One of the more popular features of Teamliquid in earlier times, the Power Rank ran through multiple OSL/MSL/PLs, going back to 2006 before it was metaphorically laid to rest back in 2012. With the second season of the Afreeca Starleague (ASL) starting in a couple of days, we thought this would be a great time to revive the Power Rank. Without further ado, please go ahead and read our own rankings, post your own in the comments below and feel free to discuss to your heart's desire!
Since being knocked out of the last ASL in the Ro8 by Last, Flash's play has become really solid. He's been topping the monthly ranking with a win rate of ~70-80% far above most of the other competitors and has beaten most players in this upcoming ASL quite convincingly. He's been slowly regaining his form and will be the player to fear the most if he prepares as well as he has done in the past. Is the ultimate weapon charging up to take first place?
Nicknamed Alphago by Flash, Last has certainly made his mark on the scene. He's been constantly in the top 5 monthly rankings trailing mostly behind Flash and Bisu and has been made numerous final appearances. In SSL10, he lost against sSak in the finals and has been thirsty for a first place finish since then. He was knocked out in the Ro8 by Bisu in VANT, got knocked out of the semifinals by Shuttle in the last ASL after beating Flash 3-0 which was considered a remarkable feat and won silver in Thrill Starleague losing only to ZerO. Will he manage to finally win it all this time around?
Everyone who has seen Bisu play will tell you he is one of the best protoss players to play the game. His multitasking, decision-making and micro among other things are second to none (except Flash). Similar to Flash, he has held a Top 5 monthly spot with a win rate as high as 68.5% for several months. Bisu opted out of participating in the last ASL but he has made it to the finals in past tournaments such as SSL9, SSL11 and VANT despite facing stiff competition (took second in all except SSL9). He has also taken games off all the other players and recently beat Flash and Jaedong in the KT Giga Legends Match.
Effort has been showing steady improvements in his gameplay since he made his debut on Afreeca. Though he was knocked out in the Ro16 in the previous ASL and has struggled a bit lately to put up some solid results (knocked out in Nal_ra starleague by Sky and Sharp), he managed to take silver in Terror's starleague and one can't forget his first place win over Bisu in VANT. He has also achieved a top 5 monthly ranking in Nov and is one of the only Zergs that is able to handle mech well enough in the late game. He should be a force to be reckoned with this ASL.
You might be wondering why Shuttle has gotten this spot despite winning the last ASL? Though Shuttle manages to win smaller tournaments and won the last ASL convincingly, his performance is not awe-aspiring. When you watch other BW players, you feel this aura of dominance, yet you don't feel the same from Shuttle. His play is still really solid overall. He knows instinctively when to strike his opponent and has been gradually getting better. Still, winning the ASL once could've been partially luck despite him taking on tough opponents like Last.
One of the more accomplished players on Sonic's now-defunct BBARAS team, Sharp has been making a lot of noise with his recent gameplay. He has been slowly improving as is evident by placing third in VANT followed by second place in the recent ASL. His TvT seems to be his strong suit and has helped his ascent. His TvZ is also solid but he needs to work on his TvP if he wishes to make it as far this time around.
Considered one of the best zergs before Effort made his debut on Afreeca, hero's ZvP is still his best matchup. This has allowed him to best strong opponents like Bisu many times since his SSL9 loss such as beating Bisu 3-0 in SSL11 finals over a year back. Since then, hero's skill level has fluctuated quite by bit. He was knocked out early in the Ro32 in VANT though he made it much further in the previous ASL, to the Ro8 before being eliminated by Sea in a close series. His ZvT needs more work considering his current opponents in this ASL, however, hero has been on the upswing lately. He has finally made the Top 5 monthly rankings, has a winning record against Bisu (7-3) and has also tied Flash (7-7). Everyone beware, hero is coming!
