The 51st edition of the ESL Open Cups were delayed in Europe and the Americas due to several hosting issues on Battle.net, and were eventually played out on Thursday, January 7th. The Korean server cup was held on a more accurate schedule, and concluded with Trap securing the last win of 2020. Reynor celebrated the new year with another victory in Europe, while PartinG scored another gold medal in his quest to claim the most victories on the server.
The final Monday of 2020 was a very solid one for Trap, as he marched through a strong bracket of opponents with little struggle: MacSed had to give way without scoring a single win, but TIME managed to take a map from the Protoss player, who at the time had not yet announced joining Afreeca Freecs. Overcoming the Chinese superstar, Dark was next on Trap's agenda and was promptly eliminated with a clean-sweep—a wake-up call for the TSL6 winner. Online cup workhorse Solar remained as the final challenge for the former Jin Air player, but Trap's hot streak couldn't be broken even by the Zerg taking a map after being down 0-2, merely delaying the inevitable outcome of the tournament, which was Trap's fifth gold medal in the Korean edition of the ESL Open Cup.
An ESL Open Cup classic opened up the new year in the European edition in the postponed tournament on Thursday: Reynor and HeRoMaRinE battled through their respective brackets and clashed in the an explosive series to decide the victor amongst themselves. Reynor seems to not have lost any fire over the short Christmas break, plowing through his side of the tournament without dropping a single map, counting the Polish duo souL and Elazer in the row of his victims. Big Gabe looked a bit shakier, dropping a game to Souleer, but clean series against Harstem and surprise semifinals opponent YoungYakov let him gather steam for the final confrontation of the evening. The German and the Italian showed no mercy to one another, trading the first two maps evenly while both looking very strong. HeroMarine grabbed match point with relentless aggression on Pillars of Gold, but couldn't close the series out on Romaticide or Deathaura, giving Reynor the chance to claw his way back into it and snatch victory from the jaws of defeat—as well as his seventh ESL Open Cup Europe gold medal.
New year, same king: PartinG had won the final edition of 2020 and was able to continue his reign into 2021 on Thursday, claiming victory in an ESL Open Cup America with rather thin participation this time around, probably because of the unusual timing of the postponed tournament. goblin almost managed to dethrone the Korean overlord in the quarterfinals, but was ultimately defeated—PvP giveth, PvP taketh away. Souleer, who earlier had made a good attempt against HeroMarine, used his good form and the opportune timing to actually make it to the semifinals, but received a smackdown from the Big Boy there, who went on to defeat Nina with a solid 3-1 score in the finals. The American Protoss made a surprising run into the finals, overcoming favourites Solar and Nice on the path. Winning his tenth gold medal in the American edition of the ESL Open Cup, PartinG now once again equalized his own medal count with that of Solar, sharing first place with the KaiZi Gaming Zerg.
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 #52 of ESL Open Cups (EU and AM) is set to take place on January 10th, with Week #53 of every edition following on January 11th.
European Server Cup #51 (Click for full bracket)
Americas Server Cup #51 (Click for full bracket)