With the open qualifier portion of the PokerStrategy.com TSL is approaching it's conclusion, it's time that we announced some more of our Korean invites. Last week we announced that three of the best Protoss players in the world would be joining us for TSL3 - Genius, Huk and MC. As promised, this news post will reveal our five Zerg invites. That leaves the announcement of our remaining 5 Terran players for next week.
Zerg players we have invited to the TSL this season are truly phenomenal players. They have had profound influences on the Zerg metagame and continue to be players which inspire fans around the world. They represent the small glimmer of hope that a Zerg will rise and claim some tournament wins back from the Terrans. They are truly the best of the best, and we are honoured to have them participate this season.
Before we get into the Zerg invites, you might like to enter our raffle by completing the quiz over at PokerStrategy.com - you never know, you might be the lucky person getting an all expenses paid trip to Korea!
IdrA, or maybe better known as the Gracken, has become a household name over the past year. After a prolonged experience as a Progamer for CJ Entus in Starcraft 1, IdrA jumped right into Starcraft 2 the moment the beta hit. Since then he has been the Zerg Zergs aspire to be. He set the tone for the race with his macro oriented play and has been one of the key contributors to the Zerg metagame in all matchups. Despite not making the Top 8 in the first three seasons of the GSL, IdrA was one of the most consistent performers throughout and actively had teams of Koreans devising strategies solely for the purpose of eliminating him. His consistency was rewarded with a place in Code S. Last season he finally broke into the Top 8 where he fell to the Gorilla Terran, Jinro, in an entertaining Bo5 series. Internationally, Idra has only ever not made the final of a foreign tournament once (MLG Dallas) and is always the man to beat when he shows up. After making the previous two TSLs, IdrA will be looking to take his first TSL title this season - anything else would be a disappointment for such a talented and skilled player.
Despite flying under the radar for quite some time, Haypro is one of the strongest Zergs around. He made it through the gruelling GSL Qualifiers to get a shot in the GSL where he unfortunately fell to BitByBit.Prime. More recently Haypro was selected as one of the Code A seeds and you will be seeing him later this month as he tries to qualify for Code S. In January Haypro briefly returned to Europe to participate in some tournaments. He placed fourth in the PokerIdol tournament (behind Select, Sjow and TLO) and won the first XMG Series Cup over Hasuobs. Haypro has also been a key player for TLAF-Liquid` in the Machinima Team Invitational as well as the GosuCoaching Premier League where he is currently tied for 1st place for most wins on TLAF-Liquid`. His list of scalps from the team leagues include EG's DeMuslim and ROOT's KiWiKaKi. This is Haypro's second TSL as he qualified for the first season where he lost to Brat_OK.
After a prolonged and illustrious career in Brood War, including a stint in Korea as a Progamer, we all thought ret was done with gaming. After IEM Cologne, that all changed. Revitalised by the LAN atmosphere, ret got right back into things and began his career as a professional Starcraft 2 player. Despite his delayed start, ret's natural talent for the game has allowed him to catch right up to the worlds best in no time. At MLG Dallas he placed seventh, and considering he had only started practising seriously a few months earlier this is an amazing result given the strength of the MLG Dallas lineup. His natural talent could not be withheld in the GSL either - after finishing top 32 of GSL Season 3, he went on to earn Code A through the Code A tie breakers. Unfortunately, he was unable to secure Code S that season but has been seeded into Code A for the upcoming qualifiers. He's recently taken trip back to Europe to participate in Assembly Winter. He took on the best Europe had to offer and crushed his way to the final where he defeated MorroW 3-1. This is ret's third TSL and after showing people what was up in Helsinki, this season he looks poised to bring the pain in the TSL while simultaneously clinching Code S in Korea.
Nicknames haven't really been given out in SC2 yet, barring Jinro and Idra. But if they had, FruitDealer would be known as the Gambler Zerg. Why? Because there isn't anyone who takes larger risks than him. FruitDealer started out in SC2 after a being forced to retire from being a SC1 Progamer to support his parents after showing such promise and potential. FruitDealer's performance during the beta was truly impressive and he came out of it regarded one of the strongest Korean players. His feats during the beta include winning the 17173 SC2 World Cup, a tournament comprised of the world's best players, over Dimaga 4-3 defeating players like Maka and Tester along the way. During the first season of the GSL he was one of the firm favorites to take the tournament - and indeed, he defeated Rainbow 4-1 in the final. The key to his success is his massive risk taking and volatile unpredictability. You can never be certain about what style FruitDealer is going to play - is he going to go completely all in with waves upon waves of banelings? Or is he going to macro up and spam more drones than is safe (like he did against TOP)? It's this massive risk taking that got him the GSL S1 win, and nearly cost him his spot in Code S last season. Fruitdealer is such an interesting Zerg player, and a true asset to the TSL.
If you asked the question "who is the best Zerg player in the world" there is little doubt that the answer would be NesTea. Simply put, the guy is phenomenal. He went through GSL2 undefeated until the finals which he won 4-3, made it to the Ro8 of GSL3 and then made the semifinals of GSL4 where he lost to the eventual winner MVP. As a result of his consistency he has won the most prize money in SC2 so far. During the Gainward tournament, he was the only Zerg in the Round of 8 where every other player was Terran. NesTea went against the odds and made it through to the final against MVP and ended up taking second place. Despite being one of the strongest players in the Korean scene, NesTea has never competed in an international tournament before. This is the first chance for the best players from across the globe get their shot at taking on the best Zerg in the world without travelling to Korea. NesTea will be looking to add $15k to his already impressive winnings and show that he is the best player in the world by winning the TSL. In the words of Artosis, his mere presence in the TSL makes me all wiggly and jiggly.
Things just got real here at the TSL. The champions of Seasons 1, 2 and 3 of the GSL will be competing along side the best of the international scene. If that doesn't get you excited then I don't know what will. Next week we unveil our five Terran invites, an announcement which promises to raise the stakes of the TSL to a whole new level. Tune in to the official TeamLiquid cast for Qualifier #7 where just before the finals are casted we will announce the final five invites.
Stay tuned for our recap of the 6th TSL Qualifier.
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Discuss with other fans in the TSL3 Forum.