifiers. The first time I saw his zvt I was talking with Kez about it and we remarked it was like watching DRG play. Unfortunately for him he did not get any terrans in his group. Fortunately, however, his zvz is almost equally terrifying. I consider myself a zvz specialist and I have been practicing heavily with Law in the leadup to ACL and let me tell you, there is something scary about losing 10+ games in a row to someone in your best matchup. If he manages to take the play he has shown me in practice and convert it to LAN, he is fully capable of beating PiG and coming 1st in the group.
3. NXZ. The Exile 5 up and coming zerg is no stranger to ACL Brisbane. He showed an amazing run last year upsetting huge amounts of players, especially in the zvz matchup! However with NXZ being busy with school, NXZ’s performances have been rather quiet of late and he hasn’t been able to backup that performance that he gave at ACL Brisbane last year. NXZ is likely the 2nd favourite to come out of his group, but the question remains whether or not he can rekindle his form from a year ago or not. Regardless, NXZ will advance from this group.
4. Eros. Eros is a rather unknown quantity, however he has shown the he is capable of causing upsets at LAN after taking down Pezz in last years open bracket. Given that he will be facing only zvz in his group, I expect Eros to show some good games and maybe take a map or two off the more well known zergs in the group.
1. HuT is one of the old guard of the SEA scene and the only terran in the group stages. Although HuT took a break quiet recently, he has started playing again and has reached NA GM with ease. It does not take a player as good as HuT long to get back to his former skill level. HuT has one advantage in this tournament, and this group that nobody else has. Not many people will be practicing for Terran’s, and HuT has the benefit of being able to focus only on TvZ for his group. For this reason I foresee HuT getting out 1st in this group.
2. Petrify. Similarly to HuT, I stopped playing for a large amount of time toward the start of the year. However I am confident I am better than what I used to be before I stopped. A lot of people think that HuT and I will be competing for first place in this group, and whilst I agree, my ZvT has a reputation for being sub-par comparatively to my other matchups. For this reason I put myself 2nd behind HuT. However my ZvZ is good enough for me to get ahead of Soundwave and Cuddles.
3. Soundwave. Soundwave is the dark horse of this group, he has been around in the scene for a long time but has never really made any big strides in tournaments or taken down big players – until recently. Recently he has been able to take 2 games off of HuT and has shown really strong performances against others. If Soundwave can carry this form into the group stages, it might provide an interesting dynamic for this group.
4. Cuddles. Unfortunately I do not know much about Cuddles other than he is a zerg so I cannot say much. I see this as an advantage for him as nobody is aware of his style, and zvz is a very stylistic matchup, so if he can come up with some interesting builds, he may be able to make a name for himself!
1. KingKong, much like PiG this is a man who needs no introduction. Despite his recent poor performance against Major in WCS, KingKong should be able to stomp this group with ease. His zvz is unarguably the best in SEA and he will be hard pressed to drop a map in this group.
2. Kez. Kez, another member of the old guard of SEA, had also taken a step back from practicing a lot this year. However Kez has recently shown really strong performances in the ACL qualifiers and he was fortunate enough to get zergs in his group, which is his strongest matchup. On the other hand, it is fully possible that Kez will beat someone as strong as Alopex and then lose to Xormentor, because his zvp is exceptionally volatile.
3. Alopex. Alopex is someone who consistently shows extremely strong potential and brilliant play, but has failed to make a huge impact on tournaments. My main doubts over Alopex is how much he has been playing, and his ability to perform at LAN. If Alopex has been practicing hard and if he is able to convert that potential, I see him as a real darkhorse for this tournament to make it deep.
4. Xormentor. Unfortunately for Xormentor he got put in a group with 3 very strong zergs. If you put him as the 4th player in some of the other groups, I think he would have a real shot at coming out 3rd. He showed strong games at ACL qualifiers taking down the zerg Wally. Xormentor also has the benefit of being able to only focus on ZvP. I think he creates the most interesting dynamic with Kez in this group, and he might be able to force his way to 3rd if he upsets Kez.
1. Pezz is a consistently proven Protoss at ACL’s who has never failed to make the championship bracket when already in groups. He is also the protoss hope for this tournament. I think he drew a relatively easy group for him, as he gets to focus mainly on PvZ. Although losing to Wally recently, I believe Pezz will come into this tournament very prepared to come out first easily.
2. Wally. Wally is a tough player to talk about. His best play is akin to some of the best up and coming zerg play in SEA, but his worst play is extremely questionable. For Wally to do well in this tournament, it will be about finding some consistency in his play. His zvz at his best is extremely strong, so I expect him to take out Phoenix, and head to 2nd in this group.
3. Phoenix. Phoenix is an unknown quantity in this group, his work ethic is extremely hard and he is known to research his opponents very heavily. I think group atmospheres favour his play quite a lot. However, his zvz is his weakest matchup, and Pezz is a class above him, so I have to give Phoenix 3rd place in this group.
4. Schnitzel. If Schnitzel wasn’t playing random I would put him at 3rd in this group, however given his questionable decision to play random, unless he manages to random protoss every game, I can’t see him beating players as good as the other 3 in his group. However, this also begs the question about whether or not Schnitzel is actually going to play random, or if this is a Light-like play and he is throwing misinformation out there. It will be interesting to see what race he picks on the day.
Thanks for reading my predictions, feel free to post your comments and predictions below, and make sure to head to ACL Brisbane for some quality SC2! :)
Mark ‘Petrify‘ Fittipaldi