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Name: Alex Gardner
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ESL Major Series Season 5 Finals Preview

The ESL Major Series has reached it's final stages, with the Grand Finals and the 3rd Place match going down today.

After months of qualifiers, group stages and playoffs, the 5th season of the ESL Major Series has reached the conclusion of the StarCraft tournament, with the Grand Finals and the 3rd Place match happening today. The games will be exciting, with everything that is on the line, and some great matchups are poised to occur.

3rd Place Match: Poland iG.kogeT vs. Ukraine mouz.White-Ra

The third place match pits the long-time veteran White-Ra against Polish Zerg Koget, a name who has exploded into the forefront of the scene. Koget stormed through the competition up until the semifinals, where he had the misfortune of being destroyed by Idra. Before that, however, he had taken out Morrow, Kolll and Mana on his way through the tournament. His playoff match against Mana found him in a bit of a rough match, winning 2-1. White-Ra did not have such a similar path. He was grouped with Idra and Ace in the early stages, where he came out in third after beating Aero and moving to the relegation matches. In the relegation match he aptly disposed of Morrow in two games. Then he moved to the playoff where he played fellow Protoss old-schooler Draco. He beat Draco 2-1 to advance to the semifinals where he faced his teammate and countryman, Strelok. After a tough series, White-Ra was dropped to the third place match, 1-2.

White-Ra is a favorite in most matches against players not named “ret” or “Idra” and should take this match with relative ease. Koget might be able to snag a game if he pulls out a tricky aggressive or cheese build, but White-Ra should come out on top in the end, securing another top 3 finish in another foreign tournament.

Prediction: iG.kogeT 1:3 mouz.White-Ra

Grand Final: United States of America IdrA[Media] vs. Ukraine mouz.Strelok

The finals should be an excellent match. These two Terrans have, for the most part, carried the banner for the race in the foreign scene for a while now. Both of these players are top level gamers capable of winning many foreign tournaments and are consistently in the cream of the crop in tournaments and rankings. They have a bit of a history between each other, adding some fuel to the fire, and they are both very strong mechanical players.

Idra, the lone foreigner training as a progamer in Korea on the team CJ Entus and the defending champion of this tournament, has managed to get to the finals of yet another foreign tournament, continuing his reign of dominance over the scene that he has established. He started off somewhat unfavorably, losing to Ace in the group stage while beating both White-Ra and Aero to secure the second spot. He went on to play against Kolll in the relegation matches, where he came back from a 1-0 deficit to win the series 2-1. He then squared off against Mondragon in the playoff, where he came out the victor in two games. In the semifinals he faced Koget, whom he again cleanly swept aside 2-0. He has looked solid in all of his games thus far and has shown very few, if any weaknesses. Most players are considered an underdog against him.

Strelok, conversely, is a Ukranian Terran who has been around for a long time. Currently playing for Mousesports, the Ukranian has a number of achievements and accolades in his career. In 2008 he finished third in the WCG Grand Finals, behind Luxury and Stork. Also, in 2008, he was named the GosuGamer of the year by Gosugamers.net. He has also won a number of LAN tournaments in Ukraine and Russia. In the group stages he faced some tough competition. He lost to Mondragon but beat Arew and Mana to secure the second spot out of his group and face Dreiven for the relegation match. After beating Dreiven 2-1, he went on to face Ace in the playoff. He won that match 2-1 and went on to the semifinals against his compatriot White-Ra. Again, he showcased strong play and won the match 2-1 to advance to the finals.

Strelok is best known for his TvT, which is easily his strongest matchup. Still, he's going to be in for one hell of a ride if he wants to think about beating Idra. If there is a player that is capable of pushing Idra to the limit in TvT, it is Strelok, but with the way Idra has been playing lately, there isn't much hope for anyone who wants to beat the young progamer. A close series should happen, but in the end, Idra's superior mechanics and gamesense should carry him through to victory and his second straight title in the ESL Major Series.

Prediction: IdrA[Media] 3:2 mouz.Strelok

That concludes Insider Esports' coverage of the 5th season of the ESL Major Series and their StarCraft: Brood War tournament. Check back to see when the details for Season 6 are released and continued coverage of the ESL Major Series.


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