Assembly Winter 2012: Halfway through the group stage
The afternoon of February 24th sees half of ASUS ROG Assembly Winter groups come to a conclusion. Although still in its earliest stages, the event in Helsinki displays closer competition than probably expected plus a violation of the usual state of Korean dominance.
After experiencing a long period of fluctuating success playing for Evil Geniuses in various team leagues and his full absence from major individual tournaments in 2012, Puma returned to the big scene by crushing Group A of Assembly Winter. Ukrainian terran heavy hitter Kas was the only player to take a set out of the Korean and the EG star advanced completely unchallenged to the Ro16.
Furthermore, Group A was almost brought down to a tie-breaker as the other three players all finished with a 1-2 score in matches. This called for counting the set score and with just an inch of a lead, the Finnish protoss Welmu left IEM Kiev bronze medalist Kas at third place. This one set difference could be traced to Kas' and Welmu's direct face-off that ended with a 2-1 victory for the terran but was not sufficient for Kas to advance, as the latter would have required a flawless domination over the protoss.
Group B was not as knotty with Stephano and Mana making it to top two. The French sensation and one of Europe's biggest hopes for a top spot at Assembly was also unrivaled, finishing 6-1 in his group. The Polish protoss too deserves admiration as he trampled both his other opponents with the perfect 2-0 to secure his spot in the playoffs.
Group C has been a clutch one as well, but this time the vicious fight was for the top spot as compared to the struggle for #2 in Group A. The three-way knot was tied between Cloud, Real and Bratok, each finishing with a 2-1 score in matches. Once again it came down to counting sets, putting the Italian terran Cloud and Type's ReaL on the top spots.
Last in Group C came War3 legend and zerg player Moon. One of the newer addition of the foreign team Fnatic had an incredible hard time competing with the European-trained contingent and finished with the disastrous 1-6, winning only one map against group leader Cloud.
Similarly to group B, Group D walked a conflictless path, ending with a much expected Korean superiority. Being in somewhat of a slump since the Blizzard Cup in 2011, Liquid's HerO came forth with a strong and convincing performance to close the group with the only 6-0 thus far in the tournament. Although graduating from an easier group compared to the others at Assembly Winter, Hero's feat is to give him strong confidence coming into the play-offs. The Korean hegemony in D was completed by Dignitas' terran Select.
|ASUS ROG Assembly Winter 2012|
|Group A||Group B|
|Group C||Group D|
The first day of Assembly Winter shall see the completion of the group stage as four more pools are to be played out. If the aforementioned line-up of players was not enough to spark your attention, next on line are names such as Lucky, Strelok, TLO, Polt, WhiteRa, JYP, Taeja, Jinro and more.