World team league summer 2022 qualifiers
The WTL proved one of the most interesting tournament series of the last few years, and looking at the lineup of the incoming qualifier for its first season of 2022, the tireless work of the SCBoy crew to make top tier content and premium coverage from casters such as Wardi and Steadfast (and so many others) as well as from the TL writers and our dear Chinese TL members, have bear fruit. With 21 teams and over 130 players from all over the world, this qualifier offer a lineup of a size that hasn't been seen in years in Starcraft 2.
Now with so many teams, including many hailing from China, I imagine many of you have a hard time deciphering who has a shot and who doesn't... well worry no more! Because I may be as clueless as any of you, but I sure love talking out of my ass. So here’s a power ranking of all 21 teams looking the
The teams unbeknown to the great recipient of all knowledge that is Liquipedia
BH Monster zoo
Players: GW.棒棒鸡 aka Goo-Good Chicken; GW.帅帅马 aka Coo-Cool Horse; GW.憨憨鸭 aka Foo-Fool Duck; GW.瑟瑟鲤 aka Poo-Porn Fish; aka GW.软软狗 Soo-Soft Dog
With no liquipedia page, no player with a liquipedia page, players with name exclusively in mandarin characters and no results to their name, university team BH Monster zoo, may not be entering the competition with much aspiration to actually compete and will most definitely get swept away in the blink of an eye. However! They start their run against one of the favorite team, PREP Esport and the always entertaining Has, and if a match between Has and someone who named themselves “Poo-Porn Fish” isn’t enough to get you hype for a proper clown fiesta and don’t know what it.
Players Nikich, Silwercrow, Rarka, RazvaZAR, Microchelick, SlyOstrich
Our second “no-Liquipedia” squad is hailing from Russ…, I mean from Belaru… no no no, from Ukr… humm… from Somewhere between the Pacific and Germany. As opposed to BH, Platton is a long running amateur clan, their players however will not ring a bell for 99% of people. Nikich looks to be coming in as their ace, having had some (very moderate) success in the last few months according to Aligulac. He and his teammates could mount some opposition in the first round of the qualifier against an almost equally unknown team TouHou Project, but taking a squad that has as its greatest achievement taking maps of Nightmare or beating Zimotek all the way to the end of the bracket is not something anyone can imagine.
The People’s Republic of China
The WTL and its previous iteration has somewhat of a strange relation with China. On one side, it has proven to be very popular among the national crowd and has clearly pushed many Chinese players to try harder at Starcraft, on the other side, the league has hold little else than perpetual dismay for Chinese team. With all that said,clearly people weren't discourage because we have a record breaking seven all Chinese team lining up (counting BH), while two of them have a semi-realistic shot, these 4 are just showing the vitality of the semi-professional scene in the country.
Protoss The Best
Players Alka, DespeRado, Heller, Ivy, Star, sylas, WG, 小金者, Ykn, 宅肥
With a team like that one would be excused of thinking that “Protoss the Best” have no chance in the tournament, but on a second look, you’d realize that like any good Protoss that want to win, they in fact rely on a zerg. For them its sylas aka EF, aka Apologise, an ex-China Team Championship winner (he was part of TSG championship team back in 2019, although he never won a map). While not a top caliber player, he certainly has been a respectable top 10-20 Chinese player in the last few years has had some good result, including beating Coffee and Silky back in a 2019 WESG qualifiers. Their roster also include Star of “getting wreck on team LP” fame. They start their bracket against team Super, a difficult, but not impossible, task.
Why they are above Platoon: Some of their players have Liquipedia page and I kind of know who sylas/EF is.
Players: Daydreamer, 极限喵花, qwertasdzxc, SCV, 上海人形, 凤凰院凶真, 我是鹅卫兵
Team TouHou Project bright us the first player you might actually recognize in the form of “qwertasdzxc” formerly known as Lemon, a Taiwanese player that was at some point challenging for a solid top 5 player in its region, even getting to the final of a WCS qualifier, only to lose to Has. The result seems to have cooled off a bit in the last few years which is why it’s team is not higher, but he will be looking to bring some well needed point to his team. Outside of him, Daydreamer and “Takanashi” (formerly Soy) are the only one that I feel I was previously aware of their existence.
