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DreamHack Summer 2014 Edition
Brackets and standings on Liquipedia
DreamHack Summer 2014 Edition
Brackets and standings on Liquipedia
by TeamLiquid Writers
Return of the Rankings
No, you aren't dreaming. No, this isn't a delayed April fool's joke. We actually took the time to make a Power Rank this week. After an absence since the start of 2014, we've decided that this is as good a time as any to dust off this most controversial of article styles. You might end up disagreeing with us, hating us, or dismissing our objectivity, but everyone loves seemingly arbitrary lists, right?
While Bucharest champion Life has chosen not to defend his title, this DreamHack features 8 former champions in MaNa, MC, ThorZain, StarDust, HuK, HerO, Taeja and Hyun. It's as strong a lineup as we've ever had, despite the non-participation of Kespa. DreamHack Summer also sees the debut of Scarlett, who looks set to participate in more international tournaments as the year progresses. The best placing returning player from Bucharest also happens to be Jaedong, who will hope to dispel calls of his imminent decline. But enough about that, it's time to start the list.
Note: Yes, we know you're all still clamoring for a SC2-wide Power Rank. Think of this as a dry run. No promises, though.
What is the Power Rank?"Who would you bet on in a best of 101 with your mortgage and 401k on the line?" Yeah we thought that might be a good thought experiment. "Who has looked the most impressive in the past X months," also crossed our minds. There are many different factors that enter our discussions (and yes, we do thoroughly discuss this) when we try to answer the question: "Who's better?" and we couldn't list down all of them if we tried. If it were up to lichter though, he'd probably just vote for who he finds more entertaining. However, thanks to our spreadsheet heavy, completely democratic, and reasonably systematic process that involves a lot of name calling and secret google doc editing, we're pretty confident someone will agree with us on this. Hopefully.
A few notes on the rankings:
- The Power Rank only takes players competing at DreamHack: Summer 2014 into account.
- The PR is not a ranking of everyone's chances to win this tournament. There's a lot of bracket luck involved, as well as a considerable advantage given to players who start with seeds, and doing a final ranking prediction would be pretty damn complicated. The Power Rank is just our all-around answer to the question "who's better?"
- Power Rank does not suggest that a higher ranked player is better than a lower ranked player in a head to head. Rankings are based on the overall appraisal of a player.
- It is possible that some players may be absent or cancel their attendance between the release of this article and the start of the tournament.
- The power rank is a compromise between the opinions of several writers, ensuring that not even the writers are happy with the end result.
- TeamLiquid is not responsible for rage or rage related injuries suffered as a result of reading the Power Rank.
Alright, let's get it on!
Honorable MentionsKrasS, MorroW, GoOdy, Cytoplasm
Sorry guys, but according to Liquipedia, you guys aren't notable participants. Whether that was an oversight or the Liquipedia staff are trying to manipulate the PR, we don't know, but at least you know this isn't our fault.
Wait, ThorZaIN still plays SC2? This return to DreamHack marks his first tournament since November 2013, so we have no idea how he'll do. However, he's a former champ, so he gets a special mention.
If we went with the X>Y>Z method of ranking players, White-Ra would be at #29 ahead of DeMusliM. Honestly, we're hoping GranpaToss gets knocked out early and just starts hanging out in the analysts' booth.
PiG is one of the best talents Australia has to offer, and he recently moved to Europe to compete in this year's tournament cycle. Within his blogs on TL, PiG has made it very clear how much he values the mental side of competition, but he's yet to translate that into tournament success.
After finding himself in WCS EU Premier League for the first two season of 2013, SortOf has found it difficult to come back to the top. His tournament appearances have been few, but he did impress at Assembly Winter 2014 by defeating Taeja in the group stages.
The Power Rank#32: ShowTime
Being a regular in WCS EU Challenger League, ShoWTimE comes in to Dreamhack as a player who has a lot to prove. With a relatively good series against First in this season's Challenger League and a near-miss during HSC 9 qualifiers, ShoWTiMe squeaks into the PR. As a regular online-cup player it will be interesting to see what ShoWTimE can bring once the bright lights are on him.
While Zanster hasn't been too hot in ATC and has not featured in this WCS season at all, his performance at Dreamhack Bucharest was admirable, beating TLO, First and Patience before meeting his end against Jaedong. He's showed promise before but he'll need to show more than a Ro16 finish at one Dreamhack to climb the list.
