A super-charged competitive field in the ESL Open Cup Korea saw Dark come out victorious for his second win in the tournament on the second try. Not much changed in the other two regions compared to the previous week, with Clem and Solar defending their respective titles on the European and American servers, securing back-to-back victories.
The end of the GSL group stage as well as of team competition with the conclusion of GTC 2020 Fall saw the ranks of the ESL Open Cup Korea swell with top names rarely participating otherwise. Dark was amongst them, having a rather disappointing week behind him, and probably looked to regain some confidence (or EPT points) with a victory. Having won his first ESL Open Cup on the first attempt in Week #28, the DPG Zerg repeated the feat, going two for two in the weekly tournament. Competition was tougher than usual (going back through these recaps, you won't often see the Korean cup actually having a Ro32 bracket embedded), with other high profile names such as Rogue getting the same idea as Dark. It was those two Zerg players, who chewed through their brackets to meet at the end, though not without difficulty: Rogue dropped a map to Chinese PvZ expert Firefly before embarking on a ZvZ campaign against RagnaroK, Solar and Dark. The winner himself had to contend with Dream and Bunny—who notably took out rising star Zoun—before clashing with Rogue in a back and forth duel consisting of very quick-paced and aggressive ZvZs.
The world order seems to be in slight disarray, with Zerg players dominating in Korea and Terrans having the upper hand in Europe, as we saw another TvT final in the ESL Open Cup EU—it wasn't the one you think of, though! Clem did not defend his title against his eternal rival HeRoMaRinE, but had to battle souL for it, who himself had taken out the German during one of his rare deep runs into the competition (shoutout to him!). The German-Polish duel is not without precedence, since souL was able to snatch one ESL Open Cup victory from Big Gabe in Week #14 already. Notable also were some Protoss performances this week: Once again MaxPax was eliminated by Clem, but not before taking down some heavy hitters in DnS, Lambo and Vanya (as we'll see, he wasn't even done for the day). There is also the curious case of Cyan mounting an expedition to Europe and actually advancing to the top eight, taking down Kas and MaNa before narrowly falling to souL. The BSG player was very close to making history, almost becoming the first Chinese player to win some money from this series on the European server. Clem's TvT win over souL did not come unexpected (his KoB matches showing that he's certainly no slouch in the match-up anymore), netting him a fifth gold medal on the EU server.
The ESL Open Cup America once again became a brawling ground for players from all over the globe—except the Americans themselves, who could not push into the top four this week. The title defender actually showed up, Solar wanting to keep one win at least after failing to defend his claim to the Korean throne. The Zerg put on a very clean performance indeed, not showing any vulnerabilities until the finals, most notably taking down Nice in the semis. The other side of the bracket served as a playground for two young Europeans: MaxPax and goblin, both eliminated earlier on in the EU cup, attempted to rectify the situation on the NA server, and did so rather well: the young Dane took down SKillous and Scarlett, his Croatian counterpart defeated two of the American region's finest in Cham and Neeb, which should have really earned him a finals appearance if it hadn't been for his peer, who dismantled him in their semi-finals clash. Alas, there was no happy ending to the story for MaxPax, who did steal one map from Solar, but ultimately did not have the tools to deal with an opponent so much more solid and experienced than himself. The KaiZi Zerg now equals Clem's American gold medal count with six, setting his sight on PartinG, who currently leads the ranking with eight victories.
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 #41 of ESL Open Cups is set to take place on October 19th.
European Server Cup #40 (Click for full bracket)
Americas Server Cup #40 (Click for full bracket)