Week 8 of the WTL 2021 Summer Regular Season was an absolute rollercoaster. Chinese underdogs Invictus Gaming delivered their finest performance of the season and forced an ace match against Team Liquid, who were expected to take three easy points from them like candy from a baby. Instead, Invictus stole a critical point from TL, making an already tight playoff race even spicier as Liquid are now on even points with their rivals from Shopify Rebellion (who took a loss against still undefeated Team NV).
Alpha X had a golden opportunity to profit from their two strongest rivals stumbling, and could have laid claim to the fifth playoff spot themselves, but were instead defeated by Good Game Gaming. In pro wrestling terms, Alpha X was about to take advantage of its two KO’d opponents by climbing the ladder and grabbing the belt, only to get ambushed by a steel chair-wielding GGG. Now that GGG have made up precious ground in the playoff race, we should be in for a tight finish in the last few weeks of the regular season.
At the top of the rankings, Afreeca Freecs put up a disastrous performance against KaiZi Gaming, which led to them falling from first to fourth place in the rankings in a single week, while Team NV capitalized and claimed the #1 spot..
All this drama culminates in what might become the most critical round of play during this Regular Season in Week 9. The four last place teams are scheduled to play amongst themselves, which means the four remaining matches are all high-level clashes with serious stakes on the line.
In our barbed wire deathmatch main event, Team Liquid finally clashes with the Shopify Rebellion to break the tie between them, with the winner becoming the prime candidate to advance into the playoffs from the mid-table.
Alpha X face KaiZi Gaming in a crucial match in their playoff campaign—if they can steal a point here, they might just overtake their rivals as they have the easiest remaining schedule among the mid-table teams. The same goes for GGG as they face Team NV, the current holders of the #1 spot.
The other highlight match of the week is Dragon Phoenix Gaming vs Afreeca Freecs. It’s the first match in a brutal end-of-season gauntlet for DPG, as they’re set to face Team NV and arch-rival KaiZi Gaming in the coming weeks. The outcome of those matches will factor heavily into who claims the coveted #1 seed headed into the playoffs.
Please note another irregularity in the schedule coming up: Week 9 & 10 matches are played on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday at the usual start time instead of Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Week 8 Recap
- 3 points for a victory in a series that does not require an ace match
- 2 points for a victory in a series that requires an ace-match
- 1 point for a loss in a series that requires an ace-match
- 0 points for a loss in a series that does not require an ace match
Team Liquid took a victory over the Chinese underdogs Invictus Gaming, but dropped what might be a fatal point by being forced to an ace match. With tough matches against KaiZi and eXoN remaining, Liquid may very well have to pray that their rivals Shopify and Alpha X slip up against weaker teams if they’re to secure the #5 spot.
To the delight of XYFANS around the world, iG.XY delivered the first blow against Liquid’uThermal in a long macro game featuring the Dutchman playing mech against the Chinese player’s hybrid style. Things seemed even for much of the game, with both sides deflecting pushes and getting economic damage done. However, XY found the perfect timing for an air switch, safely discarding the bio portion of his army to play a Siege Tank-Viking-Battlecruiser composition. uThermal also prepared such a transition, but couldn’t find a safe window to make the switch, instead being forced to rely on Widow Mines to keep the skies clear. Having found the decisive advantage, XY drove his offensive deep into uThermal’s territory and won the first map, taking another high-profile TvT win. The Liquid player equalized the score in the second game with a successful Hellion-Marauder attack.
Continuing from there, Liquid’Kelazhur secured his first map win in the WTL in a macro game against iG.MacSed. The Protoss had done some initial damage with his Dark Templar build, but the Brazilian Terran took no further damage and recovered relatively easily from the harassment, turning the tables with his own Widow Mine and Bio drops. Kelazhur closed the game out in a semi-basetrade, dropping the Protoss main while mustering enough troops to hold off MacSed’s counter-attack. In the second game, Kelazhur’s harassment attempts were stymied by MacSed’s staunch defence, leaving the Protoss in a great position to execute his Gateway push. Protoss forces surrounded and crushed the Terran army as Kelazhur tried to establish a third base, ending the game.
Going into iG.Coffee against Liquid’Clem on even scores wasn’t exactly planned for Liquid, but with such a mismatch (I didn’t even spare a word about this duel in the preview, so sure was I of Clem’s success here) the odds were still very much in favor of TL. A daring Coffee looked to score an upset with a two proxy Barracks Reaper rush on the first map and found it after a mere three minutes as his opponent was caught off-guard by the incisiveness of the Chinese player’s attack. Invictus Gaming, shockingly, were on match-point against Team Liquid. Trying to score the upset of the season, Coffee went for the same strategy again in the second game, but found Clem to be better prepared this time. The Frenchman held off Coffee’s relentless aggression and finally countered with devastating effect, forcing the ace match. The two Terrans continued their bout there, effectively making it a Bo3 between them. No early shenanigans happened this time, the match being decided when Clem defended a foolhardy push by Coffee at his third base and countered to claim the win.
