Edition #90 of the ESL Open Cups saw ByuN retain his throne in Korea, Clem return to the top in Europe, and SpeCial complete the Terran triumph in America.
After taking his first victory of the 2021/22 season in an ESL Open Cup on the Korean server last week, ByuN was able to repeat that feat on Sunday. Putting on a very strong performance, the Shopify Rebellion player defeated Puzzle, TriGGer, Zoun and Solar to reach the finals. In the semis against the KaiZi Gaming Zerg, a massive hit from a nuclear missile annihilated Solar's army in a move reminiscent of Maru's legendary nuke hit against him at IEM Katowice. Solar was able to take it with some humor once again. As is customary in the ESL Open Cups in Korea, at least one side of the bracket has to be dominated by Dragon Phoenix Gaming. In this case, Zest and herO tore through that side of the tournament tree with herO taking down DongRaeGu and his colleague overcoming a recently returned ByuL (who notably took a map), NightMare and Creator. The internal duel in the semis clearly went into Zest's favor, as the GSL Code S finalist advanced to yet another ESL Open finals. On Sunday, however, the ultimate showdown did not go his way: ByuN controlled the series right from the start and took a 2-0 lead, Zest was not able to revert the standings and had to let the Terran celebrate a 3-1 victory and his second gold medal in a row.
Leaving a big hole in the ESL Open Cup Europe line-up, HeRoMaRinE did not participate in Cup #90 and left the field to his usual rivals with MaxPax taking over his customary bracket seed opposite of Clem. The Dane gave his best Big Gabe impression by putting on a strong run through his side of the tournament, defeating ShaDoWn, Spirit and Vanya to secure a ticket to the finals. On the other side of the bracket, ByuN and Creator once again attempted to win some glory on the European server, but were denied quite early this time: The Team NV player unexpectedly fell to German Protoss Spatz, while MaNa took down the ESL Open Cup Korea winner. At the end, however, neither of them stood in the finals. Clem went through Denver and two of his Liquid colleagues in uThermal and MaNa to take his place in the last series of the competition, which would prove to be a hard one—MaxPax grabbed the 2-1 lead after Clem's initial win, but the Frenchman was able to stay in the series and force a deciding fifth game, which he managed to close out in his own favor. A victory in Europe continues to elude the Danish Protoss player, while Clem secured his ninth victory of the season.
For the first time in the running season a player from the Americas actually managed to take the gold medal in the ESL Open Cup America. SpeCial, who recently returned to Mexico from Korea, completed the Terran triple triumph this week, taking his first win of the season. He was assisted by a rather lucky bracket, only having to defeat kiwian, Nice and TriGGer to reach the finals. That side of the tournament could have looked a lot different, but Zest suffered a shocking early exit at the hands of ProbeScout, a largely unknown Protoss player from the United States, while Creator was taken down by TriGGer himself, securing a semi-finals clash between two players from the Americas. Korea was still victorious on the other half of the bracket, where Zoun and ByuN clashed in the Ro4 in a rematch from the duel in the Korean cup. This time, the Alpha X Protoss managed to beat the Terran and secure his ticket to the finals. His PvT luck, however, did evidently not hold on, as SpeCial was scored a solid 3-1 win in the ultimate series. The Mexican's last ESL Open Cup win dates back to March, when he won the last cup of the Off-Season without EPT points on the line.
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 #91 of the ESL Open Cups will take place on the 3rd (Korea) and the 4th of October (Europe and America).
European Server Cup #90 (Click for full bracket)
Americas Server Cup #90 (Click for full bracket)