A fan favorite with constantly changing hair, HerO has been in the foreign eye since his win at Dreamhack last year; this year he's looking to solidify himself as a top Protoss by rising straight from Code B to Round 8 in Code S and doing well in most other events he attends. He now has his eyes on claiming a second major foreign event. Unfortunately for him, though, the competition at this event seems rather tight. I'm giving him eighth place, but he could certainly do better, even if I don't see him winning it.
Oh, aLive: Despite looking so strong this year, you failed me at the MLG Spring Arena by barely making top eight. OK, so he didn't win like I thought he would, but he hasn't exactly looked weak either. I based off of his recent results in GSL and WCS Korea, and because PartinG isn't at this event, top8-ing MLG should be more than reasonable. I'm giving him seventh, but personally I'd love to see him do even better.
I gave this guy top4 in the last MLG Arena, and he would have made it if it weren't for a certain wizard (see below). Well, I've moved him down a few spots, but honestly not much has changed for the French Zerg. Even if Oz proved he could be beaten in ZvP, it's still his best match-up (and his ZvT is strong as well) so making the top four of this event is perfectly within reason. But just like HerO, I really can't see this guy winning it all.
Despite having been a top Korean Protoss, since leaving FXO for Fnatic his GSTL results have gone down and his individual league results haven't been too impressive. That is, until the MLG Summer Arena where he made an impressive run for 3rd/4th, and in the process crushed the French Zerg Stephano 4-1 in an extended series. Now that he's gotten our attention again, can Fnatic's wizard bring home another strong finish? Having seen his plays at the Summer Arena, fifth should be easy for him, we'll just have to see though.
For a little while, this young Zerg was absolutely on fire. Winning MLG Providence and making the finals of last year's GSL November. Since then the Leenoctopus has fallen on hard times. Well, temporarily, anyway; he picked himself back up and cleaned off for GSTL season 2, where he helped bring his team to the Finals, leading some of us to wonder if he was back for real. With only some mixed online results to look at since GSTL ended, it's hard to say. He has a tough road ahead of him: He has to play through the open bracket just to make it to the group stage; despite this, though, if his former strength is really back, making top four should be easy for the young Zerg.
I feel like I'm taking a bit of risk here. Alicia has gotten second at his last three major events. In fact, he's done so in a fairly impressive fashion, crushing everyone on his way up, only to get dominated by final opponents. Leaving his surprisingly consistent record aside, we haven't really seen this guy much since the last Arena, and so with nothing else to base this off of, I have to assume he'll do equally well in this event. I don't think, though, that first is within the realm of possibility.
Even though he has to go through the open bracket (not to mention the fact that he hasn't been looking nearly as dominant as the beginning of the year), putting this guy anywhere but in the finals still seems a little absurd. Sure, he didn't make the finals of the Spring Championship and he failed to bring his team to the finals of two team leagues... and he didn't make it out of the WCS Korea Preliminaries... and he still can't secure another top eight finish in GSL. That's a lot of and's, I suppose, but even so, it wasn't too long ago that he was considered the best in the world, and if it weren't for one guy (see below) he may still be...
1. Liquid’ Taeja
I put him in a measly fourth for the last event, and, well, he ended up showing me by winning the whole thing. Since then, he's done a little more winning, cleaning up both Squirtle and MC 4-1 to take the ESV Grand Prix and ASUS ROG Summer event. He did disappoint us by only getting one all-kill against Incredible Miracle in the IPL Team Arena (because of the way the tournament was structured, and by the way he went 22-3 in that league by himself). With titles of Best in the World, Next Bonjwa, and OP already being called, it's hard to take our eyes off of this guy. Between him and MarineKing, it’s hard to say who will come out on top as best Terran -- let alone as best player. My bet rests with the Heir Apparent, though.
- Keegan "HornetSting" Gallick.