We wish we had more to say about Serral, but unfortunately... we got nothing. He did almost beat Taeja in Assembly Winter 2014, and he's been a serviceable roster player for mYi in ATC3, but that's all we know. At least we don't have jokes at his expense, right?
In DeMusliM's last two tournaments, he's been knocked out by semi-retired players White-Ra and Nerchio. That's not a very nice thing to be known for, and despite always seeming on the brink of a breakthrough, we're still waiting for that moment Demu shows us he's more than just a pretty face.
In the tradition of French Zergs, drama seems naturally attracted to FireCake. Whether its his infamous potty mouth or his fake matchfixing scandal, the curly haired Frenchman knows how to get our attention. He has maintained his Premier League status for three straight seasons, though, so he is actually pretty good. Let's just hope he doesn't decide to use swarmhosts when he's on the main stage.
Tefel beat VortiX 2-1 to open WCS EU Ro32 this season, but things went downhill from there with losses to MaNa and VortiX in a rematch. He's been bouncing out and back in Premier League since last year, but at least he's no longer the worst player on earht.
Looking at Socke's list of results, you quickly spot that 2014 is about as bare as a list of foreigners winning Premier tournaments. He did place third at TakeTV Ultra ahead of players like YoDa, MC, First, and Patience, but he was quickly disposed of in HSC 9. With a much stronger lineup at DH, Socke's going to have a hard time topping his best achievement of the year so far.
As a player that regularly qualifies for WCS Europe, uThermal is another player that's good but not good enough. Relying very little on cheeses or alternative styles of play, uThermal plays a stock standard version of terran, good enough to beat an Mvp in decline. He's done well at smaller online tournaments such as Go4SC2 and Frag-o-matic, but he's yet to go far in major tournaments.
From popular streamer to burgeoning caster, Balloon captured many a fan's heart because of his enthusiastic English at HSC 9. But it wasn't just his personality that surprised; he also beat both ToD and Bomber at the first group stage. Though he went on to lose to MMA and Taeja in the next round, it was a decent performance for his first offline tournament since WCS KR Challenger League Season 2 2013. He hasn't quite performed for mYi in ATC3, but as the only random player making waves in major events, it's hard not to cheer for the friendly Korean.
MaNa is one of the most solid Protoss players in Europe and is a previous Dreamhack Summer Champion. So why is MaNa all the way down at #23? Well he hasn't made a serious impact on WCS EU over the first five seasons of the league, and he was just knocked out of this season's Ro16 by First and Golden. Combine that with a poor performance at Dreamhack Bucharest (he failed to make top 32) and a so-so showing at HSC 9, and it is easy to see why we're being cautious with MaNa this time around.
Despite being a consistent Premier League player, it's difficult to rank HuK any higher. He's actually played well over the past few months, despite failing to make it past the group stages in both season of WCS AM so far. Perhaps it's his fairly outdated reputation of being predictably fond of gateways and the units they produce, but he needs a strong performance at his first international tournament of 2014 to change our minds. We should probably give sympathy points for proxying nexii in avilo's base though.
Oh TLO. There are weeks when we feel like you're becoming one of the best foreigners in the world, able to compete with anyone, but then you go through these troughs that make us doubt you once again. 2014 has actually been a good year for our favorite German, with a 3rd at IEM Sao Paulo, a 3rd at SeatStory Cup, and a 4th at TakeTV Ultra, but he's also had many disappointing finishes. He's yet to replicate his 5th place from WCS EU Season 1 2013, with a single Ro16 since then. He has maintained his Premier League status without trouble, but it's going to take more than consistency to see him climb the ladder. TLO finished last in his HSC 9 2nd Group Stage, though it was one of the harder groups. TLO could easily finish in the teens this weekend, but it's tough to tell when he's going hot.
When Patience joined Alien Invasion and came into the European scene, he seemed destined to become StarDust-esque in that he would be a contender in Dreamhack, Assembly, and WCS EU. His surprise third place at least year's Dreamhack Winter, where he beat sOs, Polt, MMA, and Innovation in rapid succession was the high point of his career, but he has unfortunately been unable to replicate it. He managed top 8 finishes at IEM Cologne and ASUS ROG Winter, but since then he has done little of note. His last place finish in his Ro32 group of WCS EU (featuring losses to both Grubby and Vortix) didn't inspire much confidence, which leaves Patience barely holding on to top 20 in our power rank.
