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There are three big matches taking place on Saturday

Esports: StarCraft II World Team League Winter Sunday preview

The action continues from the StarCraft II World Team League Winter on New Year’s Day, with six teams playing.

It could not be any closer at the top of the table, with four teams level at the top of the standings on 24 points. In fact, there are just five points separating first from fifth in the standings. 

Three of the top four sides - Dragon Phoenix Gaming, PSISTORM Gaming and Onsyde Gaming - take to the stage on Sunday in what should be an enthralling day of StarCraft II action.

Onsyde face Alpha X test

What: Alpha X vs Onsyde Gaming, SCII World Team League 
Where: Shanghai, China 
When: 08:00 ET, Sunday January 1st 2023 
Odds: Alpha X +250, Onsyde Gaming -350

The day’s action kicks off with joint-leaders Onsyde Gaming taking on Alpha X, and as the odds suggest, Onsyde are the likely winners of the opening gambit. 

They are the only team in the league to have won nine matches and head into this gameday with a 9-1 record. Their sole defeat came in their most recent match against PSISTORM Gaming, where they went down in a close 4-2 series. 

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Prior to that, they had been a dominant force in the league and they have already brushed aside the likes of Dragon Phoenix Gaming and Shopify Rebellion, two of the sides who sit with them at the top of the standings. 

Will that most recent loss have knocked their confidence, however? Given their prior consistent form, that seems unlikely. 

They will have no easy task against a side who sits just two points behind them. Alpha X enters the gameday with an 8-2 record but they have more to prove than their opponents. 

The North America-based squad went on a winning streak after a loss to Dragon Phoenix Gaming but it was halted at three in a defeat to Shopify Rebellion. 

Given the manner of defeats to Dragon Phoenix Gaming and Shopify Rebellion, it would be fair to say that Alpha X are just short of the top level at present. 

The defeat has left them slightly adrift of the frontrunners and a loss here would cast them even further behind. As the odds suggest, that will be no easy task for Alpha X. 

Onsyde are the overwhelming favourites but Alpha X should not be underestimated in this match and if there was an upset to happen today, it would likely be here.

PSISTORM on fine run

What: PSISTORM Gaming vs Team Liquid, SCII World Team League 
Where: Shanghai, China 
When: 08:00 ET, Sunday January 1st 2023 
Odds: PSISTORM Gaming -225, Team Liquid +163

Dominance has been the key theme from PSISTORM Gaming in their recent matches and they arrive on a five-game winning streak. 

The joint-leaders have handed down 6-0 whitewashes to Invictus Gaming and CranKy Ducklings in this sequence and they also were comfortable 5-1 winners against Shopify Rebellion last month. 

Onsyde were their most recent victims and there seems to be little stopping PSISTORM at present. Taking the scalps of other high-flying teams has left them in a very strong position and Team Liquid should be easy pickings. 

The Netherlands-based squad have won three of their last four matches, but they came against CranKy Ducklings, Invictus Gaming and SSLT, who occupy the bottom three places in the league. 

Granted, the two most recent wins were dominant, but that was to be expected and when faced with sixth-placed KaiZi Gaming, they had no answers in losing that aforementioned one of their last four matches. 

Other defeats this split to Onsyde, Shopify Rebellion and Dragon Phoenix Gaming do not augur well and it is perhaps surprising that PSISTORM are not stronger favourites.

Dragon Phoenix expected to dominate

What: KaiZi Gaming vs Dragon Phoenix Gaming, SCII World Team League 
Where: Shanghai, China 
When: 10.00 ET, Sunday January 1st 2023 
Odds: KaiZi Gaming +300, Dragon Phoenix Gaming -450

The biggest mismatch of the day comes when KaiZi Gaming take on joint league-leaders Dragon Phoenix Gaming, and it is hard to argue that the latter do not deserve their prohibitive odds. 

After all, they won the 2021 Winter split and this year’s Summer split, and arrive to this gameweek on the back of two 6-0 victories. 

They were expected to win those games handsomely, but the manner of them was pleasing to see. 

They are certainly not unbeatable, however, as defeats to Shopify Rebellion and Onsyde this split prove. Those sides are flying high, so those wins do not harm their strong credentials here. 

KaiZi will not make this easy, given they have won their last three matches in comfortable fashion. Their record against Dragon Phoenix does not bode well, though, as they lost 4-3 in the Summer split and they have a 2-5 record against them overall. 

Dragon Phoenix do feel a bit short, as KaiZi are no slouches, but they are the most likely winners of this encounter.

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