The Rebellion might have been delighted to hear about their rivals from Team Liquid stumbling against Invictus Gaming, but facing the yet undefeated Korean juggernaut Team NV they were not able to profit from this unexpected development. Things were looking alright for the Rebels in the first series. Shopify.Lambo fell to NV.sOs‘ onslaught of Adepts, being unable to prepare his defences in time despite clearly sensing what was coming, suffering massive losses amongst his Drones and subsequently failing to make his Queen march work against the Void Ray defence. The German did manage to equalize the scores in the second game, however, reacting well to sOs’ quick Carriers. The capital ships scored some initial successes, but as Corrupters came out sOs overstayed his welcome and took some unnecessary losses to his expensive fleet. An Adept follow-up massacred a lot of Drones, though the warriors failed to deal with Lambo’s game-ending counterattack.
Fighting NV.Maru as the massive underdog, Shopify.Scarlett made the Terran work very hard to claim the first map: His BC-Hellion opener did not achieve as much as he’d have wanted, opening a window for the Zerg to counter, which she did in the form of a massive Roach attack. Large groups of SCVs melted under the bugs’ acid saliva, with Maru only barely able to scrape enough mech units together to keep himself in the game. From there, however, the Terran worked his usual turtling magic and slowly wore his opponent down, the Canadian not finding the right recipe to deal with the variety of Factory and Starport units being fielded. Probably unhappy with being forced to play such a long map, Maru proscribed a quick punishment in the second match, winning with an early Hellbat push.
Hope yet remained for the Rebellion in the form of Shopify.ByuN, though taking two maps against NV.Bunny—who’s been in great shape recently—was a tall order. Non-stop action defined the first map between the two Terrans as both tried to gain an advantage through constant skirmishes, leading to their armies being out in the field most of the time. Bunny managed to sneak his troops around his opponent’s zone of control, catching ByuN completely unaware with a push into his natural while the Rebel’s army was completely out of position to do anything about. Getting a head-start on the base race, Bunny secured the series for Team NV and kept their untarnished record alive. Being merciless indeed, he didn’t even allow ByuN to score a map win to help his team’s campaign for a playoff spot: Coming out slightly ahead after some more early kerfuffle between skirmishing forces, Bunny drove a Siege Tank push into ByuN’s third base location, taking his main base under fire from there and forcing the Shopify player to concede.
Friday’s results opened the perfect window of opportunity for Alpha X to claim fifth place, but the team proved unable to step up at the right moment and failed to capitalize on the chance it was given by Liquid and Shopify. If we had to find someone to be faulted for it, αX.Zoun would be the likeliest candidate—losing one map to GGG.Patience is fine, everyone’s done that once in a while. Dropping the entire series, however, is a grave mistake and might cost the Golden Dragons their shot to reach the playoffs. Not to be too hard on Zoun, Patience played a very solid macro PvP on the first map, narrowly holding the Alpha X player’s Gateway-Immortal push with his first two Disruptors and then showing better army control for the remainder of the Disruptor-centric match. In the second game, Zoun gambled on an early Gateway attack to do damage, but Patience expertly defended with his first Immortal and then countered, using a two-pronged attack in the main and at the natural with superior firepower to win the map.
Trying to rapidly add to Alpha X’s woes, GGG.Dream attempted a double proxy-Barracks Bunker rush with Marines, but αX.RagnaroK pretty much hard-countered the cheese with early Roaches, holding at home and causing massive damage with a counterattack and outright ending the match with a Ravager bust a bit later. Fortunately for GGG, Dream had one ‘Get out of Jail free’ card and chose Beckett Industries as the next map—the Zerg understandably had no intention of playing a long game there and attempted another Ravager bust, but the Terran was ready for it this time and took the map to get his team to match point.
The decision was now up to αX.Astrea and GGG.Cyan, who played a first game with heavy Stasis Ward usage on both sides as they opened with Oracles and kept the precious air units alive for a long time. One of the traps turned out to be decisive: Cyan was forced into an attack after taking damage from Astrea’s harassment, but ended up with half his army trapped in stasis. Astrea pounced on the opportunity to take the game. The Chinese player got off to the perfect start on the next map, as his two initial Adepts found their way into Astrea’s main base and killed eleven Probes there after the American had force fielded his own Stalker out of his base. A hit squad of Blink Stalkers found additional damage later on, leaving Cyan with enough of an economic advantage to spend more on his military. With the bigger army, Cyan overwhelmed his opponent and wrapped the series up in favor of his team, keeping GGG’s playoff hopes alive.
The Chinese super-team harvested three expected points against Team eXoN. DPG.Rogue began the series by giving the notorious eXoN.MaxPax a taste of his own medicine, opening up with a 12-Pool that led to a chaotic first seven minutes. MaxPax survived the attack and went for a relentless counter with Zealots, Adepts and a Void Ray. The reigning Code S champion held off wave after wave before following Mondragon’s chart to Zerg counters and threw a bunch of Roaches against MaxPax’s mass Void Ray fleet, weakening the Protoss economy. He then diverted a bit from the old advice and added Hydras and Vipers to deal with the annoying flyers and the Carriers joining them. Hitting a deadly timing before a critical capital ship mass could be accumulated, Rogue took the first game. Intent on continuing to keep his opponent guessing, Rogue went for a super quick third base on the second map, to which the young Dane responded with Tempests from two Stargates. This, ultimately, wasn’t the correct way of punishing Rogue for the rapid expansion as the Zerg took minimal Drone losses from the Tempest harassment and got his economic engine running strong enough to overwhelm MaxPax’ air power of Tempests and Void Rays with several waves of Roaches, Ravagers, Queens, Corruptors and Hydras.
