MLG Anaheim Preview
It’s time for MLG Anaheim, and time to bring the Spring Season to an enticing end as we delve into the cluster of players that are going to deliver top notch StarCraft 2 play. With the majority of pool play seeds in Korean hands, it’s the foreigners who will have to step up their game to make a difference.
As we have to note that the seeds for pool play were determined by a player’s success at previous MLG Arenas, it soon becomes apparent that the winner of this event will most likely come out of this group. 16 out of the 24 pool spots, four from Spring Arena 1 and 12 from Spring Arena 2, have gone to the top contenders of an already extremely strong line-up.
Names like DongRaeGu, MarineKing and MC don’t even stand out amongst players with equally impressive results as of late. We have Polt, winner of Assembly Winter earlier this year and one of the strongest Terrans overall. We have Symbol, second at Iron Squid as well as MLG Spring Arena 2, who most recently performed an all-kill in GSTL against Incredible Miracle.
We also have viOLet, the Zergeon, one of the players with the most impressive runs 2012 thus far. Winning IEM Sao Paulo, MSI Battlegrounds and Spring Arena 2, he is living proof that you don’t have to live in Korea to keep your game at the highest level. Not only is he one of the best Zergs around, he is also considered a fan favorite amongst foreigners for his cheerful demeanor and his solid grasp of the English language.
Photo by: MLG
A much harder times than these few are the three Europeans going to have. While the format allows for every player in pool play to advance to the Championship bracket, you have to remember that the better the outcome of each player, the fewer games they have to play in the bracket.
That said, however, things look bleak, especially for Socke, who is paired with MC, Heart and DongRaeGu. Not only are they amazingly strong players individually, but they also require Socke to prepare for each individual match-up. Grubby and Stephano are, for better or for worse, spared their mirror matches thus far, removing the coinflippy nature of both PvP and ZvZ.
Predictions are useless at this point, due to the high level of the players, the nature of the Championship Bracket during which upsets are more or less bound to happen, but also because there are evenly strong contenders in the Open Bracket.
|MLG POOL PLAY|
|Pool A||Pool B|
|Pool C||Pool D|
Participants of Spring Arena 2, that didn’t make it into the top 12 were handed advanced spots in the Open Winners Bracket Round 5 and are containing players such as MMA, ThorZaIN, Losira and HuK. All of them are likely are proceed to pool play and stir each of the groups up.
ThorZaIN, the latest Evil Genius, is about to make his first appearance at a premier tournament under his new flag after his Mousesports contract ran out. MMA, last year’s second at MLG Anaheim, has looked very strong lately, winning the Iron Squid tournament over Symbol and making top 8 during the last season of GSL Code S. He is arguably the strongest player in the Open Bracket and definitely one to watch out for.
Photo by: MLG
Other notable, non-advanced sign ups in the Open Bracket include Sase, Sheth, aLive, JYP, Puma, Lucky and Zenio. Sase, the Swede from Quantic, friend and teammate of NaNiwa, who will not be participating, has been in Korea for a while now and made huge progress in his play. He recently narrowly missed top 4 at the Red Bull Battlegrounds but other than that went off the radar for the most part. It will be exciting to see how well he fares.
aLive, for a long time considered somewhat of a cheesy player, is now capable of producing interesting, longer macro games and is definitely a force to be reckoned with in any tournament he enters. He’s not shy to go out of the ordinary to beat his opponent.
Aside from all the 272 players of the main event, MLG has announced a KeSPA tournament in order to jump start their business partnership. Brood War enthusiasts will be happy to see TaekBangLeeSsang (Bisu, Stork, Jaedong, Flash), the cream of the crop of the current Brood War scene, battle it out in StarCraft 2.
Alongside these four are playing Fantasy, Soulkey, Calm and Leta. Don’t let the Bonjwa or near-Bonjwa status of the main four distract you from the fact that Pro League results have shown that the transition to StarCraft 2 went smoother for some of the less prominent players.
Image by: MLG
Admittedly, the level of play by these eight will not stand up to that from the main tournament, but it will be more than interesting to watch, if only for nostalgia’s sake.
With everything that’s going on with the LAN event, attendees will be able to put hands on StarCraft 2’s first expansion pack called ‘Heart of the Swarm’. The latest multiplayer build will feature on 200 PCs for everyone to check out and to see how well the new units work into the balance of the races. Robert Clotworthy, voice actor of Jim Raynor in all the StarCraft installations so far will make his way to California to make an appearance.
Image by: Blizzplanet.com
Make sure to return for more updates as the weekend passes to see if the foreigners fulfill their task to take top ranks at MLG Anaheim and bring the Spring Season to a satisfying end. And to prove your knowledge make use of our GosuBet system!
Links: Liquipedia, GosuBet, MLG