The field for this year's World Matchplay looks to be one of the most evenly matched in the history of the event, with a host of players looking to capture their first ever major title.
The abundance of new tour events staged week-in, week-out have arguably closed the gap between the top seeded players and those with lower ranking positions.
Playing against the world's best players on a regular basis has eradicated the fear factor for many rising stars who are desperate to make their mark on the big stage in Blackpool.
Along with the usual title contenders, a host of other dangerous throwers will be chasing down Phil Taylor's title in Blackpool, Here is our low-down on the potential outsiders for glory this year.
Wes Newton heads into his 'favourite' event as a major threat to the rest of the field.
The Warrior, resident of nearby Fleetwood, receives a huge backing from his home crowd each year and heads into this year's event full of belief after surging to fifth in the world rankings.
It is common knowledge that the 34-year-old is one of the hottest floor players on the circuit, but over the past 18 months, he has transferred that form onto the big stage on a regular basis.
The Warrior banished his Blackpool blues by enjoying his best ever run last year as he made it to the Quarter-Finals only to lose out to Phil Taylor.
He faces a tough run-in if he is to make it beyond that stage this time around, with a possible second round tie against Justin Pipe on the cards should he first defeat dangerous young debutant James Hubbard.
At 33/1 however he is a strong each-way chance should he handle the added pressure of playing in front of an expectant home faithful.
Kim Huybrechts is fast becoming Belgium's greatest ever darting export and this year big things are expected of the man known as 'Hurricane'.
The 26-year-old burst onto the scene by reaching the World Championship Quarter-Finals on his debut and will be out to better that performance on his maiden visit to Blackpool.
The quick-fire heavy scorer is about to break into the world's top 32 in his first full year as a PDC player and will feel no pressure as he enters the majority of his matches as underdog.
He faces a difficult opener against former Matchplay finalist Terry Jenkins and will have to be at the top of his game should he run into Raymond van Barneveld in the last 16.
Huybrechts has beaten many of the game's top stars in ProTour events already and seems at home on the big stage, making him a dangerous outfit best priced at 40/1.
Methodical ace Justin Pipe is the game's most consistent floor player, but is yet to fulfil his true potential in front of the television cameras.
The 40-year-old from Taunton has never been beyond the last 16 of any event, an incredible statistic given his calibre and track record.
Now a firm fixture inside the world's top 16 courtesy of countless ProTour titles, Pipe will become a regular in major events and will be out to cause damage in this event.
He is known to grind out results using his slow and methodical playing style and will be an opponent to avoid for many players in Blackpool this year.
Gary Anderson's long price of 20/1 reflects the nightmare start to 2012 he has suffered.
After finishing bottom of the Premier League table in his title defending season, affected largely by personal problems off the oche, the Flying Scotsman went back to basics, showcasing a new set of darts at the UK Open.
He looked to have turned a corner when he hit a nine darter in the opening round at Bolton, but he soon crashed out in the next.
His progress was again halted when he suffered a tear duct in his left eye, forcing him to miss the next two European Tour events as well as a ProTour weekend.
This event signals his return to action after a month side-lined and the 2011 world finalist has only just been passed fit to compete in Blackpool meaning little is expected of him given his current circumstances.
Many would question quite why the 2012 World Championship runner-up is such a long price to become the new World Matchplay champion.
The Hammer is the most gritty and fearless character and will be a more than tricky opponent for any thrower.
He made it to his second Semi-Final in this event last year, only to be denied by fellow Stokie Phil Taylor, after a sensational run which saw him defeat Gary Anderson, John Henderson and most notably Simon Whitlock, winning nine consecutive legs after trailing 15-8 to the Aussie.
It was his performance in this event 12 months ago which arguably proved to be turning point in his career as he retained his place in the top 16 and went on to reach the world final.
There is no doubt that Hamilton offers outside value at 66/1, regardless of his difficult draw bracket he will believe he has what it takes to go all the way.
Nineteen year-old James Hubbard will fulfil his dream when he steps up onto the Winter Gardens stage for the first time on July 24.
The reigning World Youth Champion has enjoyed a sensational spell in his first few months as a PDC professional, beating many of the world's top players in Players Championship and European Tour events to secure his qualification for the second biggest tournament of the season.
The Norfolk youngster warmed up for this event in the best possible style by winning a Youth Tour event last weekend and is regarded very highly by many top professionals who feel he has a big future in the game.
He will be up against it when he opens up against home hero Wes Newton, but knows there is no pressure on him and will use all of his experience so far to attempt a series of major upsets.
World Matchplay Best Outright Odds (Bet365 unless stated)
Each-way 1-2 @ 1/2
Phil Taylor 6/4
Raymond van Barneveld 14/1
Wes Newton 33/1 (Ladbrokes)
Kim Huybrechts 40/1 (Boylesports)
Justin Pipe 40/1
Terry Jenkins 50/1
Mark Webster 50/1 (SportingBet)
Andy Hamilton 66/1 (SportingBet)
Mervyn King 66/1 (Betfred)
Paul Nicholson 80/1 (SportingBet)
Kevin Painter 80/1 (Bluesq)
Dean Winstanley 100/1
Michael van Gerwen 100/1
Richie Burnett 100/1
Colin Lloyd 100/1
Mark Walsh 125/1
Vincent van der Voort 150/1 (SportingBet)
Colin Osborne 150/1
Steve Beaton 150/1
Brendan Dolan 250/1 (SportingBet)
Joe Cullen 250/1 (Betfred)
Michael Smith 250/1