Is Bunny the best foreign terran? Is it Dayshi? Does being a foreign terran prodigy mean anything these days? All these questions aside, Bunny's performances for TeamLiquid in ATC and WCS has been worthy of praise. He's maintained his Premier League status for 4 out of 5 seasons so far, and he had a record of 11-5 in ATC while claiming an all kill of coL-Dignitas. His TvT is still a liability, but fortunately there aren't a lot of foreign terrans to contend with.
Dayshi comes into this tournament hot after his semi final finish at Home Story Cup. As a consistent WCS Europe performer, Dayshi has yet to prove himself as a title contender. He consistently beats foreigner opponents but has had trouble against Korean competition, though he did beat Armani and Bomber to scale the HSC 9 brackets. So what is Dayshi's reward for being the best foreign terran at Dreamhack? More than likely getting knocked out at the group stages.
Considering Golden's recent success in WCS, qualifying for the Ro8, he may have a shot at going somewhere in this tournament. Looking at his recent games and results, it's fairly clear that Golden has had a tough time competing against his fellow countrymen and that his success usually lies in beating foreign players. That should be good enough to get him to Group Stage 3, but he'll have to rely on the luck of the draw to have a good chance of making it further.
No-one expected YoDa to win the very first HotS premier tournament at the IEM Season 7 Word Championship but he did it anyway. When he beat his teammate Mvp in the semi-finals many saw it as a passing of the torch going into the new unexplored game. It's been more than a year since then, and YoDa has lost whatever Championship credentials he earned in that tournament. Once a fringe Code-S player on IM, YoDa is now teamless and his best achievement since moving to Europe is a ro16 finish in WCS EU. Coming into this Dreamhack, YoDa will hope to vindicate his decision to move to a new continent and reclaim that champion's luster that he lost long ago.
HerO, you're supposed to be at least ten times higher! Sadly even for the most biased of us writers (yes, Olli wrote this), it's hard to smuggle HerO any higher up this list. His recent results tell the story: HerO's in rough shape. Even the only game he won and looked good in recently, against Salvation, was not entirely his own doing. But as this is a Dreamhack and HerO is HerO, here's the usual, always relevant spiel: If HerO brings his a-game he can win this and a lot of other tournaments without dropping a map. The odds are heavily stacked against him in his current form, no doubt about it. Count him out however and he WILL win the damn thing.
"They will mock him, spit on him, flog him with a whip and kill him, but after three days he will rise again." The Dong will rise again and he will eventually dominate the StarCraft 2 scene... but perhaps not this tournament. This being Jaedong's 7th Dreamhack in a row, one can only wonder when he'll finally win one. Given Jaedong's fairly disappointing results recently, losing to both Heart and Jim in WCS AM, it's hard to see him do well here. He did win LSC back in May and he did go 2-3 against Taeja at HSC 9 in the quarter finals, but if he were to even have a shot at winning this tournament he will need to give it all he's got.
Oh jjakji what happened to you? When you came to Europe you were supposed to be a sort of neo-MMA: a threat in every tournament you entered. Instead you have turned into more of a ForGG: always a contender but never a champion. Sure, jjakji's results haven't been bad since making the switch to WCS EU and moving there from Korea, but they haven't been overly impressive either. He has achieved an 18-8 record in ATC this season, a very impressive record if your name isn't Innovation, but in live events he has had some struggles. At Dreamhack Bucharest, he just barely made top 16 before being knocked out by his teammate StarDust. His top 4 performance in Season 1 of WCS EU looked like a performance he could build upon, but this season proved to be disastrous as he fell out of his Ro32 group in last place. Being kept out of the top 8 at HSC IX can be excused because apparently jjakji was under the weather, but we are still looking for a breakout performance from jjakji. jjakji is a GSL champion, but he is going to have to put something new together in Europe if he wants to be anything but just another contender.
After leaving Incredible Miracle to compete in WCS EU, First fell off the radar entirely for a long time. The few instances he did pop up left his fans very discouraged at his level of play. But ever since settling in with MC and YoDa, First has apparently rediscovered the spark. Yes, he's far from being the powerhouse Code S protoss he used to be in mid-2013, but he's climbing towards that general direction again. Rank 11 fits him well - it credits his rising form but also considers the possibility that he may underperform and disappoint again.