DPG.Cure continued his unrivalled win streak in WTL against eXoN.SpeCial (only NV.Percival is also lossless, and he’s just been fielded twice, whereas Cure is undefeated on 13 maps in a row) through winning a 25 minute TvT on the first map, which featured some smart army movements with big forces from both players with lots of massive battles happening all over the map. Cure decided the game with the more committed air switch and disrupting some of SpeCial’s air production capabilities. The Korean then chose the better build order on the next map, deflecting all of his opponent’s attempts at harassment and forcing him into a desperate offensive, which the DPG player crushed with ease to lock down the win for his team.
To finish the day, DPG.Dark once again was unable to get a clean win and dropped a map to eXoN.Cham after basically playing the same match twice, but getting a different outcome in each version. Dark’s love for Mutas compelled him to go for the unit on both maps, triggering a massive Roach-Ravager counter from the Mexican Zerg, which killed off huge amounts of Drones. Whereas Dark could unleash hell with his flyers in return on the first map and win, Cham kept the pressure up on the second map and reached Hydras in time to preserve Team eXoN’s dignity with a map win.
LP.Wanted tripled his team’s map wins by himself on Sunday, taking a surprising 2-0 over GP.Puzzle. The Chinese Zerg was able to develop his economy virtually unopposed on the first map as his Korean opponent was content to sit at home building up his air power, leaving Wanted with enough income and space to overwhelm him. Proving his ability to look great in macro games, the Zerg took the second map in a longer match by putting his Roach-Ravager-Bane-Ultra composition against Puzzle’s Immortal-Gateway forces with High Templar support, showing good management of his economy and also his tactical understanding, as he always threatened his opponent with Baneling flanks. Puzzle had his hands full trying to fight Wanted’s army, leaving the Zerg’s Drones untouched for the most part, which enabled Wanted to throw wave after wave of units against him and wear him down.
Having done his best to enable his team to steal a point for the first time this season, Wanted had to helplessly watch as his colleagues were unable to follow up on his success. LP.Alka tried his best to score with a proxy Robo against GP.Ryung on the first map, but the Terran held the aggression off and countered for the win. Things continued with a quick Disruptor-Warp Prism play from the Protoss, which turned out to be quite ineffectual, giving Ryung the opportunity to defeat Alka step by step with Bio-Mine play.
GP.Prince completed his team’s success against LP.JieShi, keeping the Chinese player busy with a horde of Adepts before bringing down the hammer with a strong Immortal push on the first map, punishing JieShi for his earlier third expansion. The series finally found an inglorious conclusion when Prince’s Dark Templars struck an unprepared opponent, who could do naught but give up.
The Afreeca Freecs went into Week 8 as first in the rankings but concluded the round at fourth place—a quick fall from grace after all their rivals took clean victories this week. AF.Trap got absolutely demolished by KZ.INnoVation on the first map, as Hellions did some early economic damage and the follow-up attack from Bio and Tanks on two fronts crushed the flimsy Protoss defence. The Machine continued with strong aggression in game two, hiding his initial production buildings outside of his base and then getting a devastating Widow Mine drop into Trap’s natural and main. In a very smooth move, he placed a mine at the choke between natural and main first, catching the fleeing workers. Attempting to turn the tide with a speedy Warp Prism loaded with a Disruptor, Trap could not find any critical damage and was overwhelmed when INnoVation pushed with his Bio-Tank-Raven force. It was a dominating performance from INnoVation, which is even more impressive considering how strong Trap’s PvT looked in the Super Tournament.
KaiZi Gaming went up to match point quickly thanks to KZ.TIME delivering an easy looking hold against AF.Armani‘s attempt of a Ravager-Queen bust. The two players then gave us the first regular game without any all too crazy shenanigans as the Zerg went for Muta-Ling-Bane against the Terran’s Marine-Tank style. Not that the decision was very far away: After a good ten minutes of TIME pushing against Armani’s outer bases and taking counter attack damage from Lings in the meantime, the Afreeca player managed to surround and crush his opponent’s main army on creep, ending the game and keeping his team alive in the series.
