This past Sunday saw the conclusion of the Round of 16 stage, featuring many highlights and more than a few surprises! It's time to follow up on the latest escapades of our manic keysmashers in the osu!mania 4K World Cup!
In contrast to the busy Group Stage, the Round of 16 has historically been one of the more straightforward stages. Consisting of only 8 matches, teams compete fiercely in an effort to remain in the winner's bracket. While no teams were at risk of being eliminated from the tournament this weekend, this stage will significantly impact how teams will progress throughout the remainder of this tournament.
If you've missed the matches on Sunday, you can always watch the VODs here, or settle for the weekly recap below!
This year's Round of 16 saw a total of 49 picks and 16 bans. hyi - you can recover was definitely a favourite among teams, having been picked in all 8 matches! Sonitus Vir ft. Emily Smith - Lune Noir also received equal attention, proving to be a competitive map that was played 5 times and banned 3 times.
However, every mappool has its fair share of non-favourites. The most banned map was Alesana - The Artist which saw a total of 6 bans. Perhaps players found the high risk long note patterns too tricky? It is also a slight letdown that q/stol - Re/Im was never picked in any match, but at the very least it received some attention in the form of a ban.
For more information regarding mappool statistics, you can find them here. Otherwise, it's time to move over to where the real excitement lies - the matches!
The first match of the day saw the unseeded New Zealand facing off against the high seeded France. While the Kiwis did rather well in the Group Stage, the power of baguettes proved too strong. Overwhelmed by their Supairo consistency, they conceded the match 1 - 5.
Next up was a match between two top seeded teams - Indonesia vs. China. Having lost to the aforementioned France in the Group Stage, things were not looking too favourable for China. This soon proved to be true, as Indonesia took point after point in a series of very close matches, quickly reaching 3-0. China saw a brief respite in taking a point back, but it would be short lived, as Indonesia bounced back immediately, securing the match 5 - 1.
Moving onto our first memorable highlight, the match between the United Kingdom and Japan was definitely a surprising one. Having made it through the Group Stage unscathed, the United Kingdom seemed confident in their ability to win. However, after a brief exchange of blows, it was clear that both teams were equally skilled, as the score settled at 2 - 2. Seeking to capitalise on their opponent's weakness, the tea sipping gentlemen went straight for Edwin Starr vs. Justice - War vs. Waters of Nazareth, a highly technical map featuring tricky long notes and streams.
But to everyone's surprise, Japan calmly responded to this by substituting in C-light - a player who had yet to see any action in any major tournaments. Did they perhaps anticipate and prepare for this? We found out the answer over the course of the next 3 nail-biting minutes, as Team Japan showed a dominating performance, scoring a crucial break point that proved vital in their eventual victory of 3 - 5. This moment will undoubtedly go down in history as one of the greatest baits in osu!mania 4K World Cup - though I personally wonder if they may have revealed their hand a little too soon.
The next two matches saw Teams South Korea and Brazil sweep out Teams Argentina and Singapore respectively. The latter teams put up an admirable fight, but the difference in skill was too great, resulting in a crushing 5 - 0 defeat. Hopefully they will find better success in the next stage.
In contrast, the match between Hong Kong and Canada was much more balanced. Hong Kong seized the initiative and took the first point, but was met with resistance as Canada responded in kind. Hong Kong then proceeded to take 2 more points but once again, their success was mirrored by Canada. With the supporting cheers from Twitch chat, It wasn't long before we arrived at the tiebreaker.
Despite the scores flickering back and forth initially, it soon became evident that Canada was pulling ahead. As the song progressed, the score lead just kept widening ever so slightly, which ended up with a convincing victory for Canada. Particularly impressive to note was the stellar performance from CommandoBlack - he was declared the MvP in the match for his impressive Flashlight Mod sight read.
The final two matches saw Poland vs. Chile and Sweden vs. United States. While both of these also ended up in 0 - 5 sweeps, the matches were deceptively close. As seen below, one of the picks ended up with a score difference of only 796, which just goes to show how evenly matched these teams are. Definitely watch out for these 4 teams in the stages to come!
And that's a wrap for the Round of 16! This coming weekend will mark the start of the Quarter Finals. Like last week, we will see a total of 8 exciting matches, but this time spread over the course of 2 days. Teams in the loser's bracket are now at risk of being eliminated, so the stakes are raised even higher! You can find out what the scheduled matches are on the wiki page.
Be sure to catch the start of the Quarter Finals stage at 19:00 UTC this Saturday, on the osu!live twitch channel! The first match will see France squaring off against Chile - this is something you don't want to miss!
Finally, a reminder that you can always support your favourite team by purchasing a colorful user profile banner!. All proceeds will go towards funding the prize pool for this tournament, so get your banners now today!