After the World Championship Series America’s debut on ESL TV a couple of weeks back, it’s time for the tournament series to return to Europe this weekend. The top 16 North American representatives in StarCraft II will battle it out in Cologne, Europe’s eSports capital, to determine which eight players will face off in the all-important Season 1 play-offs.
This season of WCS America has seen some upsets and surprising results, but also the return of champions. Polt, the two-time WCS America champion and reputed Captain America is once again on the way to the playoffs to defend his title. However, this title is also in the crosshair for the fifteen other players to have made it this far. Obvious contestants are the Intel Extreme Masters’ Sick Nerd Baller HyuN and the 2013 WCS Season 2 champion Bomber, who is making his debut in the North American WCS this season after having been part of Korea’s Premier League in three consecutive seasons and finishing in third/fourth place at the WCS Global Finals at BlizzCon 2013.
Bomber is a double-threat for Polt in this particular season as he’s not only a favorite to make it through to the playoffs and perhaps even the finals but he will also give his fellow Terran a hard time in the group stage: both players are in Group D along with CranK and XiGua.
Also worth mentioning are the Chinese powerhouses MacSed, TooDming and XiGua, all of which have been looking really strong this season with victories over consistent top players such as HerO, Scarlett or Sen respectively. MacSed and XiGua have made strong appearances in previous seasons already, which leaves us with the odd one out: TooDming. The Zerg player has consistently been at the top of Chinese StarCraft II but is yet to make a splash in the international scene. With countryman and thoroughly successful Protoss player MacSed as well as fan-favorite TaeJa in his group, making it out will be a tough feat, but he sure does look like a force to be reckoned with.
Last but not least, let’s take a look at the American and Canadian participants that have made it this far: HuK, pucK and Neeb. HuK and puCK have been some of North America’s most consistent players – now in their fourth and third consecutive Premier League season respectively.Neither of the Protoss players have made it to the playoffs in the past, though, and with a crazy group such as HyuN, Heart and Oz, it’s not looking to be easy for puCK this season either. Similarly, HuK will be facing tough opponents in the form of Alicia, Revival and the American newcomer Neeb. The sixteen year old Terran player from Fnatic has defeated Illusion and Minigun in his Premier League debut so far, and might cause yet another upset this weekend.
No matter who you’re cheering for and how the stories unfold, ana mazing weekend of StarCraft II action is up ahead as the sixteen players of the 2014 WCS America Premier League Season 1 face off in the ESL TV studios in Cologne on April the 5th and 6th starting at 08:00 PDT (17:00 CEST). You don’t want to miss this!