The third season of the SC2Improve Team League will be the tournaments largest season yet in multiple ways. The €500 Prize Pool is double that which we have put on in previous seasons and at a total of 79 registered teams we have almost 25 more teams than in the previous two seasons. The most exciting part is that it all kicks off tomorrow when we will see over twenty teams competing for the four remaining places in the First Division in the Open Qualifier.
It isn't an easy journey - a single elimination bracket means a couple of bad games and even the best teams involved can find themselves in trouble. With 21 teams registered the bracket will not be finalized until check-in closes at 6pm CEST. The RO32 and RO16 matches will be played on Saturday with the important final matches of the qualifier, the RO8, being played at various times on Sunday.
So who are the favorites going into this qualifier? Team PrOperty are without a doubt the team which stand out above the rest when you first glance through this list of teams. In 2014 they have seen three of their players make it through the WCS Qualifiers, with MorroW going on to finish 17-24th in the Premier League. The all Swedish team will definitely be the ones many will hope to see absent in their part of the bracket.
RedBloods are a new European based team who have a scarily solid and varied roster. Ignite, Lillekanin, SpaceMarine, Hanfy and TCUltimate make up the new roster of this team and they are all players capable of taking out numerous opponents from the other teams who are registered. While some teams have one or two heavy hitters it will be RedBloods who have the ability to lay down a gauntlet of pain in every map with their line-up.
Kaos Latin Gamers and New ErA GaminG are two teams who aren't so threatening by name, but by roster they are also going to be formidable opponents this weekend. We have seen the varied roster of Kaos Latin Gamers perform amazingly in S2 of the SC2ITL, with their main downfall being their organization. They are also performing strongly in SC2ITL America. New ErA GaminG have a strong GM-level backbone, which includes Russian Zerg SteelMakeR (AKA sLivko). In an all-kill format a single player like this can take you very far if they are having a good day.
The final team I will mention specifically is the Spanish alliance of APSC2 and eStar. Their is a TONNE of hype in the Spanish community about the top two Spanish teams coming together and joining forces to take on Europe in the SC2ITL - hopefully they can live up to what their fans have to say when it comes down to the games.
The most beautiful thing about this qualifier is that anything can happen. Teams seeded below those I have mentioned in this article also have strong opening players and killer aces. On the day it will come down to which teams can hold their nerves and make it through to qualify for the First Division. Season 3 of the SC2ITL is not going to be a season you should miss, so make sure to tune in to tomorrows qualifier!