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Eight Top StarCraft II Pros Battle for $50,000 This Weekend

| 22 Nov 2013 12:00

Commentator and eSports personality Sean "Day[9]" Plott shares his most anticipated matches and tips for watching Red Bull Battle Grounds New York.

Earlier this month, Kim "sOs" Yoo Jin took home the title of world champion and $100,000 USD at the World Championship Series (WCS) Grand Finals hosted at BlizzCon. That win earned him an invitation to Red Bull Battle Grounds New York, a two-day tournament between just eight StarCraft II players. The other seven competitors are Norweigan player Jens "Snute" Aasgaard, Canadian player Sasha "Scarlett" Hostyn, and South Korean players Jang "MC" Min Chul, Choi "Bomber" Ji Sung, Ko "HyuN" Seok Hyun, Won "PartinG" Lee Sak, and Jo "Golden" Myeong Hwan. Players earn a spot at the tournament either by invitation or by qualifying through winning Red Bull Training Grounds events. The Escapist spoke with Sean "Day[9]" Plott, one of the four commentators for the upcoming event, for his thoughts on the tournament.

Asked to predict who might win the tournament, Plott says, "I'm reasonably confident either Bomber or sOs." Choi "Bomber" Ji Sung is the only Terran player in the tournament, which gives him an advantage in that he only needs to prepare to play against Protoss and Zerg. Plott is most excited to watch Protoss player Kim "sOs" Yoo Jin's matches against Zerg. "He slaughtered Jaedong at the WCS Grand Finals, in an amazing fashion. But, Jaedong has a really unique and unusual sytle of Zerg versus Protoss, so I am curious to see how [sOs] would match up against the other Zerg who play more standardly, or in some cases very, very differently." Yoo Jin's first game will be against Zerg player Seok Hyun, and there are three other Zerg opponents (Aasgaard, Hostyn, and Myeong Hwan) that Yoo Jin could face. "sOs versus Zerg is sensational," says Plott.

Won "PartinG" Lee Sak took home $100,000 last year at the 2012 Battle.net World Championships. In 2013, however, he has been largely absent from the top tiers of tournament play. "I think a real struggle for the scene, is that someone wins and then disappears, and then wins and then disappears. PartinG is the perfect example. He won and then he's gone. So, I really wish that the scene had more of that DOTA 2-esque consistency where you really are seeing Na'Vi in the finals of every international tournament," says Plott. As for Lek Sak's chances in the tournament, "He's a complete and total unknown, and I think that the entire game has evolved past his strength - which is just big two base play. They're much longer games now. I'm pretty sure that he's going to go out quickly in this tournament, probably in the round of eight. If not there, then in the semi-finals."

Canadian player Sasha "Scarlett" Hostyn narrowly missed an invitation to the WCS Grand Finals at BlizzCon. She ranked 21 in the WCS standings, just shy of the top sixteen needed to qualify. "I do want Scarlett to do well. If Scarlett wins the whole thing, that will be one of the greatest things to happen to eSports," says Plott.

Watching StarCraft can be difficult if you are unfamiliar with the game or the shorthand used by commentators to describe game events and strategies. Plott suggests watching with a friend who knows the terminology. "Sometimes commentators say things like, "Ooh, he's going for a quick third." A third what? You can have someone say oh, a quick third base, he's trying to get this third base up really fast and they abbreviate it as a third or a fourth or a fifth. Little jargon bits like that, I know a lot of commentators right now are trying to work actively to remove because it's just an extra layer of ambiguity that if you're in the know you get it, and if you're not you're just one word short of getting it." Commentators John "TotalBiscuit" Bain, Marcus "djWHEAT" Graham, and Ben "MrBitter" Nichol join Plott at the casting desk this weekend.

Full profiles of all the players are available on the Red Bull Battle Grounds official site. Players will compete for a $50,000 prize pool. GamerHub recently interviewed Aasgaard at New York Comic Con for The Escapist. Tickets to the Red Bull Battle Grounds are still available, starting at $43 USD. The tournament will also be streamed live. Red Bull Battle Grounds New York runs this Saturday and Sunday, November 23-24 in New York City.

Source: Red Bull Battle Grounds

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