Why they are above Protoss is best: They are intelligent enough to realize that Protoss is, in fact, not best, and I feel like Lemon was better than EF ever was, plus I also recognize one or two name.
Players: Ghost, hickok, 柳渊ivy, madeinheaven, moonlight, noobs, ReStart, TurN, WinTeRZerg
Kaoda lineup may not like much from the outside but digging slightly deaper one start to recognize a few names. Winter has been around for a while; TurN is one of the most active Chinese players these last few months and Hichkok even has a WCS China top 12 results to his name. Sadly for them, they have gotten an extremely difficult draw with Root Gaming right of the bat, but maybe someone can squeeze in a map win.
Why they are above TouHou Project: While none of their players have had the success Lemon has, the latter has not shown much in the last few years and I feel like their overall line up is a bit stronger, and by that I mean they have more Liquipedia pages.
Players: Buqun, DyyS, HHH, HunteR, hyperion, JoliwaLoves, Majinbu, ReWhite, Saright, Starlight
As soon as three-time world championship finalist Reynor announced he was entering the competition, every eye turn to it’s ultimate nemesis Hyperion, but before the Chinese zerg can come as the ultimate as to snipe Reynor in the grand final, he will need to get out of this qualifier. He is not alone in that task, ex team LP and actually trophy-winning-player JoliwaLoves (pick), 16 years old MajinBu and HHH (the youngest Chinese GM ever if Liquipedia is to be believe) and protoss player ReWhite all have the potential to give a hand. It will be the second time SLT try to qualify, last season they were stop in the first round by Juggernaut gaming 6-3, with Hyperion and MajinBu taking maps,
I hesitated a bit to place SLT in the “random Chinese team” category, however while their squad may be a bit underrated due to the isolation of the Chinese scene compared to the rest of the team, they haven’t done enough to earn a place above any European or SEA team. They will have a nice opportunity to do so against Cranky Duckling in the opening round.
Why they are above Kaoda: A bunch of players I’m vaguely aware of, the killer of the vice-world champion, and seriously an amazing name is more than enough.
Would be happy with a single win
Players: Anticore, Blutmilan, Damrud, EruptioN, Eternity, Mabadi, Nameless, Quantel, Vaisravana
The team of the French caster Legendk has been revived in time to try its shot at a WTL participation. Sadly they may hope they still had some of their talent from the past, in their absence Quantel and Eternity will most likely have to do the heavy lifting, the former has beaten some good player in the past few month, including back to back win over Mixu and Cuku at the OSC season 9 championship while the latter has had middling success in against Taiwanese and SEA players, playing the winner of SSLT and Alien Esport will most likely be too talk a task though.
Why they are above Starlight Twinkle: Wait, why they above SLT!? Never mind, they go back between SLT and Kaona
License to kill
Players: Ambition, Binski, Haffey, Holden, Kozan, Maplez, Meowerdoom, Reaper, RockEr, Sepheron
Just like SLT, LTK is on their second try in the qualifiers. Last time they were all killed by Hellraiser despite starting 4-0 vs Dominaticus Esports, and just like last season it seems like their rosters is entirely devoid of anyone that could pull off a major upset despite having multiple quite good players. Worst of all, they actually lost arguably their best player in the form of American Protoss “Rhizer”, Maplez and RockER will probably have to take his place with the latter having won the “LTK Power ranking” tournament in front of the former just a few days ago. With a start against Juggernaut, they better have their pvz on point coming into Saturday.
Why they are above GdA: With a deep roaster and multiple player that have played in a competitive environment, they seem to have the better lineup than the relatively inexperienced GdA, plus I tend to rank NA over SEA or China.