Trying to be cheeky and lean into KZ.Solar‘s well-known weakness to proxy Barracks rushes, AF.TY went for a triple Barracks Marine rush. Instead of triumphantly turning the series around, however, TY ran into a perfectly well prepared Zerg defence, showing that Solar is well aware of his reputation and can use that to his advantage. The initial Bunker rush failed and then the second attack wave with SCVs being pulled was taken apart by a small forest of Spine Crawlers awaiting it. Choosing Beckett Industries next, TY should have had a great chance of at least taking another map had he played a standard game, but apparently the Terran was mentally done with the day already: Another proxy Barracks rush did not do critical damage and TY failed to inflict further wounds on Solar’s economy. Contrary to his reputation as a great tactical abuser of map features, the Afreeca Terran also did not really use the favorable terrain of Beckett to his advantage in a very disappointing showing from him, serving up the game to Solar’s Ravager-Lurker swarm on a silver platter.
Weekly MVP Award: GGG.Patience
Delivering a masterful PvP series this week and keeping his team in the playoff race with it, Patience definitely deserves some recognition. With a mere 7-10 record so far it hasn’t been his most solid team league season of all time, but in this case the Protoss showed up big time when his team needed him to. There’s still an incredibly tough road ahead for Good Game Gaming if they really want to claim a playoff spot, but thanks to Patience they got the start they needed.
Our honourable mentions this week go out to all of Invictus Gaming, but especially to iG.Coffee, for making an already exciting playoff battle in this WTL Regular Season downright spicy by stealing a point from one of the competitors—and taking a map off one of the best Terrans on the planet to do it.
- Week 8: GGG.Patience
- Week 7: αX.RagnaroK
- Week 6: AF.Trap
- Week 5: DPG.Cure
- Week 4: NV.Maru
- Week 3: Shopify.Lambo
- Week 2: Liquid`Clem
- Week 1: NV.Creator
Week 9 Preview
Sunday, May 30 12:00pm GMT (GMT+00:00) Matches
Only Dragon Phoenix Gaming have managed to stay undefeated for the entire duration of a Regular Season in the modern history of the SCBOY team leagues, but Team NV have actually equalized DPG’s win streak from their debut season by going 8-0 in series. One more win and they’ll stand in a category of their own. Good Game Gaming are not fighting for records or direct seeds into the finals, but for the chance of a playoff spot—unfortunately, NV have sent their strongest roster to deny them this. NV.sOs had a surprisingly good Super Tournament showing before being narrowly defeated by αX.Zoun, who only a few days prior fell to GGG.Patience. This constellation makes this a very juicy match-up, as the NV Protoss had to show a few tricks on his tournament run and gave his opponent a great deal of material to look at, which could provide for quite even odds in this showdown. Patience lost 0-2 to sOs in the Super Tournament qualifiers, but actually sports a pretty solid record against him in team leagues (3-1 in BJ Destruction Matches, 1-1 in CTC), so it’s safe to say the GGG Protoss is able to secure maps against this particular opponent.
NV.Maru and GGG.Cyan have never played an official match before, which is rather surprising considering how long both of them have been around—but then, the Korean never was a fan of playing in events abroad until the circumstances forced him to, so there are lots of players he’s never clashed with. Cyan established himself as the second best player in China over the last year, but exited surprisingly early from the current DreamHack Masters, putting this position in jeopardy. His PvT has been his most stable match-up recently with a strong win over KZ.TIME and map wins against DPG.Cure and eXoN.SpeCial outside of WTL. Naturally, all that means little when faced with the force of nature that is Maru, the Terran goes into the match as the heavy favorite.
A quarterfinals rematch from the latest season of GSL Code S awaits us in the third match with NV.Bunny against GGG.Dream. The latter won their GSL clash in dominating fashion, eliminating Bunny from the tournament with a clear 3-0 before narrowly going down to the eventual champion DPG.Rogue. Historically, Dream also holds the advantage over his opponent, who in turn can sport a slightly better general form. Mathematically, this gives Bunny the edge, but with the GGG Terran commanding the stronger mirror match-up and a win streak of three series in a row over the NV player, it’s hard to imagine him going down 0-2. These two have played some damn good SC2 recently and we may expect a fiery and action-packed series here to continue that trend. With Team NV likely entering this phase with an advantage, it should be enough for Bunny to secure a map to close the team match out.
Prediction: Team NV 4-2 Good Game Gaming
Team Liquid is one of the most beloved and respected teams in the SC2 scene, but the Shopify Rebellion has played its way into the hearts of many fans with great performances in and outside of the WTL. Now, the two fan-favorites clash in what may end up being the deciding match for the fifth playoff spot when it’s all said and done. Hearts are guaranteed to be broken.
Let’s see what the two teams have to offer. Liquid’MaNa and Shopify.Lambo open up the battle with a very interesting dynamic, with Lambo having taken a 2-0 against MaNa in DHM Europe prior to the match. The German so far remains undefeated in DHM Europe, and showed excellent ZvP in the WTL with a draw against NV.sOs in the previous week, so it looks like his confidence has rebounded from the recent setbacks in qualifiers. His Polish opponent is fighting for survival in DHM, but scored a huge map win against Serral on Friday, suggesting good form in PvZ. The numbers certainly underline this with both players sitting on a recent win rate of around 75% in the match-up. In 2021, the Liquid player was able to best his opponent in four out five series, going 12-7 in maps. Lambo’s DHM victory may well influence some decisions or create opportunities for mind games, but overall this looks like a duel with equal strength on both sides.
