WCS America - Season 3
Ro32: Group D Preview
aLive, Hack, ByuL, Arthur
Brackets and standings on Liquipedia
VODs on Twitch.TV
WCS America Season 3 Begins
It wasn't too long ago that WCS America was the most mocked WCS region. It was dominated by Koreans, barely had any foreigners of note make it past the Ro32, and generally seemed to be "Code S Light."
The last month of competition has gone a long way toward changing this perception. Yes, fundamentally you can still say WCS America is a tournament dominated by Koreans, with foreigners barely featuring past the online phase. But what's changed is how we view the Koreans in it, and the rare foreigner who does happen to get to the later rounds.
Players like TaeJa, Jaedong and Polt have fought against the best players KeSPA and eSF have to offer in multiple tournaments, and proved that they are their equals if not their betters. Players like aLive, Oz,and Revival have shown that they could have made it in Code S—but just chose to take advantage of their team situation. And players like Scarlett and Jim have shown that in a post-Stephano world, the best foreigner in the world doesn't have to come from Europe. To put it simply, WCS America can now offer things no other region has.
Although, they're not exactly putting their best foot forward...
Ro32 Group D PreviewEG.aLive, ST_Hack, IM_ByuL, Arthur
The group order for the Ro32 has been shuffled due to DreamHack Bucharest flights, forcing WCS America Season 3 to kick off with a dreaded all-Korean group. Not only is Group D all-Korean, but it's full of Koreans so anonymous that it would have been hard to hand pick a group that attracts less interest. Oh, there's no doubt that these players are good. But as we all know, it's hard for a Korean to receive any attention overseas unless they're a top 10 player, or a top 10 clown.
In any case, we're going to see two of these four guys at the live Ro16:
EG.aLive, a once champion, has recovered much of his past form after joining EG. He placed top eight at the recent WCS Season 2 Finals, and his quiet consistency this year has him sitting in seventh place in WCS points, a near lock to reach the Blizzcon finals. aLive is peculiar in that he seems to be comfortable with his "invisible Terran" nickname (given to him by the Korean community), happy to avoid the spotlight as he hops from one good tournament finish to another.
ST_Hack, though overshadowed by his teammate Bomber, has been a reliable second Terran for Startale. He's played in two Code S tournaments in the past, and has usually been solid for Startale in the GSTL. Unfortunately, the change of GSTL to a best of seven format has reduced his opportunities to impress, as he typically sat on the 4th/5th spot bubble. Not surprisingly for a Code S Terran, he beat out plenty of strong competition such as Sound, BBoongBBoong, ByuL in the qualifiers for WCS America.
IM_ByuL is similar to Hack in having been overshadowed on a team full of stars, but has proved his skill by playing in Code S and performing well in the GSTL. The transition to HotS seemed to trouble ByuL early on, but he hit his stride in time for the WCS AM qualifiers. His WCS AM Challenger run heading into this group: 2 - 0 against Major, Tilea, and Ryung.
The former SlayerS and Western Wolves player Arthur is the least accomplished of the four, and looks to be the weakest player of the group. Although he plays in a considerable number of smaller online tournaments, he still doesn't have a notable result in a major tournament, whether it's online or live.
aLive is just too good and consistent not to make it out of this group, even if it's a difficult one with four Koreans. And besides, he needs to advance if he wants to keep up his streak of team-killing EG's foreigners in WCS (Suppy, Stephano, and DeMusliM have been his victims so far). The remaining spot will probably go to Hack or ByuL, but I have to favor ByuL as he gets to play a slightly easier first opponent in Arthur. He did, however, lose to both Arthur and Hack in WCS America qualifiers.
aLive > Hack
ByuL > Arthur
aLive > ByuL
HacK > Arthur
ByuL > Hack
aLive and ByuL advance