In week #142, GuMiho won the Korean cup to continue his run of good form, Clem achieved a back-to-back victory in Europe, and Solar picked up his 19th ever win in the Americas cup.
This week's cup in the Asia/Korea region was all about Terran and Protoss. ByuN, GuMiho, and TIME were the most notable Terrans, Protoss had strong players like Astrea, Classic, Cyan, and herO, while Zerg didn't have any representatives who were major tournament regulars.
The bigger names prevailed in the RO16, except Cyan who lost to Korean Terran Jinioh. Things got a little more heated in the quarterfinals, but the favorites on paper still won out. The closest quarterfinal match was probably GuMiho facing TIME in TvT, with the KR Terran ultimately winning the series 2-1. GuMiho kept up his good play in the semis, taking out herO 2-1 to reach the finals. On the other side of the bracket, ByuN reached the finals after taking wins against Classic and Astrea.
The finals between GuMiho and ByuN was very tight (VOD), going the full five games. GuMiho won the first game on Waterfall in a basetrade, where ByuN's lack of medivacs proved to be a fatal disadvantage. ByuN then tied things on Inside and Out, winning a thirty-minute macro game where he was mostly in control.
After trading another pair of games back and forth, the two Terrans went to Stargazers for the final showdown. ByuN went for a more standard 4-base setup, while GuMiho stayed on three bases and attempted a faster push. GuMiho's Ravens disabled all four of ByuN's defending tanks, allowing him to crush ByuN in the key fight and take home the 3-2 victory.
Upset(s) of the day: While GuMiho beating herO was an upset on paper, it's not nearly as big a surprise as it would have been a few months ago. herO is no longer a dominant force in the cups like he was in the spring (back when he won an unprecedented four cups in a row), while GuMiho has been improving steadily. Even though herO is still good enough to win cups (he won last week), it's not odd to see him give up an upset here and there.
Thus, Jinioh winning 2-0 versus Cyan is the pick for biggest upset of the week, as the amateur Terran had less than a 12% chance of winning according to Aligulac.
The European cup was stacked as usual, especially since Reynor rejoined the party with his main race of Zerg. Terran had the power duo of Clem and HeroMarine, with Kelazhur and TIME as dark horses, Protoss had MaxPax, ShoWTimE and most of the usual EU gang, while Zerg had Elazer contending alongside Reynor.
The seeding worked out so that Clem actually didn't have to play MaxPax for another week in the row, but he still had to get past some tough players in Kelazhur and ShoWTimE to reach the finals (narrowly winning 2-1 against both).
The other side of the bracket was a bloodbath, with two very high level quarterfinals matches: HeroMarine beat TIME 2-0, and Reynor beat MaxPax by the same scoreline. The semifinals between Big Gabe and Reynor was the perfect opportunity for the German Terran to get his revenge for the cheeky offrace victory of Reynor a few months ago. And indeed, HeroMarine got his revenge on Reynor’s Zerg with a 2-1 victory, but you have to wonder if he'd like a chance to punish his Protoss in a public setting as well.
This set up a Clem vs HeroMarine final for a second week in a row (VOD), but unfortunately for Big Gabe, the rematch was another 1-3 loss (even with the same order of wins and losses).
Clem won the first map quickly with his first push, with HeroMarine unable to break the position in between his natural and third. HeroMarine did get a map win on Data-C in a regular macro game, but Clem took the next two games to win the series 3-1. The final game on Moondance was especially quick, as HeroMarine's failed proxy-2 rax inside Clem's pocket base didn't work out as planned.
Upset(s) of the day: My upset of the day goes to KingCobra who managed to beat Gerald 2-0. It's not the biggest surprise, but the other matches largely went as expected on the day.
The Americas cup was fairly top heavy, with Dark and Solar competing for Zerg, ByuN and uThermal joining as the well-known Terrans, while MaxPax, Gerald, and trigger came forward for Protoss.
MaxPax continued to be a powerful force in the open cups, taking out both uThermal and Dark 2-0 to qualify for the finals from the top half of the bracket. The bottom side of the bracket was dominated by ByuN and Solar, who beat their initial string of opponents without losing a map. Despite coming off a disappointing Code S performance a few hours before, Solar was better in the online cup and beat ByuN 2-0 to meet MaxPax in the finals.
Given how dominant MaxPax is in NA, one could have expected him to destroy Solar in the finals (VOD). But while he managed to win the first game on Moondance—thanks to his killer instinct that allowed him to kill Solar in the small window of weakness after a failed Zerg attack—Solar was actually the dominant player who took the next three games. Notably, Solar won on Data-C with a very successful and sneaky baneling bust off 3 bases, and then an even earlier baneling bust into ling flood on Waterfall to win the series 3-1.
Upset(s) of the day: MaxPax beating Dark could be considered an upset a few months ago, but is it still one now? Not only has Dark been consistently poor in ESL Open Cups, but MaxPax is now even favored according to Aligulac due to Dark's slump. Thus, there weren't any especially notable upsets, but Solar deserves a shoutout for going on such a dominant run with wins over opponents like ByuN and MaxPax.