The Viagame House Cup may have featured a stacked lineup of invited players and two of the hottest up-and-comers in the game, but it was a complete unknown who walked away with the trophy.
Frederik “Hoej” Nielsen defeated fellow open qualifier Luo “Roger” Shengyuan to win the Viagame House Cup 2. Nielsen took the final 4-2 after defeating Thijs “ThijsNL” Molendijk and world champion James “Firebat” Kostesich in the previous rounds.
Nielsen narrowly made it out of his group with a 3-2 victory over Cloud9‘s Aleksandr “Kolento” Malsh after having lost the first match 3-0, and was the only player to advance with a negative game difference. He and Shengyuan were the only two qualifiers to make it to the top eight, but the pair outlasted the six invitees to make it to the very end.
Shengyuan defeated hot up-and-comer Jon “Orange” Westberg and Andrew “TidesofTime” Biessener in the groups before advancing over Janne “Savjz” Mikkonen in the quarterfinals. In his semifinal Shengyuan defeated Wang “TiddlerCelestial” Xieyu to avenge a previous loss in the group stage.
Prior to this event, Nielsen had only ever competed in online tournaments. But by winning, he’s now rocketed to the top of the World Championships qualification table. He is currently joint top in the European region alongside Westberg with 100 points. The top 40 players will advance to a qualifier stage, with the top eight advancing to the Regional Championship. From there, four players will advance to the World Championship.
Nielsen’s surprise win follows a pattern of open qualifiers and relative unknowns winning majors this year so far. With Austin “SilentStorm” Li winning the ESL Legendary Series season one and Westberg winning ESL Katowice, established players are not achieving the same level of success as in 2014.
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