Who will emerge from the first two groups of WCS Season 3 finals? Here's Red Bull eSports' picks.
The power of the first two groups of the StarCraft World Championship Series Season 3 final is off the charts. More than half of the eight players in Group A and B are strong contenders to win the whole tournament, but only four of them get to move on. Here’s a look:
Group A: The Group of Death
Players: Soulkey, MC, Hack, Polt
Likely to Advance: Kim "Soulkey" Min Chul may not have the highest seed in this tournament, but his performance this year has been nothing short of outstanding. He won WCS Korea Season 1 over Lee "INnoVation" Shin Hyung, made the semifinals at the Season 1 Finals, and now arrives in Toronto following another semifinals appearance in WCS Korea Season 3. The simple fact is that nobody else in this group has been facing the kind of competition that Soulkey has faced all year, and he’s been triumphant in most of his battles.
Close call: It’s hard to imagine a group so tough that Choi "Polt" Seong Hun and Jang "MC" Min Chul both seem like they’ll struggle to survive it, but that’s the state of play here in Group A. Polt has a slight edge thanks to starting the group stage against StarTale’s Kim "Hack" Young Il, who is quite good but probably not about to unseat Polt.
The big strike against MC is right now is that he looked pretty weak against Mun "MMA" Seong Won in the European Final early this month. While he battled back enough to make a decent series, MMA was clearly in the driver’s seat throughout the entire series. MC simply could not make his greedy strategies work, and his decision making looked questionable. He’ll need to be far, far sharper to survive this series.
Group B: Old Warhorses
Players: MMA, Jaedong, Trap, Genius
Neck and neck: This fall has been the season of MMA’s resurgence, and there’s no reason to think that’s about to stop now. He dismantled MC in their European final, and looked tremendous at DreamHack Bucharest. The multiple GSL-winner is looking more competitive than he has in years, and he’s sound on every matchup. He should be in good shape to start this tournament.
What makes it dicey is that Lee Jae Dong is also playing very well, and it was his Zerg vs. Zerg that let him down in the WCS America finals, where he was knocked out in the semifinals. Prior to that, he’d looked good against Hack.
The issue for Jaedong, of course, is that he’s been consistently good all year and consistently unable to close the deal. He usually plays up to the level of the competition, though, so look for him to get through the group stage and then make a semifinal exit.
Wild cards: Jung "Genius" Min Soo was a surprise throughout this last season in WCS Europe, and turned in a good showing at the finals despite losing 3-0 to MC. He’s emerging from a bit of a slump since a second-place GSL finish last year, and a strong showing here could really put him back on the map.
The outlook is less good for Cho "Trap" Sung Ho, who squeaked into this final by winning the placement matches to take 5th in this most recent WCS Korea season. He bested some great players during his run, but so has everyone else in this group. And all of them have achieved more and shown more consistency than Trap.
For the latest news follow Red Bull eSports on Twitter.