One thing that I see being brought up time and again in Blizzcon discussion is the fact that there will only be 2 (maybe 3) Zergs there. To that, I scoff and say, “There are going to be 2 Zergs there!”.
To show why, let’s go over the reasons, region by region. Also, lets also just put this out there: Koreans are better than foreigners, and thus have taken almost all the spots.
Europe is by far the easiest explanation for the lack of Zergs going into the WCS Finals. The latency from Korea to Europe is unplayable. Ask any European pro who has played from Korea, or any Korean who has tried to play on the server, and they will answer the same: you must all-in.
For this reason, a very, VERY specific set of Korean pros played in the European WCS. Cheesey Protosses.
duckdeok, MC, TaiLs, Genius, (and some others) all chose to give this region a try. Ok, the MC one is kinda cheating on here, since he’s on SK and has really good support so could easily be in Europe at the time, but he made the point look much better! Zergs didn’t even bother to try. Microing from Korea on the EU server vs Marine/Medivac/Mine is a waste of time.
Out of the Protoss group, MC and duckdeok made it through. Add to that 2 very well supported Terrans (MMA with Acer, and MVP with tons of winnings over the years), and you have 4 of the 5 European slots. The last (possibly), goes to the best European, Naniwa, who is not a Zerg player.
The 5 spots from Europe make perfect sense.
WCS NA was dominated by foreigner teams with Koreans on them, and Polt (who just happened to move there for school right before WCS started).
Let’s take a look at the Korean Zerg rosters for WCS NA:
- EG has Jaedong and Revival. Jaedong made it, Revival might still.
- TeamLiquid has only Zenio, who’s been off the radar for quite a while.
- Axiom just now picked up a Zerg player for the first time.
Thus, every Zerg who could reasonably have a chance at making it, did. There is, of course, an argument for Scarlett. Sadly, with her wrist problems, not making it cannot be blamed on the Zerg race.
Of course, more Zergs ended up joining into the qualifiers over time in WCS NA, and didn’t make it. You have to consider a couple things here though. Being in as many WCS tournaments as possible really helps. This gave an edge to the Koreans on foreigner teams. Firstly, they travel to more WCS tournaments overall (due to the business model of a foreigner team compared to a team with Korean-based sponsors). Also, they are on the team because of previous accomplishments which made them famous enough to recruit. These same accomplishments helped many of them into the seeds this year.
Korea is a bit harder to explain than the other regions, which are quite cut-and-dry. First off, Soulkey crushed it. He’s the best Zerg, no matter what anyone says. Most ridiculous results, in what is by far the hardest region.
The top set of Zergs who came close but didn’t quite make it are:
soO, Life, Symbol
soO is just rising now. He came awfully close, but just didn’t end up making it. It’s ok for a player like this to not make it in, when his success story is just beginning.
Life and Symbol are sad stories, though. For Symbol, if WCS had started one season earlier, he’d be in easily. He was absolutely crushing, and just had kind of a weak finish. Life, on the other hand, had a little slump, which I believe was due to school (if I’m not mistaken). He even started to come back recently, with great finishes at DreamHack Bucharest and IEM New York, but it just was too little, too late.
Now, these are some excuses, sure. But let’s look at what these guys had to go through to get into the top:
Yep. I’m sure you remember earlier this year when Hellbats were all the rage. They washed out most of the top Zergs in seasons 1 and 2, which made it very hard for them to recover, especially with how ridiculous the Challenger league is over here.
Mines, Marines, and Medivacs deserve some consideration as well. During seasons 1 (INnoVation) and 2(everybody?), we had Literal Terran Gods who seemed completely unbeatable with this composition. It certainly did start out Terran favored, though by season 3 its seeming like Zerg can fight back quite a bit more. Sadly, one season isn’t enough for an entire race to rebound in the most difficult region.
So, after thinking about all of this…
It seems to me that its pretty reasonable that there are only 2-3 Zergs going to the WCS Grand Finals at Blizzcon, considering the first year’s format of WCS as well as the balance changes we’ve seen this year. Europe gave us exactly how many Zergs we should have expected. America is giving us, perhaps, more Zergs than we should have expected. And you know what? The fact that a Zerg made it out of Korea, despite the ridiculous mechanical abilities of the Terrans there, is awesome.
I wish there were more Zergs at Blizzcon as well, but let’s look at the bright side! This set of players is reasonably representative of what the WCS year was as a whole.