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Name: Alex Gardner
Location: Port Jervis, NY
StarCraft Head of Coverage
LOS ANGELES, California, United States of America - The United States National Finals for WCG kick off today, with 10 players gunning for one spot to qualify.
The national finals for the United States begin today, and the StarCraft tournament is no exception. With several familiar faces and an equal amount of new ones, it will be interesting to see who comes forth. Groups have yet to be announced, but will be posted as soon as possible. Here are the players to watch:
Dan "Nyoken" Eidson - The top Terran for team EG, Nyoken is one of the few top players who has not transitioned to StarCraft 2. His continued practice of Brood War should give this former WCG USA representative a good edge over some of the other players who are partaking in both StarCraft 2 and Brood War at the moment. Nyoken is both a smart and mechanical player. His speed is matched by his poker-minded style, easily bluffing players into thinking he's executing one build and then showing a completely different hand when the time is right. This combination could be deadly against some of the more inexperienced players in the tournament, and makes him a threat to go very deep in the tournament. Another source of motivation is the possibility that this is Nyoken's swan song tournament, as he does not appear to be making the switch to StarCraft 2.
Eric "G5" Rothmuller - G5 has had some good showing in the past couple of years, netting silver and a bronze medals in 2008 and 2009, respectively. His chances this year should be exceptional, as he is another top player that has continued to focus on Brood War instead of StarCraft 2. G5's biggest strength lies in his creativity and unusual strategies. His builds have netted him success against the likes of Nony and Idra in the past, during times when both players were in top shape. With those two, along with other players like Louder absent from the field, it looks like G5 should have a very good chance of finally getting the top spot at WCG USA.
Geoff "iNcontroL" Robinson - Incontrol is one of the many players who has made the switch to StarCraft 2, focusing nearly full time on the game. However, the EG Zerg is still a strong player and a talented one with a past WCG USA championship to prove it. The 2007 champion is a tough mental competitor and can outsmart the best of the best. While his mechanics are not on the level of a player like Idra, he still presents a tough player to go head-to-head with in a macro standoff, and his past experience only boosts his chances to do well in the tournament.
Bryce "Machine" Bates - Another Zerg player, EG's Machine has also switched primarily to StarCraft 2. However, his mechanics propelled him to his top spots in the past few WCG national finals, including a 4th place finish in 2008. In 2009, a close series with his teammate, Jacob "LzGamer" Winstead decided who advanced, with Machine unfortunately coming out on the short end of that match. Even though he switched to StarCraft 2, his incredible speed and mechanics should still be able to carry him back into the game and give him a good shot at moving deep into the bracket round, where a top 3 finish is definitely possible for him.
Kelby "iNka" Williams - Last year, EG's newest Protoss player was largely unknown entering the tournament. This year though, Inka has seen the spotlight much more prior to entering the WCG finals. Inka is yet another switchover to StarCraft 2, but he should be more than prepared against this field. If any of the returning players has a tough road ahead, it is Inka, but that's not to say he won't be prepared. With the top caliber teammates he has around him, he should be well prepared for this tournament, and he should look to improve on last year's tournament.
Geoff "EG.iNcontroL" Robinson
Eric "G5" Rothmuller
Sterling "iG.Sterling" Kolde
Joe "JoeKim" Kim
Andrey "Andreyy" Yatsenko
Daniel "EG.Nyoken" Eidson
Bryce "EG.Machine" Bates
Kelby "EG.iNkA" Williams
Kyle "Semih" Himes
Austin "NrG.RaNgeD" King
The WCG USA group stage begins today at Universal Studios Hollywood in Los Angeles around 12 PM. Be sure to check out the StarCraft competition and to check back to Insider Esports for all more continued coverage from the tournament.
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