As one reddit user put it after Neeb's 3-1 win over Snute at DreamHack Open: Austin: "Beating a Zerg on Prion? Just give him the trophy now."
He didn't win the trophy, of course, because he lost the finals to Hydra. But when the American Protoss met the ROOT Gaming Zerg again at the WCS Spring Championship, he got his revenge. And it didn't stop there: Neeb bested Hydra 3-0 last week at DreamHack Open: Valencia, too, displaying his dominance.
Despite the nasty 0-3 loss he took to MarineLord last weekend, Neeb is clearly and decidedly America's number one player. He's one of the best in WCS at the moment - if not the best - and one whom fans feel actually has a shot at beating Korean players at the Global Playoffs in November. All this success is especially incredible when you remember that Neeb's full-time SC2 play didn't start until after this late June tweet:
graduated high school today, now full time sc2!
— Alex Sunderhaft (@onfireNeeb) June 25, 2016
However excellent Neeb may be, his youth and relative inexperience could work against him in Shanghai. His Zerg opponent is 28 years old, and on home turf in a country that is likely as foreign to Neeb as foreign can be. Neeb's never played on a stage in Asia, and he's following up a lot of recent travel with another long, long flight. TooDming will likely thrive both physically and mentally in this environment, feasting on familiarity and fan support in a way Neeb simply will not be able to.
TooDming has always been a favorite in Chinese SC2. After a quiet bout that allowed others, like Jim and iAsonu, to rise, he recently proved he's once again at the top with a stellar performance at GPL 2016 Season 2 Premier League, where he beat all three races on his way to the win.
Though TooDming's trajectory isn't as steeply thrilling as Neeb's, and despite the fact that he hasn't had an IEM experience yet, his stylistic differences could also catch Neeb unaware. Chinese StarCraft 2 has always been its own game, featuring aggressive playstyles and builds that have the potential to throw Neeb off his trajectory. With these advantages, TooDming has a strong chance of causing an upset, but his matches against Neeb may yet be uphill battles.
One thing is clear: if TooDming wins, it will bring a halt to the Neeb hype train and leave the American Protoss fans nursing a giant wound. Hopes are high - and so is the tension.
Article by: Karin Krisher