The round-of-eight matches narrowed down the field at IEM Katowice 2021 to just four players, who are headed to a final showdown for the world championship on Sunday.
The first quarterfinal match saw Reynor finally get revenge on Dark, who had famously defeated the Italian Zerg in the finals of BlizzCon 2019. Spicy pre-match trash talk gave way to an even more stimulating series, with Reynor barely triumphing by a 3-2 scoreline. The final game on Lightshade (VOD) stood out as a surefire candidate for best game of the entire tournament, with Reynor prevailing after several twists and turns.
In comparison, the second quarterfinal series was far more one-sided, with Maru winning in a 3-0 sweep against former Jin Air teammate Rogue. Rogue's quest for a third IEM World Championship came to a rather anticlimactic end, with Maru looking dominant at all stages of the game as he recorded a flawless victory.
The third quarterfinal match saw PartinG's underdog run continue as he defeated TY by a 3-1 scoreline. PartinG's proxy-gate strategy which melded both aggression and economy had vexed prior opponents, and ultimately TY was also unable to find a definitive answer. PartinG was emotional after taking the victory, glad to prove that he could be a championship contender once more after his return to StarCraft II in 2018.
The final quarterfinal match between Zest and Clem ended in a 3-1 victory for the Korean Protoss, much to the chagrin of an emotional O'Gaming broadcast crew. Though Zest lacked the finesse of some of his Protoss peers, he proved that big picture brilliance was more important than microing perfectly in every moment. Of particular note was Clem and Zest's third game on Pillars of Gold (VOD), where conventional wisdom proved to be inferior to Zest's unconventional, brawling style.
IEM Katowice 2021 will conclude with the semifinals and grand finals on Sunday, Feb 28 2:00pm GMT (GMT+00:00).