Staying true to their reputations as fan-favorites, the two teams have given the viewers what the majority probably wanted to see: Liquid’Clem taking on Shopify.ByuN. Though the pairing is by no means rare (in 2021, they clashed eight times already with the Frenchman winning on five occasions going 16-9 in maps), two of the most recognizable Terran names are always sure to draw attention. Not only the historical numbers favor the Liquid player in this face-off, recent match-up win rates are heavily skewed towards Clem as well. Naturally, these must be taken with a grain of salt as always when foreign players active in online cups are concerned, because the numbers shoot up a lot from farming weaker players in early rounds. In the WTL, Clem’s TvT record of 4-3 is less stellar, but much better still than ByuN’s 4-6. Also, ByuN is 0-2 in TvT ace matches this season, which may well be a decisive factor later on in this series, so keep that stat in mind. The mirror match-up has recently been ByuN’s clearest weakness and though Clem isn’t perfect at it (things like going down 0-3 to HeRoMaRinE and being caught completely off guard by iG.Coffee still happen to him), the young Frenchman should go into this as the favorite.
While we have a pretty good idea about the balance of power in the first two matches, things look different for Liquid’Harstem against Shopify.Scarlett, players with losing records for their respective teams. Their last duel happened back in 2018 and is of no use to us, current numbers aren’t exactly trustworthy either, mostly because Scarlett remains back in Canada and plays in NA tournaments. In WTL, Harstem has scored two 1-1s against Zerg players so far, taking maps against DPG.Dark and αX.RagnaroK. The Rebel sports a meagre 2-4 against Protoss, drawing against eXoN.MaxPax and AF.Stats (taking down the latter with a 12 Pool). Her usual weakness against Adept play has repeatedly opened the path to victory for her Protoss opponents, so that’s definitely something Harstem could use against her. As always with Scarlett, she’s more than happy to execute the cheesiest of cheesy cheeses if she sees a chance of victory, so Harstem will have to take care. This is the duel with the most uncertainty surrounding it, but should be quite evenly matched overall. With ByuN being remarkably consistent to score one map at least during a series, we may look at a scenario with three draws and an ace match here—that’s where Clem usually gets to shine, so we’re giving Team Liquid the edge here.
Prediction: Team Liquid 4-3 Shopify Rebellion
Monday, May 31 12:00pm GMT (GMT+00:00) Matches
Invictus Gaming certainly surprised the world last week by stealing a point from Liquid, a call-back to upsets caused by the Chinese team in the past. Usually they fall off by a bit after such a success, but we’ll be giving them the benefit of the doubt and look forward to a closely fought match between the two teams vying for the tenth spot in the rankings. GP.Prince does certainly hold the advantage over iG.Coffee, but with the Chinese Terran doing quite well in the current regional DH Masters and flying on a high after catching Liquid’Clem with his pants down last week, we should not underestimate the Terran’s capacity. His TvP is quite repetitive, mostly relying on heavy two-base pressure and Bio-Tank pushes with Bunker support, but he’s refined this style and feels comfortable with it—it definitely seems like a style that could break Prince, if the Protoss doesn’t get to Coffee first.
GP.Rex has recently broken a losing streak against iG.MacSed a year in the making, so he can go into this match with a recent success at his back. Still, the numbers aren’t looking too great for the Zerg player, who’s 2-7 in maps against the Protoss despite MacSed’s lacklustre PvZ record this year—which is puzzling, since the Invictus player was one of the pioneers of Protoss air play last year, combining the strength of the armada with static defence on the highest level (due its boring nature, Chinese fans dubbed it the ‘shitpile build’). Rex hasn’t looked too good in the match-up himself, losing out to his infamous Protoss countrymen in DH Masters, so this may well be a contest of who can force the other one into more mistakes.
While our friendly machine intelligence over at Aligulac maintains that GP.Ryung has a ‘large advantage’ over iG.XY, the loyal XYFANS all over the world know this to be quite false. In the current season, XY’s 6-10 record is on par with Shopify.Scarlett, eXoN.SpeCial and almost even with players like eXoN.MaxPax and Ryung himself. XY’s defeated KZ.TIME 2-0 and split maps with Liquid’uThermal, earning a 5-3 TvT record so far compared to the Korean player’s 2-5. While he’s shown some spotty decision making to say the least, XY usually chooses great strategies and when he has the confidence to actually go for the win instead of merely playing to survive, he’s quite the force in the mirror match-up. Yes, Ryung may still be the favorite, but this could be much closer than the numbers on paper suggest. Invictus Gaming have the ability to force another ace match here, though Team GP will have the strength of experienced offline team league players at its disposal in this case, which still makes them the overall favorite.
