The year’s biggest StarCraft 2 tournament concluded with a 17-year-old taking home a $100,000 first-place prize.
Young star Lee “Life” Seung Hyun triumphed in the grand final of the World Championship Series over his opponent, Mun “MMA” Seong Won.
Like every other match from the quarterfinals on, Lee and Mun played before a packed crowd at the Anaheim Convention Center at Blizzard’s flagship event, BlizzCon. But fans weren’t provided much of a show during the best-of-seven final, as Lee got out to a quick lead in the series and never looked back.
Known for his unorthodox play and strategies, Lee didn’t find much need for unusual tactics against Mun. A two-games-to-none lead gave Lee firm control of the series. Mun did manage to win the third game, but Lee was quick to get back on track, winning game four and setting up tournament point.
Lee went for an aggressive strategy in what would prove to be the tournament’s final game, gathering zerglings and banelings just outside of his opponent’s base while preparing to launch a devastating early attack. Mun only just avoided scouting out his opponent’s troops, and his lack of awareness would be his downfall. Lee was able to take Mun by surprise and close out what had been a brief and largely one-sided series in decisive fashion.
A one-sided final wasn’t the only cause for unrest among attending fans. The event saw numerous delays due to network and hardware malfunctions. The first of two days of play was particularly affected, with multiple disruptions to the scheduled matches.
Blizzard took to their own official website to ensure spectators that they would have a better experience on day two, as well as to make clear that a lack of LAN options was not an issue. Then, just minutes into the first semifinal match on day two, another delay struck.
Thankfully for players and fans alike, things ran more smoothly from there. Mun was able to prevail over Kim “Classic” Doh Woo, while Lee triumphed over Yun “Taeja” Young Seo.
Neither Lee nor Mun were expected to make the final. Lee’s opening round upset over Joo “Zest” Sung Wook may have been the most unexpected result of the tournament, while Mun’s biggest upset win came in the quarterfinals against Choi “Bomber” Ji Sung.
The event could mark a return to form for Lee, who once managed to accrue five major titles in a six-month span from late 2012 to early 2013. He has since struggled to return to that level of dominance, but a World Championship Series global title may prove a catalyst.
While each of the game’s three races were represented at the event, Lee was the only Zerg player to make the quarterfinals. He was joined by four Terrans and three Protoss players.
Each qualifying region was also well-represented, with players who qualified through American, European, and Korean regions all making the top four.