DH Bucharest Preview
DreamHack Bucharest Preview
On October 20th and 21st, the Romanian capital of Bucharest will play host to sixty-four StarCraft II gamers in the latest DreamHack Eizo Open. Competitors will be fighting for a share of the 150,000 Swedish Kroner prize pool as well as one of two seeds into the DreamHack Winter finals at the end of the year. In this article, we’ll have a look at the landscape of the competition, from the favourites in the spotlight to the dark horses waiting their chance to strike. Let’s get started.
As with any good (read: biased) team-written article, we’ll start with our own representatives. Three Team Acer players will be competing: Nerchio, Bly and ParanOid. While Bly and ParanOid will be hoping for their breakout tournament results, Nerchio is already in 5th place in the Grand Finals point rankings after two top 8 finishes. Only the top three will advance on points though, so Nerchio will be looking to finish in the top 2 to unlock that DH Winter seed.
Nerchio has been on a tear recently, with wins in the HomeStory Cup V and WCG Poland qualifiers, as well as a second place finish to MVP at IEM Cologne. Nerchio will definitely be one of the favourites to come out on top, as one of the few foreigners that has consistently shown the skill to beat top Korean and European opponents.
Elfi is another player that could have a stand-out performance at DH Bucharest. Elfi has long been a strong player in PvP, and with a high proportion of Protoss players in the pool (29 of 64) he could get far if he has a Protoss-heavy bracket. He's also been improving substantially in his other matchups recently, particularly vT where he recently suffered a close 2:3 defeat against ThorZaiN in the finals of the Asus ROG GD Invitational.
Our final European player to watch has got to be MaNa. The Polish player exceeded expectations in the GSL, becoming the first foreign player to qualify for Code S by being seeded into the Up and Down matches. While he did fall down to Code A soon thereafter, he did place into a group of death against current GSL finalist MVP, as well as Taeja and MMA - not many European players would have gotten out of that one. He is definitely reaping the benefits of training in Korea, and will have had a good amount of time to practice for the tournament.
While the Korean presence can’t be ignored, Korean players have only taken half of the finals slots in previous three DH tournaments and only eight of the 32 points-scoring positions. That’s an impressive tally for any other nationality, but the Koreans it’s below what we’ve seen in other competitions, from their native GSL to the more diverse MLGs and HomeStoryCups. While the likes of Sage or TOP could still prove me wrong, the Korean representation at DH Bucharest is relatively lacklustre and should be pushed aside by the top Europeans representing at the event.
DH Bucharest will be the biggest eSports event on the calendar for Romanian StarCraft II players, with fifteen of their number competing in the tournament. NightenD and DeathAngel will be leading the charge, but there will be a large number of lesser-known Romanians competing for glory as well. We’ve seen strong results for players in front of their home crowds before - could we see a Romanian player go deep in this tournament? NightenD trained hard in Korea earlier this year and took home second place in the WCS Combined European Nationals, so expect a confident performance from him.
Another surprise could come from a fallen angel - NaNiwa. Despite a move away from Quantic towards personal sponsorship from Mionix and a fall out of Code S and then Code A in the GSL, NaNiwa has stated recently that he is hungry for victory and will no doubt be practicing hard. As one of the few foreigners to have competed in Korea for some time, NaNiwa could exploit the relatively light Korean presence and deliver the result he has been wanting to since his dominant MLG and GSL runs in 2011 and early 2012.
While Protoss have Elfi and NaniWa and Terran have TOP and Rain, it's Zerg that's looking like the dominant race going into DH Bucharest. Even with Stephano's departure from the tournament, the Swarm is still well represented by favourite Nerchio, Bly, Ret and TLO. With a strong Zerg contingent and the current winning record of Zergs in European tournaments, who will be able to knock them out?
If we ignore the obvious answer (another Zerg, like Nerchio) and suppose that we merely wish to see another race take the podium, then I think our two best chances lie with two Terrans - BeastyQT and TheSTC.
TheSTC is a fairly obvious choice, given that he's Korean and fairly good all-round, but he's proven particularly resourceful versus Zergs throughout his career, and particularly as of late. He holds a mighty 68% win rate in the matchup, although his most impressive result as of late has been his 3:4 semifinals loss to Leenock in the MLG Summer Championship. The advantage TheSTC holds over our next Zerg Killer is that he is also quite good at the other matchups, and therefore stands a good chance of making it deep in the tournament regardless of the competition.
Our second choice is BeastyQT. While he's not a massively well known player, he has long proved he can compete in European tournaments, and holds a 56% win rate in TvZ. He has also proved his endurance in the IPL TAC 3, where he all-killed a FXO.CIS team 5:0 including victories against Zergs LoWeLy and HappyZerg. DreamHack Bucharest could prove to be an important tournament for him, as if he can prove he can compete with the very top level of Zergs he might be able to make it to at least the semifinals. Nerchio will still prove a challenging opponent for him though, as BeastyQT has only won 16 out of the 43 sets the two have played.
DreamHack Bucharest is shaping up to be quite an interesting tournament - with a large Romanian contingent competing on their home turf, a light Korean presence and strong European players like Nerchio, Mana and Elfi, this could well be a tournament to remember. Tune in on October 20th and 21st to see how it all shakes out, and be sure to check out our live report of the tournament right here on AcerEsport.com.