Week #125 saw GuMiho win in Korea, but perhaps more amusingly saw soO pick up his first EPT silver medal since his return from military service. In Europe, HeroMarine won his third gold medal of the 2022-2023 season, which also allowed him to retake the #1 spot in the overall EPT gold medal rankings with 45 cups won (Zest is #2 with 44 cups won). Finally, a NA player managed to win the home server cup, as Neeb triumphed versus herO. It was Neeb's first win since cup #34 in August of 2020, and his fourth cup win overall.
Korean Cup: The KR cup had a small number of participants as usual, but it remained fairly competitive with soO and Rex on the Zerg side, ByuN, GuMiho, and SpeCial representing Terran, and Classic, Creator, herO, Jieshi, and Nice among others joining a powerful contingent from Aiur.
ByuN and GuMiho was the first big clash of the upper bracket, with GuMiho winning 2-0 in their quarterfinal match. herO came up from the other quadrant to oppose GuMiho in the semis, having gone on a successful PvP run with a 2-0 against fork and 2-1 win versus Creator. The DPG Protoss won the first map of the semis, but GuMiho rallied to win in a comeback 2-1 victory and reach the finals.
The bottom side of the bracket had fierce competition as well, with Classic beating both Chance and Nice 2-0 in consecutive PvP mirrors. soO also dominated his opponents, winning 2-0 against both SpeCial and Jieshi to face his friend and ex-SKT teammate Classic in the semifinals. Classic managed to take the first map, but soO ultimately prevailed 2-1 to qualify for the finals. The reverse-sweep trend carried on until the end, with soO initially looking like he had victory within his grasp when he went up 2-0 against GuMiho. However, the resilient PSISTORM Gaming Terran came back with three wins in a row, taking his first cup since Week #116 (March 27th).
Upset(s) of the day: The overall run of GuMiho was very impressive—particularly his comebacks against herO and soO. His chance of winning a BO3 against herO is under 20% according to Aligulac, and that's after giving him credit for the win. soO was deemed as the clear favorite as well on Aligulac, although one could contend that his rating hasn't sufficiently corrected itself since his return from military service (Aligulac ratings don't decay while inactive).Going to the numbers again, ByuN was also considered a moderate favorite against GuMiho, making GuMiho's cup win a huge under triumph all around.
European Cup: The European Cup boasted a solid line-up of players, although several strong regulars such as Reynor, Clem, MaxPax, and ShoWTimE were missing. This did end up leading to a rather balanced bracket in terms of seeding, with interesting clashes occurring throughout the rounds.
The top side of the bracket was mostly dominated by Terrans, with HeroMarine beating Brat_OK 2-0 and Elazer (who notably won against BabyMarine and GunGFuBanda) 2-1, while Spirit beat both Strange and Lambo (who won against trigger 2-0) by 2-1 scores. The EU cup king HeroMarine continued on to beat Spirit 2-0 in the semifinals, qualifying for the finals and getting a chance break his tie with Zest and retake the #1 spot for most cups won.
Meanwhile, the bottom side of the bracket was mostly dominated by Protoss players. Gerald beat arrogfire 2-0 in the PvP mirror, won 2-1 against Kelazhur in PvT, and finally won 2-0 against ForJumy in quarterfinals. Lest one brush off that win over ForJumy—the German Protoss had a good run up to that point, beating Kas 2-0 and upsetting Neeb 2-1 as well. Milkicow, the underdog star of DHM: Europe, managed to beat DIMAGA 2-0 but could not win against SpeCial in the RO16 and lost 0-2 there. SKillous won versus both CuKu and goblin without dropping a map, and then beat SpeCial 2-1 in a quarterfinal clash.Similarly to the TvT semifinals from the top side, SKillous won the PvP mirror against Gerald in a clean 2-0 to earn a spot in the finals.
Alas, EU cups #119 and #120 had seen SKillous lose 0-3 against HeroMarine, and this time was no different. Big Gabe beat his Protoss opponent in dominant fashion to win his 45th EU cup, and also retake his position on top of the overall cup win ranking.
Upset(s) of the day: The most impressive upset for me was ForJumy beating Neeb 2-1. The German Protoss had less than a 10% chance of winning according to Aligulac, making this a particularly rare upset in the cups.
American Cup: In a strange twist, the NA cup ended up looking like a stronger version of the Korean cup from the same week. Many of the top players from the Korean cup participated once more, but they were also joined by the likes of Gerald, trigger, Neeb, and goblin.
The top side of the bracket was dominated by Korean players with Solar beating PiG and goblin 2-0, while herO notably won against soO 2-0 to qualify for the semifinals. herO was able to beat Solar 2-0 in the semifinal match, earning a second straight spot in the finals (he lost the previous finals versus ByuN).
On the other side of the bracket, the non KR players were the dominant force: Neeb got his revenge against ForJumy 2-0, this time on his server and time zone. GuMiho won versus RockEr, an American Protoss who upset Creator 2-1 in the previous round, but Neeb was too strong that night and beat GuMiho 2-0 in the quarterfinals. trigger was on fire as well, and beat both Gerald and ByuN without dropping a map. Although trigger had a strong run, Neeb was looking even stronger on the day and beat him 2-0 to qualify for the finals. Neeb's domination continued all the way to the end, as he defeated herO 3-0 to complete a perfect run and win his fourth NA cup.
Upset(s) of the day: The biggest upset was obviously RockEr defeating a Code S finalist in Creator, but Neeb’s run was super dominant and also worth commending. Still, RockEr has to take the crown here, as his Aligulac.com odds for winning were below 3% and almost worthy of inclusion on the greatest upsets of all time list.