On May 16th the NetEase Esports X Tournament 2019 Spring will begin, featuring 16 prominent players from South Korea and China, who will be competing for a total prize pool of ¥ 100,000 (≃ $ 14,760).
The tournament is split into three stages, the first being a group stage with four groups with four players each, that will be played in a best-of three double elimination bracket. The top two players of each group will advance to the playoffs, that will be also played in a best-of-three, double-elimination format.
The top six players will then advance to the so-called Ascension phase, which will be played offline in Shanghai on the 13th & 14th of June. If you're not familiar with the Ascension format, it is played as follows:
The last two of the qualified players from the previous phase will face each other in a best-of-five, with the winner playing the 4th ranked player. The winner of that match will play the 3rd ranked player and so forth.
Chaemiko - Human
Focus - Orc
Lucifer - Undead
Lyn - Orc
Moon - Night Elf
So.in - Orc
Sok - Human
Colorful - Night Elf
Fly100% - Orc
Infi - Human
Life - Night Elf
Lin Guagua - Orc
120 - Undead
TH000 - Human / Night Elf
WFZ - Undead
This tournament is stacked with powerful players and the favorites to win are all the top 5 ranked competitive players at the moment. TH000 has incredible versatility thanks to his ability to play both Human and Nightelf, but Lyn might as well be a heavy favorite due to his excellence against the aforementioned races. Lyn was one of the earliest innovators in the Orc vs. Night Elf matchup and his Shaman usage and timings are a cut above the rest.
As usual, 120 is the lone Undead that stands a chance to win this event. His recent victory in another major tournament, the Yule Cup, proves that his precise Undead mechanics are good enough to present him as a dark horse that, as long as he doesn't face too many Night Elf players, can win the entire thing.
It is also important to note that the legendary Night Elf player, Moon, is currently in very good shape and due to his particular brand of Warcraft 3 prowess, can never really be underestimated. While most Night Elf players seem stuck on the current meta, Moon has a unique ability to adapt and seemingly at will decide to mass Dryads, take people by surprise, and win games.
Read more: Interview with Moon: His Endless Saga
Terenas Stand LV
What's the Meta?
Currently, Warcraft 3 is played on the latest patch, 1.30.4. In this patch, the popular consensus is that Night Elf is the most powerful race with Orc second and Human in a close third. Undead is the most swingy race, as it has weak matchups but is extremely strong vs. Human -- a reality that still makes Undead a threat depending on how the bracket is formed.
While the majority of the debate regarding class balance has to do with whether or not Human is better than Orc and vice versa, Orc players seem to be faring best against Night Elf through adaptive use of Shaman / Grunt pushes empowered by an early level three Shadow Hunter. In fact, Orc players have even been playing Pit Lord against Night Elf, taking full advantage of the recently mega-buffed Cleave and how powerful it is at Rank 2 vs. Tier 1 units.
The strongest heroes in the game are the Night Elf Keeper of the Grove, The Neutral Goblin Alchemist, The Human Archmage, The Orc Shadow Hunter and Blade Master. In a slightly lower tier is the Human Mountain King, followed by the Undead Death Knight, Lich, The Neutral Naga Sea Witch, and Dreadlord in that order.
You can watch the tournament live on the NetEase YouTube live stream, but if you want English Commentary of the matches, your best bet is likely Back2Warcraft on Twitch.tv. For bracket updates and more information, check out the tournaments Liquipedia page.