There were 16 other players who had to qualify through 8 TL Opens (TL Opens #8-15) on the North American and European servers. 8 of these players won one of the opens and 8 more qualified by accumulating enough points by placing high throughout the opens.
The last 3 spots were given to the top 3 players from TSL2. These players were: NonY (1st place) Mondragon (2nd place) Sen (3rd place)
What About TSL4?
So we already know the top 3 from TSL3 will be seeded in. ThorZaIN was 1st, NaNiwa 2nd, and Kas 3rd. That leaves 29 other spots to be fought for. There will be 5 Korean qualifying TL Opens and 10 total on the American/European servers. The winners of each tournament will get an automatic seed into the round of 32 TSL4 final bracket. That's 18 players so far. Like TSL3, the rest of the players will be determined based on points they earn by placing high in the qualifying tournaments. The 8 top point earners from the American/European server will get a seed as will the 6 best scorers from the Korean opens. That's 14 players that don't need to win a qualifying tournament. Those 14 plus the previous 18 (winners and seeds from TSL3) make the 32 player TSL4 final bracket.
A major difference between TSL3 and TSL4 will be the fact that there will now be Korean server qualifier tournaments rather than invites. TSL3 had 7 Koreans and TSL4 will probably have 11. This depends if any foreigner that are living in Korea play in the Korean qualifiers, either winning one of the 5 tournaments or placing in the top 6 point-wise out of the Korean participants. Either way, since Koreans still seem to be quite dominant in international tournaments at the moment, I fully expect them to continue the trend for TSL4. Guys like Squirtle, TaeJa, HerO, MarineKing, Jjakji, aLive, Symbol, MMA, CoCa, Puzzle, Byun, Heart, Creator, DongRaeGu and Polt should all have a good chance at qualifying if they choose to try to do so. Note that viOLet is a Korean citizen that currently resides in the U.S. He has the advantage of being able to play in the American qualifiers. I expect MC, Mvp, Genius, and NesTea to have a good chance of getting a spot in their second straight TSL. I want to also mention that I have no knowledge about the Chinese player Loner since TSL3.
For Foreigners I think we will be seeing some old faces as well as some new faces. The guys that have the best chance at qualifying again are White-Ra, HayprO, Sen, MorroW, HasuObs, HuK, Ret, and IdrA. The top 3 (ThorZaIN, NaNiwa, and Kas) from TSL3 are automatically qualified. HuK, MorroW, and Ret I can see outright winning a qualifier. White-Ra, HayprO, Sen, and HasuObs I think can be consistent enough to grab a spot on the point leader list. IdrA is the biggest wildcard out of the previous qualifiers. He has definitely been under performing lately but he is just too good to count out.
Tyler, Strelok, qxc, Adelscott, TLO, NightEnD, and Jinro all have a shot at getting into the main tournament but I'd be surprised with any of them taking a precious spot out of the 18 available foreign spots. Note that Jinro is in Korea and TLO is supposed to be heading there soon.
I haven't heard or seen anything about Ciara, ZeeRax, or Fenix in a long time. GoOdy recently beat MMA at the MLG Spring Arena but hasn't done anything else noteworthy in the past few months. CrunCher was gone for a while and now he's back. I haven't seen him in action since his return but if he has been training then I'd put him in the category of "has a shot but I'd still be surprised." As far as I know Mondragon has stopped playing SC2 competitively.
Stephano has to be the number one foreigner hope as of right now to have the best chance at not only getting into TSL4 but also taking home the gold. This past February he placed second at 2012 Assembly Winter: ASUS ROG Tournament , beating the likes of Puma, Happy, Mana, and Elfi, among others on his way to the podium. By the end of the tournament Polt was the only man Stephano could not defeat. More recently the Frenchman earned himself a bronze medal as he was one of the Zergs who made up the top three finishers, along with ViOLet and Symbol, at the 2012 MLG Spring Arena #2. Stephano tore his way through some outstanding players as he made his way through the bracket. He ousted and jousted Ryung, Ret, MC, and Heart until he was beaten by both ViOLet and Symbol who went on to finish first and second respectively. Stephano only dropped 2 games (one to Ryung and one to Heart) during the best of 3 sets until he lost in the final bracket.
Stephano really made a name for himself with his roach centric playstyle in ZvP. He likes to take a fast but safe 3rd base, drone quickly, then max out his supply on roaches before the 12 minute mark. It has given Protoss players a great deal of trouble, spawning many help threads on TL like this one. Utilizing this style has allowed Stephano to get his ZvP winrate up to 73% according to his TLPD page.
Stephano is one of, if not the, most popular and successful foreigner since bursting onto the scene last summer. His trademark hair, likeable cockiness, 315 page TL fanclub, crazy ladder runs, and insanely good ZvP makes him the best bet for a foreigner for TSL4.
UPDATE: Stephano had a great run at MLG Anaheim. The Frenchman was the only player besides MarineKing to go 5-0 in pool play. Did I mention that the rest of his group were Koreans? He beat Polt and Rain 2-1 and 2-0'd JYP, GanZi, and eventual tournament runner-up Alicia. Stephano shared 5/6th place with Puma and was the second highest placing foreigner in the tournament. Not a bad run at all.
