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Extreme Masters Katowice Starcraft 2 Recap

By Julian 'Twinkie449' Leischner
Jan 22, 2013 16:40


ImageLast weekend the third event of the the Extreme Masters Season 7 (IEM) took place in Katowice and here is a quick recap of the Starcraft 2 tournament.

There was blood and tears, at least virtual blood, moments of joy and of disappointment. For some it ended rather rapidly, others finished with an almost clean record. Here are the biggest surprises and upsets of the tournament:

It all started with the open bracket. With only a few big names in the four brackets most viewers probably expected NL Joseph 'Ret' de Kroon and either PL Rafal 'ParanOid' Kontowicz or RU Artem 'VERDI' Avramenko Imageto make it through the first bracket but surprisingly Ret fell 2-1 to VERDI in the winners' bracket final and then again 2-1 to ParanOid in the losers' bracket final, thereby finishing third and unable to qualify for the main event.

In the rest of the open bracket things went less spectacular with the following six players ending up qualified beside the ones mentioned above:

DE Dario 'TLO' Wünsch
PL Marcin 'DieStar' Wieczorek
PL Grzegorz 'MaNa' Komincz
PL Tomasz 'Tarson' Boroń
KR Lee 'Daisy' Jong Hyuk
PL Łukasz 'Tefel' Czarnecki

In the group stage things became more interesting. Fan favourite and HomeStory Cup VI winner NO Jens 'Snute' Waller Aasgaard was most commonly mentioned as one of the players to pass group A, possibly even finishing first. In the end he only finished fifth losing to all three passing players, KR Joong Hyuk 'DreAm' Cho, NL Manuel 'Grubby' Schenkhuizen and TLO. If Grubby had not taken one map from AU Andrew 'mOOnGLaDe' Pender they would have switched positions and mOOnGLaDe would have passed by mapscore instead of Grubby.

In Group B the majority most likely expected the three players to pass who did, but UA Aleksandr 'Bly' Svusuyk was also considered a possible top three finisher in his group. He missed his chance by mapscore. With slightly different mapscores a three way tie between him, MaNa and ES Pedro 'LucifroN' Moreno Durán could have been a scenario. KR Lee-Sak 'PartinG' Won once again lived up to his reputation finishing first in the group, losing only one set to LucifroN.

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Group C ended rather surprisingly with DE Giacomo 'Socke' Thüs in first place, losing no set and only two maps, KR Choi Byung 'YoDa' Hyun in second and PL Arthur 'Nerchio' Bloch in third place. Although Socke had only started playing again a few weeks ago after a pause in december he not only did well but even managed to win every single set in his group, placing him directly into the round of eight, a spot that was commonly considered to be YoDa's. If there had been a vote most would probably have put YoDa in first, Nerchio in second and either Socke, VERDI or DieStar in third but I think nobody would have foreseen the outcome we saw this weekend.

The last group, group D, contained four players with one or more good placements at big offline tournaments. KR Kang 'First' Hyun Woo, UA Mihail 'Kas' Hayda, ES Juan 'VortiX' Moreno Durán and KR Myung-Hwan 'Golden' Jo have all already made a name for themselves at at least one offline tournament but only two of them made it through the group. Daisy however has appearently had enough of never making it into the top ten of an offline tournament, taking second place in the group with one loss less than Kas. First once again proved that his name is not cocky but in some tournaments just the undeniable truth. He attended two MLGs last year, not taking a first place but playing with flying colours into the top four both times. This time he missed a perfect score in his group by one map which turned out to be only the tip of the iceberg but more about that later.

To recap, after the group stage the following players passed:

KR Kang 'First' Hyun Woo (ro8)
PL Grzegorz 'MaNa' Komincz
DE Dario 'TLO' Wünsch

DE Giacomo 'Socke' Thüs(ro8)
ES Pedro 'LucifroN' Moreno Durán
UA Mihail 'Kas' Hayda

KR Joong Hyuk 'DreAm' Cho(ro8)
KR Lee 'Daisy' Jong Hyuk
PL Arthur 'Nerchio' Bloch

KR Lee-Sak 'PartinG' Won(ro8)
KR Choi Byung 'YoDa' Hyun
NL Manuel 'Grubby' Schenkhuizen

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In a very close match TLO was able to defeat MaNa 3-2, Team Liquid and his fans already fantasised about his first big offline win. The second ro12 match was LucifroN vs Kas. Online both are feared players but Kas is known to have anxiety problems when playing at offline events, so LucifroN was said to have a slight edge in that regard. However Kas overcame his anxiety and won the series 3-0. Matchup three was Daisy vs Nerchio and although Nerchio is considered one of the best foreigners the series ended just as quickly with 3-0 in Daisy's favour. The last match of the round of 12 was YoDa vs Grubby. Grubby fell behind two maps, then won on Cloud Kingdom but lost the fourth map, resulting in a 3-1 loss.

In the round of eight hopes were still high to see a foreigner in the finals with five Koreans and three foreigners left but the only foreigner to make it to the semifinals turned out to be Socke, who barely won against Kas 3-2 very much to Kas' disappointment. Before the match Kas stated to be sure to win against Socke but he could not fulfill his promise. The match TLO vs First was a display without comparison of First's calmness and skill. Several overeager engagements from TLO's side and overreactions to First's aggression led to a crushing 3-0 victory for First, continuing the streak he started in the group stage. In the third match young Dream was able to secure a 3-1 win over Daisy, showing great skill in his first foreign event, especially for his age. The last match was PartinG vs YoDa, both favourites to win the event, but there can always be only one winner and with a 3-0 victory PartinG made very clear which one of them was more fit for a spot in the top four.

At this point four players remained, one foreigner and three Koreans. Socke, as one of the surprises of the tournament, the last foreign hope and beside First the only player to go 5-0 in his group, was cheered for as if he already was a champion when he entered the stage but once again First made sure everyone saw how serious he was about winning the event. Another 3-0 victory made his already incredible performance a 16 map win streak. On the other side of the bracket PartinG, who was voted first to take gold, was not able to secure his first final as an ambassador of SK Telecom T1, falling 3-1 to 16 year old Dream.

There they were. The last two players. KR Joong Hyuk 'DreAm' Cho and KR Kang 'First' Hyun Woo. Neither of them had ever won a foreign event this size before, Dream had not even attended one. Being only 16 years old Dream was the youngest player to attend the event, truly a Most Valuable Player and he was only a replacement for younger KR Seong Ju 'Maru' Cho who could not attend due to his age. First had been to other foreign events before and there he had already shown his impecable skill, worthy of the name Incredible Miracle. With a 16-1 record, the 16 wins as a streak, he not only made it into the finals, he rather "stomped" his way into the finals. At first he made it a 17 maps win streak but on the second map Dream struck back. In the last two maps Dream continued to fight for his tournament life but First once again only lost that one map and none before or after. With a score of 3-1 he took the gold medal and he was already considered quite an impressive player before this event but now his reputation is the one of a Starcraft 2 monster.
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I congratulate Socke for placing as the highest foreigner, of course also PartinG for another great placement in a tournament and a good start as a member of SK Telecom T1, every other player in the tournament for doing their best and receiving their respective share of the prize money, Dream for one hell of a performance for his first foreign event and last but anything but least First for his well deserved first place and an incredible run on his way to the finals. This is certainly not the last we will see of him and Dream in foreign tournaments and I bet both of them will perform well again whenever they enter a non-Korean stage.

I did not watch the entire event but quite a bit and I thought it was pretty amazing. What was your experience of the Extreme Masters Season 7 Katowice?

Sources: esl.eu


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