NASL Season 3 Grand Finals Preview
The North American Star League has grown by leaps and bounds since it started last year, and this third season has been the best yet. After nine long weeks of matches and a nailbiting playoffs, only eight players remain to fight it out for the grand prize. Will EG.PuMa repeat? Will Liquid`HerO or SK.MC take their revenge? Or will a new champion arise?
It all comes down to this. All eight of these players have fought hard and consistently excelled to make it here. Each of these players has the potential to take the entire thing. And with a single elimination format, the stakes are as high as can be. Let’s take a look at each match.
Liquid`Ret vs. SlayerS_Puzzle
The King of Drones stands against one of the strongest protoss players in Korea in the first match of the tournament. Puzzle has been on a roll in Korea recently, supplanting MMA as the de-facto ace for his team. It will certainly be tough for the first of our three foreigners to pull the upset, as Puzzle’s strong, consistently solid style will be able to go toe-to-toe with Ret’s overwhelming macro. But the famous Dutch macro zerg has shown time and again that he has what it takes to find the advantage here. Will Ret finally claim the major tournament win he and his fans have longed for? Or will Puzzle show up with all the force of a Korean ace player and crush his opponent?
SlayerS_Alicia vs. EG.HuK
At one time, HuK was easily the best foreigner in the world. Even though he hasn’t placed as highly this year, you shouldn’t doubt his skill for a second. HuK is still one of the best protoss players out there, and he’s proved it this season of NASL by taking first in his group and taking down GanZi 3-2 to claim his spot at the live event. His opponent is SlayerS_Alicia, an equally strong protoss finally living up to his potential. Alicia debuted with a great deal of hype, but wasn’t ever able to rise to the level expected of him. He seemed to drop off into relative obscurity, before rocketing out of nowhere to take second place at the MLG Winter Championship. Both players have strong PvP and are known for their aggression, so it’s definitely going to be an exciting, back and forth series with no clear favorite. This one could be over before you know it, so don’t make the mistake of tuning in late!
EG.PuMa vs. SK_MC
It’s a bit surprising this is a first round match. Less than a year ago this was the finals of NASL Season 1, and possibly the best series in StarCraft II to date. Since then, they’ve met a number of times, and the matches are always hard fought, even, and intense. There isn’t much to say here. MC is a two-time GSL champion and PuMa is the two-time NASL champion. PuMa looks for the three-peat, and MC looks for revenge. Watch this match.
Millenium.Stephano vs. Liquid`HerO
Once again, it’s nearly impossible to believe that we’re seeing this right away. Stephano, the reigning top foreigner, and HerO, Liquid’s ace and PvZ expert, clashing in the first round truly speaks to the level of talent in this top 8. Stephano’s powerful style in ZvP has shown vulnerability as of late, dropping important games to both MaNa and SaSe. But it’s been a while since his last event, so it’s probably a safe bet he will have patched those holes in his play. Meanwhile, HerO is looking as strong as ever. Once again, this match is sure to be incredible.