Compared to 1-2 years ago where Mind was considered one of the top player in the post-kespa era (only second to Bisu), his game has taken quite a nose dive. It's hard to point to a single reason, whether that's due to loss of motivation or external factors. However, recent rumours indicate that Mind has been practicing frantically so that he can place well in this ASL. He has also been winning more games against players such as Effort, Bisu, ZerO etc... Considering his past history, his performance in Nal_ra Starleague where he placed second, right behind Flash and his most recent performance against high-caliber opponents, we are confident that Mind will make quite the high placement this ASL.
Like Rain, Soulkey is looking to transfer his success that he has achieved during his Starcraft II career into his new post-KeSPA Brood War career. Also like Rain, Soulkey is a no-nonsense, management style Zerg that was revered for giving the top Terran's trouble in the KeSPA era. Known for being a lazy player with immense talent, his success in the ASL will hinge on how much effort and preparation he will put into the tournament.
One of the best zergs of all times, Jaedong has been playing under the guise of jiko/424 for several months on Afreeca before he started streaming recently. Both his ZvZ and ZvT need more work especially when you consider his recent losses to lower-caliber players, however, his ZvP is solid overall. He put on a good showing in his match against Bisu in the KT Giga Legends Match despite losing the series 1-2. The Tyrant still has a long way to go and we are confident in his abilities to achieve some of the same highs of the past. Will this tournament be his to lose? Only one way to find out.
One of my favorite quotes from a certain user on Team Liquid has always amused me - "Whether By.Sun or By.Rain, he always delivers." More known among the Starcraft II community as 'no-fun Jeong' for innovating how to play defensive Protoss, Rain has re-entered the post-KeSPA system after taking a brief sabbatical to cast SC2 for SPOTV Games. Despite his successes in SC2, we have yet to see whether Rain will be able to replicate this in the post-KeSPA BW scene. Just like in SC2, expect solid, no-nonsense gameplay from him.
Oh, how far Sea has fallen. For years after the professional scene ended, Sea was always placing well in many tournaments, taking first place in the smaller ones. He had a solid TvT, TvZ and a work in progress TvP which was taking games off the likes of Bisu. He even placed well in the recent ASL after getting knocked out in the Ro16 in VANT. However, unlike Mind, seems like Sea has been slacking lately. His results against players such as Shuttle, hero, last etc... have been dismal (<50%). We'll have to wait and see if he can pull himself together for this ASL. Sea hwaiting!
Known as one of the few Terran's not named Flash during the KeSPA era that could go toe-to-toe with Jaedong in the TvZ match-up, the Invisible Terran is unique in that he has participated in the post-KeSPA system of tournaments both before and after serving his mandatory stint in the Korean military. After a brief period of inactivity working for a start-up company, Light has come back onto the scene, and just like his career in the KeSPA era, look out for his TvZ because it's pleasure to watch - just don't hold your breath for his TvP and TvT.
One of the original six dragons during the kespa era, free has had a hard time finding his stride. His last notable performance was during VANT where he was eliminated 1-3 by ZerO in Ro8. Afterwards, he has participated in various small tournaments with mixed results. In the previous ASL, he was eliminated in the group stages losing to sSak and Shuttle. As it stands, free has been losing quite a bit lately, even in his best matchup, PvZ. Whether free makes it past the group stages or falls there is anyone's guess.
Stork was one of the most consistent protoss players during the Kespa era. During the qualifiers, it was rumoured that Stork practiced quite a bit, to the point that Sharp was confident that he will advance. His game against Flash in the KT Giga Legends Match seems to suggest that Stork's macro is pretty solid overall and it's mostly his decision making skills and positioning that need work. Still, with no recent BW results, Stork will have to best quite a bit of ex-pros who have years of extra practice under their belt after professional BW ended.
Larva has been a madman as of late. His recent games seem to indicate that the Zerg player must have used stim to conquer his foes such as Flash and co on Afreeca especially when you consider his Top 5 ranking. He has not participated in many tournaments lately (knocked out right away in previous ASL, took first place in 41 Ranking tournament in April). We have seen some sparks of brilliance from Larva when he's streaming but whether those materialize on the upcoming ASL stage is a bit of an unknown at this point in time and nothing indicates otherwise.
