NA triumphs in this week’s StarLadder

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James “Firebat” Kostesich and David “Dog” Caero took groups C and D and ensured there will be NA representatives in the second stage of the tournament.

James “Firebat” Kostesich and David “Dog” Caero took groups C and D and ensured there will be NA representatives in the second stage of the tournament.

North America came to StarLadder with a relatively small contingent compared to the European crowd. Outside Firebat and Dog, Paul “Zalae” Nemeth was the only other player from the continent, having qualified through the international open bracket.

Zalae’s losses in Group A locked him out of the competition for now and NA’s remaining faith lay in Firebat and Dog.  Currently ranked #1 and #3 in the world respectively, though, each of the two players was the favorite to win his group.

Firebat’s Group C became the most contested group of the tournament so far. With four of the five series ending 3-2, it was a rough fight for the reigning world champion, who had to reverse-sweep Jakub “Lothar” Szygulski in the opening match and then 3-1 Alexander “Kucha” Kulinich to advance onwards. Kucha would later follow Firebat into the second group stage, leaving Lothar and Sebastial "Ostkaka" Engwall third and fourth.

In Group D, Dog became the slayer of Swedes as he defeated Sebastian “Forsen” Fors and Jon “Orange” Westberg on the way to the top seed. Although still looking for his first championship, the Complexity player has been putting out consistent results since June and his tournament run recently took him to the grand finals of DreamHack Summer and the first place in the HPL regular season.

Alexey “ShtanUdachi” Barsukov came second in the same group and completed Hellraisers’ three-for-three record in StarLadder so far. The Russian team, also home of CIS qualifier winner Kucha and Kick-Off Season bronze medalist Alex “Lostov” Lostov, saw all of its three players advance to the second group stage, making them the best represented team in the Ro8.

Pairings for the Ro8 as well as complete decklist collection from the first group stage should be coming soon.

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