Balance was achieved in Week #38 of the ESL Open Cups, as all three regions were won by a different faction. In the Korean edition, DongRaeGu secured his second ESL Open victory, stopping Special from becoming the second ever non-Korean winner. Europe saw the return of German domination with ShoWTimE claiming another gold medal in flawless manner, while SpeCial made up for his Korean server loss by winning the American server cup.
DongRaeGu seems to bloom late in the month in the ESL Open Cups, having celebrated his first ever victory in the last weekly tournament of August, now adding his second gold medal in the last edition of September. The Zerg was pretty much the only top Korean to participate, most of the field being made up of international competitors. That does not mean DRG had it easy, however, having tough battles against Chinese powerhouses Cyan and TIME before he could reach the finals. There, he met SpeCial, who had a perfect run through the bracket up to this point, but whose luck was about to run out: DRG's brushes with elimination against the Chinese players seem to have powered him up properly, leaving the SpeCial with no chance to even take a single map. This marks the first time with only one Korean player among the top four of this tournament series since Cup #22 back in June, where TIME and SpeCial had also been part of the foreign contingent to claim top finishes.
He came, he saw, he conquered, and then he left: Serral did not defend his ESL Open Cup EU title, leaving the field wide open for the usual players to claim. That said, it still turned out to be a pretty crazy edition with Bly wreaking havoc on the top side of the bracket, eliminating Clem and Neeb to reach his first ever European ESL Open Cup finals. While we all know in our hearts how those games went down without having to check the VODs, this time even Bly commented: "aiaiai this bo5 was a cheesefest." When the connoisseur of cheese himself says so, you know some really funky stuff was going on. On the bottom side of the bracket, the feared German duo of HeRoMaRinE and ShoWTimE claimed victory after victory without dropping a map until they met in the semi-finals, the Protoss coming out ahead this time. Having damned Big Gabe to a back-to-back exit in the semis, he went on to dismantle Bly, who quickly ran out of steam in the finals, not being able to overcome die Mauer with any trickeries. A fantastic showing overall for both players, with the German Protoss claiming his seventh gold medal in the end.
SpeCial had to wait 37 weeks for his first victory, and he liked it so much that he came back for more. The Mexican Terran took his second win in the American ESL Open Cup in a row, doing what he couldn't in the Korean edition a few hours before. The Mexican dropped a map here and there, but was able to showcase a very solid performance overall, taking down the very international field of Future, Silky (the Chinese player, not the American) and goblin to claim the title. Week #38 of the American server edition had quite a few notable results: Silky himself took out Scarlett and MaxPax to reach the semis, while utter chaos ensued on the bottom side of the bracket. Young goblin, who reached his first ESL Open Cup finals ever since Week #18 back in April, took out Solar, while Nina defeated both Bly and Clem.
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 #39 of ESL Open Cups is set to take place on October 5th.
European Server Cup #38 (Click for full bracket)
Americas Server Cup #38 (Click for full bracket)