This last weekend was a big one when it comes to competitive Starcraft as the tournament structure and prizes essentially allowed the winner direct entry into the global finals at BlizzCon in November. Why this is so interesting is that a literal nobody could have entered into the open bracket and fought tooth and nail through to the play-offs. A win in the play-offs from almost anyone would have guaranteed themselves a number 8 position in the world and a chance to play at BlizzCon. For a nobody to do this would have been a complete upset, but it also meant the likes of Maru and Scarlett placed 5th to 8th in the tournament it could have netted them enough points to break through the BlizzCon cut off.
No matter the aspect of the game you enjoy watching, this weekend had it all; Zerg rushes, Terran Macro plays and Protoss late-game intensity, we even saw a classic last building standing defeat. I believe the only thing I didn’t manage to see this weekend was a nuclear launch, but since there were over 100 matches played it could have happened without me. Most of the videos will be available in the next week or so, or you can catch the VODs of the play-offs on StarCraft’s Twitch channel.
The open bracket alone had 64 players fighting for spots in the playoffs, followed by the brackets filled with the current best players in the world. Sporting great names of up and comers in the likes of Future (possibly the future of Terran play), Showtime (who was already in the top 8 of the world) and Clem, one of the youngest SC2 players out there at the moment.
In the challenger brackets there came through some fan favourites like Neeb, Reynor and Serral (the top three in the world at this point). Elazer decided to show off a little bit with a very dynamic Zerg play taking down the renowned Scarlett. Maru pulled off some of the best Bio/Mech transitions I have ever seen, his buildings almost dancing between add-ons. Overall there were impeccable plays and I lost track of time during all the broadcasts. If it hadn’t been for about of dodgy internet I probably wouldn’t have stopped watching long enough to realise I had work in the morning.
We reached the playoffs with a few names that could possibly change the top 8 standings but by the quarterfinals, we had our final list. The games at this stage were only to determine their final standings, and their possible opponents on the grand stage. Up until the semi-finals my personal favourite, Neeb, had lost only 2 maps in the tournament so far. Yes, I am a little biased towards Protoss players, “For Aiur” and all that. Unfortunately his next opponent was Serral. But he seemed fine with that.
Our top spot was taken by the seemingly untouchable Serral, Reynor being the only player managing to take a single map off him in the entire series. This has to be a new record, which was previously held by Neeb with 17-3 in a single WCS tournament. Checking Serral’s track record you can see why he did so well this weekend, every defeat he suffers only makes him stronger, clearly The Swarm adapts. Will anyone be able to dethrone him at BlizzCon? Will we see another Zerg versus Zerg final? Or will someone be able to take down one of these 2 titans? Only BlizzCon will tell.
Standings and Global final competitors are:
- Serral (Z)
- Reynor (Z)
- Neeb (P)
- SpeCial (T)
- TIME (T)
- HeroMarine (T)
- Elazor (Z)
- ShoWTimE (P)
Only 2 Protoss players in the whole BlizzCon pool, with Terrans and Zerg being equally represented. I already know what Blizzard is giving me for my birthday, a weekend of crazy StarCraft 2 plays.
For more details of the players and to watch any matches that strike your fancy head over to the official WCS page. You can see when they go live with broadcasts, current pool standings and all that good StarCraft 2 competitive info.