Hello and welcome to our first Starcraft: Remastered monthly Power Rank! We've done tournament-only power ranks in the past, and while those are always good and fun, we decided it was time to return to our roots and go back to a nice monthly power rank. For the Power Rank, players were graded by the following: 1) Offline tournament results, 2) Online tournament results, and 3) Past performances within a few months.
Now, this doesn't mean that simply making it into the ASL or KSL guarantees a player a higher spot than someone who makes a deep run in an online tournament. There aren't many offline tournaments these days, and large online tournaments like the recent DanJJING Starleague still hold significant merit in our eyes. Now, with that out of the way, let's get to the Power Rank!
Rain is the best Protoss right now, and the best player in the world outside of FlaSh. He clobbered poor Movie in his opening match in the KSL to send a strong message to his competition: his ASL5 win wasn’t a fluke, and he’s on a quest to prove that he’s top dog right now. His micro has always been top-notch, allowing him to take small early game leads that transition into a mid-late game victory, and his decision making has looked just as good. Getting that 25 probe kill reaver on Polaris Rhapsody just puts the icing on the cake for Rain. Definitely the frontrunner to win the KSL, Rain takes this month’s #1 slot.
With a strong win in the DanJJING Starleague 3, Larva surges to a #2 spot on this month’s Power Rank. He beat 4 players in this Power Rank (Stork, Mind, Action, BeSt) to obtain the gold, and while he is sorely missed in the KSL, he’ll make a strong case for the next ASL. His series against BeSt took him to the edge, but clever ling runbys and mutalisk pressure helped him reach the three wins necessary to take home the gold. It's interesting to note that he went for more 3-base play against Protoss compared to his more traditional 4 base defensive style, so perhaps Larva is adding to his arsenal of ZvP strategies. Look out for Larva to come out guns blazing in August.
If KCM Race Wars are any sign of a surging player, then Soulkey is the cream of the crop. He ended the July 13th edition with a destructive 4-kill, and played a very good series against Shuttle in the KSL. Soulkey did show some weaknesses in that series which could be potentiall abused by a stronger Protoss like Rain in a future matchup. He’ll need to think of more than just low-econ hydra busts and early zergling shenanigans to improve his ZvP. While his clever fake drop play is a great BoX prepped build, Soulkey failed to make a good impression in his macro game, which used to be one of his stronger points. He’ll need to prove himself against TvZ specialist, Light, to maintain his spot this month.
Hot off his strong ASL5 silver, Snow faltered in the DanJJING Starleague where he was eliminated by MIsO in the Ro16. But he bounced back with a convincing victory over Shine in his KSL opener, where his cheese defense was something special. It reminded me of FlaSh at his peak when he always knew when to pull workers and the exact number of workers needed to defend. I’m not entirely sold on his PvZ just yet with Shine being a pretty predictable player after his ASL3 Cinderella run, but most players have figured out he’s mostly just full of cheeses and not much else. Snow should easily dispatch Sharp in the Winner’s match to push him into the Ro8.
BeSt’s loss to Stork in the KSL definitely has him lower than I would like to put him, where his incessant need to DT rush cost him Game 5. His overall mechanics looked particularly strong, but he still opted for cheesy openers against an inferior Stork. But his close 2nd place finish to Larva in the DanJJING Starleague 3 makes up for that loss. His PvZ has improved dramatically, taking clear macro wins over Larva in Games 1 and 3. He’s really stepped up his understanding of the matchup and has taken strides to refine his corsair and DT control. Him and Snow are vying for #2 Protoss in the world right now, so we’ll have to keep an eye on this battle in August. BeSt will need to bounce back with a win against Mind in the losers' match of KSL.
Sharp’s consistent performances in the KCM Race Wars, where he’s been averaging a 2k every week, as well as a strong showing against Sea in his KSL opener puts him at my #6. TvT has always been his bread and butter, and his demolition of Sea showed with great tactics, powerful map pressure, and smart target firing. His drop play in Game 4 was particularly strong and really showcased the different styles he can play. However, his weak performance in the DanJJING Starleague where he failed to move out of the Ro24 against Soma means he fails to break the top 5. A botched defense against a simple overpool makes me scratch my head to see how Sharp can take down top Zergs like Soulkey and Larva in KCM, but fail to beat Soma in a tournament setting. If he can beat Snow in the KSL, he’ll definitely move up this list.
A demolition of Last with crisp carrier micro that rivaled that of Stork lets Mini come in at #7. Seriously, go watch games 1 and 2, that’s how you use carriers to make a comeback. He was down 40 supply in game 2, but Blue Storm carriers came to save the day, picking off units left and right and doing the good old natural run-around with Last. Then he sealed the deal with some great reaver micro in game 3 to take home the sweep. He’s been on an upward trend following his 4th place finish at ASL5, but a sad 0-2 in his DSL Ro16 group means he doesn’t get placed higher than 7th here. If he manages to upset Rain in the winners' match, he’ll definitely surge up the ranks. More people need to be looking out for Mini as a contending Protoss because he has been improving rapidly.
Ok, so yes he lost to Horang2, someone I put at the bottom of my list for KSL players, but at least it was a close series. His weaknesses are still in his larger fights which most Terrans have trouble with minus FlaSh, but his micro in small skirmishes in the early game are still quite good as seen on Fighting Spirit. He also made the Ro8 in the DSL where he barely lost to BeSt 2-3, but in a similar fashion as he lost to Horang2. Thus far, he’s the only person who qualified for the Ro8 in the DSL and had a close series where he lost in the KSL, so I have to give him some credit for that (Last made it to the Ro8 in DSL, but got demolished by Mini). He’ll take our #8 spot, but faces an uphill challenge against BeSt in the losers' match.
His surprising victory over BeSt in his KSL opener, 3-2, turned a lot of heads. Is this the rise of the old Stork again? Time will have to tell, but if his series was any indicator of things to come, Stork fans should be very excited for this KSL. Coming back down 0-2 is a huge triumph, but I will say he did take a bit to close out those games against BeSt. Game 3 on Fighting Spirit showed that Stork still has a lot of work to do in the mechanics department, where even after getting a significant build order advantage, he struggled to close out the game against BeSt. Still, beating a top tier player puts Stork at #9, and he is quickly becoming a Ro8 hopeful with his next match being against Horang2.
I think it would be extremely unfair of me to not include the 3rd place finisher in the DanJJING Starleague 3 anywhere in my PR, so Action makes #10. His series against Mong was decisive, with zergling control in game 1 that was reminiscent of Jaedong. Easy 8 rax holds and then suffocating Mong until he was forced to tap out in Game 4 sealed the deal in that series. He failed to qualify for the KSL though, but if his play at the DSL and his debut in the ASL5 are any indications of his trajectory, he’s a player to watch out for in the future. His current spot is most likely temporary, as I don’t expect him to play too many games in August. Hopefully he makes a strong showing in ASL6 though.
-- Close But No Cigar (CBNC) ---
FlaSh: Inactivity in the month of July sees FlaSh fail to qualify for our top 10. Hopefully we see some action from him in August, otherwise he’ll stay in CBNC.
Shuttle: Shuttle’s close series against Soulkey means he’s still a very solid Protoss. However, faltering at the DSL means he will miss a spot in the PR. A win against Jaedong might propel him into the top 10 next month.
Light: One would think Light might have squeezed into the top 10 with a triumphant win over Jaedong, but let’s be honest, JD is out of shape, and Light’s best matchup is TvZ. The real test will be his match against Soulkey.
Photo Credits: Blizzard Entertainment