WCG Grand Finals Preview
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES - The Grand Finals of the World Cyber Games kick off tomorrow, with 19 players competing for possibly the last major international title in StarCraft: Brood War - WCG 2010 Champion.
Tomorrow afternoon, 19 of the best StarCraft: Brood War players in the world will overtake Los Angeles and play out what could possibly be the last major international StarCraft: Brood War tournament in its long history. While signs point to the professional scene in Korea still going strong, the foreign scene has all but completely shifted to StarCraft 2, save for the few representing their countries in this tournament. Here is what to watch for in the group stages.
Players: Lee "Jaedong" Jae Dong, Sun "F91" Yi Feng, Jaroslaw "Yayba" Pociecha, Kolke "kurOa" Hikaru, Dmitry "Advokate" Demichev
This group is easily the group of death. Starting with the Korean WCG winner Jaedong, and working through the foreigners, this group could be wide open. With the possibility of not meeting a fellow Korean until the semifinals, Jaedong should take this one clean. The next spot, however, is going to be a three-way race. Advokate, Yayba and F91 are all very strong players with a lot backing them up. Advokate took his talents to the top 8 last year, taking a game off of Jaedong in their best of 3 series in the quarterfinals. Yayba put up a good fight in last years group of death against the likes of Idra, White-Ra, Horror and Advokate, and F91 came out of a strong WCG China to take the top spot from his country. With Brood War tournaments few and far between, the only place for these three to showcase themselves have been their qualifiers, but rest assured that all are practicing hard.
Predictions: 1. Lee "Jaedong" Jae Dong 2. Sun "F91" Yi Feng
Players: Kim "Kal" Goo Hyun, Luo "Lx" Xian, Eric "G5" Rothmuller, Miguel "SMall" Serrato, Ilia "Heme" Khamidullin
Group B features three strong Protoss players and two players who are under the radar in their careers. Again, barring an upset, Kal - STX Soul's top Protoss - should take the top slot. The second slot will likely come down to a head-to-head showdown between G5, the US representative, and Lx, who took second in the Chinese qualifier. G5 showed a very strong determination in the WCG USA qualifiers, only dropping a total of four games the entire tournament. He has not made the switch to StarCraft 2 and is adamant about remaining with Brood War. Lx has quite the resume and some major experience to back it up - he spent a stint on the SK Telecom T1 roster in Korea several years ago. Heme should not be overlooked, while he is not as known as G5 or Lx internationally, coming in 3rd in the always tough Russian qualifier is no small feat, and he could potentially pull a dark horse run.
Predictions: 1. Kim "Kal" Goo Hyun 2. Eric "G5" Rothmuller
Players: Lee "Flash" Young Ho, Patrick "iNfeRnaL" Moeller, Matija "Ptak" Vragovic, Aaron "CocoA" Deir, Lei "Vulture" Hao
Group C's star is none other than the Ultimate Weapon himself, Flash. Fresh off of a golden mouse, a dual starleague sweep, a Proleague championship and back-to-back OSL titles, Flash is playing Brood War like a man possessed, and winning almost everything he enters. Him being anything but a far-and-away drop-dead favorite for this group would be an insult to what he has accomplished in the past 12 months. The race for second then comes down to several veteran players to the scene, including longstanding Protoss player Infernal and two players who have singlehandedly dominated their countries for years - Ptak and Cocoa, as well as Chinese player Vulture. These four players are no novices in the WCG scene, and any one of them could take the second slot, with no clear leader among the four.
Predictions: 1. Lee "Flash" Young Ho 2. Lei "Vulture" Hao
Players: Pavel "BRAT_OK" Kuznetsov, Oleksii "White-Ra" Krupnick, Yang "SEn" Chia-Cheng, Kusumoto "nazomen" Sho
The last group and the one group lacking a Korean is another stacked group, with BRAT_OK, White-Ra and Sen all standing a fair chance to advance to the playoff stage. All three have made the switch to StarCraft 2, but BRAT_OK and White-Ra both came from qualifiers where they faced some stiff competition, so both did well enough to show that they haven't lost their touch. Sen has run the competition in Taiwan for years, so his skills might be a bit off touch, but nonetheless he should still present a solid threat to the group. The TvP showdown between White-Ra and BRAT_OK will be a match worth watching for all.
Predictions: 1. Oleksii "White-Ra" Krupnich 2. Pavel "BRAT_OK" Kuznetsov
The group stags play out over the first two days, with the round of 8 also occuring day 2, then the semifinals and fnals being played days 3 and 4. Be sure to check back to Insider Esports for continued coverage of the StarCraft: Brood War tournament at WCG 2010!