Foreign hopefuls fall at WCS America
Blizzard’s biggest tournament series of the year held its American final over the weekend, but it was Koreans who finished on top.
Blizzard holds its World Championship Series for StarCraft 2 once a year. It's preceded by regional qualifiers from around the world—including the American region, held this past weekend in Los Angeles.
The Korean dominance that has become so typical of professional StarCraft 2 was already on display as the event got underway. Of the eight quarterfinalists remaining in the competition, six were Korean and only two were from the local region. Those were Sasha “Scarlett” Hostyn and Chris “Huk” Loranger.
In spite of their past accomplishments, neither Hostyn nor Loranger were able to make any headway. Each player was swept in three consecutive games by their Korean opponents in the first round.
Loranger was visibly disappointed with the result, and in a post-game interview he could only ask his fans to maintain their support.
“Just keep cheering for me,” Loranger said.
Hostyn’s opponent, Kim “Heart” Min Hyuk managed to translate the momentum from his quarterfinal sweep into a finals appearance. But there he would meet Choi “Bomber” Ji Sung, who has been showing fine form of late.
That form carried over through the best-of-seven final series, which Choi won four games to two over Kim. The victory for Choi follows a first-place finish at Red Bull Battle Grounds Washington in September, and solidifies him as one of the hottest players in the game today.
Choi’s closest brush with defeat came in his semifinal series with Choi “Polt” Seong Hun. The series came down to the final game of five before being decided in favor of the eventual champion.
WCS America did feature some positive results for local fans. Hostyn and Loranger both defeated Korean players in earlier stages of the tournament, and Australian Ethan “iaguz” Zugai came up with some surprising upset victories before being knocked out.
But overall, the results of the event made it clear that the trend of Korean dominance in American StarCraft 2 competitions isn’t coming to an end anytime soon. This may change through more official means next year, however, when the WCS will lock qualification to players who have legal residence in a given region.