Despite being a force to be reckoned with over the past couple of years even when out of practice, 2016 has not been a kind year for Movie. The young protoss who is currently running a side business has been playing and streaming less BW these days and his skills have deteriorated as a result. His last significant standing was third place in the 41 Starleague Season 4, behind Mong and Last. With the current level of BW players rising ever so steadily, Movie is in the fight of his life if he wishes to make it far in this star-strutted ASL.
Known as pig terran, Mong has fallen far from his top form where he was referred to as the Afreecan flash due to his intense multitasking. He has had little success in both VANT and the previous ASL where he was eliminated in the group stages by Last, hero and free. He was eliminated just recently in Thrill Starleague by s2 and Rain and his November stats have shown a great decline in his once formidable matchup, TvZ with a combined record of 8-21 when going up against hero and Effort. It's hard to see Mong going far with his current skill level. Maybe he'll get a power-up with the help of his girlfriend much like during the SSL9 days?
Known as the berserker, Iris has not participated in any tournaments since the beginning of 2016. His last tournament was 41 Starleague season 4 where he was eliminated after losing against Sky, Guemchi and Shuttle. An old school player who came incredibly close to winning an OSL back in 2007, there may still be surprises left in store for us. Best not to count him out and tune in to cheer for his fighting spirit and victory!
Ah Best. Known for his macro-oriented style in PvT during the kespa era, it seems that Best is not as proficient at this style as he once were. His PvZ has also not shown much improvement. He was knocked out in the group stages early on in the last ASL and has a terrible record against both terrans and zergs on Afreeca this past month. While PvP is his current best matchup, he can't rely solely on it to get to the top considering this ASL's race distribution. Based on these results, things don't look too good for our dragon. BeSt not to call it quits yet though!
Guemchi has been streaming less BW these days but has been gaining followers due to his antics (see this article). He has been knocked out in the earlier stages in the majority of tournaments he has participated in recently. His last good result was in VANT where he lost 1-3 to Effort in the Ro8. Whether he puts more effort into his gameplay is an unknown but G-shizzle will certainly give us a good show.
Rush has taken games off PianO, Movie and ZerO this past January in the 41 Starleague Season 4. However, his previous knockout in the Ro16 in VANT does not paint his skills in good light when it comes to offline tournaments. This is the most stacked BW tournament that we have had since professional BW ended and based on this, it is really doubtful that Rush will make it far.
MisO has not played in many tournaments over the years. In the most recent Thrill Starleague, he only managed to best Tyson and was knocked out by ZerO and Last. He has went up against several players in this league, most notably Mind, Sea and GuemChi and has lost to them all as well. Much like some of the lesser known players, it remains to be seen whether he makes it further than his usual.
Terror managed to make it through the qualifiers on the back of beating Sexy 2-1. He is your atypical BW player. Since becoming a huge hit on Afreeca for his antics, he barely plays BW on his stream, eliciting to do other stuff. With his lack of practice, there's not much to be said about his potentially early exit. Expect one of the largest turnouts when he plays his matches in Group D.
Ample has not participated in many tournaments lately. His last tournament was the 41 Starleague Season 4 where he was eliminated early on by Rush and by.hero. His records overall indicate that his best matchup is TvZ with his last win over Bale. Ample used to be quite a notable terran player years ago when the amateur scene first formed, however, he has been surpassed by many of the returning players.
Much like Ample, Force[name] has been around the scene since the early SRT days where he has beaten plenty of amateurs. His most recent results include early exits from both SSL10 and 11 with a sole win over ZerO. With this large pool of extremely skilled players, only time will tell if force[name] makes a splash of his own this time around.
Another amateur player, Hint's last tournament was the 41 Starleague Season 4 where he won several games off July and Last but was eliminated regardless. He has no notable achievements to his name even during the earlier SSL/SRT days where he was a frequent participant and not much expectations on his shoulders either.
By.Maru is an unknown compared to everyone else on this list. It's commendable that he's made it past the qualifiers but all we can do now is watch his games to find out where he ranks among the rest.
Writers: BigFan, GTR
Photo Credits: DailyEsports