IEM 3-a-days: cooller, rapha, dandaking

The second and final edition of our Group B preview will take a look at Anton 'cooller' Singov, Shane 'rapha' Hendrixson and Dan 'dandaking' De Sousa. If you missed the first three players in this group, click here.

Don't forget to enter our IEM Twitter contest for a chance to win 1 of 10 ESL TV premium keys.

Anton 'cooller' Singov
Anton 'cooller' Singov

Anton 'cooller' Singov has been one of Quake's best players since bursting onto the scene in 2002 as a 15 year old Quake 3 player and has since then competed professionally in Quake 4 and now Quake Live. He has been signed to the German Mousesports team since 2005.  » Player Profile   » IEM V World Championships coverage

Cooller is coming off of his very first Quake Live championship win at the IEM V European Finals in Kiev, Ukraine. His only loss in the entire tournament came at the hands of Cypher in the group stage, who he's repeatedly said he has trouble beating due to a clash in playstyles. He would go on to beat k1llsen in the playoffs, followed by the incredibly close match versus Kevin 'strenx' Baeza that culminated in the controversial fifth map on Vertical Vengeance. If you missed that story, click here to read more about it. In the final, he met Poland's Av3k. The match only went three maps, cooller winning each one, but the match was a lot closer than the map scoreline showed.

The day that Singov won IEM Europe was a day that so many Quake (and cooller) fans had been waiting for. Some thought he would never be able to win another major tournament. Some said he was too old. Others said he was all washed up. No matter if you are a fan of him or a critic, his dedication to the game has proven to infuse life into the competitive Quake scene.

Prior to his IEM Europe victory, cooller produced a relatively disappointing performance at DreamHack Winter, where he was knocked out in the first round of the playoffs by American Tim 'DaHanG' Fogarty. Cooller won the first map convincingly on Blood Run, but then lost the next three maps in a row (Hektik, Lost World, Furious Heights). Fogarty went on to meet Cypher in the grand final, losing 0-3.

IEM 5 World Championships - cooller's group stage predictions
cooller vs. czm 2-0 Tuesday, March 1st
cooller vs. cypher 1-2 Tuesday, March 1st
cooller vs. rapha 2-1 Tuesday, March 1st
cooller vs. Spart1e 2-0 Tuesday, March 1st
cooller vs. dandaking 2-0 Tuesday, March 1st

Cooller's greatest challenge yet lies only a few days ahead. In last season's championship, he fell to rapha in the grand finals. Can he take the next step?

He's already proved that he can win in Quake Live. Undoubtedly, his passion for winning the tournament will seep through his veins when we see him in Hanover. After Europe, he said he would begin to practice for Hanover at least 3 weeks prior. With the future of Quake Live somewhat up in the air, if he wins this World Championship, he would have come full circle in his impressive, hall of fame career.

Shane 'rapha' Hendrixson
Shane 'rapha' Hendrixson

Shane 'rapha' Hendrixson rose to become America's best Quake Live player after making a mark in 2008 and being coached by fellow countryman and Quake legend John 'ZeRo4' Hill. He is the reigning IEM champ.  » Player Profile   » IEM V World Championships coverage

Rapha is the defending IEM champion. He won the championship trophy and $10,000 in season four after defeating cooller 3-1 in the finals. He also beat DaHanG and cypher on his way there.

This season, Rapha claimed his spot without any problems after finishing first at the American Championships in New York in October and winning $3,000 in front of DaHanG, Vo0 and czm. That was way back in October. Since then, Hendrixson has been training, spending some time in Germany to do so.

Rapha's form seemed a bit questionable during his games at DreamHack Winter, losing to first DaHanG in the group stage and then strenx (0-3) in the playoff's first round. Interestingly enough though, he did manage to win the BEAT IT! Quake Live Finals which were held at the same venue. He picked up wins against zsx, stermy and Av3k before being sent to the lower bracket by Cypher - he wasn't there long. He would beat strenx 2-1 to seek revenge against Cypher in the finals, whom he would defeat.

IEM 5 World Championships - rapha's group stage predictions
rapha vs. czm 2-0 Tuesday, March 1st
rapha vs. cypher 2-1 Tuesday, March 1st
rapha vs. cooller 1-2 Tuesday, March 1st
rapha vs. Spart1e 2-0 Tuesday, March 1st
rapha vs. dandaking 2-0 Tuesday, March 1st

Although I have rapha losing to cooller in the group stage, the American should be able to secure wins against cypher, czm, Spart1e and the potential dark horse from Australia dandaking. The cypher match will be difficult, mostly due to the Belarusian's reputation for playing great in tournament group stages. When the dust settles, rapha should not have any issues advancing in the top three.

Dan 'dandaking' De Sousa
Dan 'dandaking' De Sousa

Dan 'dandaking' De Sousa is an Australian Quake Live player and is the only Oceania Quake Live player participating in the IEM 5 World Championships. After an impressive performance at QuakeCon 2010, De Sousa believes his form has improved significantly and will try to make a dent against his opponents in Group B.  » Player Profile   » IEM V World Championships coverage

Dan 'dandaking' De Sousa is Oceania's (Australia and New Zealand) first Quake player to compete in the Intel Extreme Masters. The ESL added the Oceania qualifier as part of their Asian Championship. 4Seasons Gaming held the qualifier tournament in December of 2010. 16 players made it into the group stage of the tournament. Dandaking finished first in his group, with Chacha, ZanAkU and zlr topping their respective groups as well. In the playoff stage, Dandaking went undefeated throughout, his closest match coming down to the last map against zlr in the semifinals. Chacha would prove to be no match for De Sousa in the grand finals and he would win the tournament and the single Oceania qualifier spot to the IEM World Championships.

De Sousa was recently interviewed by He previews the entire Quake Live tournament and offers his predictions for each of the two groups.

IEM 5 World Championships - dandaking's group stage predictions
dandaking vs. czm 2-1 Tuesday, March 1st
dandaking vs. cypher 0-2 Tuesday, March 1st
dandaking vs. rapha 0-2 Tuesday, March 1st
dandaking vs. Spart1e 1-2 Tuesday, March 1st
dandaking vs. cooller 0-2 Tuesday, March 1st

Facing such a strong group, it's going to be next to impossible for the Australian to advance. Even winning two matches will be considered an achievement. The most clear victory that he has is probably the match against Paul 'czm' Nelson, who recently told ESFI World that he hasn't been preparing as much as he should be for this tournament. Each of the other four matches will be struggles. There has, though, been a lot of buzz in regards to how much he has improved since QuakeCon, and if there is a dark horse in this tournament, it could be dandaking.

ESFI World will be on-site in Hanover, Germany to provide live coverage of the tournament. For continuing coverage, please visit the event page.

Photos: Julia Christophers