Due to the pandemic-revamped ESL Pro Tour, the ESL Open Cups were moved to Mondays and had their prize pools increased to $400.
Perhaps attracted by the increased prize pool, and perhaps due to some players being eliminated from Code S, we saw tougher competition than usual in the Korean server cup. The EU server cup was as brutal as ever, with Clem finally got his revenge on HeroMarine in the finals. Meanwhile, the Americas server cup saw Neeb finally take first place.
The Korean ESL Open Cup saw a small surge in popularity this week—the winner, however, was still an ESL Open regular. Solar, who had already won three tournaments earlier, took the trophy after some tough ZvP series against previous week's winner Stats and Trap. His run had almost ended in jeopardy early on, as Hong Kong-based Zerg GogojOey almost eliminated the Korean. Solar has now four wins in the Korean cup under his belt, equalizing Zest's gold medal count.
In Europe, participation remained as fantastic as had been the case previously, with all the usual suspects entering the lists. Once again, a familiar series of duels ensued, pitting rivals Clem, Reynor, and HeroMarine against each other in turn, with the Team Liquid Terran beating both the Italian and the German this time, ending Big Gabe's win streak after three cups (again). In the finals, another familiar face waited for him in ShoWTimE, who had already come this far in the week prior, but would once again be unable to attain the crown. The clash between them developed into a full five-game TvP showdown, with the Frenchman narrowly coming out on top after reverse-sweeping 'die Mauer' from 0-2 deficit.
With the cups now starting much later across the world, the participation of Europeans in the ESL Open Cup AM has been made more difficult, resulting in a more 'American' bracket, and promptly the second American winner, as Neeb, who had greatly struggled to get any notable result in any competition, finally was able to pull himself together and show a good performance. The Protoss overcame previous American winner Future, Canada-based German TLO and the Big Boy PartinG to reach the finals. There, he met AM cup menace Bly, who remained undeterred to participate despite the inconvenient time. The series included some of the insane stuff we all expect from Bly (and love him for), but playing at 6:30 in the morning was too much even for the Ukrainian beast.
ESL Open Cup winners earn $200 in prize money and 10 ESL Pro Tour points. Players who finish second earn 5 ESL Pro Tour points and $100. A top 4 finish guarantees at least $50. Week #20 of ESL Open Cups is set to take place on May 25th.
European Server Cup #19 (Click for full bracket)
Americas Server Cup #19 (Click for full bracket)