What We Learned from WCS Global Finals Opening Week
While WCS Opening Week brought us some truly incredible matches, there was more to take away from this weekend’s events than great memories. What follows is a quick overview of everything else that transpired so you’re completely prepared for the WCS Global Finals Playoffs.
Champions Are Champions for a Reason
First and foremost, let’s talk about who has been dominating the scene throughout 2018: namely, Serral, Maru, and Stats. Each of these players competed in separate groups, and each of them exited their groups 2-0 as the winners. But there was a fourth group-stage winner at the event: none other last year’s StarCraft II World Champion: Rogue. While our first three players indicate how much more stable the professional scene has become, it was a wonderful surprise to see the reigning World Champion take such a decisive first step in the 2018 Global Finals Playoffs.
Unorthodox Strategies Still Apply
While top players may be stable, playstyles are a totally different story. This weekend, one of the more memorable series besides SpeCial vs. Classic (AKA the best series of the round of 16) was found in sOs vs. HeRoMaRinE. In this knock-out match, sOs was willing to go nearly 20 minutes into a PvT with no splash-damage units to speak of.
While newer players may not know how rare this is, veterans found it shocking to see sOs push the boundaries of what’s acceptable during the elimination stage of the Global Finals. Even RotterDaM, a veteran Protoss who commentated the series, found himself expressing how sOs had blundered in trying to innovate with so much on the line.
RotterDaM was right—it “shouldn’t” have worked. But sOs took the match (and the series) anyway, showing us that he can win without compromising his status as a very unorthodox StarCraft player.
The Most Anticipated Storyline
The most noteworthy occurrence was that both Maru and Serral have been placed onto opposite sides of the playoff bracket. Thanks to having finished 2-0 in their groups, and each having placing first in WCS Points for their regions, it was virtually guaranteed that this would happen. And it opens the possibility of seeing a Maru vs. Serral Grand Finals, which so many of us were hoping to see at GSL vs. the World.
In case you’ve been living under a rock, Serral and Maru have each completely dominated their regions in 2018, claiming every WCS Circuit and GSL title, respectively. They personally embody the undisputed best that each region has to offer, and present an unparalleled opportunity to have a meaningful match of “Korea vs. the World” in the WCS Global Finals.
For Korean fans, Maru’s victory would grant at least another year of perceived Korean dominance in the StarCraft II scene. But if Serral were to win the Global Finals, it would open up the doors of possibility in the minds of aspiring StarCraft II players across the world.
In short, Serral winning the WCS Global Finals at all would be an incredible moment for StarCraft history—but if he manages to do it versus Maru, a decade of deeply held beliefs will be shaken to their core.
This isn’t the only storyline developing for our upcoming WCS Global Finals! SpeCial has again qualified for the round of eight, Rogue has a chance at becoming a back-to-back champion, Maru has a chance at revenge against Stats to earn his epic finals versus Serral… really, there’s too much to list!
Instead, just be sure to catch the WCS Global Finals pre-show on BlizzCon.com, beginning on Friday at noon PDT (9pm CEST) where we’ll discuss these stories and more in the lead-up to the main event. We look forward to seeing you there, and may the best StarCraft II player win!