Last HomeStory Cup, our preview was met with a lot of laughs and hurt feelings. Sure, HSC is a time to relax and chill out, but it's also a big event that people want to win. Pros don't only come to Krefeld for a drink and a weekend to remember that they will likely half forget, they descend on TaKe's studio to win a trophy and take home some cash. But mostly to drink. So, instead of a totally bogus satirical article, we're taking it seriously this time!
Wow, yeah we're totally doing group previews this time.
Sacsri comes into this tournament as a definite-but-unlikely dark horse. He's had a relatively quite 2015 so far, although not necessarily a bad one. His recent qualification to GSL (where he unfortunately drew Curious and sOs in his Ro32 group) and solid run in last week's SSL qualifier signal that perhaps there's more than meets the eye when it comes to the mYinsanity zerg. Whether he's destined for more or not, there's absolutely no question that he's the overwhelming favorite coming into this group. His ZvP has looked fairly strong as of late, and neither ShoWTimE nor PtitDrogo have proven themselves to be at Code S class.
Therefore, second place is more likely than not going to come down to the two up-and-coming protoss. They've both had solid results over the past few months (Namely, Showtime's Ro4 WCS run and PtitDrogo's nightmarish domination of Snute) but neither has proven themselves to be all that consistent. The slight edge goes to ShoWTimE for winning the head-to-head in Shenzhen qualifiers, but considering it's a mirror matchup, practically anything could happen. It's worth noting that this is PtitDrogo's first tournament on mYinsanity, which gives him a good reason to come out big here. With a strong run this weekend, we might be seeing yet another foreign hope.
Rounding out the first group is the most mysterious player in the entire tournament- Broski. Yeah, everyone ever's gonna predict him going out 0-4, and taking even a single game would be a fairly major miracle, but weird stuff can always happen *cough cough* PROXYPANDA 2-0 MaNa *cough cough*. My advice to Broski? 2rax like your life depends on it, man. Because it pretty much does.
Sacsri > Broski
ShoWTimE < PtitDrogo
Sacsri > PtitDrogo
Broski < ShoWTimE
PtitDrogo < ShoWTimE
Sacsri and ShoWTimE to advance.
Snute is searching for redemption. After zerg’s late game was considerably nerfed, the Nord has struggled to adapt to the new constraints of the meta, yielding less than stellar results. His teammate Bunny has supplanted him as the current top foreigner, soaring past him by several spots in WCS. This is Snute’s weekend to prove that a Ro32 exit is a singular fluke, and not a sign of times to come.
In contrast, Jaedong is on the up and up. After failing to compete in WCS Season 1, the Dong has returned to the field with force. A Ro8 finish proved that the break had little to do with skill. With his HSC executioner at a mere reach, Jaedong is sure to have a fire in his belly right out the gate. Someone else noticeably absent from Season 1 was Millenium’s Dayshi. The French Terran, once a staple of Premier League, failed to even qualify for Challenger. There seems to be no clear reason for his recent slump, with a peak of 17th at DH Tours being the closest thing to a success.
The wildcard of the group is Inv.Harstem. The Dutch Protoss is anything but consistent. He started the year with an elimination from Challenger, only to follow it with a Ro16 finish last weekend, as well as a Ro8 finish at DH Tours. With a team change seemingly clearing his head, several Koreans have praised Harstem’s results in recent practice. If the former Dutch champion can stay focused and not let his nerves interfere, another Ro8, or even higher, is entirely possible.
Unless he has to run a fucking interference play.
Snute < Dayshi
Jaedong > Harstem
Dayshi < Jaedong
Snute > Harstem
Dayshi < Snute
Jaedong and Snute to advance.
It's very rare that a reigning GSL champion decides to attend a foreign event - especially one as non-serious as HomeStory Cup - but here we are. Rain's GSL win alone towers over the other three contestants with ease, especially when you consider he doesn't even have to play his most iffy matchup of PvP. However, it is worth noting that the last GSL champion to visit HomeStory Cup was Mvp, who lost out to Naama in the Ro16. So, crazy things have and can likely still happen. It's just unlikely that they'll happen this early.
The race for second place between MarineLorD, Xenocider and Bly is pretty fierce. While the Frenchman is certainly the favorite (and his stellar 12-3 HotS record in series against Bly helps prove this), but he may find some resistance in Xenocider. The american's TvT has been fairly strong over the course of 2015 - albeit relatively unproven against strong opponents - and may give the WCS Ro8er some amount of resistance. Still, it's also worth noting that Bly holds a 4-0 all-time series record against Xenocider, and considering their relative forms, that doesn't seem too likely to change here.
Rain > Xenocider
MarineLorD > Bly
Rain > MarineLorD
Xenocider < Bly
MarineLorD > Bly
Rain and MarineLorD to advance.
For once in his life, PartinG may not be the favorite for his group at a foreign event. The former world champion took home HSC X in spectacular fashion, with wins over Flash and Jaedong. However, over the past few weeks, Parting has been in a severe slump, dropping out of several tournaments. This event looks to be an opportunity for him to turn the current pace around.
