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Name: Alex Gardner
Location: Port Jervis, NY
StarCraft Head of Coverage
The 2nd season of Esports International is into the playoffs, but meanwhile, the qualifiers for the third season are about to begin. Saturday, June 20th, 16 teams will go into a qualifier bracket for the opportunity to claim one of the four spots in the league.
The first bunch of teams includes eRazers eSports (E-rZ), Spt Gaming (Spt), Evil Geniuses (EG), and BW Gaming (BW-). The top match pits E-rZ against Spt. Neither team really has a top lineup, except for Spt's recent acquisition of Lithuanian Protoss Kr. Kr made waves a year ago when he went up against ToT's Gosia in the TSL. He's been on and off since, qualifying for leagues but not managing to go far. However, his presence should be able to swing the match in Spt's favor. The second match pits the two stronger teams, BW- and EG, against each other. BW got pulled into ESI's 2nd season mid-season after Lzurhura had to withdraw midway through, and ended up 8th in the league. Recent acquisitions of some players from NaW have put them into a strong position against many teams. Evil Geniuses are a new American squad, but the players are no strangers to the scene. Their six players are a formidable opponent to ANY squad when all playing at their best. I think Evil Geniuses are the favorite not only over BW-, but to take the spot in the season.
The next bracket is seemingly stronger than the first. sMi, NaW, ihF and GeT are in the bracket for the second spot. mTw would probably be in one of the slots, but it appears that they failed to confirm with Yenta, so these four teams are vying for mTw's spot. NaW had a lot of talent, but lost a lot of people to BW and other teams recently, and got a bit crippled. sMi is another good team with some high level players and some fillers. When the two teams clash, I think sMi comes out on top in the end, because they have a proven roster that has managed to stay in tact. ihF are a relative underdog to GeT. GeT's lineup has a streak of power in it that if they flex it, can swipe aside any of the three other teams without so much as being pushed. I think they easily clean up ihF and then beat out the winner of sMi and NaW to move on to the second slot in ESI Season 3.
3rd spot down the bracket is an interesting bracket. fOsc, AoN and osR will have their work cut out for them when they go up against [NA]. [NA] has a lineup that includes Pj, ChinaTTTTT and Fengzi. If those three show up, none of the other teams stand a snowball's chance in hell. fOsc has a good team, and AoN is a great American team, but [NA] are just a cut above with their three aces. If the three Chinese aces don't show up for [NA], the spot will likely go to AoN, but I think [NA] will be bringing out all their guns for this opportunity. osR was in the league last season, but this bracket is just unfavorable for them.
The 4th, and final, bracket is a complete toss up. NrG, Latin Gamers, and Los Reyes del Mambo are all in the same bracket. Riders on the Storm might steal a match or two, but these three teams are a cut above rs. I'm predicting LRM for this bracket. They were in the last season, but finished towards the bottom of the league. However, their roster has the talent to go far, especially with NrG losing MaNa to ESC. LRM should round out the top 10 and make a return to the ESI's 3rd season.
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