IEM sc2 Group Stage Preview
With the sc2 group stage right around the corner it is time to give a little preview of what you can expect this upcoming weekend! Sixteen players will be fighting for 8 spots which will guarantee them a place in the Intel Extreme Masters American Championship Finals which will take place in New York, NY on October 8th through October 10th.

Group A

Group A is seemingly the group of death for this qualification, with the likes of Greg ‘IdrA’ Fields, Payam ‘TT1’ Toghyan and Jian Carlo Morayra ‘Fenix’ Alejo who all have extensive experience ranging back into the BroodWar era of professional Starcraft, it is a tough call on who will come out on top in this group. However, the player to watch out for is Greg Fields. Greg is undoubtedly one of the strongest players in the world, if not the strongest. Having been a part of the professional Korean team, CJ Entus, Greg has been able to hone his skills as a professional Starcraft Player. Recently placing second at the IEM Gamescom stop in Cologne Germany, Greg showed the world just how skilled he has become.

Payam is another face too look out for in this group, coming from SC:BW as well, Payam joined Starcraft 2 a little later than most professionals, starting a few months into the beta. However, he quickly rose to the top ranks of the ladder and proved himself again and again in various show-matches and online cups. This groups must watch match will be between IdrA and TT1, being at the top of their races internationally, these two titans will take no prisoners.

Group B

Group B is also a very strong group, seeing three professional players yet again, with very strong RTS experience backing them up. Jonathan ‘KiWiKaKi’ Garneau and Bryce ‘Machine’ Bates being the most notable, having long lasting professional experience in Warcraft III and Starcraft:BW respectively, these two are no strangers to these sorts of tournaments.

The must watch player in this group is the Canadian hero, Chris ‘HuK’ Loranger. Recently taking the crown of the first ever MLG Starcraft II stop in Raleigh North Carolina, HuK has proven just how strong his play really is. If you have been following the professional Starcraft II scene at all, you will know that the other player to look out for in this group is KiWiKaKi. HuK and KiWiKaKi met in the grand finals of the recent MLG stop in Raleigh just a few short days ago. KiWiKaKi comes from a very strong position as a Warcraft III pro-gamer as well as he has participated in many top events around the globe. You will not want to miss these two butt heads yet again so early in a tournament. A rematch in the group-stage will be very tense for both players. It could be the match that makes or breaks their chances of moving off to the playoffs.

Group C

Group C is perceived as one of the easier groups, with only Kevin ‘qxc’ Riley bringing any sort of top level RTS experience to the table, all eyes will be on him to take the top of his group. However, there is a chance that the rising star from Canada, Strieb ‘Silver’ Roman, can give qxc a run for his money. Having been given a top seed, Silver has been projected by many to be the favourite of his group.
The must watch games of this group will be that of qxc and Silver as they battle it out to see who takes the top seed in the group. There is room for upset though, as ThisIsJimmy has been steadily gaining shape over the weeks since the beta. This group really relies on how much each player has been focusing on their Terran Vs. Terran as it is the only race displayed in this group. An upset is possible if qxc or Silver have been neglecting the matchup in order to prepare for the playoffs.

Group D

Group D comes stacked with 4 very skilled players all boasting different sets of skills. There is no really standout player in this group, as all four have an equal chance of taking one of the two spots in order to reach the playoffs. Many would put Dan ‘Artosis’ Stemkoski as the favourite to take one of the spots as he has a lot better training opportunities living in Korea. With that being said however, being the only Zerg in the group and facing off against a very strong group of Terran players, Artosis will have a very rough time making it through the group.
Do not count anyone out however as all have proven themselves in countless competitions over the weeks during the beta and after the games full release in July. Group D really is anyone’s game as all players are on an equal level with each other. Keep an eye on Artosis as he tries to battle his way through the Terran stacked group in order to make it to the playoffs!

This text was written by Cameron Carson
1009538, Thursday, 02/09/10 22:39
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