The 20th edition of the ESL Open Cups saw Clem retake the American throne, while ShoWTimE finally won first place in Europe in his third consecutive finals appearance. In Korea, a surprising run by Astrea fell just short of wrestling the title away from Trap.
Jin Air's Trap had to vanquish a handful of notable opponents in his run to the Korean cup finals, perhaps a result of increased participation as the GSL winds down. Particularly impressive was his 3-0 over PvP expert Zest in the semi-finals. On the other side of the bracket, Astrea made a run into the finals on the back of his PvZ, beating KR Cup debutante Lambo as well as last week's winner Solar and Afreeca's Armani (who had bested Stats in the previous round). The Korea-residing American could not quite overcome the juggernaut that is Trap's PvP, but with the increased prize of $100 and 5 EPT points for 2nd place it's hard to feel too disappointed with such a performance.
In Europe, ShoWTimE finally went all the way after having reached the finals for the third time in a row. Having bowed out to HeRoMaRinE and Clem in the two previous weeks, he got revenge against his countryman and bested Big Gabe in a full five-game series, taking his second gold medal in the ESL Open Cups. On his way 'die Mauer' also defeated two Team Liquid players, getting revenge on MaNa for the loss at TSL5, and dominating uThermal, who could not bring his deadly arsenal of builds to bear with any effectiveness against the German Protoss. Also notable in this cup was the shocking early elimination of Clem at the hands of his countryman MarineLorD, who made it into the quarterfinals before narrowly falling to uThermal.
Clem was not discouraged by the early exit in Europe, and decided to try his luck in the American ESL Open Cup instead. Before the changes to the tournament he was a regular winner of the AM Cup, and he showed that the time difference compared to the earlier edition means naught to him: 3-0'ing SpeCial in the semi-finals, he met a solid looking Namshar in the finals. The Swede, currently residing in Canada, had the advantage of not playing in the early morning hours, but the Frenchman overcame this hindrance and took back his American throne with an impressive performance. Still, Namshar must be commended for his run: bringing Clem to a full five-game series is no small feat in itself, and he also eliminated online specialist Solar on his way to the finals. One notable development since the changes to the ESL Open Cups with edition #19 is the decreased quality of the AM Cup competition, with much less notable players participating. This contrasts the increased quality of the Korean events (perhaps for GSL reasons), while the field in EU has stayed as high-level as it was before.
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 #21 of ESL Open Cups is set to take place on June 1st.
European Server Cup #20 (Click for full bracket)
Americas Server Cup #20 (Click for full bracket)