This is the full text of cstarleague, 10/12/2017.
The first group stage has come to an end! If you aren’t already aware, the first group stage determines seeding for the second group stage and the second group stage determines who makes it into the single-elimination playoff bracket. While the first group stage isn’t critical for making the playoffs, it does help teams secure a favorable seed when the time comes. Below, I’ve listed the teams I expect to do well during the next stage and beyond.
8. University of Chicago
First up is University of Chicago. In the first group stage, this team went 2-2 in the relatively weak Midwest division. As a veteran team, Chicago is familiar with the CSL format and I expect them to make a more concentrated effort during the second group stage. I’m also told they’ll be adding a new player for the next stage, so we’ll see how that changes their standing.
7. Georgia Institute of Technology
Georgia Tech did not have an easy first group stage, as they competed in the heavily-competitive East division. Nevertheless, they managed to finish 3-2. The team’s roster is comparatively deep too, at least by 2017 standards. I expect Georgia Tech to dismantle most lesser teams with ease, but they’ll really have to step it up if they want to take wins from teams like Temple or Waterloo.
6. University of California, Berkeley
UC Berkeley put on an underwhelming performance in the first group stage. They finished in the middle of the pack 2-2 in the West division. I’m not particularly sure why Berkeley had such a hard time. I’m not particularly surprised by their loss to University of California, San Diego, but I thought they would be able to overcome University of California, Los Angeles. The team is strong on paper and I have faith in their ability to continue the legacy, so I’m hoping for better results from Berkeley in the next stage.
5. University of Washington
University of Washington emerged from the Midwest division undefeated (4-0). The team dropped less maps than any other team (three), which is a testament to their roster depth. Despite their seemingly impressive results, we have to remember that they were fortunate enough to be placed in the weakest division, the Midwest. I don’t mean to diminish their accomplishment, but I am interested in seeing how they stack up against the top teams from stronger divisions.
4. University of California, San Diego
UC San Diego really surprised me. During the Quad at the beginning of the season, I was convinced they’d do well, but I didn’t expect them to sweep the West. They finished undefeated (4-0), like Washington, but in a stronger division. Their ace, Yunhao “longzhis” Xu proved to be critical for the team’s success. Against UCLA and UC Berkeley aces, Xu was able to deliver his team a win. I’m really looking forward to seeing UCSD go far this year and I expect they won’t disappoint.
3. University of Connecticut
UConn finished 4-1 in the East division, which is a solid result in what I’d say is the strongest division. It’s worth noting that this team is fielding the same roster that carried them to the round-of-four last year. They know each other’s strengths and weaknesses and they know what it takes to reach the semi-finals. Their history together will give them an advantage against opponents who may be less organized or less committed to each other.
2. University of Waterloo
Waterloo is strong. They dominated the North division and finished with a perfect 4-0 record. The Terran-heavy team features William “Buster” Stewart, Steven “Lokk” Nguyen, and Riddle “TheRiddler” Li, each capable of taking maps off of top-tier players. I expect this team to finish on top of whichever division they find themselves in during the next group stage. Hopefully, they will make a deep playoff run like they did last year.
1. Temple University
DAE THIS GUY?
Temple performed well in the first group stage. In the East division, they finished with only one loss. Although, it’s worth mentioning that Robbie “Tesla” Plata was absent for that series. Plata and his new teammate Conan “Suppy” Liu will have to produce most of the results for this team. Such a top heavy team can succeed, as shown by Universite de Montreal last year. However, whereas Montreal’s success seemed certain, Temple’s feels less so. That said, three 3-0s in first stage show that the other Temple players are no slouches.
The second group stage seeding can have a significant effect on the playoffs, which is particularly important given that the single-elimination nature of the postseason. Definitely keep an eye out for the second group stage announcements. It’s also important to keep in mind that this power ranking is subject to change. Some teams really turn it on for the second group stage and start taking things more seriously. Only time will tell which of these teams will emerge triumphant.
Special thanks to Liang “Powerfoe” Chen for the extra insight.