Thoughts on GOAT

Imo there are 2 people currently in running for being the goat of sc2: let’s start with maru, the undisputed #1 terran in the world for, I don’t know, the last 5 years? One of the only terrans to go toe-to-toe with the top 4 zergs in macro games, the only one finding success with lategame turtle styles vs zerg, which is pretty much unheard of at the level he’s playing at, singlehandedly getting ravens and proxies nerfed, and winning multiple gsl’s during some of terran’s weakest periods, not to mention being a prodigy since he was 15.

The second case I see is for serral, coming into form after rogue’s 2017 blizzcon win which seemed itself to break zerg lategame, serral left him in the dust in 2018 being undefeated for the entire year and a few months into 2019 as well. Some may comment that he’s only able to win so much because he’s a foreigner, to which I would point to you his blizzcon win that year in which he thoroughly embarrassed rogue and dark, the 2 best kr zergs in mirror series. If that doesn’t prove he’s better than koreans, what will? Others might say he’s a patch zerg, to which I would say he’s the opposite in that he is THE reason that got zerg nerfed as much as it did, from tunneling claws in zvz, to broodlord leash, to hydra bane, to massing queens for early defense, to his insanely consistent creep spread that would leave scarlett jealous. Possibly the only zerg nerf I consider him not responsible for was lurkers, which would go towards reynor. And if he was a patchzerg, how would that explain him winning premiers 4 years later after the onslaught of zerg nerfs that put players like solar, the third best zerg in kr, on suicide watch or turned ragnarok into the joker?

You could also make a case for rogue, definitely is not lacking in achievements, as many gsl wins as maru, a blizzcon, and more international titles than you’d think. He often makes his opponent look a league below him, but he’s got consistency or motivation issues, or a gambling problem on maplestory or something. During his highs he is unmatched in lategame and in a prep tournament like gsl many players consider him the scariest to go up against, which iirc originates from his days as a sniper in team leagues. However that’s a little ironic given some of his most questionable losses have been to the likes of scarlett, fantasy, and leenock in gsl, even losing to hurricane in ST and dropping a game vs noregret in qualifiers.

Other players that I guess you could consider the goat would be innovation and life, inno I think suffered some motivation issues during the end of his career but was a mechanical machine during his prime and was one of the only players to take series off serral in 2019 and pushed him to the brink in 2018. As for life, like maru he was a prodigy winning gsl at 15 years old, who knows where he’d be today if he was still allowed to play.

So that’s it, had some thoughts on goat I wanted to get out, lemme know if I got anything wrong or I’m missing anyone.

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Maaaaaaarruuuuuuuuuuuuu PogChamp


I would also hesitate between Maru and Serral. But while Maru has been winning tournaments since 2012, and thus is the GOAT in terms of longevity ; the amount of prices won by Serral since 2018 is astounding (i think he must’ve won 18 premier tournaments or something. Those were won while the balance favored zerg, but I dont see him as a patch zerg because he is a predator among the Zerg. Maru however as you said won while balance wasn’t advantageous to him many times, but isn’t in his prime anymore though.

So… can’t choose between those two.
Regarding the others :

  • Rogue isn’t the GOAT, IMO. He could be, but while he strategically his gameplans are among the bests of the world when he is on the offense, he is much weaker when being on the defense. Hence the difficulties against Maru. And hence while Serral succeeds where he is inconsistent.
  • Dark seems more consistent as a performer than Rogue. He isn’t as agile strategically, but when you face him, you know you’re in for something brutal, both mechanically and strategically. :laughing:
  • If I had to name a protoss, I’d mention Stats, who has been quite the performer, and is very solid in all sectors ; contrary to Zest who might be a bit weaker defensively I think. But both haven’t been consistent enough across time to candidate for the post I think.
  • Honorable mentions for TY (the most strategically inventive terran, IMO) ; and Innovation (“the Machine”). :star2:

Yea definitely agree dark is the more consistent of the two + rogue isn’t the goat, though I think the latter might be contentious for some people

Maru vs Innovation track record (52% in Innovation’s favor):

Maru vs Rogue (52.38% in Maru’s favor):

Innovation vs Rogue (62.29% in Innovation’s favor):

Maru vs Dark (51.56% in Maru’s favor):

Innovation vs Dark (56.36% in Innovation’s favor):

This list goes on, and on, and on. Maru is not the GOAT. “GOAT” means “Greatest Of All Time”, not “Greatest at the moment” aka “GATM”. Innovation was a much stronger player than Maru.

Note that this is a weak example, as Innovation played a lot of games after he retired which really ought not be included in his win-rate as a professional player. But, even including those, he still has a superior winrate against these players.


Tbh I didn’t know the stats were all like that in inno’s favour, damn. I even filtered for offline and it seems much of the same.

Maru vs Byun: 62.5%.
Innovatin vs Byun: 66.13%.

Maru vs Trap: 49.3%
Innovation vs Trap: 53.49%

Maru vs Ty: 46.03%
Innovation vs Ty: 44.71%

Maru vs Zest: 57.33%.
Innovation vs Zest: 50.37%

Plotting who is better vs each opponent (positive = maru better):
Byun: -3.63%
Trap: -4.19%
Ty: +1.32%
Zest: +6.96%
Rogue: -9.91%
Dark: -4.8%

Average: -2.375% win-rate spread against other top players. The difference is small, but Innovation was definitely the better player of the two.

A “real” statistical analysis is much more complicated than this as you have to compute Z scores for their win-rates against each opponent and combine them with Stouffer’s method, which would take into account the number of games played. Right now, Maru could have 1,000 games against Zest and 3 games against Trap and Zest’s games would have 333x more weight on the result than Trap’s. But this is good enough because it preserves the inequality operation, e.g. “Innovation > Maru = true” still works with this method.