Players: Aristori, ForJumy, Phoenix, Radko, Snoxtar, Spatz
Berserker are also going for a second go around, but only the German ForJumy and Spatz are left on the WTL winter team. They could however be enough to cause a major upset as they take on the venerable IG in the first round. ForJumy has been on the up and up in the last year and a half and Spatz can certainly play some good Starcraft, being a regular of the EU online circuit. Outside of these two however their team take a bit of dive and I frankly don’t know what to expect from the rest.
Why they are above License to kill: I’d take both ForJumy and Spatz over anyone in LTK, it feels like they are around the top echelon of the “high amateur-low semipro” all these guys operate.
Players: BabyMarine, CuKu, Goblin, RotterdaM
TeamRotti may have the most volatility out of every team in this qualifier, mostly based around the enigma that is Goblin. His talent is well known, but his practice schedule not so much. If he has put in the hours ahead of the qualifier, they should be they can easily get in the qualifying match, if not it will be a lot harder. While Babymarine and Cuku have enjoyed quite a lot of attention (especially Babymarine for obvious reason) their actual results are not exactly stellar and will need to grow a bit more before they can tango with the best, if they can't deliver it will be up to Rotterdam himself to step in and he’s no slouch himself. Rotti has drawn a good part of the bracket, neither TouHou Project nor Platoon are serious challenger and IG/Berserker are within their reach.
Why they are above Berserker: With four good player, including once potentially great, about on par with Spatz or ForJumy, they simply have more dept than Berserker.
Players: Davbond, FightingFrog, HateMe, iba, MariK, Narra, PAPI, Rhoust, Rodzyn
Some people may think I am ranking Plat too low, after all with Papy, Rodzyn and Fighthing frog they have a solid core of European online warrior and if HateMe can muster some of that 2019 magic he certainly is up there. However, I have learned over my years of watching all-kill team league that it’s generally more important to have one great player than multiple good one and Platinium don't really have one, they certainly can beat either Cranky duckling or SLT, but it will be about how they show up on the day.
Why they are above Team Rotti: Their main lineup is about on par with TeamRotti, but I feel like PAPI is most consistent out of all of them these day, but it will depend a lot on if Goblin, or even HateMe, have been practicing.
Players: ArT, Botvinnik, Eiger, PiLiPiLi, Raza, Rotab, TeebuL, threepoint
Genesis is a hard team to rank for me, on one hand they have alluring name on their squad like Art and PiLipiLi, but then I remember that they are way passed their glory day, they also have both Raza and Teebul, the latter who was the Oceania EPT winner last summer, but who also bombed out of the group the following season and has only played a single tournament since then. Raza has been more active and more consistent, but has a certain level ceiling, as have Botvinnik who after years looking like the next big thing out of Spain has yet to take a firm grasp on the national title.
Why they are about Platinum heroes While their player are not all at their best right now, they have proven themselves in the past, something one can’t really say about the Plat. If Teebull is feeling it, they might be much better than their ranking.
Players: Erik, NeO, Oreo, Ryu, StarDuck
Everything I love about this qualifier can be summed up in the phrase “With Erik in their team, they could go far”. Erik is not a great player, he might not even be a good player in most tournament he enters, he may however be the best player in the first two match his team will play. While the back half of 2021 may not have been as great as the first half (when he got a second place in the EPT Latam tournament), he still represents a level of competition few of his adversary in this tournament have played in, even if that level is playing for chance to maybe qualify to get destroy 0-4 in the group stage of a proper tournament. With him comes Australian player Oreo and Starduck, both capable of stealing a map in the opening match against SLT and it should be a nice fight against Plat.
Why they are above Genesis esport: I may be over-hyping Erik a bit, but I truly think he’s favored against all the Genesis player at the moment, even if it’s just by a little bit.
