Okay guys, we dropped the ball a bit over the last few months...but we're finally back with more Power Rank! For the Power Rank, players were graded by the following: 1) Offline tournament results, 2) Online tournament results, and 3) Past performance within a few months. Now, this doesn't mean that simply making it into the ASL or KSL guarantees a good spot, but it definitely helps.
And with that out of the way, let's get to it!
Rain stands shoulder to shoulder to no one as he takes the top spot in the July Power Rank thanks to his confidence, mental game, and competitive instinct that few other ex-pros have mastered. Through his adeptness for competition and immaculate mechanics, it's easy to see how he's gained success in both BW and SC2. Moreover, Rain's ability to translate his skills to the offline stage with few hiccups is what makes him truly stand out from the crowd. And with few truly deadly Zergs in sight to abuse his weak PvZ, there's little sign that he can be stopped easily.
The Ultimate Weapon has rebooted itself after a long hiatus since losing to Effort in the ASL6 finals. Just his participation alone raises the stakes and prestige of ASL8. His sublime mechanics and incredible preparation and mind games is what makes him one of the most fearsome contenders for the ASL8 crown. Also, even though he hasn't been grabbing anymore trophies, he's still been tearing up the sponsored game rankings as the undisputed #1 with a 70%+ win rate. As good as he is though, viewers still need to see some actual tournament results and his motivation to bring the same level of offline play he did before.
Snow is a PvT prodigy and has respectable PvP and PvZ, but he is overshadowed by Rain. In addition, Snow's greater susceptibility to Zergs and possible deflation from losing ASL7 and KSL3 is keeping Snow's momentum on the low end. However, his status as a top tier player cannot be questioned after making little work of Shine, Miso, and even Soulkey in his perceived weakest matchup. For Snow to continue his success means pressing onwards despite what may be his toughest career setback yet.
Soulkey was struck down by Snow's solid play and the Protoss-favored map pool of KSL3. Still, his sponsored ladder games and quality of play speaks for itself. He still possesses some of the best mechanics of all of the top ex-pros and definitely out of the Zerg players. Despite that, his lack of competitive sense needed to consistently secure deep runs in tourneys still eludes him just as it did in SC2. Zerg fans should continue rooting for him anyway as Soulkey remains the most likely Zerg to win a tournament soon.
His winning streak against Rain was finally broken in KSL3, but his steady climb in the sponsored game rankings certainly hasn't. While he lost the ASL8 wildcard tournament, none should count Sharp out too soon. He's one of the more promising Terrans as many top Zergs leave for the military. He may also be the best Terran hope to defeat Rain. He's already off to one good step by smoothly qualifying for ASL8.
Our golden Terran Last has had an arduous journey. He was knocked down after winning KSL1 time and time again, but his efforts finally paid off when he held high the ASL7 trophy. While his status as a front liner moves to the bench after an apparent climax in his career, there still remains hope. He's still one of the best Terrans mechanically and is likely to make another good tourney run.
Mini has shown his worth after making two finals in a row. He's shown he can dispatch of mid to low tier ex-pros with relative ease like Stork and Ample. Unfortunately, he is utterly outgunned against ex-pros with great mechanics. Despite his usual shenanigans, those achievements mean very little in the larger picture.
Old dogs can learn new tricks after all, which is what Stork proved in his fantastic KSL3 performance. Brought back to form and life, the times of the six Dragons appears anew. Or, more cynically, this may be Stork's one and only breakout performance before going back to his flat play. However, for the moment, Stork is producing truly inspired games of competitive grit, ingenuity, and dogged determination that only a grizzled veteran is capable of.
Best is a solid Protoss player with some of the most shrewd macro optimization of any Protoss. Great mechanics can only drive you so far though, as shown in all of his tournament runs where he eventually fails spectacularly. He's just not a player that thrives in closer, intense series, especially in a high-stakes Ro8 and above setting.
Putting Calm in the top 10 may seem like an injustice because of how many other talented players there are, but Calm has produced actual results recently. While he's still not immune to the occasional choke, when Calm shines, he is capable of beating any player, which we saw in his incredible 2-0 upset against Last and Snow in the ASL7 Ro16 group stages. What's clear from his play is that Calm has an eye for crafting good strategies and undercutting his opponent's strengths. The wild maps of ASL8 set another perfect staging ground, and its slippery slope Bo1 format certainly helps all the more.
-- Close But No Cigar (CBNC) ---
Action: Action is an enigma. He had a good run with some upsets before, but like a broken record, he continues to make several offbeat plays that undercut his otherwise impressive mechanics. Despite that, he still manages to top his group in ASL this season, and we don't know how. It's feast or famine for Action, and only a solid run through the ASL can convince us that he's worthy of a rank.
Zero: Zero is the top new returning talent, and exactly what is needed to revitalize hope in the dwindling roster of Zerg players. Still, for all of his promise and talent, he's a far cry from championship material with his lackluster offline performance and failure to qualify for ASL8. Given the benefit of the doubt though, Zero can hopefully start making the strides befitting of his talent soon.
Larva: Larva has found himself slumped yet again and becomes more crowded out by other top Terrans and Protoss. However, another bout of motivation has got him eager to fight as he puts in the relentless hours of training. Again though, will the new ASL8 maps spell disaster for Larva who has shown a history of poor adaptation?
Jaedong: Jaedong isn't really CBNC, but seeing Jaedong participate in ASL8 is quite the surprise, so how can someone not give him a mention? To put it bluntly though, Jaedong is a shell of his former self. He's capable of flashes of brilliance that remind us of his former dominance, but he is no longer The Tyrant. Dropping out of the ASL in the Ro24 to an amateur is all but confirmation that his reign is finally at an end.
Photo Credits: Blizzard Entertainment