After ending 2013 on a high, placing 3rd at RedBull NY and 2nd at NorthCon, Scarlett took a sabbatical to start the new year. When she returned to compete in WCS AM, she was ousted in the Ro32 by TooDming in a memorable game famous for its 360 degree roach surround. She similarly struggled in Season 2 as hendralisk took her Premier League spot, and her fans were left wondering what happened to the player that had a legitimate claim to the title of the best foreigner of 2013. Well, it looks like she's back full time as she recently promised to attend more foreign tournaments. She finished 3rd/4th in HSC 9 recently, placing ahead of powerhouses like Bomber, jjakji and Jaedong, beating Taeja, Stork, and MMA along the way. Though she failed to overcome Taeja once again in the semi-final, she acquitted herself well and now looks back in shape. This weekend is going to be her first ever DreamHack, but she's had success in weekenders before. We might be getting a little too excited about Scarlett's return to form, but we're sure she won't let her best friend The_Templar down.
The current foreign trend in StarCraft 2 seems to be Zerg as there have been many who have done well. Snute is arguably part of the top three foreign-trio of deadly Zergs and comes in at a rank 9 for this tournament. With an unfortunate defeat, placing last in his ro16 group in WCS EU, it's become clear that Snute has his off days. However on a good day, he's more than capable of plowing through players such as Welmu, Yoda, Jjakji, First and even MC, all of whom will be playing here at this Dreamhack. If this weekend consists of "Good days", Snute will for sure make it very far and perhaps be the first foreigner to win a premier tournament since December 2012.
The Great and Powerful wizard has given us far less reason to worry since finding a new sponsor in Planetkey Dynamics. Finally reappearing on the international scene, it didn't take long for Oz to impress again with a strong second place finish in last season's WCS America. A newly forged partnership also allows him to play for IM in Proleague - a team whose ultimate goal seems to be to uniting all good non-Kespa players and letting them play in Proleague. He's done well when called upon, taking out big names in Zest and Rogue with thoughtful play and impressive execution. Other than those two tournaments however we've seen little of the wizard. Having Oz back at international tournaments makes this writer very happy and if he's good enough to be sent out in Proleague along the likes of Byul, Life, Trap, HerO, Ruin and Squirtle, then challenging for a Dreamhack championship could be possible too.
Earlier in this power rank I may have referred to jjakji as a "new ForGG" in a disparaging way, but I'm sure Jjakji wishes he were playing like ForGG this WCS Season. The Millennium Terran has looked solid this time around, having reached the Ro8 in WCS for the first time since Season 1 of last year. Combine with his strong 18-10 record in Acer Teamstory Cup, and ForGG looks to be in fine shape heading into this Dreamhack Summer. ForGG grabbed silver at Dreamhack: Valencia in 2012, but surely he still feels the disappointment of that loss, as he went up 2-0 on Taeja in the best of 5 and lost three straight to lose the title. It seems that now is the perfect time for ForGG to try to claim the Dreamhack title that he missed a year and a half ago with the recent hellbat buff likely to help ForGG in all matchups. Notorious for hellbat heavy compositions even before the patch went through, expect him to be a top contender in the HPM (hellbats per minute) charts, and expect him to make a deep run in this tournament.
StarDust ends up at number 6 in our power rank. While some may be surprised to see him ranked considerably higher than his more decorated teammate Jjakji, there are several reasons for this. He had a fairly good season in Acer Teamstory Cup and finished with a 9-7 record, he has now advanced to his third straight Ro8 in WCS EU, and most importantly of all: Stardust is the defnding Dreamhack: Summer champion. Coming out of nowhere, Stardust put himself on the map with a 3-2 win over JaeDong in the finals. Past success doesn't necessarily guarantee future success, but StarDust is always a contender in these European tournaments, especially Dreamhacks. The mYi Protoss is coming off a decent top 8 showing at Dreamhack Bucharest, and odds are we'll see him in the top 8 bracket once again. It's just a question of whether or not we will see him advance any further and defend his title.
