herO did not try to defend his title in week #122, even though he had become the first player to win 4 cups in a row in the Asia region in the previous week—5 consecutive would have been quite the record indeed. Instead, ByuN managed to grab the Korean cup victory to get his 10th win across all regions. In Europe, Clem won the cup to get his second victory of the 2022/23 season, while Cure won NA to achieve the back-to-back.
Korean Cup: The Korean cup had fewer participants than usual with only 15 players compared to 21 in last week's cup. Though this meant that there weren't enough players to even have a complete round of 16, there were still some notable Code S-quality players mixed in among the participants. Terran was represented by former Code S winners such as ByuN, Cure, and GuMiho, alongside other familiar names such as Coffee and Percival. Solar and Rex stood out for Zerg, while Zest, Classic, Astrea, trigger, Nice and NightMare held down the fort for Protoss.
The round of 16 was therefore quite stacked, but the favorites managed to advance overall: only Astrea losing 1-2 to GuMiho or maybe trigger losing 0-2 to Nice looked like potentially even matches. This made a fierce ro8 in which Classic beat Solar 2-1, ByuN defeated GuMiho 2-1 and Cure took out Percival with the same 2-1 score. The only player to advance without losing a map was Zest with 2-0 over fork and Nice in the PvP mirror.
Although he had a clean sheet up to that point, Zest lost 1-2 in his semifinal match against Cure. On the other side of the bracket, ByuN beat Classic 2-1 to reach the finals. ByuN's series against Classic featured a notable second game on Curious Minds where he fought tooth and nail for nearly 35 minutes to edge out a victory on a mined-out map. Perhaps this hard fought victory gave him the momentum to win the decisive map 3 and get a spot in the finals.
After such a hard series, one could have expected ByuN to struggle against Cure, but he actually won the first two maps, before Cure took a win of his own to avoid a painful 0-3. Still, ByuN ended up winning the series 3-1 to win the cup, his first victory in EPT KR since October 2021 with cup #93.
Upset(s) of the day: I don’t think there were any real upsets this week in the KR cup. Therefore I will give props to ByuN for his 'in-game upset' against Classic, coming back from a difficult situation to win a map.
European Cup: The European cup was very stacked as is usually the case, and there are too many notable participants to list them all. Still, we can still name a few strong players for each race: Clem, HeroMarine, and SpeCial were all participating for Terran while Reynor and Elazer were the strongest players for Zerg. However, Reynor decided to try his luck with Protoss instead of Zerg, joining the vast army of Aiur led by MaxPax.
Even though Reynor was the top seed, he did not perform accordingly but still managed to defeat Botvinnik 2-0 in PvT before losing 0-2 against Milkicow, who himself got beaten by Gerald 2-1 in the following round (after the Protoss beat Rattata 2-1). SpeCial had a good run to the semifinals, with victories against ShaDoWn and uThermal without dropping a map. He was down 0-1 in the semifinals versus Gerald but managed to claw his way back into the series 1-1 before winning the last game.
The bottom side of the bracket was made very stacked because of how Reynor affected the seeding, with the kings of EU all gathered together. Indeed, MaxPax, Clem and HeroMarine had to fight each other pretty early: MaxPax and HeroMarine met as early as the quarterfinals after defeating MaNa and trigger respectively (2-0 and 2-1). MaxPax edged out the victory 2-1, only to have to face Clem in the next round. The French Terran had reached the semifinals mostly on the back of his TvP, beating DisK and Harstem (who notably beat Elazer 2-0) without dropping a map.
Unfortunately for MaxPax and SpeCial, Clem was chasing glory by trying to get a perfect run of his own (with HeroMarine recently having achieved back-to-back lossless cups in recent weeks). He proceeded to beat both of them 2-0 and 3-0 to get a flawless victory and win this week's cup championship.
Upset(s) of the day: At first glance, it doesn’t seem like there was any upset other than maybe MaxPax beating HeroMarine. Yet, Harstem defeating Elazer 2-0 caught my eye and happens to be a pretty big upset by the Aligulac numbers, with the Zerg having more than 70% chances of beating Harstem in a BO3. Not only that, their head-to-head record was also favoring Elazer by a large margin, so this was a notable victory for Harstem.
American Cup: Even though Clem won in EU, he did not seem satisfied and decided to also participate in the NA cup. Reynor tried his off-race luck once again but picked Terran instead of Protoss, while MaxPax tried to win the NA cup once again after his domination over the region got stopped two cups ago.
The cup was relatively competitive with Creator, Nice, and trigger also carrying the banner for Protoss, while ByuN, Cure, and KeeN joined Clem as Terran representatives. With Reynor off-racing, Solar was the sole top-level player for Zerg.
Terr-Reynor actually managed to reach the quarterfinals with a 2-0 over Maplez and even took a map of MaxPax (whereas KeeN could not the previous round), ultimately losing 1-2. Clem dominated the top side of the bracket until the semifinals with wins against trigger and ByuN, but MaxPax got his revenge on him from EU and beat the Terran 2-1 to get a spot in the finals. The bottom side of the bracket was dominated by KR players, with Cure reaching the finals relatively easily with victories against Nice and Creator without losing a map. The GSL finalist notably beat Gerald 2-1 and Solar 2-0 beforehand.
Cure struggled in the last cup with a very narrow 3-2 victory versus ByuN, but he followed Clem steps this time and achieved a perfect run with a dominating 3-0 versus MaxPax in the finals to get his 9th gold medal in NA.
Upset(s) of the day: MaxPax beating Clem 2-1 is not that big of an upset, but he just lost to the French Terran a few hours earlier and is usually at his weakest in PvT, and particularly against HeroMarine and Clem. Clem beating ByuN and Cure beating Creator are also notable results, although probably not 'upsets' in the minds of most fans.