[Editor's note: What? Has peanuts started drinking already???]
The actual favorite of the group, Bunny, is running on a high. With two Ro4s in WCS, as well as a win over his teammate Snute in a lengthy showmatch, the Dane has locked in his position as the best foreigner in the world. He’s succeeded more in this regard than Targa. Targa is also in this group. Targa is that other Norwegian zerg. Anyway, moving on.
The last man tossing his hat into the ring is Elazer. A fresh face on the block, the young Zerg has grown in the last few months, making the step from online tournaments to LANs, peaking with a Ro32 finish. Helping to reestablish Poland as a Starcraft powerhouse, Elazer is looking for a breakout performance this weekend.
PartinG > TargA
Bunny > Elazer
PartinG < Bunny
TargA > Elazer
PartinG > TargA
Bunny and PartinG to advance.
Group E is a little unique in that it's headlining Korean doesn't seem as relatively dominant as, say, PartinG or Rain. Of course, Patience does seem to have an uncanny ability to become a real threat to pretty much anyone for a few moments - his IEM World Championship qualifier run which featured victories against Dark, soO, Cure and more shows this is still a thing - but in general he's struggled to break out within a fierce korean scene. HomeStory Cup is a great opportunity for him to show off what makes him different from the myriad of other Code A-level protoss, but the foreigners he's been paired up with aren't jokes either.
HeRoMaRinE and Zanster both seem to encompass the most frustrating parts of the foreign scene. They're both very talented and incredibly skilled, for sure, but neither of them have been able to put together a run that feels complete. On one hand, HomeStory Cup's as good a time as any. It's far from the most stacked event in terms of beyond-stellar players we've ever seen, yet has a high enough amount of solid players that a run by either of these guys would still be impressive. They've both traded series against Patience in the past, while HeRoMaRinE seems to have edged out the head-to-head pretty fairly.
If HeRoMaRinE and Zanster are unable to fulfill their potential, BlinG is simply insane. Losses to Bordan, WaKa and MaFarazZo make it easy to count him out, but his close sets against sOs and StarDust (and early-year Challenger run) makes him incredibly confusing. Much like the oft-told tale of Icarus, BlinG seems on-course to have an incredibly close set against Patience before returning to his regular form and falling out hard. I can only hope he decides to do so in blazing fashion, rather than crumbling to a pile of ash upon contact.
Patience > BlinG
HeRoMaRinE > Zanster
Patience < HeRoMaRinE
BlinG < Zanster
Patience > Zanster
HeRoMaRinE and Patience to advance.
Reigning over Group F is the one of the kings of mech, GuMiho. While the MVP terran did recently fail out of SSL qualifiers to his ex-punching bag Solar, he's shown impressive form in both Proleague (taking out sKyHigh and MMA, as well as Solar) and foreign tournaments with his Dreamhack Tours run. If he comes out in Tours form, it becomes very possible to see another big run here for the Towel Terran. However, as HomeStory Cup is likely as far from the GSTL finals as you can get without travelling to the ex-NewStarHoSeo/ZeNex teamhouses, a real championship run seems unlikely.
Sitting as the only likely obstacle in GuMiho's route to the Ro16 is MaNa, who has seemed fairly strong throughout 2015. Wins against MMA, Heart and even GuMiho (back during IEM WC qualifiers) prove that the old-school protoss still has a lot of fight left in him. Of course, multiple losses to Bunny and a loss to MaSa throughout the recent OSC Allstars event make his current form a little questionable, but even despite that there's no doubt that he's a large favorite coming into this group. For MaNa, HomeStory Cup serves as a chance to make a real, meaningful run, after being denied in Tours by an unfortunate meeting with PartinG in the Round of 16. Yet, only time will tell if MaNa proves an exception to the general foreigner philosophy of 'choke fast, choke hard'.
Rounding out the group is Lambo - who seems more focused on LotV than HotS right now - and DeMusliM - the Drake of Starcraft, minus the success. While these two have had some amount of success in the past (namely DeMusliM's trumping of StarDust on home turf at Gfinity and Lambo's solid wins against TLO earlier this year at WCS qualifiers) even getting out of this group seems like an unlikely event for them. However, when they look at their group and gulp, they can find solace in at least one fact. At least they aren't Broski.
GuMiho > DeMusliM
Lambo < MaNa
GuMiho > MaNa
DeMusliM > Lambo
MaNa > DeMusliM
GuMiho and MaNa to advance.
Group G kicks off with a once household name who has stepped back from the public eye a tad. Roccat.Hyun spent much of 2013 and 2014 traveling all over the world, taking podium after podium. However, with a relocation back to Korea, the OG Zerg has cut down on his foreign presence, appearing only once, at DH Tours last month. His play, however, remains much the same, with solid macro play being the core of a vast repertoire of builds. Expect a repeat Ro8 finish. Likewise, IG.Welmu, once the darling of foreign Protosses, has slightly faded from the public eye. An unlikely Challenger defeat at the hands of Ret left Welmu out to dry for several weeks, bar a brief appearance at Tours.
