The MLG Summer Arena is about to kick off in New York City this weekend as we head into the heart of the summer months. This means that only two more arena events before the championship. Let's take a look at my Top 5 for the event as we prepare for a long weekend of Starcraft 2.
As per usual for arena events, this one will also take place in New York City over the course of the weekend, concluding on Sunday. Despite not necessarily being a hyped event, the past few arena events have failed to disappoint and as viewers, it'd be safe to say we should expect nothing less from the crew over at MLG. Expect to see a well-run event, as they've had nearly two months to prepare for this one. Have any picks of your own? Think that my picks are totally wrong and you have a better Top 5? Let us know in the comments below and tell us what your thoughts are. Thanks to IPL, MLG and TL for the pictures.
A man of his... name?
First up is Team Liquid's HerO. This is the guy that beat DRG a combined 6-2 at IPL Fight Club roughly a week or so ago, but it was overshadowed by other tournaments going on at the time. This means a few things, however significant one may consider them: he can dominate the (believed to be for a while there) world's top player and world's top Zerg without a doubt. On top of that, he's a Protoss with an insanely high level of micromanagement and economic skill, giving him a slight edge even at a professional level. We saw him take home a DreamHack title without skipping a beat, only to go on and take a worthy 2nd at NASL2. Expect some top play from HerO if he doesn't go out early like the last arena which left us a bit disappointed. If his nerves don't get to him, we can expect to see a few more of Aiur's units later in the tournament heading into Sunday.
We know you know you can stay in the know.
Alicia of Team SlayerS deserves a spot in the Top 5. People say he's a massive choke at LANs, but they don't take the time to consider who he's played. He's lost to DRG and Stephano, yes, but we all seem to quickly forget what the road to get there was like. Sure, Stephano made him look like he was a gold league player at NASL3, but that doesn't take away from the literally dozens and dozens of games Alicia played to get through all of the qualifiers, weekly matches and primaries to get there. He always places high at tournaments but still hasn't had a big break. I'm hoping for a Top 5 from Alicia this weekend -- he's capable of it, has the capacity to do so and deserves it just as much as anyone else.
Hey now, you're a rock star.
Stephano's a favorite for this tournament simply because he's been dismantling the scene as of late, winning some of the most difficult LANs of the year and peaking over $150,000 in the last 10 months of tournament play, something never achieved before by a foreigner in the Starcraft scene. His Zerg play against Protoss right now is among the best in the world, despite his ZvZ being is weak point. That brings up another point -- he needs to watch out what Zergs he plays, or he's going out early if he slips. If he can stay on top of things and minimize his matches against Zerg opponents, he'll make Top 5.
SaSe's Sassy Style
Sase without a doubt deserves a spot in the Top 5. He's considered one of the best foreign Protoss players in the world, making him NaNiwa's main rival for the top spot. His micro is his strongest point along with mechanics and economics following. He's gone under the radar lately, but this tournament could be the place where he shines. If he keeps his mind in the game and manages to scout correctly, he'll finish very close to the top. Let's hope we don't see any failed DT rushes, though.
Will we see the Zergeon operate?
Our boy makes his return after a few disappointing performances recently at a few local LANs, despite making a wicked return to GSL making it to the Ro16. He's the favorite to win this tournament not only because he took Spring Arena 2 home in fashion, but because he wants to avenge his past performances that were sub-par for someone of his skill level. He came Top 4 at GESL which he should've won, and continues to have a hard time with ZvT, losing to Terrans in Code S to have him knocked out to drop into Code A for this coming GSL in August. Although the vast majority of players within the scene regard Stephano as one of the most aggressive Zerg players, it's easily forgotten how many times viOLet has taken out Stephano with ease in mirror matches. His weakest is ZvT as said, but his most solid is ZvZ, something that could easily win him this tournament unless he flips a switch on himself and makes a silly mistake. He said he's out to win and guarentees a LAN win this month -- let's find out and see if he can take the W in NYC.
Expect 24/7 coverage of the event this weekend as I'll be covering as much as I can from my desk. For further details, refer to the event coverage section of the website for all the updates you'll need including stream links and event details.