Now that we've settled comfortably in our living room in Krefeld the results from the first group stage are streaming in. Who was able to make the cut and who bit the dust?
Group A, arguably the group of death, went between Nerchio, Naama, ToD and Socke. Each of these players has had something going for them in the recent past. Socke did great in his last MLG beating multiple Koreans, ToD has spent an extended amount of time in Korea playing alongside the remaining roster of fnatic in their newly acquired gaming house, Nerchio smashed the Polish WCS tournament and Naama has had an extended training period in Korea as well. That said only two could progress from the group. The heat is on.
The first place of the group was childishly easily decided when Nerchio took out ToD convincingly 2-0, with ToD making some massive forced errors throughout the games, and also had a hard fought 2-1 victory over Naama. Eventually ending at 3-0 in his group the crowned Polish champion has put a lot of attention on himself with these wins, the question is whether he can keep his nerves and form in check for upcoming Saturday when the second group stage goes down.
The battle for second place was on, with a surprising first player dropping out in Socke. In his opening match he faced Naama, a Terran which has practiced a lot but shown very little of himself in recent times. Socke played properly but Naama got inside the German's head, eventually forcing Socke into a critical failure on the third map. The second match Socke lost 2-0 to ToD in a hard-fought PvP, meaning he was inevitably knocked out already. The remaining match, ToD vs Naama would decide the faith of the remaining two. With both of them coming straight from Korean practice it was a match made in heaven.
The match turned out to be a nail biter, but Naama was able to take the edge with his somewhat unorthodox plays. I wouldn't want to say it's against all odds that these two players advance, but it wasn't the expected duo either.
Socke's fate was decided after his demoralizing loss to ToD
In the mean while group B had Bling, Bly, ClouD and IdrA fighting for the next group stage. Here the headline was undeniably IdrA's more than solid play.
IdrA might have been criticized in recent times for his somewhat lackluster performances at big events, but this time around he has shown he still has what it takes. Although his group was significantly easier than group A he still put up a show and went 3-0 in his group to easily qualify for the next phase. Perhaps it's a beacon of hope for the American Zerg who has more relied on his personality and streaming than on his tournament results as of late.
Second place went to the UK's BlinG, who definitely had something to prove after his early loss in the UK WCS. After an amazing first series versus Ukrainian Bly, in which the first game ended to be a 17 carrier against 23 brood lord Armageddon, BlinG came out on top with 2-0. Yet he wasn't able to take advantage of IdrA's weakness and annoyances versus Protoss, going down 2-0 to the American. BlinG however bounced back,somewhat. In the decider match he had to battle Cloud. Even though ClouD won the series 2-1 map score meant BlinG was going to advance regardless, sealing both his and the Italian's fate, who needed a 2-0 victory to stand any chance.
That however is not all, with group C and D still to be played today there's a lot more awesome coming your way live from the HomeStory Cup in Krefeld!
This piece is part of Cadred's HomeStory Cup V coverage. For our other great pieces and news updates surrounding HSC click here.