Stories continued to be built up in week nine of the ESL Open cups with a player strengthening his dominance in Europe, the Americas being torn apart by a diverse field of competitors, and another new winner emerging in Korea.
If you're looking for some inspiration to spice up your ZvP, Armani is the man to study. His run to win the Korean server cup included victories against last week's winner HerO, the Jin Air duo Trap and Creator, as well as IEM Katowice finalist Zest. This is Armani's first win on the Korean server, but he was already able to win an ESL Open cup on the NA server before. This week's Korean cup also stands out by including pretty solid Korean participation for the first time, perhaps showing that the Koreans are warming up to the idea of playing for a small amount of points.
In Europe, HeroMarine continued to dominate and took his fifth ESL Open cup victory, this time beating Clem in the finals, thus completing his revenge for the lost bout in Cup #3. The European cup goes on being a treasure trove of little stories: besides HeroMarine's dominance and revenge story, we saw Clem once again beating a German player in the semi finals in ShoWTimE, and we had Cure participating and breaking into the top 4 as the first Korean to ever do that. Despite his practice in playing on the EU server from Korea, Cure could not overcome its' defenders this time, however. Europa hält stand!
Speaking of Europe, the NA server once again had to bow to European might, as uThermal was able to defeat TLO in a Team Liquid teamkill scenario in the finals of the Americas cup, marking the second finals in a row without a player from the two American continents participating. SpeCial was the last surviving NA player this time, but he succumbed to TLO in the semi finals.
ESL Open Cup winners earn $100 in prize money and 10 ESL Pro Tour points. Players who finish second earn 5 ESL Pro Tour points. Week #10 of ESL Open Cups is set to take place on March 15th.
European Server Cup #9 (Click for full bracket)
Americas Server Cup #9 (Click for full bracket)