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The votes are in!

GSL vs. The World is just a few weeks away! Soon, sixteen of the best StarCraft II players in the world will gather in Seoul, South Korea and clash over a $100,000 prize pool.

For the uninitiated, four players on each team are selected by rank in their respective region’s WCS point standings, meaning the top four players in each region receive a guaranteed spot. The remaining four spots on each team are selected by a popular vote open to the public. The only exception being Cyan, who was chosen this year to represent China as the current champion of the GPL 2018 WCS qualifier and thus guaranteed a spot on Team World.

Voting for the tournament closed July 17th. The complete rosters for each team are as follows:

Team GSL Team World
Classic (P) INnoVation (T) * Neeb (P) Has (P) *
Maru (T) soO (Z) * SpeCial (T) Scarlett (Z) *
Rogue (Z) Zest (P) * Serral (Z) Kelazhur (T) *
Stats (P) Dark (Z) * ShoWTimE (P) Cyan (P) **
* Player selected by public vote

** Spot awarded to Winner of GPL WCS Qualifier

Controversy surrounds Kelazhur

Kelazhur secured his spot on Team World via the community vote, and by a wide margin indeed. Before the poll results were taken down Kelazhur possessed over 4,000 votes, more than uThermal and HeroMarine combined. Normally this would be fine, but it is speculated that a large number of his votes are a result of a push from Brazilian League of Legends streamers. This has brought forth some frustration and controversy among some of the StarCraft II community, who feel that GSL vs. The World voting should not be influenced by people who have no interest in StarCraft II. You can read more about this here.

Results like this are the reality of holding a popular vote on the internet. A low barrier to vote allows for one group to heavily skew the polls in their favor, and if Blizzard wants to prevent this in the future it will have to change its polling methods. However, StarCraft II stands to benefit from the exposure in Brazil. Some of these voters could tune in to the tournament, especially now during the very divisive meta League of Legends is going through. More eyes on an event is never a bad thing and could possibly lead to some new StarCraft II fans.

Even if Kelazhur did benefit from outside forces, this by no means suggests that he is not worthy of his spot on Team World. He attended GSL vs. The World previously in 2017, where he was the only player to take a map off of Team GSL in the team portion of the event. Also in 2017, he secured a spot for himself at the StarCraft II WCS Global Finals held at BlizzCon. He may have lost in the group stages, but qualifying for BlizzCon is an amazing feat in itself. Kelazhur is no rookie and has proven before he can hold his own in these tournaments.

Players to watch

As a result of the selection process, both sides of GSL vs. The World are stacked with talent. Here’s who I think will be making the biggest waves at GSL vs. The World this year:

Team GSL:

  • INnoVation – One of the winningest players in StarCraft II history, he’s an instant favorite for any tournament he plays in.
  • Maru – Currently ranked 1st on the WCS Korea circuit by a large margin, Maru has a good chance to walk away with a trophy.
  • Rogue – Winner of WCS Global Finals in 2017. Never discount the defending world champion.

Team World:

  • Serral – Fresh off a win at WCS Valencia, Serral has been dominating the scene outside of Korea this year. Expect him to put up a good fight.
  • Has – The Wild Card of StarCraft II,  he has the potential to catch more than a few players off guard with his unpredictable playstyle.
  • Neeb – One of two foreigners to ever win a premier tournament in Korea in StarCraft II, Neeb is no stranger to his Korean opponents.

GSL vs. The World takes place August 2nd-5th in Seoul, South Korea. For more information on the event, click here. Keep your eyes trained on Daily Esports, as we’ll have predictions, results, and recaps for the whole event!

Update: Originally stated Neeb was the only foreigner to win a premier tournament in Korea. However, Scarlett won IEM PyeongChang in February which makes this statement false. The article has been updated.