Last week, ByuN won the KR Cup once again for a back-to-back victory, MaxPax beat the previous EU cup winner to triumph in Europe, and Solar was victorious in the NA region.
The KR cup was more competitive than usual, with the arrival of Reynor adding another top player to the mix. Astrea, Classic and Creator were the main Protoss representatives, while Zergs also had several strong players in Dark, Reynor, Scarlett and soO. Finally, ByuN, and Coffee were the top Terran players in this cup.
ByuN continued his string of good cup performances, beating both Astrea and Dark to qualify for the finals from the top side of the bracket. The other finalist was Creator, who went through foreigner house residents Scarlett and Reynor to reach the final match.
The semifinals between Creator and Reynor was a tight 2-1 affair (VOD), starting with Creator winning the first map with a 2-base Stalker + Zealot all-in. Reynor then tied the score on Waterfall, surviving a deadly hanbang attack from Creator to win. On the third map Data-C, Creator was able to mask a clever timing attack and catch Reynor with his pants down, taking a victory against a weak Zerg defense.
The grand finals between ByuN and Creator (https://www.twitch.tv/videos/1554640071?t=2h28m18s］VOD[/url]) ended in a convincing 3-1 score for ByuN, though Creator gave a good account of himself in the process. ByuN took the first game on Data-C by catching Creator splitting up his army at an inopportune moment. ByuN's main army was able to pounce on Creator's high value units such as Disruptors and Colossus while the Zealots and Stalkers were preparing for a backdoor attack elsewhere, which ended in total disaster for Creator. Still, Creator was able to stay focused and win the next game, perfectly defending ByuN's widow mine drop as well as his 2-base timing attack.
The third game was also action packed, with a lot of interesting moves from both players. ByuN had an army lead for much of the game and used it to apply pressure, but Creator did a good job of defending while letting a hidden expansion quietly boost his income. Still, ByuN is known for his resilience and playing better with his back against the wall, and ultimately won with very good army movements and trades over and over again.
Finally, both players also delivered an entertaining finale with plenty of fighting on Stargazers. ByuN used the layout of the map to harass very successfully by air, forcing Creator into an all-in that fell short in the end.
Upset(s) of the day: Several notable upsets happened in this cup. Coffee beat soO 2-0 in the lower rounds, which had less than a 12% chance of happening according to Aligulac. Creator beating Reynor was a slightly lesser upset at 24%-ish odds, but it was still a great win for the Protoss considering his recent dip in form.
The European cup was very deep as usual, but the seeding and matches worked out in a peculiar way that a 'perfect' top eight of Clem, Kelazhur, Elazer, Harstem, Lambo, Spirit, MaxPax and HeroMarine was achieved without a single upset to interrupt them.
Clem ultimately survived his side of the bracket, beating teammates Kelazhur and Elazer to reach the finals. MaxPax was the victor on the other side, beating HeroMarine and Spirit to earn his finals spot.
Clem vs MaxPax was once a match-up that heavily favored the French Terran, but this cup finals (VOD) ended up being very one-sided in the Danish Protoss' favor. MaxPax began the sweep with effective Blink-Stalker harassment, tying up Clem and also fending off an attempted counter-attack. The Protoss continued to stay in control of the game, ultimately winning with Colossus and an upgrade advantage. The second game on Stargazers was a bit hectic early on, with Clem delaying his expansion to go for fast Marine-Medivac harassment into a Cloaked Banshee. MaxPax added to the chaos, making his own invisible units in the form of DT's. He ended up coming out on top of this exchange, defending against all of Clem's harassment fairly effectively whereas Clem had no answer for the DT's.
Finally, Clem attempted several Tank pushes on Waterfall in game three, culminating in a big 4-Tank and +1 infantry attack timing at around 8 minutes. However, MaxPax already had a massive Zealot count by then, and he was able to destroy Clem's attack and finish the 3-0 sweep for his 12th EU cup victory.
Upset(s) of the day: Not many upsets happened this cup, but it's worth shouting out MaxPax for his improvement in TvP. He was struggling versus both Clem and HeroMarine a few months ago, and his run with wins against both Big Gabe and Clem has to be praised. Elsewhere in the bracket, Brat_OK beating MaNa 2-0 and KingCobra winning versus goblin were also small upsets.
This NA cup was super stacked at the top, with three former World Champions in ByuN, Dark, and Reynor all trying their luck. The competition got comparatively thinner after that, but MaxPax, Nice, KeeN, Solar, and kiwian were there to bolster the ranks.
Dark was the top seed and a big favorite, but he struggled a bit against Nina with 'only' a 2-1 victory, and while he beat goblin 2-0, he ultimately lost 1-2 to Solar. Another nice run was that of Epic, with the NA Terran defeating Nice 2-1 and taking a map off Solar in quarterfinals.
The bottom side of the bracket was very competitive, as ByuN notably beat kiwian 2-0 and MaxPax 2-1. Reynor defeated KeeN with ease 2-0, but switched to Protoss to start his semifinal match against ByuN (VOD). The Shopify ace was able to beat the off-racing Reynor rather easily, forcing him to switch back to Zerg for the rest of the series. Reynor tied the score up in one-sided fashion, delaying ByuN's CC for a long time with a pool-first build and then defending against Hellbat timing. However, ByuN was the final victor on Data-C, committing hard to a timing attack with Marines, Tanks, and Liberators to topple Reynor.
That led to a grand finals between ByuN and Solar, which was almost a sweep as Solar took the first two maps (VOD). Indeed, Solar was able to get ahead on Tropical Sacrifice and got a much bigger army than ByuN, but the Terran refused to die and it took several minutes and as many tech switches from Solar to finally take him out. On Waterfall, Solar was able to spread creep on almost the whole map very quickly, and to defend his multiple bases using ling / banes, while ByuN was struggling to take a fourth. Ultimately, Solar’s economy and armies were too much for ByuN and he was forced to tap out.
Data-C was the saving grace for ByuN who was able to limit Solar for expanding too much, harassing his outer bases as well as his main thanks to the dead space on the map. Expansion denial ended up being the key to his 18-minute win, as Solar didn't have the resources to prosecute the war any longer. Still, Solar was able to close things out without any more complications, using Line-Bane-Muta to dominate Moondance. A final transition to Ultralisks helped him pierce ByuN's defenses, giving him his 17th victory in the open cups. That's only second to Zest, who leads with 23 gold medals in the region.
Upset(s) of the day: Epic beating Nice is a nice upset as theTerran had less than 28% chances of winning according to Aligulac. Other than that, several small upsets happened, such as Solar taking out Dark, ByuN beating Reynor (even though it was technically 1-1 with their main races) and MaxPax.