Howdy folks! Hope you've had a nice, relaxing and drama-free new year so far and here's to hoping it stays that way but in the StarCraft world, that never happens as the salt mines are real.
Season-lock is soon upon us as StarCraft II 2018 Season 4 is scheduled to end on January 23 and now, it's starting to look like Protoss is IMBA against Terran thanks to the consistent efforts of our friends over at statistics aggregator Aligulac.
The sample size this period is smaller than usual this time, sitting at 1464 games played by pros and semi-pros alike, collected over two weeks with a sample population of 359. The last two weeks have been kind of quiet on the professional scene as there were no major events scheduled during this period.
Is Protoss OP?
I generally avoid taking positions, but it's starting to look that way. 3% in any given period is an acceptable margin of error, even over multiple periods, but these numbers are marching towards 5% and in succession. If the results are still like this by the next period, a balance change is probably imminent.
Who's Currently the Strongest Player?
It's tough to say. Right now, Serral, the world champ, is probably still the strongest player, but Maru can't be very far behind. Ever since Maru got eliminated by sOs, his teammate from Blizzcon, Maru's gotten sort of a bad rap but his recorded results since that time still put him, at the very least, as the world's best Terran. While there haven't been very many recorded matches this period, if you take a look at Maru's match history, he is still very much the highest ranked player and the projected favorite to win vs. all match-ups, and I might have to agree. Zerg got some nerfs during the last balance patch and while the meta's still settling, all things being the same, Terran should be stronger vs. Zerg overall.
It's a shame, but until they fight it out, we'll never know for sure. Serral vs. Maru – that's the match everyone wants to watch.
Which Is Currently the Strongest Race?
On the upper right, you'll see the list of 231. As I've already reported, the current sample size is gathered over 1464 games from a pool of 359 pro and semi-pro players. As a reminder, unlike other survey sources such as opinion polls, this sampling is based off of the recorded results from players playing at the highest level of StarCraft II, which means that while this is not predictive of the player-base at large, it is predictive of the meta to follow as these are all expert sources.
In this period, Zerg is currently leading by 9% and is currently trending upward. Protoss is currently lagging by 13% and is currently trending downward.
But what does this mean?
Well, the whole leading/lagging races thing is just a predictive tool to determine which race is most likely to win in a match and does not account for individual player strengths. To determine who the leading and lagging races are, imagine the results of the top 5 players of each respective race being combined into one player and having those players play a battery of games against each other to determine which race is most likely to win against other race match-ups. The winner is the leading race, and the loser is the lagging race. It is therefore NOT an indicator of game balance, but instead how the meta is shifting based on how the most dominant of each race is currently performing.
Now I know what you're asking: how can Protoss be over-performing if Protoss is lagging?
If you look at the chart showing the statistical percentage of specific race match-ups, you can see that Protoss is expected to win 54.60% of the time vs. Terran, 49.33% of the time against Zerg, and that Terran is expected to win 46.38% against Zerg. Based on these results, Protoss is expected to win almost 5% against Terran and roughly even against Zerg. Zerg seems to be in a pretty good place against Terran and Protoss, but Terran is struggling against Protoss. As such, Protoss is currently the strongest race.
Why is this happening?
If I had to take a guess, it's probably the Tempest. The current composition of High Templar and Tempests along with Stalkers and Zealots as meatshields is a composition that Terran has a lot of difficulties stopping in the late-game. Tempests are fast, they're cheap, and they provide the anti-capital unit capability that Protoss needs while Psionic Storm takes care of all the smaller and squishier units. Protoss also received a lot of buffs regarding splash damage options, such as the Colossis and Disruptor buff.
While it's true that the meta hasn't settled, over three periods, it's starting to appear that Protoss does have an advantage over Terran. If this result continues, I expect that a balance change, specifically to the Tempest, is probably the most likely.
We'll see if I'm right. Until next time!