WCS Season 3 Challenger ANZ/SEA Preview
It only seems like yesterday the Season 2 Challenger series was run and won with iaguz and NXZ representing our region in the NA Premier League. However, we are now seven weeks past that event and will soon be crowning our representatives again for Season 3.
NXZ and iaguz had quite different results in their most recent foray in the Premier League. NXZ bowed out in straight sets, but remains unbroken and hungry for another chance at the big time. iaguz won through to the round of 16, and we caught a glimpse of a smile from the ‘Gimli Terran’ when he got the wins. He played admirably but ultimately could not progress any further.
As such both players were seeded directly into the Challenger bracket to face perennial Protoss, Blysk and the prodigal son, Petraeus.
At the end of Petraeus’ round of 16 run in the EU Premier League, he decided to return to New Zealand and attempt qualification through his native path. He was largely untroubled through out the qualifier and dropped just one map to KingkOng (Zerg) in the upper bracket semi final before moving on to the final.
Blysk, however had a much harder run. After dropping his first set to Probe (Protoss) in the upper bracket and then dropping maps to Seither (Terran) and Enderr (Zerg) the path cleared for him. He swept through the remaining bracket of Zerg players, Demilove, PiG & Crimson to meet Petraeus in the Final. Petraeus was able to win through and the collect AU$600 while Blysk pocketed $AU400.
With iaguz the more highly ranked player between him and NXZ, he had the option of what opponent to play in order to secure a third season in Premier League. TvZ is arguably his best match up but TvP isn’t too far behind either and you could argue it is on par with his TvZ. But considering his past experience with both Blysk and being a former team mate with Petraeus (fray & ROOT) he chose Blysk. That left a ZvZ matchup between NXZ & Petraeus of course.
Terran v Protoss
First cab off the rank in ANZ/SEA Challenger will be iaguz and Blysk. Blysk has been one of those players who has promised a lot in the local scene but has had a hard time breaking through. This will be a huge opportunity to show his skill. On the flipside, iaguz has the experience and the record against his opponent, winning 3-0 the last time they met. iaguz’s macro is simply one of the best and I am sure we will see him bring the full force of the ‘boys’ in this match.
Terrans are doing very well against tosses now. Would say the match up is favoured towards them. But Iaguz has been in premier for way too many times, time for him to take a break.
Last time I beat Blysk easily enough 3-0, but between new maps, Aus ping and Blysk just getting better at Starcraft, I feel like it’s going to be a lot harder this time.
Australia v New Zealand
The old rivalry once again raises its head with NXZ taking on Petraeus. NXZ has learned a lot from his experience in Burbank. He has since proved he has some of the best ZvZ game play in the region after finishing second in the recent ACL Sydney final where he defeated Korean Zerg, KingkOng, twice. Petraeus though is going to be a
Petraeus is a very skilled player which of course makes him a tough opponent. He’s had a lot of time to train and practice in both America and Europe so now that he’s back in New Zealand, I expect he will enjoy the few months off after I eliminate him in Challenger league ;)
I think we could see some upsets in these matches. Blysk is definitely on the improve and has something to prove; the new map pool will certainly help his cause. iaguz has the pedigree and the psychological edge over his opponent and will be wanting a third appearance in Premier League this year. Petraeus has the experience from his forays into NA & EU and will be out to prove himself now he is back home. NXZ proved that he is an up and coming player and has shown his preparation is second to none after his qualification last season defeating PiG.
I believe the first match will go according to the script with iaguz taking the match but not as he did last time: iaguz 3-1 Blysk.
This is where I see really intriguing match. NXZ does go into the match as under dog, but Aussies relish that position. I am a little torn here as I think Petraeus should come out on top but I am predicting this will go the distance and see NXZ take the match 3-2. (I may be a little biased here too)
I’m quite confident that iaguz and Petraeus are favoured to go through into premier, both have been before and both are pretty hungry to go again.
One factor that might make things sticky for iaguz is that he doesn’t like the new maps, and protosses are utilizing this by being aggressive with blink builds and proxies and immortal all ins, which is something he’s struggled with before.
I think Blysk could do some damage, but ultimately iaguz is the better player.
Regarding Petraeus and NXZ; I think Petraeus is just a better player overall, but then again I thought that of PiG last season, so what do I know!
I think NXZ beating Petraeus tomorrow will be an even bigger upset than last season, would be incredible to see it if it happens.
Watch it Live!
Regardless of the outcome, we will be in for a treat as we watch the top players in our region fight for a spot to represent us all on the world stage. All players will receive USD$2000 just for making it this far but there is an extra USD$2500 and the potential to earn more in the round of 32.
You can also send you support to the players via twitter
* Petraeus was unavailable for comment