Prediction: Invictus Gaming 3-4 Team GP
Tuesday has some amazing series to offer and is—to us at least—the most unpredictable day. Alpha X can look forward to two easier weeks to close the Regular Season out, but for now they must give their best to gain at least one point from KaiZi Gaming to boost their playoff chances (with the best scenario for them being an ace match between Liquid and Shopify to blunt their rivals’ maximum points). Sending out αX.Nice over αX.Astrea seems like an odd decision at first glance, but having won the DH Masters Taiwan/HK/Macau/Japan regional recently, the Taiwanese player’s morale and confidence should be high and he’s got no other competition to worry about for now. He’s also shown his prowess in sniping this season, taking an ace match over Liquid’Clem with a specifically prepared build, which might well be what Alpha X’ strategists have in mind against KZ.INnoVation. It’s not a bad gamble, as stealing a single map would already be a big win for the Golden Dragons. That said, historically Nice hasn’t been all too great at winning maps against the Machine, who’s so far amassed a 6-0 record against Protoss in WTL. No duels have occured in 2021 so far, but last year the Alpha X player only took two maps in six series between them. All these numbers may mean nothing in the end when both players have loaded into the first map and Nice pulls out some rancid cheese not even INnoVation can stomach, but they do show that this is a big gamble from the Dragons.
Another incredibly swingy match-up follows the opening, as αX.Zoun and KZ.Solar face each other. The freshly baked two-time GSL Super Tournament runner-up delivered another big performance at the individual event, though he could not quite bring the same amount of energy and success into his WTL matches so far this season, sporting a 7-9 record. Solar on the other hand has gone 14-3 so far including a 10-0 ZvP win streak, which is also reflected in the general stats for this duel. If we’d ignore all other competitions and look at WTL in a vacuum (since team leagues often follow their own rules, this approach isn’t even wrong per se) then Solar is a heavy favorite. With ST being wrapped up and Alpha X fighting for the playoffs, we can expect Zoun to be told to give it his all in the league now, though, and his individual history against the Zerg is much more encouraging than the initial numbers may let us expect: Of their six series in 2021, both have won three, with a map score of 13-12 in the KaiZi Gaming player’s favor. Their last match in May went to Zoun with a clear 3-0, so this really is an open bout with anything being possible. Solar bopping? No surprise, he’s undefeated in ZvP. Zoun bopping? No surprise, he’s on a hot streak and can fully concentrate on WTL now. 1-1? No surprise, they were 50-50 all year long so far. And for all these same reasons any of the two first results would still be a surprise, so we’re going for the boring 1-1 which is probably going to be wrong, because Alpha X likes to make things dramatic and surprising this season.
Closing the regular matches out are αX.RagnaroK and KZ.TIME in the one series Alpha X have a clear advantage. RagnaroK has been the most stable part of the team all season long, while TIME hasn’t been his beastly old self up to this point. ‘Slump’ would still be the wrong word for it, things just haven’t gone his way so much recently. He’s still dominating local competition and earned a respectable 7-9 record in WTL, but it’s true that he was more reliable in the past. His Zerg opponent has scored respectable results against GGG.Dream and Shopify.ByuN recently and he’s proven that he can show up big time when needed against Shopify.Lambo when the Dragons clashed with the Rebellion. While a map-split remains the statistically most likely scenario, RagnaroK should have the better shot at taking this 2-0—and he might well be under pressure to do so, since it’s possible that KaiZi Gaming may be on match point here. As stated earlier, this series is incredibly unpredictable with any results from outright victories for both teams to an exciting ace match being possible outcomes. A potential ace match has its own strategic thoughts behind it: Do KaiZi send INnoVation when Alpha X have the ‘INnoVation-killer’ in Zoun? What if Zoun loses hard to Solar, an ace match is still somehow forced, and the Dragons are afraid of sending the Protoss out again? Can Solar defeat RagnaroK, who 2-0’d Lambo? Do Astrea or TIME step in? We’ll get answers on Tuesday.
Prediction: Alpha X 3-4 KaiZi Gaming
Tuesday, Jun 01 12:00pm GMT (GMT+00:00) Matches
Despite being acquired by PSISTORM Gaming, Team eXoN will finish competing in this season of WTL under their old name and return under their new branding in the coming season—which will be a sort of double-comeback, as PSISTORM also has history in the SCBOY team leagues. In any case, the American’s have a light match day ahead of themselves as Team LP may have shown some fighting spirit in the previous week, but remain lightyears behind in terms of strength when compared to eXoN. Aligulac has all the Chinese team’s players at overwhelming disadvantages compared to their opponents and no amount of putting stats into context is going to change the reality of that. Maybe eXoN.SpeCial doesn’t feel like giving a solid performance that day and LP.JieShi can score a surprise map or LP.Wanted brings his a-game against eXoN.Gerald to gift his team another map win, but it’s hard to see more than these token successes happening.
Prediction: Team eXoN 6-0 Team LP
What a banger between two top teams to end the week on! AF.Trap hasn’t lost a series to DPG.Dark since October 2020, giving the Super Tournament champion a personal edge in this duel on top of Dark’s awful WTL form (a 6-7 record is not exactly what we expected him to be on at this point). It’s not all doom and gloom for the Zerg, of course: His ZvP outside of the team league has actually been very solid recently, though the big ST loss to αX.Zoun after being on match point already must certainly sting for him. It’s doubtful that an underperforming Dark can really challenge Trap, who’s in such strong form once again, but then all of a sudden coming out of nowhere and crushing a recent champion would be a very Dark thing to do. It’s most likely that the Freecs will get off to a good start here and they’ll certainly need that.
