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Name: Alex Gardner
Location: Port Jervis, NY
StarCraft Head of Coverage
Teamliquid.net – With the help of the big guns at TeamLiquid, Geoff “iNcontroL” Robinson, of Ultimate Gamer fame, is hosting what could possibly be the last foreign cash Brood War tournament, featuring some of the biggest names in the game.
The tournament features 32 deadly non-Korean players in a single elimination bracket. Up for grabs is $1K for the winner, a beta key for second place and two $100 prizes for pimp plays. The lineup is stacked, the brackets are epic, and the stakes have never been greater. The winner of this tournament could truly go out as the last king of Brood War outside of Korea. Here are my players to watch.
We all know about Greg “IdrA” Fields and his stay in Korea. Recently, the kid has been unstoppable in foreign tournaments, winning pretty much everything he enters. Once again he has a chance to show his skills in another cash tournament, and once again he is the favorite to win.
IdrA's bracket is extremely favorable, with not a Terran opponent in sight until at least the semi-finals. In fact, he should end up with a number of TvZs to play out for the better part of the tournament. Up until the semi-finals, IdrA should be on cruise control in this tournament.
Jos “ret” de Kroon is slowly being considered the best foreigner outside of Korea right now, with his strong play not only against fellow foreigners, but also against Korean opponents. His ZvP and ZvT are great, but it's his TvZ that is truly deadly. Outside of IdrA, he's probably my second choice to win.
Ret's bracket is a lot more problematic than IdrA's. He's got the likes of Yayba, Strelok, DinOt and MaNa to potentially deal with before he even gets to the semi-finals, where IdrA is bound to be waiting. It'll be tough, but if anyone can handle it, it's ret.
Oleksii “White-Ra” Krupnick is one of the strongest Protoss players outside of Korea, and has an exceptional knowledge and understanding of the game to aid his endeavors. He is not simply a cookie-cutter player and has some of the deadliest builds and cheese up his sleeve to help him get to the finals. Being on the opposite side of the bracket from ret and IdrA, White-Ra should be the favorite to take second place.
His bracket is full of sleepers and dark horses early on. G5 is a very similar Protoss to White-Ra with eccentric builds and strategies. Mondragon is a ZvP king of old and could come alive at any moment. Also, InfernaL, Tarson, Fenix and SquaLL could present a potent threat if Krupnick isn't prepared. On the lower half of his side, should he make the semis, he would have to face the likes of BRAT_OK, Dreiven or IefNaij to make the finals.
Pavel “BRAT_OK” Kuznetsov is one of the stronger Terrans who is still a pure foreigner. His TvP especially is deadly and able to take down anyone, but his other matchups are equally impressive. The Russian Terran is easily a contender for the top spot in this stacked tournament, but is my least likely pick out of the favorites to win it all.
BRAT_OK's path to the final four is tough to call. He begins with a match against Deska, who recently exploded onto the scene, but probably isn't strong enough to take down the Russian Terran. Then it's possibly his teammate Advokate or Kolll. Advokate will be a tough challenge if he makes it. His Round of 8 opponent should be an ESC Protoss, both of whom are deadly opponents, but not impervious. Overall, if he makes the semis, he will have his hands full with White-Ra, as even as good as his TvP is, White-Ra's PvT is just downright nasty at times.
There are several darkhorse contenders in this field of 32, and all of them are worth watching to see if they make a run deep into the tournament.
ESC.Yayba – This Polish Protoss has been playing some excellent StarCraft lately, making the finals for several tournaments. He's a threat to every Terran in the tournament, save IdrA and BRAT_OK and could potentially make the semis or finals. He'll have to get through ret first, though.
ToT)Mondragon( – Mondragon is one of the most well-known foreign players of all time, and at any given moment he can show sparks of brilliance and top caliber play. His ZvP is especially deadly, and with him opening at least the first two rounds against Protoss, he has a possible deep run in him.
RoX.KIS.Advokate – BRAT_OK's Terran teammate is a strong Terran player who's been on the scene for a long time, and he's got the will power, skill and know-how to run far in a tournament. It'll be tough for him, facing his teammate early on, but if he can get past BRAT_OK, he's got a chance to go far.
ESC.Dreiven– Another ESC Polish Protoss who has been playing well of late. He's got a shot at going deep, but he'll likely have to get past his teammate first and then through BRAT_OK. However, Dreiven has shown some flair recently in multiple events and shouldn't be counted out.
ESC.IefNaij – The TSL champion hasn't been showing his normal prowess lately, getting knocked out in the early stages of multiple tournaments. However, with a major title under his belt, the kid can never really be counted out.
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