Summertime Reprise: DreamHack Summer Preview
The seasons have changed but not DreamHack. I know what’s coming and I’m ready to enjoy it.
Are you ready? Ok, let’s rock!
» Summertime Overture
Enormous player pools always have a mixed effect on me. DreamHack Stockholm, with its three group stages and 128 players with skill levels varying from “Code S Uber Koreans” to major event debutants, had me skip the first day entirely and just tune in for the last few ecstatic hours. Just in time to catch every highlight: from Cytoplasm’s and Protosser’s fairy tales and their end, through the elimination of Puma, to DreamHack finding its first ever Swedish SC2 champion.
From the looks of it, DreamHack Summer is slated to be the same type of fiesta. There are a few changes in the player pool patterns - fewer Korean terrans, more Korean protosses and no Korean zergs – but the format is identical, the number of Koreans is still low and, overall, it’ll once again be a question of who is the best foreigner to challenge the eastern powerhouses.
Fortunately, recent events showed that there is still hope for the foreign company. If Sase can be top four in a traditionally Korean-dominated MLG, if Thorzain can blaze his way through Stockholm and if Stephano refuses to lose any games until the very final stages of a tournament, then DreamHack might just become the isolated isle of foreign paradise where the non-Koreans return every few months to remind themselves that they are still excellent in this game.
» Summertime Zerg
Zergs are my favorites and because they are now OP because of the latest patch, they come first in this preview. Suck it, inferior races!
The powerful agents of the overmind are reduced to small numbers in Jönköping but at least their most prominent breeds are attending.
Stephano is the biggest miracle of foreign origin to date. Whether he becomes a champion or not, every time the Frenchman plays, the StarCraft fan can do nothing else but sit, drool on his popcorn and try to comprehend the unexplainable level of knowledge that Ilyes possesses. This is a player who got approached by f****ng Jaedong in a gesture of admiration. He’s someone who went 8-2 and 10-2 in his last two MLGs before scoring his first loss for the tournament and whose command of the zerg is matched by only DRG himself. Stephano is at the very front of the zerg vanguard for this weekend and the biggest upset for DH Summer will be him dropping a map before reaching the playoffs.
Second in command are Nerchio and Ret, two zergs that had a field day during the last DreamHack, reaching top 8 and top 3 respectively. eSports writers constantly put them in major tournament articles and with a good reason – given their results, both of them are safe bets.
Not that there’s any one more worthy of their position, really: in mind of the competition Morrow and Cytoplasm will most likely face an early playoffs exit and Snute, Dimaga and LiveZerg are the epitomes of the wild spinner dolphins – they might just reward us with a beautiful acrobatics for our pleasure, but they might very well swim low and mind their own business instead.
» Summertime Men
Hey, look! Here’s Thorzain and there’s Puma and if there weren’t also Taeja and Keen there would be nothing else to say about the terran line-up of DH Summer.
Huge things are expected of Taeja. His move to Team Liquid in March was supposed to be the grand revival of their terran line-up since Jinro’s fall to oblivion and although the Korean has been playing absolutely astonishing, there still isn’t a major trophy that carries his name. I mean, "Top 8 Code S" is fine but "DreamHack champion" is finer.
It pays better and is remembered longer.
Keen is in the very same position as Taeja. Arguably the best terran of team MVP, Keen often performs a great GSL run and an even more memorable GSTL show and then is put aside as people start discussing the strong of the day, inevitably forgetting the one who once all-killed SlayerS.
All eyes are set on those two terrans now and not even the return of King Thorzain or Puma’s yet-another-championship-title-please application outweigh the importance of their well-doing.
» Summertime Toss
Naniwa, Sase and HuK. ToD, Mana and Elfi. Hero and JYP.
It doesn’t. Get. Any sicker.
As it is the tradition in the eSports community, the recently successful is the most successful so Sase and Hero comfortably sit in the armchairs that belong to the greatest leaders of the protoss race.
The Swede endured an excruciating MLG Spring Championship where he fought tooth-and-nail for every series and for every map before finishing fourth. He went through the whole open bracket, took a beating in the pool play and then almost conquered the championship bracket by shocking out Violet, Rain, Grubby, Leenock, Polt and Stephano – i.e. two MLG champions, an IPL winner and a GSL Super Tournament champion - before finally going down to Alicia. He played seventeen highest quality Bo3’s in three days and before DRG lifted the trophy, Sase was the true winner of the MLG. Grand things are expected of Sase, including the very possible second DH championship for Sweden.
On the other side of the golden protoss coin is Hero who recovered from a very disappointing start of year 2012 and took top four in Code S without breaking too much of a sweat. Team Liquid has brought a lot of egg baskets to Sweden, but Hero seems to be the most reliable carrier of such goods. With 60%+ in every match-up on international stage, Hero is scary as hell. What he did the last time he visited Sweden is still clearly discernible even through the ruins that his wrathful depredation brought to Jönköping.
He is here to take yet another championship and weed out the flimsy sprigs that are the hopes for a second foreign victory in a row. And he can’t go home with nothing less.