Week #76 of the ESL Open Cups featured another victory of Zest in Korea and Reynor in Europe, while Cure became the first Terran player to claim the American cup in the 2021/22 season.
He may have failed to qualify for the upcoming season of GSL Code S, but Zest secured himself a consolation prize on Sunday in the form of his third Korean ESL Open Cup trophy (well, there are no literal trophies for them... yet). Notably defeating Creator and DongRaeGu, the Protoss player clashed with his team mate Dark in the finals for the third time this season, finally overcoming him to take victory for himself. On both previous occasions Dark was able to soundly defeat Zest, this time he secured a 2-1 lead before Zest broke the cycle and took a comeback victory. The Dragon Phoenix Gaming Protoss has been the busiest Korean in terms of farming EPT points from the weeklies, so far having secured 72 points from all regions. Given the fact that his military service is looming, however, he's surely more interested in the prize money than the IEM Katowice berth.
Case in point, Zest once again braved the European server to play in the EU Cup, taking another shot at winning a weekly triple-crown. Zest's participation in the EU tournament always throws the bracket into disorder, as another highly seeded player joins the fray and forces strong Europeans to run into each other earlier on. Monday's cup did not lack surprises once again as most notably Lilbow put on a very strong performance to eliminate his French countrymen Clem and MarineLorD from the competition before falling to ShoWTimE. The German Protoss had a tough couple of PvP matches that day, having disposed of MaxPax in the previous round and then overcoming Zest in the semi-finals. Zest had matched his previous EU best performance by making it to the top four, taking out goblin and Denver on the way, but ultimately couldn't surmount die Mauer. Favorites were also falling on the bottom side of the bracket: HeRoMaRinE made it into the last five finals of this tournament, but could not reach a sixth as Ziggy defeated him 2-0 early on. Young French Protoss Arrogfire put on the heat as well, taking down both Neeb and MaNa before falling to SKillous, who had in turn eliminated defending champion Elazer. Indeed, this week's cup was absolute mayhem in the early stages! Calmly riding through the chaos was Reynor, the one big name to not be afflicted with ill fortune on this side of the bracket. Winning a row of ZvPs the Italian was perfectly prepared to meet ShoWTimE in the finals, taking the German down with a 3-1 score to triumph for a second time this season in the ESL Open Cup Europe.
Having tasted another finals and feeling obligated to defend his throne in the American edition, ShoWTimE once again participated in this tournament as well and put on another strong run. Creator and Scarlett fell before him, and he also brought the eventual victor Cure to the brink of elimination, going up 2-1 against him but failing to close the series out. The Korean Terran starred in a game-show called 'Cure-ing Taiwan' before he went up against the German, defeating the three Taiwanese players NaXin, Rex and Has on his way to the semi-finals. Has, notably, had defeated MaxPax a round earlier. Most of the Korean participants were concentrated on the upper side of the bracket: Zest took out ForGG, but was in turn defeated by PartinG in a repeat of their Code A series (PartinG had defeated RagnaroK earlier on). PartinG on the other hand met his fate at the hands of Solar, who—just like Cure in the other semis—managed to turn the tide from a 1-2 position. This took everything he had left in tank, however, and Cure stomped him in a one-sided finals with a 3-0 score to become the very first Terran player to win this tournament in the current season.
Thanks to the partnership with Shopify, ESL Open Cup winners earn $250 in prize money and 10 ESL Pro Tour points. Players who finish second earn 5 ESL Pro Tour points and $150. A top 4 finish guarantees at least $100 as well as 2 ESL Pro Tour points, reaching the top 8 pays out $50. Edition #77 of the ESL Open Cups will take place on the 27th (Korea) and the 28th of June (Europe and America).
European Server Cup #76 (Click for full bracket)
Americas Server Cup #76 (Click for full bracket)