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AGar US AGar
Name: Alex Gardner
Age: 26
Location: Port Jervis, NY
StarCraft Head of Coverage

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ESL MS Season 5 Semifinal Preview

InsiderEsports' Alex "AGar" Gardner brings you a preview of the ESL Major Series Season 5 Semifinals. 

Last week, the ESL Major Series' fifth season began the playoff stages, with eight players gearing up for action. As goes the tournament, so do the players, and we are left with the top four players in action this week. The winners guarantee themselves a finish in the money, while the losers have to fight it out for one more week to get a chance to earn prize money. The semifinals begin on Monday at 1:45 PM EST.

Semifinal A: Ukraine mouz.White-Ra vs. Ukraine mouz.Strelok

These two countrymen and teammates often find that they are matching up against each other in major tournaments, and have a well-defined history. Both players are steadfast faces in the foreign scene with numerous accomplishments to their name. Strelok has a bronze at the 2008 World Cyber Games Grand Finals, beating Lx and LoveTT along the way, as well as a Liquibition appearance and various other international appearances. His TvP is one of his better matchups, where he has taken down numerous talented opponents. Meanwhile, White-Ra is no stranger to success, as he has long had high-placing finishes in many foreign tournaments and a number of strong wins to his credit, including knocking Idra out of the Razer TSL. His PvT is a very deadly asset, strong enough to take down the legendary Boxer at this past year's IEF tournament.

In this season of the ESL Major series, TvP has carried Strelok most of the way through the tournament. In the group stage, he took down Mana and Arew while he beat Dreiven in the relegation matches of the tournament to advance to the playoff stage. His sole loss was to Mondragon in the group stage, while he also managed to beat Ace in the first round of the playoff stage last week, winning in three games. White-Ra, meanwhile, has seen less PvT action in the tournament. He played against Idra in the group stages, where he lost 0-2 then played Morrow in the relegation match where he won in two games, but two very cheesy games. To his credit, he is a solid PvT player as was showcased by multiple series. He also managed to pull wins off of Aero and Draco, two solid Polish Protoss players.

The series between them could fall either way. White-Ra has looked really strong lately, taking down a number of top foreign players. The one thing working in White-Ra's favor is that Strelok faced and lost to a Protoss opponent in this weekend's TSL qualifiers, giving him a bit of an edge on Strelok. The match, while a tough call, is looking to fall slightly in the favor of White-Ra here, moving him onto the finals of another major foreign tournament.

Prediction: mouz.White-Ra 3:2 mouz.Strelok

Semifinal B: Poland iG.kogeT vs. United States of America IdrA[Media]

This semifinal will be much less intense and exciting. Idra has been dominating anyone and everyone at will, up and down, left and right, lately in major foreign tournaments. No one has been able to consistently stop him more than once in any tournament. Koget, meanwhile, is a relatively unknown face to the scene. He has had more and more appearances lately, but nothing convincing of his ability to take down a top caliber player like Idra.

So far in the tournament, IdrA has looked solid. He dropped a set in the group stages to ToT's Ace. Since then, he has been virtually untouchable, only dropping a single game to Kolll in the relegation matches. His TvZ has looked solid all around, carrying him a good distance so far, once he cleared the group stage. Alternatively, Koget has not had the most solid of runs. He managed to survive Kolll and Morrow in the group stage and avoid a confrontation with Xiaozi to advance in first. Afterwords, he faced Mana in the first round of the playoffs where he came out with a win in three games. His ZvT has been largely untested, only playing against Morrow who is nowhere near a credible challenge.

This semifinal is easy to predict - Idra should come out far ahead on top of Koget in this one. There aren't enough abuse-easy maps for Koget to win on and put himself in position to win the series against Idra. He'll be forced down to the third/fourth place match in a fight for the last money position.

Prediction: iG.kogeT 0:3 IdrA[Media]

The semifinals of the ESL Major Series are sure to provide some exciting games, so be sure to tune into ESL TV and catch them live on Monday at 1:45 PM EST.

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