This season of NASL has been hard fought. After nearly eight weeks of matches, the division standings are beginning to take shape. This weekend will also see two fan favorites, SK.MC and Liquid`Sheth, go head to head in a showmatch at the Anthill Pub at UC Irvine.
Canada-Bound: The EG Difference
Whatever the reason, EG players seem to dominate in the North American Starleague. Last season, four EG players took either first or second place in each of their separate divisions, and one of them went on to win the whole thing. This time around, we might be in for a repeat performance. Lee “PuMa” Ho Joon, Benjamin “DeMusliM” Baker, and Chris “HuK” Loranger all sit at the top of their respective divisions, with PuMa undefeated and guaranteed his spot. DeMusliM only needs to take one map off of his opponent next week to guarantee his. While HuK has two matches remaining, he is heavily favored against Liquid`TLO and should be solid against Mouz.MaNa as well.
Right alongside the boys from EG are some of the league’s strongest players. Illyes “Stephano” Satouri sits behind PuMa, Song “HerO” Hyeon Deok is in dead heat with DeMusliM for the top of Division 2, and behind HuK rests a tie between SlayerS_GanZi and Gamania.Sen. Kim “Puzzle” Sang Jun of SlayerS sits atop Division 5, in top form and unlikely to fall to his one remaining opponent. Either SK.MC or Mouz.Morrow will join him – depending on the outcome of their head-to-head next week. Division 4 is topped by Anton “LoWeLy” Plebanovich from FXOpen eSports – and a single win will clinch his spot in Toronto for the Grand Finals – and SlayerS_Alicia is likely to follow him.
A Fight for Survival
On the other side of the token are the players just fighting to stay in it. Despite his recent upswing in performance since the breakout at Providence, Liquid`HayprO was unable to take a single victory in his division and has been assured elimination from the NASL. His teammates NoNy and Jinro will have to fight tooth and nail to avoid joining him. Sitting at 1-6 and 0-6 respectively, they absolutely have to win in order to retain their place in the league for next season. Division 2 contains three players all with a score of 1-6 (NoNy, SjoW, and DarKFoRcE). Any one of them could be knocked out.
Of particular note is Division 4: EG.IdrA was unable to assure himself a spot in the playoffs, and instead has elimination to fear. With two ZvZs in a row, against Ret and LoWeLy, his 2-4 score could become 2-6 and lead to elimination should CatZ and CrunCher triumph. As a player who very nearly made the Finals in Season 1 (losing to Zenio in the playoffs), and reached the Ro8 at the S2 Grand Finals, IdrA absolutely needs wins going forward in order to give himself the opportunity to turn things around next season.
For everyone else, the margin for error is extremely small. With at least one match remaining for each player, and the difference of one to two matches separating success from failure, every map counts. Even so much as winning 2-1 instead of 2-0 might prevent someone from advancing to the playoffs for a shot at the Grand Finals. Will players like SlayerS_Ryung or TSL_Polt reach the playoffs, and perhaps make their Grand Finals debut? Or will mainstays like Liquid`Sheth and Mouz.HasuObs seal the deal? Every match matters, so you won’t want to miss a single one.
For detailed, up-to-date group standings, check out Liquipedia.
The Action Continues at the Anthill Pub
The NASL Sunday Showdown showmatch series continues this week with a duel between two fan favourites – the “Protoss President” and winner of last week’s Red Bull Battlegrounds, SK.MC, and the “Manner Zerg,” Liquid`Sheth! As always, NASL will be flying these players out to Irvine, California where they will do battle at UC Irvine’s Anthill Pub, followed by a meet-and-greet with fans. Ever wanted the Boss Toss’s autograph, or to hear Sheth’s secret to zerg vs protoss? If you’re a local with some free time on a Sunday night, you’ve got no excuse not to come down for drinks, some great Starcraft matches, and a good time. If you’re not able to make it you’ll need to grab an HD pass to watch the live stream.
For more information, see the NASL site.
The NASL broadcasts every night from Wednesday to Sunday, beginning at 6:00 PM PST. To tune in, visit NASL.tv.