Five Bold Predictions for 2012
Predictions for groups? Who needs those, when you can make predictions for an entire year?
5. The Prime Revolution is Coming For the past few months, besides their underdog run to the GSTL finals before being dispatched by MVP, Prime has looked like they might be going down on a downturn of sorts. They lost their international partnership with World Elite and Sabasaba chicken sponsor, leading them to become their own sponsors by selling jerseys and clothing on their own website Primezzang.com. Not only did they lose their sponsors, but they've lost much of the core that defined the team for their first year and a half of their existence. Polt, their OptimusPrime, the only Prime player to ever win a GSL surprisingly quit before the GSTL playoffs, having a dispute with the coach and joining TSL. HongUn, Prime's most consistent Protoss, making the Code S semifinals twice, also left the team and is currently teamless. Finally, Maka, the player that at the start of Starcraft 2 was supposed to be their ace and best chance at winning a GSL, has left and joined the foreign team eSahara with another former Prime player, Check.
However, there is hope that Prime can reinvent itself in the coming year. Before the latest Code A qualifiers, Prime only had one player in the GSL: MarineKing. Now, with the qualifiers over, you can see that even with their old players gone, Prime has a foundation that could be big in 2012. At each race, they have a young player who could breakout in the new year. For Terran, they have Maru, one of the youngest players in GSL history, already making Code A once and could be a force if he finally gets over his nerves that caused him problems in his first GSL run. For Aiur, it should be no surprise that Creator is the player you should be watching out for, the most valuable player for Prime in their GSTL run last year and a player who has shown great promise in online tournaments. You also can't forget his almost upset of MVP in the first round of the GSL Super Tournament, only losing possibly due to lack of experience on the big stage against an opponent of that caliber. Finally, for Zerg, you should be watching out for BboongBboong. Yes, a funny name, but he has been a force in team league and shown he can beat the best of the best like MC if given the opportunity.
In 2012, my prediction for Prime is that at the end of the year, at least five of their players will have been in Code S and one of them, not counting MarineKing, will make a semifinal run.
4. Stir the Nestea Last year, Nestea made two finals and won both of them, taking them both decisively by a score of 4-0. I don't think Nestea is done or going to drop off the face of the Earth, but I don't see him making a final in 2012. His performance in the past three GSL tournaments, including the Blizzard Cup, haven't been the best, already falling out of Code S once before getting back in by beating asd in dominating fashion in Code A. It isn't that Nestea is getting worse, but more that the players around him are just getting better. Leenock and DongRaeGu, the two players with the best chance of usurping the God of Zerg in 2012, are looking better and better, improving every tournament they go into, while Nestea hasn't looked the same since his awful loss to Huk in the October edition of Code S. (But I also predicted that TOP would beat MVP in the GSL August Finals, so don't discount the possibility of Nestea winning all five GSL's in 2012.)
3. The Life Line of ZeNex In 2011, ZeNex looked like they might become a new power in the Korean scene. They had Byun, GSL semifinalist, someone who was able to beat MVP in the GSL, conquering the Korean Ladder with numerous accounts and having the personality to become a star in the international scene; Coca, the young Zerg who had already made a GSL quarterfinal, getting a lot of hype in the Korean scene for his unbelievable ZvP; and finally, Puzzle, the Code A champion, the man with the fastest APM in the entire GSL, destroying everyone on his way to Code S. They had a core that most teams would be jealous of. Sadly, these three didn't end the year on ZeNex, with Coca first leaving to join Slayers and promptly making the finals of MLG Raleigh; Puzzle moving to Slayers also, taking his Code S spot with him; and finally, Byun, the face of the team, leaving to join his friend MarineKing on Prime, leaving ZeNex with nearly nothing nothing. Their best prospect after those three, Hack, also decided to leave, joining Startale.
Now, at the start of year, there is a little bit of light. Line (aka Suhosin), their captain and the player who made the amazing run to the Super Tournament quarterfinals, has finally made it into Code A and looks like he might live up to the potential people thought he had at the end of his Super Tournament run. Also, the player who I think you should really look out for, the 14-year-old Life, has also made Code A, after being atop of the Korean Grandmaster ladder for a lot of 2011. With these two players, you could believe that we could be seeing two new ZeNex players in Code S very soon.
