GSL Round of 4: Tournament Hopefuls Take On Past Champions

  • Blizzard Entertainment

The Global StarCraft II League (GSL) continues this week with the semifinals of the first season of 2017. We’ve had big upsets and stellar games, and now the semifinals will be intense. We have two seasoned champions taking on two excellent players looking for their first GSL win. For a look back at past matches from this season, check out the GSL Season 1 information page.

soO vs. sOs

soo.jpgsos.jpg

Eo ‘soO’ Yoon Su has been in excellent form this year. He’s bested Park ‘Dark’ Ryung Woo’s early aggressive style, and won out in longer games against Kim ‘Classic’ Doh Woo. soO even made the 2017 Intel Extreme Masters (IEM) Katowice champion, Jun ‘TY’ Tae Yang, panic with an unexpected strategy using Swarm Hosts. He’s proven himself as an adaptive, micro-heavy Zerg with a lot of practiced strategies and transitions in his playbook. After three consecutive second-place finishes in the GSL in 2014, soO finally won his first premier tournament in 2015’s KeSPA Cup Season 2, but the prestige of winning a GSL championship is the next big goal on his list.

On the other side of this matchup is a powerhouse of a Protoss player. Kim ‘sOs’ Yoo Jin won the World Championship Series (WCS) Global Finals and the title of best StarCraft II player in the world in 2013 and in 2015, and he also placed second in GSL Season 2 last year before finally losing to ‘ByuN’ Hyun Woo. A large part of his success is his mastery of early aggression and excellent control, which allows him to get huge value from relatively basic armies before his opponents can get their more sophisticated forces up and running. Out of our four semifinalists, sOs is the most likely to bring some sort of cheesy all-in opener, so we’ll have to see if he’s comfortable taking that kind of risk this far into the tournament.

Stats vs. Ryung

stats.jpgRyung.jpg

Kim ‘Stats’ Dae Yeob is coming fresh off a second-place finish at IEM Katowice, and he’s more than ready to take his first GSL championship and secure his place in the 2017 WCS Global Finals. With how solid his play has been so far this year, he has a great shot at achieving that. In Katowice, he showed remarkable flexibility and a willingness to adapt more than any other Protoss at the event. He has well-planned builds with practiced contingencies, and his mechanical skill supplements his tactics perfectly. He’s going to be extra determined in this match after losing in the finals of both IEM Katowice and IEM Gyeonggi.

Kim ‘Ryung’ Dong Won has played on a new level this year. Historically, he’s had a difficult time in premier tournaments, and he hasn’t advanced this far in the GSL since 2012. This year he’s taken sets from Terran powerhouse Cho ‘Maru’ Seong Ju as well as 2016’s Global Finals champion, ByuN, on his way to the semifinals. He also faced ByuN in the group stages of IEM Katowice and defeated him without losing a game. But while his play against other Terrans has been exceptional, he’ll have to play at his peak as he faces off against an opponent as powerful as Stats. If he’s able to do that, this may be his year to finally win a premier tournament.

The GSL semifinals run March 15 at 2:30 a.m. PDT and March 17 at 9:00 p.m. PDT on the GSL Twitch channel. Check out the WCS Schedule page for a full listing of upcoming events in your local time zone.