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BLOGS in 2009, ESL Global Champs, Playing in a Changing Game

By Ryan 'Realz' Masterson
Feb 7, 2010 14:45

So the Hannover groups have been completed...

...and there's a lot to be excited about, and maybe even a little bit to be anxious about.

Season 8 of WoW's in-game Arena began just this week, while at the same time the Intel Extreme Masters Season4 Asian Continental Championships (whew, mouthful) just completed. Now, the season ending World Finals event held in Hannover is less than a month away. This represents the first event of 2009 to be played by' proper roster (as seen at IEM American finals back in November) not to be confused with the compromise SK/EG mix squad played in last month's MLG Final.

The Groups for the IEM finals are finals are now set ( ) and all 4 SK teams - yes, four! - have qualified ( ). will be playing in Group A, here's the breakdown:

Group A - (Rogue, Warlock, Shaman) (Druid, Warrior, RetPaladin)
Dignitas (Rogue, Mage, Priest)
x6tence (countercleave - PHD, TSG, beastcleave)
fnatic (Rogue, Warlock, Shaman)
Mousesports (Paladin, Hunter, DK)

Represented are three teams with balanced lineups (melee/physical, caster, healer) and three cleaves (physical, physical, healer) among them being x6tence who are known for running whatever class lineup they feel counters their opposition. There is also at least one of each of the four Healer classes in the Group.

The second group (Group B) houses the other two SK squads, and contains all three continental finals winners (, BB, coL):

Group B - (Mage, Warlock, Druid) (Paladin, Warrior, DK)
ButtonBashers (Rogue, Mage, Priest)
iNNERFiRE (Rogue, Mage, Priest)
compLexity (Paladin, Enhance Shaman, Hunter)
Team EG (Mage, Warlock, Shaman)

This group is also fairly well-rounded with again three balanced lineups, but this time only two physical cleaves. The final team (EG) is the lone wizardcleave variant of the tournament. Group B also has every one of every Healer class.

The IEM Finals at this point are shaping up to be very interesting and very competitive, with little to no weakspots across the entire field of teams. With all four SK teams having successfully qualified, I know for certain SK is hoping for gold and wants to be the team to bring it home!

Changes, changes, changes...

Season 8 has already begun to a slew of major and minor changes to the game, all of which will be in effect as we look forward toward the IEM Finals. The most significant and sweeping PvP changes are the Resilience buff, and the Arena healing nerf. Neither of these directly affect the competitiveness of our primary class lineup and in some cases may even help; for that reason I feel our chances of success are very high. All three players have been playing successfully in Arena since Day 1 of Season 1, and we will once again have to show our ability to adapt and stay competitive in the face of change.

Make sure you tune in and watch SK (especially!) at the IEM Finals the first week of March~!

- SK.Realz

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