Freelance: 2017 eSports Betting: Master's Coliseum Preview and Prediction

Things are just about to heat up in the fast-paced and increasingly lucrative world of competitive gaming (esports) as another major tournament is right around the corner, the 2017 Master’s Coliseum (Blizzard’ Entertainment's Starcraft II!) For those of you reading this that may be new to esports, this event is an all South-Korean digital showdown with a $10,000 prize pool that will kick off on June 30, hosted by SCBoy.

First, here’s a full-event breakdown.

Tournament dates will be every Thursday and Sunday after June 30 (a Friday) and the action will begin at 11:00 GMT. The player line-up will include six Protoss, five Zerg, and five Terran. For the Terran race, the members are ByuN, aLive, INnoVation, GuMiho, and TY/ Representing the Protuss are sOs, Classic, herO, Stats, Zest, and MyuNgSiK. Representing the Zergs will be Dark, soO, Rogue, Solar, and Losira.

The tournament will be formatted as such: one-one-one play with four best-of-three GSL (Global Starcraft II League) groups to start, a best-of-five double-elimination playoff portion will follow, and the tournament finals will be a best-of-seven series. The groups are as follows: Group A contains herO, Zest, soO, and MyuNgSiK, Group B is made up of Classic, Dark, Stats, and aLive, Group C features GuMiho, sOs, TY, and Rogue. Lastly, Group D will be Losira, ByuN, INnoVation, and Solar.

Group A will play on June 30, Group B will follow on July 2, Group C is booked to go to battle on July 6, and Group D is slated for July 9. The tournament will be using Starcraft II: Legends of the Void, patch 3.15.0.

Per, the following maps will be used: Ascension to Aiur • Abyssal Reef • Blood Boil • Defender's Landing • Odyssey • Proxima Station • Sequencer

There will be a grand prize of $4,000, a second price of $2,000, $1,000 each will go to both of the competitors in third and fourth place, and those competitors in the fifth to eighth spots will take home $500 each. Just because you may not be an esports competitor, that doesn’t mean that you can’t walk away the real winner. Bovada already has you covered with the latest betting odds.

The Field of Competitors per the Betting Odds

Innovation (+325), herO (+375), ByuN (+450), Stats (+750), soO (+850), Classic (+900), GuMiho (+1000), Dark (+1100) , TY (+1200), Solar (+1400), aLive (+2000), Rogue (+2300), sOs (+2500), Zest (+3300), Losira (+5000), Myungsik (+6600)

The Fatal Five

Out of those usernames listed above, a handful should really stick out: Innovation, herO, ByuN, with Stats and soO serving as possible sleepers.

Top 5 Player-by-Player Breakdown

1. INnoVation

The 23-year-old known as “The Machine”, Lee Shin Hyung of the team SK Telecom has surprised many in the community after rebounding from a lackluster early 2016 in which he failed to place in any of the major tournaments. He considers 2016 to be what could almost be described as a hiatus, as his focus was shifted from Starcraft to League of Legends.

Per, he would get back on track in 2016 at IEM Season XI - Gyeonggi, taking out fellow tournament participants Stats and Losira 2-1. He would shout out his next opponent 3-0 before foring a push. He narrowly topped Dark 3-2 in the semifinals before coming up against Stats once more and getting a 4-0 win.

Hyung would start 2017 with seven cup wins [that include victories over four Master’s Coliseum opponents in the form of soO (9-2), herO (6-5), Classic (8-3), and Dark (7-4) along with three other matches in a short timespan of just five weeks.] He would go on to win 2017 StarCraft II StarLeague Season 1: Premier 4-1 over Solar. Hyung would placed in first in nine minor tournaments prior to that.

The toughest challenge for him make come when he faces another member of the Terrans. He is 135-81 (a win rate of 62.50 percent against his own race,) 170-89 against the Protoss (65.64 percent,) 176-83 against the Zergs (67.95 percent,) and 515-272 overall (65.44 percent) while being 6-4 in his last ten games.

2. herO

24-year-old Protoss Kim Joon Ho has placed well despite being fairly inactive in 2017, placing second in the 2017 VSL Season 1 - Individual League (major tournament) before taking gold at the 2017 AfreecaTV GSL Super Tournament 1, winning 4-2 over aLIVE in his only premier tournament thus far. The question ahead of the Master’s Coliseum tourney appears to be one of “ring rust.”

However, he has proven that expected victor Innovation is beatable as the two men faced off during 2015’s SSL Season 3, beating him 2-1. He seems comfortable in his role of underdog as he is part of a group in the pro gaming community known as “the invisiable line,” a group of talented players that have never really gotten the proper respect for that talent that some fans think they should.

Ho is 134-104 (56.30%) against other Protoss, 120-80 (60.00%) against the Zergs, 155-97 (61.51%) when facing Terrans, and 409-281 (59.28%) overall but is only just “playing .500 ball” at 5-5 in his last ten games.

3. ByuN

Team Expert’s “The One Man Army” in 24-year-old Byun Hyun Woo has not competed since February of this year but did take a 3-0 shutout win over jjakji at the 2017 ESL ANZ Cup February, taking first at the OSC Championship 4 over KeeN by a narrow 2-1 result prior to that.

Despite being in the middle of the pack on this list, Woo actually puts up the best figures out of any of the top five competitors at 189-77 (71.05%) against Protoss, 224-65 (77.51%) when going matched up with Zergs, is 271-68 (79.94%) against Terrans, 684-210 (76.51%) while going the most impressive 7-3 in his last ten games.

His problem may too be one of inactivity, but his numbers don’t lie. Woo was also voted the 2016 eSports Player of the year by ESPN, an accolade that may carry more weight than anything else to novice esport fans. He won the 2016 WCS Global Finals with a tournament record of 14 - 6 and 2,146 points after topping Dark 3-2.

Stats (Sleeper)

Stats (Kim Dae Yeob, a Protoss of KT Rolster) is a weird case because while his figures of 95-72(56.89%) against Terrans, 88-55 (61.54%) against Zergs, 96-53 (64.43%) against Protoss, and 279-180 (60.78%) overall while an even 5-5 in his last ten performances may look like nothing special, he has been on fire in 2017!

Yeob totaled 9,225 points (mostly from Seasons 1-3 of the Global StarCraft II League—he won Season 1 with 4,000 points. At least in the World Championship Series: Korea standings, he is even ahead of this year’s Master’s favorite with INnoVation in third place at the time of this writing (June 27.)

SoO (Sleeper)

SK Telecom’s Eu Yoon Su brings a similar record to the table like all of the men in this top five but is currently riding the best streak of 8-2 in his last overall 10 games despite the fact that he will be entering the Master’s fresh off of a loss.

He most recently took first in the OlimoLeague October 2016 (almost shutting out Creator at 4-1 and OlimoLeague Week 75. Unfortunately, the last time he placed before that was all the way back in August of 2015.

Su’s kryptonite may also be that he has yet to figure out what it takes to beat Stats (another sleeper, see above) or INnoVation (#1) as he has placed second against the two (losing 4-1 to INnoVation) while not having played others on the list at all. It looks like he needs to build up his experience before jumping into this proverbial shark tank.

Prediction: ByuN