UPDATE: At the 2012 Dreamhack Open: Summer Stephano made his way through the three group stages fairly easily beating Puma and recent TSL4 qualifier Daisy along the way. He met Keen in the first match of the playoff bracket. Keen was 8-1 (16-3) combined in the three group stages, showing one of the most dominant group stage performances out of any player in the tournament. Stephano took him out. The next victim was the Polish Zerg powerhouse Nerchio who had, just like Daisy, recently earned a spot into TSL4. Stephano did not fall until he faced the eventual tournament champion Mana. The French phenom ended the weekend with a shared 3rd place finish with the unexpected Polish Protoss player fraer.
Why SaSe will make it into TSL4
I think SaSe is one of the more underrated players out there right now. This is probably because he has no standout tournament results thus far. That being said, most of the tournaments he has entered he has put up consistently decent results. Last year SaSe got to the round of 16 at both Dreamhack Summer and Winter events. He got 13-16th at IEM Cologne and 14th at MLG Orlando. Sase also made it to the round of 32 in the GSL for August and October, and the round of 48 in November.
In 2012 SaSe was 21-24th at IPL4, made it to the round of 16 at Dreamhack Stockholm (beating PuMa, Nerchio, and HyuN), and was 18th at the MLG Winter Arena. At the MLG Winter Championship the Swede was placed in an insane group for pool play, sharing it with ThorZaIN, CrazymoviNG, MC, GanZi, and MarineKing. SaSe finished 2-3 (5-7) in his group taking out GanZi and ThorZaIN along the way. As displayed in this tournament, SaSe showed off his excellent PvT, which is his best matchup. He is very good at taking and securing a fast expansion with excellent unit control against Terrans who make that strong midgame bio push.
Although not a major tournament it is worth mentioning SaSe's accomplishment at the 2012 Red Bull Gaming LAN. The training session and mini tournament was in preparation for MLG Orlando this past February. SaSe ultimately finished in 2nd place behind the talented Zerg player Ret. On his way to achieving the silver, he plowed through PuMa, Sheth, and JYP, proving his recent ability to take on some of the top players around.
Not convinced? Just watch the guy as he streams from the Startale house on the Korean server. He is grandmaster in the server full of the top of the top players from the Americas and Europe as well as many pros from Korea. He is a consistent and intelligent player whose macro and decision making allows him to play at the level of the best of them. Often times when I tune in he is playing IIIIIIIIII or IIIIIIIIIIIIIII, or sometimes even IIIIIIIIIIIIIII. Give the former Warcraft 3 standout some nice words on his fanclub page.
UPDATE: SaSe did not have the same success in pool play at MLG Anaheim that Stephano pulled off but he made up for it with clutch performances in the championship losers bracket and beyond. He ended up 2-3 in his group that was crowded with top Koreans, including the eventual champion DongRaeGu. He didn't get the best of seeds following pool play but knowing it was only one loss before he was out he fought his way through ViOLet, Rain, Grubby, Leenock, Polt, and Stephano, in that order. SaSe did not lose until he was matched up against Alicia, the future silver medalist of the tournament. SaSe went home with a 4th place finish and $5,500, finally proving himself to be not only one of the very top foreigners but also a player able to win matches against many of the best Koreans around.
UPDATE: SaSe went 3-0 in the first group stage of the 2012 Dreamhack Open: Summer. He got by 2-1 in the second stage and again owned the third stage 3-0 beating legitimate players White-Ra, TaeJa, and Welmu. SaSe showed us his ability on a big stage to defeat great Korean and foreign players of any race. SaSe went on to take out Ret in the first round of the playoff bracket but lost the next match to fraer in a PvP. He shared 5-8th place with the likes of Nerchio, Hero, and NaNiwa. Two code S players and the winner of the second NA/EU TSL4 qualifier is definitely good company to be in.
UPDATE: SaSe won the EU/ NA Qualifier #3 by beating Pink, a Protoss player from Denmark 3-0. SaSe took out Delphi, Trimaster, LaLuSh, and VortiX on his path to the top spot, only dropping one game the entire tournament. He's in!
Why ThorZaIN Deserves to be in TSL4
Simply put, he is the man. ThorZaIN is the defending TSL champion and has an automatic seed straight into the main tournament without needing to qualify through a TL Open. He is undoubtedly one of the the very best foreigners around. Usually people talk about foreigners who are the best at a particular race, at a particular matchup, or at a particular time. ThorZaIN transcends this by just being one of the best foreigners, period. He is one of the very few players who has maintained an extremely high level of play for almost a year now. Many players have come and gone, their level of success has given them their five minutes of fame and they have proceeded to disappear into the vast sea of mediocre Starcraft players. People don't remember who finished 50th at the last few MLGs, people remember the champions who crushed their opponents and came out as number one. Some professional Koreans have even said that they think he is a great player and they admire his play. Koreans coined the nickname "Spoon Terran" for ThorzaIN because of how slowly and strategically he strangles the life out of his opponents, as if he is killing them with a spoon. He plays like that guy playing Risk who secures North America, South America, Africa, Europe, and Asia while you have a weakly fortified position in Australia. You both know it's over, but he enjoys safely and slowly finishing you off, feeding off your fear and frustration as you realize there is no way out, awaiting the inevitable end to your miserable game.
