The 81st edition of the ESL Open Cups featured a return to our regularly scheduled programming as Cure reclaimed his crowns in both Korean and America, while giving up the throne of Europe to Clem.
Making history in the previous week by becoming the first ever Korean victor of the ESL Open Cup EU, Cure sailed back to more familiar waters on Sunday—evidently stalked by a European invader in MaxPax, who was able to advance into the semis by beating Has in a relatively weak bracket. The Dane would make it no farther, however, as Creator was able to fulfill his gatekeeper's duties and keep the foreigner out with a close 3-2 win. Cure cruised through comparable competition on the upper side of the bracket, clashing with GuMiho in the penultimate round and narrowly sending the military returner packing with a 3-2 victory. The PSISTORM Terran had put together a strong run consisting of internal duels between former servicemen: he beat herO 2-0, DongRaeGu 2-1 and Leenock 2-1 to break into the top four. To his credit, the Leenocktopus grabbed a signal victory by eliminating defending champion PartinG early on. Less close was the final match-up as Cure faced his former teammate Creator and disposed of the Protoss with a 3-1 victory, locking down his fifth Korean victory of the running season.
After two extraordinary weeks for the ESL Open Cup Europe and several weeks of consistent weakness for Clem personally, the Frenchman was able to climb his way back to the top on Monday, triumphing over a strong field of competitors to reclaim his throne ten weeks after his last victory. Just in time for DreamHack Masters: Fall, the Liquid Terran seems to have found his form again, flawlessly cruising into the finals by beating his invigorated countryman Lilbow, DisK, MaxPax and souL. Fittingly to prepare the best possible stage for Clem's grand return to the throne, his arch rival Reynor tore through his own side of the bracket to clash with him in the finals, defeating SKillous and Cure. The Korean had already taken out goblin and uThermal, but the Italian Stallion would prove to be his undoing. And so the knight's quest for the legendary ESL Open Cup Triple continues, the prize seeming as mythical and slippery as the holy grail itself. Anyway, about the finals. Trading maps evenly at first, Reynor secured a 2-1 lead in the finals over Clem, but back-to-back wins on Blackburn and Romanticide turned the tide in favor of the Liquid player.
Making sure to completely return us to business as usual, Cure also locked down another victory in the American ESL Open Cup, reclaiming his accustomed throne after a brief interruption by his teammate Zest in the previous week. Taking out GuMiho, PiG, Trust and Vanya without dropping a map to advance into the finals, the Dragon Phoenix Gaming player put on a clinical performance. The tournament tree's other side saw Armani power through his opposition in the form of NightMare, Gerald and Nice with the Korean and Taiwanese Protoss players almost stopping the Afreeca Zerg. Cure standing in the finals of an ESL Open Cup—you already know how this story ends: Cure comes, sees and conquers, claiming the crown with a 3-1 victory over his countryman. This marks Cure's fourth ESL Open Cup double victory, the most of any player so far.
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 #81 of the ESL Open Cups will take place on the 1sth (Korea) and the 2nd of August (Europe and America).
European Server Cup #81 (Click for full bracket)
Americas Server Cup #81 (Click for full bracket)