Two elements that have in large part defined StarCraft 2 over the summer have been the continued dominance of Korean players and the game’s imbalance. Events over the weekend seemed to both solidify and poke holes in these trends.
This weekend’s Taiwan Esports Open featured the best Taiwanese StarCraft players clashing with a collection of top Korean professionals.
The list of competing players was marked for a distinct lack of both Terran and Protoss players. The former is often expected in modern StarCraft competitions, but the latter was more of a surprise. Of the 16 players attending, 13 played the game’s Zerg race.
Unfortunately, this also made for a less-than-spectacular viewing experience for fans who were made to sit through an inordinate number of Zerg versus Zerg games, a match-up many fans and players consider the game’s least interesting.
Still, the tournament managed to create some excitement. In spite of the presence of eight Korean players, three of the top four finishers were Taiwanese. The final came down to a match between two players whose playing careers date well back into the days of StarCraft: Brood War: Yang “Sen” Chia Cheng of Taiwan and Ko Seok Hyun of Korea.
Yang constantly seemed on the brink in the best-of-seven finals series, as Ko was able to take the first game and then proceeded to trade games with Yang until Ko had built a three games to two lead.
But with his back against the wall and needing to win the final two games consecutively, Yang was able to step up and finish the job, capturing a significant title in his home country over a top Korean competitor.
This result comes hot on the heels of Denmark’s Patrick “Bunny” Brix capturing the StarCraft 2 title at Gfinity 3. Like Yang, Brix defeated Ko in the final, but he was also forced to navigate a tournament bracket featuring such players as Jang “MC” Min Chul and Mun “MMA” Seong Won.
The British event stands out in comparison to the Taiwan Esports Open, given that it featured a healthy mix of players representing different factions, though Zerg was still best-represented.
So what have we learned from the past two weeks of StarCraft action? Perhaps that the most well-established trends are the likeliest to be bucked, except when they’re not.