Week #67 of the ESL Open Cups saw Protoss dominance finally crumble in Korea with Cure seizing the opportunity to take the throne. In Europe, Clem completed his hat-trick with another victory, while Has emerged as the surprise victor of the American edition from a stacked field of Korean opposition.
After two weeks of utter Protoss domination, Zoun was the only member of the Protoss top brass to find the time to sign up for Cup #67, opening the field for players of other loyalties to thrive—and the usual suspects answered the call: Solar and Armani have been regulars for several weeks, and their clash in the semis went the KaiZi Gaming player's way with a clear 3-0. The other side of the bracket saw Zoun narrowly lose to DongRaeGu, who was in turn crushed by Cure, another famed weekly cup workhorse. The finals saw Cure triumph by a 3-1 score, not once letting his adversary take over control of the series, claiming the first non-Protoss victory in the 2021/22 season of the ESL Opens.
What a blast to the past! The 67th edition of the European ESL Open Cup revived the classic Clem versus HeRoMaRinE showdown in the tournament finals. With other top contenders like ShoWTimE and Reynor (and also the recent upstart GunGFuBanDa) declning th compete, it was almost inevitable that Clem and Big Gabe would clash in the finals. The Liquid player didn't drop a single map as he marched towards his third victory in a row, defeating his countryman ShaDoWn in the semis. While HeroMarine did have a close call against Gerald, he stayed without losses otherwise, taking care of SKillous 3-0 in the semifinals. Going up against Clem, Big Gabe was able to steal the first map, but Clem then turned up the heat and took the next three maps for himself, securing his hat-trick and another batch of EPT Points.
After ending up in the top four during the two previous cups, Has broke through this glass ceiling in Week #67 of the ESL Open Cups on the American server, claiming victory in a stacked line-up. The Taiwanese Protoss defeated his eternal rival from home in Nice and then went on to face the beastly PvP of Zest, who had already won a Korean cup in Season 2 off the back of his skills in the mirror. Has doing Has-things, though, took the Kingslayer down 3-1 and advanced to the finals—with only one new map played during the series, it can't even be pinned to the Korean getting caught off-guard by a hitherto unknown proxy location or anything like that. On the other side of the bracket, three Koreans battled it out amongst each other: Armani took out Zoun and was himself eliminated by Sunday's champion Cure, who wanted to achieve the double-dip-win so coveted by the Koreans. Though his chances on paper looked good, Cure was not prepared for Has on this day. The Humbler of Tyrants once again shocked the favored opponent by taking the two first maps. Cure, just like Zest, recovered sufficiently to stay in the series with a win on Oxide, but Lightshade provided an ample battleground for Has to close the series out once more. Could Has come into form in the perfect time for a surprise appearance in the later rounds of the DreamHack Masters?
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. Edition #68 of the ESL Open Cups will take place on the 25th (Korea) and the 26th of April (Europe and America).
European Server Cup #67 (Click for full bracket)
Americas Server Cup #67 (Click for full bracket)