Sadly, my prediction for 2012 is that, no, ZeNex will not get these two players to Code S, as I see both of them, at least Life, being poached by another team. Life is everything you would want in a player; he's young, has major potential, and the work ethic that you would want out of a player. He practices on the ladder endlessly, playing the best players in Korea for hours at a time. His play reminds me of Coca before he broke out in the GSL, and I wouldn't put it past a team like TSL, Slayers or another Korean team to pick him up if and when he does well in GSL. I would really like to see ZeNex make a return to prominence, but it's going to be hard without a stable sponsor and money coming into the team. If they want to be around in 2013, they'll need to keep both their star Zergs, but it's going to be extremely difficult.
2. Foreigner Force With Mr. Chae giving two international seeds in Code S, we will be seeing a lot of foreign blood in the next year. Due to this, I have to predict for 2012 that we will at least see one foreigner make it to a semifinal. The last person to do this, Jinro, did it twice, but that was at the beginning of 2011 and the only player to get close to the final four after him was Huk, getting to the quarterfinals before being offered as a sacrifice to MVP in August. Contrast to the begginning and middle of 2011, it feels like foreigner teams are returning to the fact that to become the very best in the world, they need to train in Korea. Idra left at the beginning of 2011 and has finally returned a year later, practicing with Slayers and ready to make another deep run in the tournament.
With players like Huk, Idra, Naniwa and others expected to play in 2012, it isn't out of the question that at least one of them could get to a semifinal or farther. If Idra can get back into the form he was in at the end of his run in Korea the first time, he could be the favorite to make it far this year. Unlike his first run in the GSL, he is now at a practice house with other players and isn't alone like last time. He'll be able to practice with top players such as MMA, being able to improve at a faster rate than before. Idra has the best mechanics of any foreigner due to his years of Brood War experience with Estro and CJ, and if he can push himself, don't be surprised if he's battling for a title.
1. ForGG will win a GSL in 2012 1. Polt will win a GSL in 2012
1. MVP Terrans Alright, it's time for the big prediction. This is the one I feel the strongest about, and I may be going out on a limb, but I believe, in 2012, either sC or Keen from the team MvP will become GSL champion. I know, I gave the kiss of death to Supernova when I thought he was going to win in November or TOP in August, but I was right with Jjakji and Polt, so let's call this the rubber prediction to break the tie.
For the past year, I've liked both sC and Keen. Since sC played San in my favorite series of 2011 in the March edition of GSL, I've kept an eye on him. He was the ace of fOu and looked like he was going to become the next star in the world of Starcraft after pushing Nestea to the limit in the semifinals of GSL May. Then, sadly, sC had his lung collapse and a road of hardships began. He's had his lung collapse now for a third time, but amazingly, he is still competing in the GSL this season and has the courage to continue pushing on for his goal of being a champion. There is no question that sC has the talent to be a great player, but can he stay healthy enough in 2012? I know that we're all hoping that he can regain his health, and if he can, he'll be a player that people should be scared of playing.
The other of the young Terran duo, Keen, is also a player I've been a huge fan of for a long time. Ever since he nuked Choya in Code A and did his elaborate ceremonies, I've been following Keen very closely, wanting to see how far he could go. He was able to make a quarterfinals in GSL August, upsetting the heavy favorite Bomber in the round of sixteen, but lost to Polt in the next round 3-1. Finally, it feels like Keen is finally putting the pieces together and living up to the potential that I've seen in him forever. He was able to all-kill Slayers in a recent IPL arena, beating MMA in the final game, controlling it from the get-go in an excellent performance. He's lately been using more of the tank-marine style than going full bio and his TvT is finally becoming something that other Terrans should be scared of facing.
People forget, but the Nada and Keen rivalry that has become one of the biggest in the GSL all began because Nada picked Keen. It wasn't Keen who started the rivalry, but Nada because he wanted to face a strong opponent in the first round and saw a lot of potential in the young Keen. When you have one of the greatest Starcraft players to ever grace the scene tell someone that they have amazing potential, you should follow that player. Keen and Nada will play once again at the beginning of 2012 season, and it'll be the first test to see if Keen can finally live up to the expectations Nada saw in him almost a year ago.
Don't forget that sC and Keen are both young players. Keen is 17 and sC only 16, both only beginning the prime of their careers. They will both be improving mightily in the upcoming years, and I think this is the one where both will make their breakouts and win a title.