At #5 we find Acer's MMA whose last tournament victory took place in October last year. That's quite surprising considering MMA's status as a serious championship contender in almost any tournament he enters (of which there are a lot). Recent results however have shown that MMA has his weaknesses. At HSC he was eliminated by team mate Scarlett and his Ro32 elimination from WCS EU was one of the biggest upsets of a season littered with them. His 10-6 record in ATC is decent but not overwhelming. And perhaps most worrying for MMA, his old woes in the TvP matchup are beginning to resurface - he's only won 25% of his recent series against Korean protoss opposition. You may ask yourself - why is he at #5 then if all this sounds negative? Because MMA is a champion. And while he's a vulnerable one, he shows world class games just as often. All it takes is a weekend of old MMA.
San comes in at number 4 in this power rank, and he has the results to back it up. Once considered one of the worst players in the GSL in his early days, the Flash Wolves Protoss has played the long game, climbing up the ranks to the top and he looks primed to make a deep run at Dreamhack Summer. Consider his recent results: after a slow start in WCS EU, San achieved top 4 in Season 1 of this year after a narrow 2-3 loss to MMA kept him out of the finals. This season, San is taking care of business and has won his two groups, advancing to the final eight in fine form. You could tell that San was heating up at the end of 2013 with silvers in two Premier tournaments (IEM Singapore and ASUS ROG Summer) but it appears San was just getting started as he opened 2014 with a dominating win at ASUS ROG Winter, where he did not drop a map in the bracket stage (3-0 Life, 3-0 StarDust, 4-0 Dear in the finals). Still not convinced that this guy is one of the biggest threats to take the title at Dreamhack Summer? At the GSL Global Championship following Season 1 of WCS, San was the only non-WCS KR player to make the final four, and he beat the best Terran in the world, Maru, and back to back GSL runner up, soO, to get there, proving that he can go blow for blow with the best of the best in Korea. Many people may be overlooking him here, but San is one of the most dangerous players in the tournament and has every chance to walk away with the Dreamhack trophy.
MC is still without a doubt one of the best StarCraft 2 players out there and with his recent success in foreign tournaments and WCS, MC should be well prepared for Dreamhack Summer. Being an avid tournament attender and great entertainer, one thing is for sure; MC will put on an excellent show. Looking at his games from the recent Homestory Cup, MC's 0-4 loss in the finals may have you questioning his PvT. But lets be real for a moment: Taeja is a formidable opponent beyond the likes of most Terran players. Despite that disappointment, it's still another podium finish for a career littered with giant checks. Given the consistency he's been showing in WCS, making three finals in a row, along with the fact that he has as much experience as anyone in these types of events, #3 on this Power Ranking seems fair. How the Boss Toss keeps staying relevant while his contemporaries fade away is beyond us, and it doesn't look like he's anywhere close to slowing down.
Sitting pretty at the top of Aligulac and second in the WCS ranking, the Spiderzerg Hyun has to be enjoying life at the moment. Not only is he featured in a hilariously badass commercial for his sponsor's new keyboard, he also won three tournaments (WCS America, Copenhagen Games, Fragbite Masters 2014) in little over a month and finished second in Take's Ultra Invitational. The recent upswing of the zerg race has not left the former TSL zerg untouched. ZvT seems to be shifting towards roach openers, as if Hyun wasn't going to do them anyway. Modern ZvP features a broad variety of midgame attacks that Hyun had mastered before the rest of his race caught wind of their power and his ZvZ is looking solid as always. If this wasn't Dreamhack Summer then Hyun would probably top this ranking with recent success confirming his good form, a metagame that plays to his strengths and the necessary tournament experience. Alas, he finds himself in second.
You should all know the drill by now. As is tradition, TaeJa started off his summer holidays - that part of the year when he goes on a voyage around the world and bags whatever tournament he crosses - with his third consecutive HSC title a week ago. Whether or not 2014 will feature the Summer of Taeja 3.0 is still written in the stars but signs are popping up.
During an interview at HSC, TaeJa already confirmed his goal for this year: the WCS Grand Finals. He wants to end his career with a bang. As of right now he's occupying a promising spot to make it to Blizzcon, sitting at #9 in the WCS Rankings. But why stop there when it's your time of the year - possibly your last year? TaeJa is motivated, he's in good form, new hellbats seem strong and as long as his wrists don't break in half - perhaps even if they do - he's THE favorite to win the tournament and add a fourth Dreamhack trophy to his stacked collection.