Players: Avokado, BattleB, Daniello, MilkiCow, NDS, Ppower, SoulSpirit, SunSet, Tassadary, TheMusZero
A “build for the WTL” team (or so I assume), Alien eSport has managed to snatch quite a few promising young European and first and foremost MilkyCow and BattleB have become mainstay of the round robin stage of the EPT Europe circuit in the last year. Nevertheless, neither managed to create a lot of distance between the lower part of competition. But while they can lose to quite a lot of people, they can upset almost everyone (if not absolutely everyone) in this qualifier and first and foremost the hopes of SSLT of breaking a decade of IG dominance.
Why they are above Cranky Duckling: That is quite a hard one, I wouldn’t necessarily bet on anyone of them against Erik, but I would take a four-man line up (MilkyCow, BattleB, SoulSpirit and maybe the MustZero) again the rest of the duckling squad. In the end, while the WTL format tend to favor top heavy team, I’d rather have three player 90% as good as the only competitive player on the other team.
The long shots
Players: Candleteacatz, HiGhDrA, PattyMac, Rhizer, trigger
The new “American Super team” is led by the Trigger, maybe the most promising North American player since Astrea or Future. He has gotten quite the team around him, with Rhizer and Pattymac also having shown some prowess, however it’s on the young Canadian protoss head that it will most likely all fall. Fresh of winning the latest season of the NA-Apprentice and having scored his first top 8 in EPT NA, 2022 could be a breakout year for him. With Neeb taking a step back from playing and Disk, Nina and Masa not getting any younger, there’s an opening in the North American scene that could be worth quite a few bucks, this WTL qualifier will be a good opportunity to show us what Trigger can do. Team Super start their tournament slowly with a match against Protoss The Best, and after that are due for what could be an epic duel against the AlphaX Drakes.
Why they are above Alien Esport: Trigger is better than BattleB and Milkycow right now in my opinion, as for the rest I think it’s fairly similar, Pattymac has had some surprising results (IE second place in an ESL cup), but I haven’t seen enough of him to say he won’t fall down to someone the like of SoulSpirit.
Alpha X Drakes
Players: Arrogfire, Asuna, Demi, Future, Uzikoti, Vindicta
Almost two years removed from Alpha X breakout performance in the China Team Championship, Alpha X has not only become a mainstay in the league but are also looking to become the first organization to have two team in the competition. The 14 years old protoss Frenchman Arrogfire and the Chino-American protoss Asuna, 10 years his elder are the two biggest menaces, but vindicta is always good and while Future results have definitely nosedive in the last year, he played quite a bit in NA tournament since the start of 2022 and has look better than some could expect.
Why they are above Team Super: The likely duel between the Drakes and Team Super will be one of the few head-to-head duels we see between closely ranked team. It should be a very interesting match, Trigger may be the best man on the day, but with probably two pvp in front of him the WTL format should favored the Drakes in my mind.
Players: FireFly, Jieshi, Sakya, Silky, TooDming
With IG falling into relegation, a new challenger formed in China in the form of SSLT, looking to take the place of its venerable counterpart in the WTL. They are however well used to playing in the tournament as their two central players, Jieshi and Firefly, played in the tournament, although on the two opposite end. Jieshi being part of the (disastrous) team LP while Firefly was the “default Chinese” on powerhouse DPG. Still, they have more importantly been solid top 12, if not top 4 or even top 2 at time for Jieshi, Chinese player in the last few years and represent a new guard of Chinese player that is looking to break out. There’s a big question mark though, as Firefly has not played a match since last July, if he really has taken a step back from playing, their team suddenly look much weaker.
As for the rest of them, I’m still highly doubtful that we will see Toodming play, however if the 33 years old was to take out his keyboard and mouse almost two years removed from his last competitive match, I’m sure it would be a well welcomed sight for the Chinese audience. Sikly is good but not great, and I have no idea who Sakya is. They should be happy with their first two match, against Alien and GdA and be looking ahead at the big team.
Why they are above Alpha X Drakes: Experience and consistency is the name of the game here, Jieshi has more than proven he is part of the Chinese elite, Silky is a solid wing-man and, if he’s been practicing, Firely can be a spectacular player.
