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WCS European Finals Preview

By Robert 'InzTTP' Wylie
Sep 14, 2012 18:06


ImageThis weekend the best of the best from Europe will go head to head to battle it out for 6 possible seeds in the World Championship Finals at BlizzCon 2012. With 32 players qualifying from 14 different countries its set to be an amazing weekend!

The World Championship Series has been the highlight for most of us since it's inception. With the idea of finding a truly global champion at stake the entire StarCraft II scene is eagerly waiting to see who will make it to the finals!

Here at SK-Gaming we've decided to do things a little differently with the preview. Three of our editors have elected to back two players each and collectively agreed on a wild card player! So let's just jump right in.

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Inz's picks!

There’s no doubt going into WCS European finals that Stephano is one of the favourite to take the entire tournament. He has shown time after time that he is one of the best Zerg players outside of Korea. His place in this tournament was earned in amazing fashion, not only did Stephano not lose a single series he didn’t even drop a single map. Recently joining Team Evil Geniuses some may argue the EG Curse will halt him in his tracks but I feel Stephano will blow the myth away and take home a top 6 finish in this tournament to secure his seed but may also compete for the overall first place finish.

His first match will be against none other than HasuObs, the German Protoss plays a methodical macro based style which fits Stephano perfectly. It will be the first of many challenges he will face but I don’t think HasuObs will be any trouble for him at all. Stephano’s side of the bracket sports some big names which may present a challenge for him but he’s the favourite for a reason!

Lucifron is a player who was very well known in the beta and at the beginning of StarCraft II. After a long hiatus from the competitive scene he made his return with win after win. Coming in first at The Gathering 2012 and an invitational tournament organised by Team Dignitas it was apparent he was back in form. He earned his spot in WCS European finals by taking home first place at WCS Spain Nationals against his own brother. Lucifron is one of the top Terran players in Europe although he has yet to compete on a global scale this will be his opportunity to breakout and succeed.

Up first he faces a huge challenge in the Russian Terran Happy, both players have met countless times on ladder and in tournaments around Europe so it will be a huge test for Lucifron. His side of the bracket Is one of the less stacked so he does have a good shot and getting into the final stages of the tournament but it all depends on how he performs in his first match.

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Noxilicious's picks!

There is no need to write a lot about Socke as his name speaks for itself. He is one of the most successful and known Protoss players in Germany and also in Europe. With numerous wins and apperances at MLG events nearly everyone knows who Socke is. With three national championships in the EPS he is officially the best player coming out of Germany. With wins against the best people from Germany such as DarKFoRcE, Delphi, GoOdy and many others is proof that he is a tough enemy and can compete with anyone. However this is not a guarantee for Socke to win the WCS Europe Finals as he lacks consistency within a short amount of time. One day he seems to be unstoppable and the other day he is making mistakes you would not expect from him.

Socke is placed in the lower part of the winners bracket and will first face some opponents who should not be any problem at all for him. He has shown great games in every matchup but seems to have some problems in PvP lately. HasuObs, Naama and Stephano seem to be the three biggest challenges for Socke. He will not have to face all of them but he will face some of them. If Socke has a good day, he can win against every single one of them though HasuObs seems to be on the same level as Socke. With 100% focus, good mechanics and the correct decisions Socke can win the WCS Europe Finals.

Another big name from Germany is HasuObs. Though the first big success outside of Germany is still missing he is considered to be among the top Protoss players in Germany and probably even in Europe. He faced Socke numerous times with different results. The first opponent for the German player will be Stephano who recently joined EG. It could not have been any harder for HasuObs as Stephano is probably the best foreigner according to many people. Nevertheless HasuObs has won a lot of other games where people thought he would lose for sure. He is playing a standard style and won't do anything too surprising.

The PvZ matchup seems to be the weak spot from HasuObs but lately the Protoss race seemed to do pretty good according to TLPD statistics. Stephano is not an ordinary zerg player but everyone can win or lose. Other big names will be in the way of HasuObs on his way through the tournament, so he will have to show his best, but what does a saying tell? "Expect the unexpected!"

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Clamev's picks!

With Sweden being basically the South Korea of Europe, producing most of the top players in the foreign scene, the winner of the Sweden qualifier, Thorzain, is definitely one of the favourites going into the Europe finals. Earning his spot in arguably the hardest qualifier, beating known players like Morrow, Naniwa and the up and comer Sortof. Also not forgetting his two Dreamhack wins in Sweden, one of them by defeating Polt in the finals, making for one of the most memorable moments in WoL history. His first opponent Nightend should be no problem for him, as he is quite comfortable in the PvT match up. The second round we will see if Thorzain has enough practice under his belt as he will probably play Jonnyrecco. This will not only show if he is able to deal with yet another up and coming Zerg player but it will also be a leading sign for the next round, as his next round will be the his seemingly unbeatable teammate Stephano. If Thorzain has the TvZ necessary to beat Stephano, there are not many players left on the other side of the bracket that would be able to take the tournament away from him.

With foreign Zergs swarming into the foreign pro scene Thorzain, the king in the north, seems to be one of the few terrans who is weathering the storm not only against the “patchzergs” but also being able to compete with the terrifying Koreans. With his unique spoon terran style that relies heavily on outplaying and outlasting the opponent he seems to be equipped with everything he needs to crush the zerg uprising and defend Sweden in its title of best StarCraft 2 country in Europe.

Nerchio was a good Zerg player with a good win rate against all races before being a good foreign Zerg was even a thing, back in 2011. Winning an absurd amount of online cups and beating out more known players more often than not Nerchio remained one of the secret treasures, hidden deep inside the European player pool. It was only recently though that Nerchio established himself officially as a force to be reckoned with by wining Homestory Cup V by beating not only foreigners but MC and Yongwha convincingly. He also takes a big momentum with him from the IEM Cologne Challenge, where he looked almost unstoppable until MVP took him out in the finals with his new style of Mech.

Unfortunately in his side of the bracket are two potential hurdles he has to overcome. SortOf, his first round opponent, and Demuslim his potential third round opponent, both have beaten him the last time they met. It will be interesting to see if he can put the Swedish newcomer in his place and if he has found an answer to Demuslim unconventional Terran style. After that we are in for a treat as his opponent will probably be either WhiteRa, who he has shown confidence against, or Ret which would probably be the highest level of ZvZ at the tournament. Unless Nerchio and Stephano both manage to get through the finals to determine who is the best European zerg right now.

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The Wild Card

With so many relatively unknown players from all over Europe it’s hard to pick a wild card as nearly every one of the underdogs could make for a big upset. On player who has proven beyond a doubt that he can take games even if the odds are highly stacked against him is Naama. Beating none other than MVP in a best of three in the Homestory Cup with his very odd builds Naama managed to turn quite a few heads.

He goes up against the French Terran Dayshi and even though Dayshi's play looks a lot more solid, in TvT especially, Naama´s crazy builds have a high chance of catching his opponent off guard. The second round has the most upset potential as he will play against the zerg tyrant himself Stephano. This match would test Stephanos timings and ability to hold against the inevitable svc trains to the maximum and should Naama be able to break him it would make for a big story.

The high number of big names in this tournament combined with the numbers of players capable of taking games of the big guys will make this a very exciting tournament to watch and if one of the underdogs steps up and is able to pull through it has potential to become one of the biggest storylines in 2012.

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This weekend will be one of the best StarCraft II tournaments of 2012, with such a stacked tournament you won't want to miss a single game! The action kicks off tomorrow at 12:45 CEST and will continue till Sunday evening.


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