For all those who missed the group stage, here’s a nice and short summary of the games and stream related happenings of the group stage.
The first big surprise of GCS Winter 2017 appeared even before any games were played: setting up the technical stuff etc. went flawlessly. Neo and Remo felt, that it seems a bit suspicious ("This was too easy. I don't trust it."). Yet, they were proven wrong as there has been no technical issues so far.
Thus, a big shout out to the organizers, who make it possible for Remo and Neo to deliver a great stream experience to all viewers, so the games can be enjoyed without any hickups!
Lyn being interviewed by Remo at B2W's caster station
Group A was dominated by Fly100% who made it to the play-offs without any major problems. Unfortunately, OrcWorker, our second Western hope was not able to perform as well as he recently did in online tournaments. He again did not feel 100% comfortable while playing. (Interview with OrcWorker before his games: here) The best matches of the group were played between Check (supported by his wife and cute child) and So.In. So.In had impressive results recently and was able to show this in the first BO3. Yet, Check won the decisive second BO3 and by that advanced to the quarter finals. The game on Turtle Rock is a must see: VOD here)
Making a forecast for Group B seemed easy: Infi is the big favorite. FoCuS and LawLiet will fight for the second slot, while XiaoKK will seek for his chance to deliver a surprise. In their games, FoCuS and LawLiet showed that they had another plan for this group: FoCuS sent Infi to the lower bracket and met his close friend LawLiet in the final, who defeated XiaoKK’s attempt to surprise him with SH and a tower rush. In top performance games, it was LawLiet who took the first play-off slot, which led to another showdown between FoCuS and Infi. And this time, FoCuS was able to overcome his offline-demons and delivered the first big surprise of GCS Winter 2017 by eliminating the last season’s finalist in a convincing 2:0. It will be very exciting to see how far these great two Koreans players can advance in the play-offs!
Qualified: Lawliet and FoCuS
LawLiet's secret key to victory: A relaxing massage on the day before his matches
Referred to as the Group of Death, Group C was the highlight for most fans. With the recently revamped legend Moon (ELO rank 2) and professor TH000 meeting in game one and our beloved Ukrainian prodigy Foggy facing the UD-Race-War-Carrier WFZ, this group included everything a Western Warcraft fan can wish for.
Unfortunately, Moon was not able to show his 100% best performance. Yet, in the lower bracket, he was able to beat WFZ twice with great Warden plays. In the decisive second BO3 against TH000, the Chinese human was able to break Moon’s strategy by harassing the important Ancient of War creeping of the Warden (on TS) and the Beast Master (on TM).
But of course, the top story of this group was – for the third GCS in a row! – the performance of Foggy.
After a rough first map against WFZ, Foggy was able to turn the series around. Especially on map 3, he showed his high level of confidence by successfully executing an unusual Talon-strategy. In his games against TH000, he was able to confirm his great shape in a convincing 2:0. Considering this, it seems inevitable to see Foggy as a very serious candidate for the title (without any European bias).
Qualified: Foggy and TH000
With all four races being represented in this group including the current and a former GCS champion, this group promised another epic day of Warcraft 3. And it was.
Let’s start with Life: As one of the youngest players of the tournament, he finally made his offline breakthrough by qualifying via the upper bracket beating Romantic and the Orc grand master Lyn.
After those matches, the next upset was already set in stone: either Lyn or 120 will be eliminated in the group stage. While the scene was still trying to predict who it will be, Romantic already had a third alternative plan in mind. The first key element of the plan was the Siege Engine aka Tank. With the help of this infamous, yet effective unit, he was able to take out 120, whose small mistakes were punished mercilessly. Hungry for more, he finally also took out Lyn, who admittedly did not feel 100% confident about his level of control after his injury, in a great and close BO3 sending home the second favorite of this tournament.
Qualified: Life and Romantic
With four of the top favorites (Infi, Moon, Lyn, 120) not advancing, most predictions were shattered, and we are looking forward to epic playoffs. I will not dare to try to forecast the further results of this crazy tournament as it is already far beyond any kind of predictability!
Upcoming quarter finals (BO5!) starting on Saturday 10am CEST at Back2Warcraft's Twitch channel:
Fly100% vs FoCuS
Life vs TH000
LawLiet vs Check
Foggy vs Romantic
Watch the full grid here.
VODs of the group stage to be found at Back2Warcraft's Youtube channel
News and back stage impressions: