DH Valencia: SC2 Invades Spain

July 15 2015

Dreamhack always brings out the best in the Team Liquid roster, and this tournament is no exception. With six players traveling to Valencia, our contingent will leave many ruined bases and smashed keyboards in their wake. Everyone is in fighting shape and will bring their best strategies to the table.

The reliable bedrock, MaNa has proven a boon for TL ever since his acquisition. Perhaps he hasn’t set Europe aflame according to some expectations, but he has steadily shown he was worth the money. No matter the tournament or the format, MaNa is a perennial Ro16 contender and danger to any ambitious foe. Yet any cursory familiarity with MaNa reveals that he wants more. Hopefully Valencia will be his breakout event.

Bunny is stuck in a similar position although he is operating on a higher level. After a titanic streak of success from 2013 to 2014, our Danish protege seemed poised to become the undisputed best player in Europe. In a way he has fulfilled that promise. Currently he can take games off anyone in the world, and he is widely respected abroad for his skill. However, he still lacks a premier win against top-tier Koreans to complete his crown. Gfinity was a nice entrée but Bunny only defeated HyuN and Stardust on his way to the championship. Valencia promises more obstacles and potentially more glory in overcoming them.

HerO is a bit bifurcated when it comes to results. He has excelled in Proleague so far this season, going 4-0 with wins over Life and INnoVation, but said prowess was lacking in his GSL match against Classic. On the other hand, he squeaked through the first stage of the IEM Gamescom qualifiers. Neither hot nor cold, no one can predict which HerO will show up to Valencia. If all goes well, it will be the multitasking beast that won two gold trophies in the early days of his career. Even removed from his glory days, HerO’s blitzkrieg approach to PvZ and PvT still has the ability to confound the unprepared.

Similarly, TaeJa remains a question mark. Afflicted with continuous wrist problems and clearly declining motivation, our star Terran has not been the force of nature that terrorized the scene in years past. His recent results haven't been as great as in the past, failing to qualify for S2SL and GSL while losing to the likes of Hush and Sleep. It would be easy to dismiss him as an ailing veteran on his last legs; indeed, he’s never been more vocal about retirement. Still TaeJa is perhaps the most consistent player to ever attend the Dreamhack circuit. A four-time winner, he possesses vast experience and the necessary confidence to best all competitors.

If the ravages of time are visibly affecting TaeJa, TLO seems immune to them. He remains his lovable, roguish self: unpredictable, inventive, and unable to avoid winning hearts through sheer force of personality. His tendency to surprise served him well in WCS, where he reached the quarterfinals before running into a brick wall called Polt. Let’s hope that he can endure the onslaught of Protosses at Valencia; his latest encounters with Aiur have all turned out poorly.

The happiest revelation for our boys in blue has been the resurgence of Ret. He’s been quiet for so long, it’s easy to forget his former reputation as one of the best macro Zergs in Europe. In recent months he has worked hard to earn that status back, reaching WCS Ro16 as well as dominating the Dutch StarCraft League. Despite being eliminated before the quarterfinals, he showcased a higher standard of play that promises great things. Dreamhack might be the avenue where he can capitalize on this new-found focus.

Writer // CosmicSpiral
Photo Credit // Dreamhack
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