uThermal celebrated his first ESL Open Cup win in his European home region this week, running a gauntlet of fellow elite Terrans to claim the title. Meanwhile, Korean players took two cup victories, with Armani making a surprise run on the Korean server while Solar returned to the American server to win yet another cup title.
It has been quite a while since Armani last secured victory in the ESL Open Cup KR, which was back in March in Week #9 of the tournament, so this return to the top was long in the making. The Afreeca Freecs Zerg had a very impressive run through a competitive bracket, taking down fellow GSL player Astrea, reigning GSL champion TY, his Zerg colleague Solar, and then dominating Trap with a 3-0 score in the finals (the Jin Air Protoss took his fourth silver medal in these cups). Armani will play his Ro24 group in GSL this weekend, so we will see if this performance was a sign for bigger things to come, or if the former SAMSUNG Zerg merely had one damn good day.
In Europe, Team Liquid made Week #25 of the ESL Open Cup their own: three Liquid players made it into the top 4, with uThermal coming out on top in the end and securing his first ever European cup victory, adding a gold medal from his home region to his two wins in the American cup. The Dutchman had to overcome tough competition on his run, but was able to prove his reputation as a most dangerous TvT player by beating essentially all the other members of the top 4 EU Terran club in souL, HeRoMaRinE, and his young team mate Clem. The Frenchman, who had to team-kill MaNa to reach the finals, was thus made to finish second place in back-to-back cups, having lost out to Reynor the week before.
The ESL Open Cup AM saw an all-Korean finals this week, with Solar emerging victorious over PartinG in the end, recovering from his elimination in the Korean edition at the hands of Armani earlier that day. Solar's path was hardly easy, as he played play full series against Silky, Namshar, and MCanning. PartinG's path was much smoother, with the Protoss not dropping a map before being defeated by his countryman in the finals. The cup also featured a duel between some of Europe's and Asia's most notorious cheesers, Bly and Has. The Taiwanese Protoss was able to defeat the Ukrainian Zerg and reach the top 4 of an ESL Open Cup for the first time ever. Perhaps his success in the DH Summer Masters TW made him hungry for more, and we will see him participate a bit more regularly from now on. So far, the most prominent Taiwanese regular in these cups has been Has's regional rival Nice, who was able to triumph in Week #24.
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 #26 of ESL Open Cups is set to take place on July 6th.
European Server Cup #25 (Click for full bracket)
Americas Server Cup #25 (Click for full bracket)