October 4th, 2012
Author: Bayu Ariyanto
The World Championship Series: Europe Finals was a tournament held by Blizzard and attendees qualified through a set of individual regional tournaments that covered the whole of Europe. The Finals determined who will make it to the World Championship that will take place later this year in Shanghai, China.
The player pool was nothing short of stacked. The best players from all over Europe gathered to have a chance to win the privilege to represent Europe in the World Championship.
There were many star players coming in who were expected to place high if not outright win the tournament: The Spanish brothers VortiX and LucifroN, the King of the North, ThorZaiN, and of course who many agree to be the best European player, Stephano. Other amazing up and coming players such as Ziktomini and JonnyREcco were also in attendance.
Just a few of the many stars that attended (from left to right): ThorZaiN, JohnnyREcco, VortiX.
With 6 direct seeds to the World Championship for the top 6 and the $24,000 first prize up for grabs, everyone felt the pressure to perform.
The Unexpected Happened
A lot of the big names fell during the early stages of the tournament which came as a big surprise to many. Most notably ThorZaiN was knocked out by Nerchio in the second round of play. Other Swedish stars also fell short of their goal, with Seiplo and SortOf failing to reach the top 8.
Players who were thought to be very good, but not necessarily the best, in the European scene, such as LoWeLy and BabyKnight, accomplished strong finishes, 5th and 6th respectively.
There were two players who stole the limelight, it was the Duran brothers, VortiX and LucifroN. The two managed to nab 2nd and 3rd place and with it a total of $12,600 between them. Not only did these two impress everyone with their 2nd and 3rd place finish, but the quality of their games were top class and was comparable with the top Koreans.
The Finals and Beyond
Of course, we cannot ignore the 1st place finisher, Stephano. With this win, he has managed to become the third highest-earning player so far this year. Stephano came to this tournament being the clear favourite, and surprised no one when he took the tournament.
Before the Finals, Stephano only lost a single game throughout the tournament, and that was against LucifroN. Facing LucifroN’s brother VortiX in the Finals, Stephano was looking strong as he had already defeated VortiX 2-0 earlier in the bracket.
With ZvZ being a volatile matchup, anything could have happened. VortiX handled the first series well, upsetting Stephano 2-1, but needing to win a second series in order to overthrow Stephano as the Winner’s bracket finalist, VortiX fell just short to the goal losing 2-0 in the second series.
Stephano's French Invasion!
These players have a lot to look forward to at the World Championships. Blizzard has announced a $250,000 prize pool for the World Championship and a first place prize of $100,000. You can expect everyone to battle it out with nothing held back. The title as the true World Champion as bestowed by Blizzard will be on the line.
This is just one of the first chapters of the World Championship Series for StarCraft II with much more to come during the World Championships in late November.