Welcome back, esports fans for another look at how StarCraft II is currently performing at the professional level. There are only four more days until 2018 Season 4 comes to an end and 2019 Season 1 begins to lock in those wins while you still can!
The last few weeks have been busy on the pro-scene, with the qualifiers for WCS Winter and IEM Season XIII Katowice happening and our friendly neighborhood statistics aggregator Aligulac has captured that.
The sample size this period is flush with games, sitting at cool 3180 games played by pros and semi-pros alike, collected over a two-week period with a sample population of 648. The sample population is a bit larger than usual this time because the qualifiers and it is reflected in these numbers.
Who's Currently the Strongest Player?
Statistically speaking? Maru, as he is still the highest ranked player and the projected favorite to win vs. all match-ups but Serral is probably the strongest in the world as he basically hasn't lost a single series against anyone. It's almost unbelievable how dominant Serral is, but those are the numbers.
And while we're talking about numbers, let's step off the Serral vs. Maru hype-train for a moment and look at someone else – INnoVation.
INnoVation is a professional Terran player from Korea who is widely considered to be one of the best Terran players, if not one of THE best Terran players of all time. INnoVation is the very opposite of a patch player – he is always consistent, regardless of balance, though he was quiet in 2018 and noticeably absent from Blizzcon during the same year. He has a lifetime earnings of over $500,000 and is one of the highest grossing StarCraft II pros in the world. Playing against INnoVation has been described as being similar to playing against a textbook. His play is often characterized as being macro-oriented and predictable, but he overcomes this with perfect execution. He is a well-known titan in the StarCraft community, and his reputation is well-deserved. If you're a Terran player and you want to improve, you should study INnoVation games and build orders.
So yes, INnoVation is one of the best, but he's also never won a Blizzcon. This year though? He might.
His results from this past month have been absolutely phenomenal, in fact, he's raised his Aligulac ranking up almost 50 stat points in the span of 2 weeks and jumped from 5th place to 3rd. Hell, he even won 2-0 Maru recently on Jan. 06. INnoVation looks so strong in his matches, definitely someone to keep an eye on.
Which Is Currently the Strongest Race?
On the upper right, you'll see the list of 232. As I've already reported, the current sample size is gathered over 3180 games from a pool of 648 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, Terran is currently leading by 6% and is currently trending upward. Protoss is currently lagging by 12% and is currently trending upward.
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 how rather how the meta is shifting based on how the most dominant of each race is currently performing.
If you look at the chart showing the statistical percentage of specific race match-ups, you can see that Protoss is expected to win 51.23% of the time vs. Terran, 51.07% of the time against Zerg, and that Terran is expected to win 53.69% against Zerg. Based on these results, the game appears to be balanced, though Protoss is still currently the strongest race, but only slightly.
That said though, on January 16th, Blizzard announced a list of proposed balance changes that they will be introducing in the start of the new ladder season. A lot of units are going to be changed, though as expected, the Tempest is about to get massively nerfed, but we'll talk about the effects of the balance change later in another post.
And that's it for this period, GLHF and I'll see you next time!