Curious where Protoss pros fall

Well, ironic I made this thread a day before hero embarrassed maru in the finals.

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I mean, all Terrans universally struggle with Protoss as do all Zergs. Even if you assume APM only has a correlation with skill and isn’t causal with skill (absurd), the fact that Protoss have lower APM for the same performance level is cut and dry proof that Protoss is easier to play (which is synonymous with being overpowered).

Imagine for a second if Zerg were the only race in the game. If the races were perfectly symmetrical, such as a 1-race game, APM correlations between performance level (GM/Masters/etc) would be identical between the races. Now imagine if we made this asymmetrical by making one race easier to play. People from lower performance levels would get a boost, moving them up and diluting the average APM of upper leagues. Thus, APM is reduced for the same performance level. Let’s imagine the same scenario again, but this time we don’t make it “easier to play”, we just buff one race. The result is the same, the average performance of the buffed race goes up, diluting the average APM in higher leagues. Finally, let’s take the same symmetrical scenario one more time, and introduce one more asymmetry: we lower the APM requirements for one race. Again, this means low APM players will move up the performance brackets because they get more bang for their buck.

This effect will occur even under the assumption that APM is not causal with winning (which is absurd) and that it is merely correlated. No matter what, as long as there is a distortion in the average APM for each performance level that corresponds with the terran/zerg/protoss groupings, it is cut and dry proof that the asymmetry of the game gives one race an advantage over the others:

Protoss is absolutely, unequivocally, busted. BuT WhY DonT ThEy WiN TouRnAmeNtS? They do. They absolutely dominate most tournaments. Even in Premiers, they have an absurdly high probability of getting into the finals. They need to redesign APEtoss to have similar APM requirements to Terran/Zerg if this game is ever to be balanced. The design of the game as is is just a complete joke.


So does this mean you agree with mechplayer?


I have no idea who that is. I did have him on my block list on reddit though, so probably another keyboard slobberer.

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Probably the big meta shifters were Scarlett and HuK. They were the coolest to watch. And TLO.

Alright so computing this by hand is extremely annoying and cumbersome, so it’s easier to code a program to do it:

  1. Take the number of wins/losses between player A and player B, and compute (X - U)/O where X is the number of wins, U is (wins+losses)/2, and O is (wins+losses)*0.5^2.
  2. Repeat this for every player combination.
  3. Combine all these scores using Stouffer’s method.
  4. Sort players based on combined score.
  5. This computes the probability that this player could have this win-rate against these opponents assuming they are equal skill.
  6. The top player will have the highest score, meaning their win-rate against these opponents has the lowest probability of occurring assuming this player is equal in skill to all other players in the test.

Serral (485): 5.824957
Dark (76): 5.155443
INnoVation (48): 4.275851
Maru (49): 4.081305
Zest (1658): 2.606580
herO (233): 2.471097
Stats (309): 1.013453
Rogue (1662): 0.936411
soO (125): 0.496307
TY (63): 0.284821
PartinG (5): -0.685497
Solar (1793): -0.711255
ByuN (47): -0.908748
Classic (186): -1.372828
Trap (177): -1.606986
Cure (1665): -1.864295
DRG (4): -5.292103
RagnaroK (117): -6.620646
Bunny (1517): -8.083868

This doesn’t add any weights to the games to compensate for balance, which would be highly relevant with nydus/brood/proxy abuse. Taking that for granted, Serral is the GOAT, and Innovation is the best Terran. I think there’s a fair chance that if you were to compensate for balance issues (a herculean effort would be required to do it properly) that innovation would be the strongest player of all time. That’s simply because his performance is spread out across many iterations of the game, while Darks/Serrals are clustered around nydus allins (dark) and skyzerg (serral).

Z scores are hard to understand. Serral’s Z score corresponds with a 0.000000007% chance of his win-rate occurring assuming he is equal skill. Innovation is 0.00002%. So there are really big differences in skill just between these top players. The difference between Serral and Bunny is absolutely monstrous.

Also, another thing to note is that the top 2 Protoss absolutely suck compared to the top 2 Zerg/Terran. This is exactly why Protoss has loads of second-place finishes in premier tournaments. Also, lol @ hero (Z score of 2.5) stampeding maru (Z score of 4.1) in the recent Code S finals.


All their best players retired early or joined the military.

I’m a Maru fanboy, but I think it has to be Serral at this point. He’s the favorite in every tournament he enters, his win rates vs the best players (including Maru) are untouchable, he’s racked up multiple 1st places in every premier except GSL, and his off days are few and far between. (Maru and Rogue have bombed out of too many tournaments to count)

With the game stagnant as it is for some time, it’s hard to say

Would serral maru rogue have won this much if the game was still popular and competitive with new players rising to challenge them?

The problem is, that it is really hard to choose a GOAT, because there are tons of parameters, which can be used to give that title. I see the name Maru. Who is he? He never won a Blizzcon, while some players were twice the champions there. He has 5 gsl titles, but there are players like Mvp, who have 4, but at the same time, he is Blizzcon champion, he was dominating others for a long time, had an incredible micro. Why wouldn’t he be the GOAT? The list can go on.
As long as sc2 doesn’t have a real rating, like CS:GO have, with whom most of the community agree with, you can’t give #1 title to your fav player.


I would add that it is difficult because the game has also evolved or changed.
Also how you play it.

That’s always the challenge with GOAT conversations as the level of competition generally rises over time in any game or sport. 2022 Maru would stomp MVP, but MVP was more dominant during his era.