Players: Bistork, EnDerr, GogojOey, MeomaikA
It’s hard for me to think a more perfect quatuor of player than Ender-Bistork-Meomaika and GogojOey, in fact if you told me “hey can you find me four SEA players for a tournament next weekend”, I feel like probably the first four name that would come to my mind. As such it’s perhaps not surprising that I feel they actually have a shot at making into the season. Many teams I’ve already covered have better ace, more promising talent, and more established performer, but I feel like none of them have the same potential to steal away just enough maps to worry any team in the tournament. With the way the bracket has turn out, a confrontation against PREP in the qualifying match is likely, last season, they were denied a ticket to the WTL by Has on the revive and it probably won’t be easier this time around, but there’s some hope.
Why they are better than SSLT: They have a more well-rounded team and have plenty of ability to pull off upsets, especially from Meomaika. (plus zerg is op)
Players: Coffee, MacSed, XY
Oh, oh, oh look at what we have here, IG as a top 3 team, now that’s something you don’t see every day. IG is an institution of Chinese Starcraft 2 esport as such they have seemingly had a vested right to keep playing in the SCBoy and NeXT league. Their reward them is almost three straight years display of pure impotence, as they got ruthlessly stomped on by every other team that went looking outside of China for their players. Now for the first time in what feel like forever, they will need to earn the right to get a beat-down.
It's also a good opportunity for IG to put everyone else that looked down on their sorrow back in their place, in the big pond that is the WTL, IG may have been a small fish, but now they look like a mighty dangerous one. Plenty of teams probably thought they could do better than them, but IG could prove as resilient as their two mid-thirty players XY (four straight top 6 EPT China result, 4th last season) and Macsed (8th straight top 8 in EPT/WCS China, silver medalist last summer) as well as their newest member Coffee (Top 4 in all three seasons of EPT China last year, two top 3). It should be relatively easy for IG to navigate their way to the qualifying match, where they probably have the ungrateful task to go against Root, it certainly would be the most high stakes match the team has played in quite some time.
Why they are better than the Juggernauts: While the Juggernauts feel build to excel in the WTL format, all their players are a notch down compared to IG squad, at least on paper.
Players: ByuL, Has, Puzzle
The last time I did one of those power ranking, I said that PREP was the only team in the qualifier that had an actual shot at competing in the league on par with the rest of the teams. At the time, I highlighted that Bly and ByuL should easily carry them out of the qualifiers and helped by Hush, Puzzle and Has they could very well win some games. A few months later, things have not turned out how I though at all. Not only were they soundly defeated by everyone but IG, they have loss both Bly (who barely played) and Hush, all the while ByuL return to high level competition created some of the saddest display of Stacraft I had seen in a long time. There is however a bright spot, and that is the frankly unexpected performances of Has last season. With an 11-9 record despite being given an extremely hard set of matches, the Taiwanese Protoss has become the undisputed ace of the team and the best player out the 130 + players in these qualifiers. While catastrophe is never far, especially when Protoss in concerned, he should be looking out to guide his team back to their spot, although tough matches against the Drake-Team Super and/or the Juggernaut could pose a problem.
Why they are better than IG: Has won as many maps last season as IG has in like the last 2 years.
Players: DnS, KingCobra,ShaDoWn, SortOf, Ziggy
Root is finally there! The world has begged them to enter the league for forever and 2022 should be the year they do so. Their delay has cost them a bit, with PSIStorm and alphaX nabbing them some players they probably could have kept if they had entered the league earlier, but the nonetheless Root come into the qualifiers with undeniably the best lineup. DNS and Shadown should be looking to make most of the heavy lifting, but all five of their players have made a European EPT top 32 in the last years. A clash with IG for a spot in the league is the likeliest outcome, with two of the oldest organization in SC2 duking it out.
Why they are the best: There’s nothing spectacular in that Root squad, no one that will allkill the qualifier from start to finish, but their overall base level just seems better than anyone else. Let’s Root for Root!