Since TSL3, ThorZaIN has placed 3rd at the 2011 European Battle.net Invitational, 4th at IPL Season 2, and 2nd at Dreamhack Valencia. At Valencia, the Spoon Terran took out HuK and HerO and in the process gained the reputation as a fierce TvP player. ThorZaIN qualified for the final tournament for NASL Season 2 by winning one of two qualifying tournaments. Taking advantage of his earned spot into the tournament, ThorZaIN defeated DeMusliM and MorroW before falling to PuMa then Sen for the 3rd/4th place match. Even in the games he lost he scored two respectable wins in each of the two best of sevens.
It all came together for ThorZaIN a month ago at Dreamhack Stockholm. Maybe it was because he had home field advantage or maybe he was just due for a huge victory. Regardless, the stars aligned for ThorZaIN and he was crowned the champion of the most recent Dreamhack event. During the tournament he had to take out SjoW, Cytoplasm, Socke, Monster, and eventually Polt in the finals. The finals were more exciting than the 3-1 final score suggests. Both Terrans played some great and entertaining games giving the magnificent crowd something to cheer about. ThorZaIN displayed some impeccable decision making, strategies, and unit control throughout the series. It was clear ThorZaIN was the superior player of the day and he probably sent shivers down the spines of the players who he might meet in TSL4. If this man can play at least as well as he did at Stockholm it will be very difficult for anyone, Korean or not, to stand a chance.
Note: Various parts of this post will be revised, updated, and edited for the purpose of accuracy as well as to keep it current. Newer sections will also be added in from time to time.
Last edit: 2012-06-20 23:46:08
MrMercuG Netherlands. May 22 2012 17:41. Posts 1612
Ciara is still playing under the team Copenhagen Wolves and is semi-active (was GM last season under the ID NerfHydraDPS), ZeeRax supposedly retired, Goody is still making people despair with his unique style, and nobody knows where Fenix even is. Mondragon is also still playing, but filling more of a coach role at Acer.
Guys that I especially look out for are Feast, roof, Illusion and Lucifron.
BW: sGs.sTaRfaLL SC2: NN_Commodore | fan of: Darkforce, DBS, KrasS, Delphi, Last, Mvp, BoguS | Mass BC/ Ghost ftw! | song of the week: Imagine Dragons - Radioactive
Goody had a nice run in Take's last invitational. It really has been quite silent around Fenix lately; he did beat KiLLeR last week in a weekly tho.
Favorites for qualifying are, in my eyes, the ones who manage to give the usual Korean suspects a run for their money and beat them in weekly tournaments - a TL Open is the exact same environment. Those are mostly TitaN, Fraer, Livezerg, Bly, Nerchio, Lucifron, Happy. Maybe a few others, but I'll cut it here. All these can upset my other favourites like Stephano, Ret, Sheth (see, a Zerg pattern! ) - given they try to qualify.
Wenn ich einmal traurig bin, dann trink' ich einen Korn. Wenn ich dann noch traurig bin, dann trink' ich noch 'nen Korn. Und wenn ich dann noch traurig bin, dann fang' ich an von vorn!
tree.hugger Saint Paul, MN. May 23 2012 04:32. Posts 9075
Hoping for TitaN, Snute, SaSe, LucifroN, Illusion, Stephano, HuK and, of course, all of Liquid!
Last edit: 2012-05-23 04:32:53
(-_(-_(-_(-_-)_-)_-)_-) — "The girl was like.... omg effort is so hot, if he can do that with his zerlings i can just imagine what he can do with me lololol" - Heaven_n — EffOrt, Snow, PartinG, HerO, Snute, BK, GuMiho fighting! — @treehuggertl
Given how well Taeja does in the Taeja Weekly online tournament, I'd be surprised if he doesn't at least get through on points for consistently high finishes. At least.
Also in Korea: MKP is pretty good online. The rest of the field is hard to pick with so few spots for so many strong players.
Also I think a bit of a shoe-in will be <hardlyknownKoreanplayer#12551>. Every online tournament has them. Your MVPTails, ST_Sound, FXO_Lucky, etc. If only Code S level Koreans make it I'll actually be surprised. There will definitely be one.
Internationally: Betting is a bit harder. Stephano probably a shoe-in. Nericho usually does amazing online. If Sase plays EU and not KR he's probably a good chance, with the concern of lag though. Sheth and Morrow should totally make it through their qualifiers somewhere along the way. Violet will probably also rock the US qualifiers assuming he does that.
I also hope to see some Chinese representation. Xigua, Sen or MacSeed being the likely options, but still I don't think they'll compete well with the KR qualifiers and might want to consider EU/US despite latency.