Lilbow, in comparison, couldn’t be any closer to the public eye. With an incredible run at WCS last weekend, the French Protoss was the first foreigner to reach the finals of a WCS season in two years. This weekend, back on European soil, he has a chance to make a run for the top foreigner slot, Bunny and Snute solidly in his sights. He lacks the precise homefield advantage for this group, which rests firmly in the hands of TLO. A pillar of the German scene, the Liquid Zerg has been on a steady rise back to his old form. Two consecutive Ro8s have left TLO with a hunger for an even better result.
HyuN > Welmu
Lilbow > TLO
HyuN < Lilbow
Welmu < TLO
HyuN < TLO
Lilbow and TLO to advance.
It's a sad state of affairs that -despite Scarlett's decreased position within the scene- you'd still be hardpressed to call HuK the best Canadian player. Yet, despite that, he does seem to have a solid enough shot at taking this group. Casting at WCS seemed to do wonders for ToD's play, and neither Stephano nor Namshar are quite on Jaedong's level. His PvZ has also looked relatively sharp recently, seeming to be consistent against not-so-good opponents while failing against the more greater talents in the NA scene. Most unfortunate of all, with Stephano and Ryung around, HuK can't even fall back on his WoL success. Still, despite Group H for HuK not working out so well last time, it seems that this group is as good a time as any for the canadian protoss to remind us of his mythical top three control.
On the other hand, Ryung seems to be largely a Korean version of HuK. Able to beat the weaker members of the scene with at least some consistency, while only managing to fail against the more impressive members. Although the Axiom player's TvT has claimed jjakji and INnoVation recently, he won't even be able to fall back on that through this group. His match against the swarmHost-less Stephano seems to be one where he's definitively favored -especially with the HomeStory Cup atmosphere looking strong against Stephano's infamous partying habits- but one should never count the once-foreign god out.
The last player in the group, Namshar, is either the most or the least depressing, considering he's the only one we can look at without getting gloomy-eyed about Wings of Liberty over. Most well-known for having a name that sounds less and less like a name the more you repeat it, the Swedish zerg qualified for this event over a bracket of less-than-stellar competition (including GoOdy), but overall looked to be one of the more on-the-cusp players in the European amateur scene through 2015. This group gives him as good a chance as he'll ever get to breakout, and putting 'I beat Stephano' on your resume looks pretty good. Well, unless you decide to put 'in 2015' next to it. But still!
Ryung > Stephano
HuK > Namshar
Ryung > HuK
Stephano < Namshar
HuK < Namshar
Ryung and Namshar advance.
Can't HSC Without a Drink
Okay, so that wasn't that serious. After a healthy round of competition, HSC requires a round of drinks. While last year's bingo may have been a little too complicated, we've simplified this year's drinking game to a very basic "if this happens, drink this" formula. Not quite as exciting, but it's not like you could even cross out the bingo card once you got started drinking.
Don't Trust Peanuts With Your Liver Drinking Game
- Anytime TLO "innovates" take a drink
- Anytime it's declared "The Year of Harstem" sip your beer. We're in for a long night here.
- Anytime a Korean shyly turns down speaking English, take a drink
- Anytime Rifkin complains about Germany, take a drink.
- Anytime Scarlett could have been a better contender than the current player, take a drink.
- Anytime BlinG fixes his hair, take a drink.
- Anytime Broski shows up, take a drink.
- Anytime someone complains about losing money in poker, sip your beer. Looking at you Incontrol.
- Anytime Stephano drinks, drink just as much. (Please have 311/115/114 on speed dial)
- Anytime Harstem fails to wingman, drink your sorrows away.
- Anytime Elazer and HeRoMaRinE stop playing to work on their homework, take a shot of watered down gin for high school memories.
- On Saturday, just have a drink for HeRoMaRinE. Happy birthday Gabriel!
- Anytime iNcontroL claims America is better, take a shot of Jack.
- Anytime "Dragon Slaying" is mentioned, take two shots.
- Anytime Tinder is referenced, sip your beer. Stephano's here baby.
- Anytime someone actively uses Tinder on stream, finish your drink.
- Anytime Harstem references his past "game" on Tinder, take a drink.
- Anytime Scarlett gets a new hairstyle, take a drink. I've got a six pack set aside for this one.
- Anytime HyuN has a questionable fashion choice that will inevitably be wildly popular in 4 months, take a drink.
- Anytime people speak in a language you don't understand, finish your drink. You'll start to understand.
- Anytime iNcontroL references Brood War, take a drink.
- Anytime Rifkin complains about having to wear pants while casting, take a drink.
- Anytime Looping Louie is shown, take a shot and try to resist drunk buying it on Amazon.
* Warning: TL.net will not be held accountable for any stupid shit you end up doing while playing this game; you can blame peanuts.