DreamHack Summer Preview: SC2
The Player Field
As has become par for the course for this competition the player field at this DreamHack event is formidable. A total of 96 players will be participating, competing through three rounds of group play followed by a 16 player championship bracket.
The 32 players with the highest seeding will proceed straight to group stage 2, which consists of 16 groups of 4 players, while the bottom 64 will have to play through the same format in group stage one in order to advance. The top two players from each group from stage two will advance to stage 3, consisting of 8 groups of 4 players. Finally, the top two from each group in stage 3 will be seeded into the 16 player, single elimination championship bracket.
Several notable players did not get the benefit of advancing directly to stage two. These include two former Mouz players MorroW and ThorZaIN, who is a former DreamHack champion. Also of note is White-Ra, the consummate veteran.
These players will have to fight their way out of their group to meet with the top 32 who have already been seeded into their top 2 spots in their respective groups. Some players of note from this group include Taeja, HerO, Jaedong, Scarlett, Stardust, MC, and Hyun.
Past Champions Litter the Field
DreamHack shows that it is an event that players will keep coming back to. Taeja and HerO alone have 5 championships at DreamHack events. This has earned the duo the clever nickname of "Ice and Fire." Taeja, representing fire, has won two of his three titles in summer months, in Valencia and Bucharest, while HerO, ice, has two DreamHack Winter titles to his name.
No other players in the field can say that they have earned multiple DreamHack championship titles, though there are several one time champions. HuK, MC, ThorZaIN, StarDust, HyuN, and MaNa all have a championship to their names.
Even in those who have not won a DreamHack there are dangerous players. Jaedong, as has become a microcosm of his SC2 career, has two second place finishes, at Summer '13 and Valencia '13 as well as a 3rd/4th finish at Bucharets '14.
Is There a Foreign Hope?
In past DreamHack Summer/Winter events foreigners could hang their hope on some player to be the dark horse to make it to the finals. Usually that player was NaNiwa, a player who the local Swedish crowd could easily rally behind. But with his retirement who can step into his place as the foreign hope? And could that hope be another Swedish player?
Three players have the ability to fill that place in this tournament: Scarlett, Snute, and Dayshi.
After strong performances at Red Bull Battle Grounds, getting eliminated by MC, and NorthCon, where she was eliminated by Jaedong, Scarlett took some time off after the new year. Now she's back and between the experience she has gained in the last year against international talent and her 3rd/4th finish at HSC IX and an all-kill of NewRoSoft in ATC Season 3 she looks poised to have a strong performance at DreamHack. In an interview with GEM at HSC IX Scarlett said that one of her goals for the year is to make it to the finals of a major tournament, and perhaps she can achieve that this weekend.
Snute's results have been up and down, recently going 0-2 in the WCS EU Ro16 against ForGG and Harstem, but like Scarlett he has the potential to blow up at any international tournament. Still, Snute is currently the highest ranking foreigner in WCS points, sitting at 19th between Rain and Welmu. Snute recently finished first at the TaKeTV Ultra Invitational and the SeatStory Cup, defeating his fellow zerg HyuN in both finals. At the invitational Snute also beat fellow DreamHack participants Dayshi, First, and Socke. And at SeatStory Snute defeated Socke, TLO, Dayshi, and Hyun. With these finishes Snute seems to be set in a groove and ready to have a strong performance at DreamHack.
Dayshi could be the ultimate sleeper of this tournament. A relative unknown until recently, Dayshi just finished 3rd/4th at HSC IX beating players like Hartsem, MaNa, and Bomber. Dayshi also had an all-kill of CoL-Dignitas in ATC. Dayshi also isn't new to DreamHack as he made it to the Ro16 in last years DreamHack Summer where he defeated Goswser and MaNa. Dayshi has the potential to perform well, but expectations for him should be lower as he does not have the same victories or experience that Snute or Scarlett have. Even still, his recent results should have him poised to finish well at this DreamHack.
Who is the Odds On Favorite?
Most people will likely be putting their money on Taeja. This is Taeja's (Fire's) time of year and we very well could bear witness to the start of another Summer of Taeja. He has the most medals at DreamHack events, has won the last two DreamHacks he has participated in as well as winning the last two HSC's. Taeja has his eyes set on the WCS Grand Finals and his recent finishes have him poised to make such a run. Taeja appears ready to burn like fire through the competition this weekend and everyone should fear him.
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