In a reverse situation from the first series, the Afreeca player is on the bad side of a streak with AF.Armani waiting for a series win against DPG.Cure since September 2020 with all relevant stats skewed towards the Terran. Even heavier weigh their recent duels, with all three series in 2021 being crushing 3-0 victories for Cure, who remains the single undefeated player in WTL with double-digit games played. The man’s on a roll and seems to be determined to see this win streak outlive the Regular Season, which would be a great achievement. Armani is a fantastic player and probably in the best phase of his entire career, so he has the skills to ruin that run on paper, but until that actually happens Cure is favored to take another clean win here.
The last match scheduled should also be quite favorable for Dragon Phoenix Gaming, as AF.TY clashes with DPG.Zest. The Terran looked utterly unwilling to put any great effort into his match in the previous week, so in the battle between these soon-to-be comrades-in-arms, the Protoss player should hold all the advantages. TY did hold his own in duels with Zest earlier this year, but since then his form and results have gone quite downhill. For sure it’s not going to be impossible for him to score here, after all he did beat GGG.Patience clearly earlier in May in WTL, but Zest commands a very solid PvT style at the moment, which only the top echelon of Terran can reliably contest. The most likely outcomes are either DPG winning in the regular matches or the Freecs securing the series in the ace match with Trap triumphing—though a surprise DPG.Rogue guest appearance could well turn the tables.
Prediction: Afreeca Freecs 2-4 Dragon Phoenix Gaming
What Did Jordan Peterson And Maxime Bernier Say About Bitcoin And The Austrians?
The Bitcoinization of Jordan Peterson is a go. The famed psychologist and media personality had a Canadian politician as a guest in his podcast and couldn’t help but touch on the subject. And Maxime Bernier was right there with him, which lead to a brief discussion about Austrian Economics. Even though both Peterson and Bernier are controversial figures, they’re as mainstream as it gets. This isn’t Bitcoiners preaching to the choir.
As if he was walking through a minefield, Jordan Peterson approached the subject carefully and in a non-comital way:
“The cryptocurrency types. You know? The people who’re pushing Bitcoin in particular, make the extraordinarily radical claim that it would be better for everyone if the entire business of money was taken out of the hands of government permanently. And that’s essentially what Bitcoin allows. At least at the present time.”
— ₿ayker (@yungbayker) September 17, 2021
Surprisingly for everyone not familiar with the politician, Maxime Bernier agrees and flashes his Austrian Economics credentials. Peterson follows the bread crumbs and asks him about that, Bernier answers:
“I believe, yes. The cycles that we have, the ups and downs in the economy, is because of the Central Bank. Money is everywhere, and if you create too much money out of thin air, you’ll have inflation. And distortion in the economy. And the boom and bust that we have. So, I 100% agree with Mises, Rothbard, Hayek, and these economists.”
For more information and Austrian Economics’ concepts, check The Bitcoinist Book Club’s analysis of “The Bitcoin Standard.”
BTC price chart for 09/18/2021 on FTX | Source: BTC/USD on TradingView.com
So, Who’s Maxime Bernier?
In the video’s information box, Jordan Peterson ’s team informs:
“In this episode, Dr. Peterson is joined by the Honorable Maxime Bernier, leader of the People’s Party of Canada (PPC), former MP of Beauce (2006-2019) and candidate for the Prime ministership of Canada.”
In 2017, Maxime Bernier tried to win the head of the Conservative Party. He failed. The next year, they removed him from the Official Opposition shadow cabinet. Later that year, he founded the People’s Party of Canada. In 2019, the novel party didn’t do so well, but, cut to 2021 and the People’s Party of Canada is suddenly on everyone’s radar.
The National Post explains the main reason:
“With protests against COVID-19 public-health measures growing, Bernier has tapped into a deep well of resentment about the way Canadians have had to live for the past 18 months, and fears about what the next months will look like.”
Apparently, the People’s Party of Canada is en route to get 6% in the next Canadian elections. If it happens, they’ll become one of the major political forces in the country. The Washington Post explains the situation:
“Six percent is not an impressive figure unto itself, and it’s likely the party will not win a single parliamentary seat. Yet the Green Party won zero seats and 4.3 percent of the popular vote in the 2004 general election and was nevertheless swiftly institutionalized by the media. Proclaimed one of Canada’s “major parties.”
What Does Jordan Peterson Think About Bitcoin?
The Canadian psychologist learned from the best. He had four of the brightest minds in the Bitcoin space explaining everything to him, and he got most of it on the first try. We at Bitcoinist broke down the episode, took notes, and transformed them into this analysis: Part 1, Part 2. The most amazing quote was this one:
After listening carefully, Peterson synthesizes those ideas in a quote for the ages. “Whatever energy is expended in the production of Bitcoin and the maintenance of the system should be more than recouped by the increased efficiency of every system that uses Bitcoin as a transactional device.” Boom! If we take that into account, “There’ll be a net energy gain and not a net energy loss if you calculated it across the entire system.”
