Breaking Down The Elite Eight

A look at how the eight competitors stack up at Red Bull Training Grounds.

Red Bull Training Grounds
Red Bull Training Grounds: The Elite Eight© Tom Nguyen/Red Bull Media House

Eight top StarCraft II players from around the globe will come together this weekend for Red Bull Training Ground. What can we expect from the competition? Let's take a quick look at the two groups of players:

Group A

Manuel “Grubby” Schenkhuizen, Independent (Protoss, EU)
Bae “Sound” Sang Hwan, StarTale (Terran, KR)
Samuel “Kane” Morrissette, ROOT Gaming (Zerg, NA)
Dan "ViBE" Scherlong, ROOT Gaming (Zerg, NA)

Two North American Zerg champions – WCS USA 2012 Champion ViBE and ShoutCraft America champion Kane – take on the world in Group A. Both members of ROOT Gaming, their work will be cut out for them against Grubby – one of the greatest WarCraft III players of all time and one of the best Protoss players in Europe. Though he was eliminated early on in the WCS EU Premier League, he smashed his way back in right away (with wins over top players like MC and Nerchio) and will have another shot this season.

And while Sound might not be the most famous member of Korean team StarTale, his skills shouldn’t be underestimated – the runner-up at the 2012 HomeStory Cup IV recently scored an all-kill over NS HoSeo in the GSTL. There's no clear favorite here, as each of these players have shown a form at one time or the other capable of taking this group.

Group B

Benjamin “DeMusliM” Baker, Evil Geniuses (Terran, NA)
Brandon “puCK” Arlie Qual, ROOT Gaming (Protoss, NA)
Kyeong Hyun “SeleCT” Ryoo, Independent (Terran, NA)
Myeong Hwan “Golden” Jo, StarTale (Zerg, KR)

After a stint playing DotA 2, fan favorite SeleCT has returned to StarCraft II. Tearing up the ladder immediately upon returning (and winning a $100 bet by reaching Rank #1 GM), he'll now have to test his skills at his first major live tournament since his return. It'll be quite a test. DeMusliM, a player far better than his results show, just finished ripping through the WCS AM Challenger League to claim a spot in the Premier League for next season – showing a particularly beastly TvT.

puCK also has smashed his own way into the Premier League, establishing himself as one of the USA's top Protoss players. And of course, you can't ignore the Korean in the room – Golden, a long-time StarCraft II competitor who always posts strong results. On top of that, he's got some of the best practice partners in the world at StarTale. Up against live tournament veterans like DeMusliM and Golden, the up-and-coming puCK and recently-returned SeleCT may seem to be at a disadvantage – but who knows what could happen?

Each player at Training Ground plays each other round-robin style over the course of Friday and Saturday. If there's a particular match-up you especially want to see, just take a look at the schedule below and tune in. The top two from each group will advance to the final bracket, which will be played out on Sunday. And don't forget, after each match the players will join the casters for analysis of their games.

SCHEDULE: (Note: all times in PDT and subject to change.)

Friday
2:00pm Stream starts
2:15pm Sound vs. Grubby
3:15pm DeMusliM vs. Golden
4:15pm Kane vs. ViBE
5:15pm puCK vs. SeleCT
6:15pm Sound vs. ViBE
7:15pm puCK vs. Golden

Saturday
2:00pm Stream starts
2:15pm Grubby vs. ViBE
3:15pm DeMusliM vs. SeleCT
4:15pm Sound vs. Kane
5:15pm DeMusliM vs. puCK
6:15pm Kane vs. Grubby
7:15pm Golden vs. SeleCT

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