That conversation sparked the Maxime Bernier one. One of Canada’s biggest stars talking about Bitcoin in good light with a major political candidate. Who would’ve thought?
Featured Image: Screenshot from the video | Charts by TradingView
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Shiba Inu coin (SHIB) pumps and sees $2 billion traded after Coinbase listing
“SHIB is now live on Coinbase and in the Coinbase iOS and Android apps. Coinbase customers can log in now to buy, sell, convert, send, receive or store SHIB,” the exchange said in a tweet.
SHIB is now live on Coinbase and in the Coinbase iOS and Android apps. Coinbase customers can log in now to buy, sell, convert, send, receive or store SHIB.
— Coinbase (@coinbase) September 16, 2021
The move is slightly uncanny for Coinbase, which has historically taken a regulatory-first approach towards listing cryptocurrencies on its platform. The firm also went public earlier this year—holding it accountable to even more regulations and liasions now that public money is involved.
Coinbase is, however, starting to make moves to appeal to a broader base of investors. It raised $2 billion in a debt note offering this week to expand its product offering, and has listed ‘altcoins’ at a faster rate this year.
“One of the most common requests we hear from customers is to be able to buy and sell more cryptocurrencies on Coinbase. We announced a process for listing assets, designed in part to accelerate the addition of more cryptocurrencies,” stated Coinbase in a release. “We are also investing in new tools to help people understand and explore cryptocurrencies,” it added.
Such moves help bolster the rising coffers of Coinbase: It earned over $1.2 billion in revenue in Q1 2021, but is arguably looking for more.
Shiba Inu frenzy
Inspired by the breed of cutesy Shiba Inu dogs which find their place in the online meme community, Shiba Inu was launched in August 2020 by a group of anonymous developers looking to emulate the success of Dogecoin.
— Shib (@Shibtoken) September 16, 2021
The token didn’t instantly catch on among the masses, but incessant hype—partly driven by the antics of Tesla CEO Elon Musk and his Dogecoin fascination on social app Twitter—saw SHIB rise 15,067,601% from its November lows.
That’s enough to turn every $1,000 invested in the token to a staggering $150 million as of today, and even more at SHIB’s all-time high of $0.00003791 in May 2021.
Meanwhile, SHIB pumped nearly 35% to a daily high of $0.00000932 after yesterday’s listing. Over $412 million worth of the token exchange hands on Coinbase at press time, and over $2 billion traded across all crypto exchanges combined.
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The Head of Diem wants you to trust Facebook, but is he fighting a losing battle?
Head of “Facebook Coin,” David Marcus discussed the up-and-coming Novi wallet, saying users do not need to worry about security or privacy.
However, Facebook’s reputation on both counts is somewhat in the gutter. As such, Marcus may well be trying to achieve the impossible in convincing people otherwise.
Nonetheless, in his latest interview, he states his case pleading with people to give Diem a chance.
Facebook Wants Your Trust
Speaking to Yahoo Finance, Marcus wanted to reassure users that Diem, and the Novi wallet, are safe to use. What’s more, he said that no data will be used for ad targeting or any purpose related to the Facebook advertising model.
Marcus points out that from the onset, the Diem infrastructure was designed in such a way to avoid “commingled” financial and social data. That way, there is no controversy over a single entity holding data across different categories on its users.
“And, you know, basically, the way that we’ve designed this– and it actually took us a lot of effort to build it the right way– is that your financial data is not going to be commingled with your social data.”
Diem is looking to disrupt the overseas retail remittance market. Marcus said it’s a huge market that is ripe for the picking. With that, he hopes that people will give Diem a shot. And once they do, the firm will do its utmost to overturn people’s skepticism.
Although, given the scandals of the past, he admits that this is a long play.
“Over time, we plan to earn people’s trust so they give us a shot for other things over time. But it’ll take time and I’m cognizant of that.”
User Comments Discussed
When it comes to social media dominance, Facebook is up with the best of them. Despite being known as a platform for boomers, it still pulls in 2.9 billion monthly active users. Meaning, Diem’s potential userbase is bigger than anything that exists in crypto right now.
Based on trend analysis, it seems as though there’s no stopping its growth, with India, the United States, and Brazil ranking as the countries with the highest number of users.
Nonetheless, on the matter of trusting Facebook and Diem, the (so far) 16 comments on this article are all overwhelmingly against. While that may not represent wider views, it’s still telling that 100% of comments slam the idea of trusting Facebook with financial data.
One user wrote of his concerns of political bias and censorship, which together make an untrustworthy “combo.”
“In context; Facebook has a history of political activism as well as working with the democrat government censoring free speech. Not a trustworthy combo.“
And despite Marcus’ explanation of separating financial and social data, another user remained skeptical of the claim by saying:
“And now they track your every purchase. Or at best gather stats for the retail business selling them data on what and where people are buying.“
All in all, it’s understandable that Facebook wants to pivot into finance and crypto. But changing hearts and minds will not be easy to do.
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