The title of StarCraft 2‘s “Best within the World” is not as reduce and dry because it felt just some months in the past when 2018’s marketing campaign had (largely) come to an in depth. Lee “INoVation” Shin-hyung threw his identify again into the dialogue for the lofty accolade after profitable WESG 2018 this previous weekend, beating Joona “Serral” Sotala in a gripping 4-3 finals to win $150,000 USD.
While most esports titles have passionate, subjective debates rage on for years about who one of the best participant or workforce is, StarCraft 2 skilled one thing of a rarity in 2018 when Serral ripped via the sport’s western and Korean scene concurrently, cementing himself because the undisputed king of the sport by the tip of that yr. In that span, Serral gained each single WCS cease within the Western hemisphere, gained the GSL vs. The World event that pitted South Korea’s finest in opposition to him, after which capped it off by profitable the World Championship in November. While Cho “Maru” Seong Ju had a equally spectacular Korean marketing campaign by profitable all three main tournaments there in 2018, he fell properly in need of the end line at Worlds, not even making it to the finals conflict in opposition to Serral just about each analyst predicted.
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Serral’s reign of terror may not be over, however it has a minimum of abated. INoVation met Serral within the finals of WESG 2018 earlier at this time, and the 2 performed an intense grand finals that went backwards and forwards till a deciding Game 7 that noticed the Korean Terran declare his first Major trophy since 2017. While dropping by a 4-3 scoreline does not take away Serral from the dialogue of finest on the planet, it has re-opened it for others, with the obvious contender being INoVation. Maru is not that far behind, both: he completed third after finishing a reverse sweep within the comfort finals. If there is a debate available, it actually begins with these three gamers.
WESG 2018 was an fascinating expertise. The video games had been fascinating and diversified from fast romps to drawn-out, map-draining affairs, however it’s laborious to counsel that there have been any surprises. If somebody had been requested to establish the three finest gamers heading into the event, they’d have probably indicated the highest 3 performers, even when the order may need modified round just a little. The solely shock got here when Dark was eradicated within the Round of 8, however that was in a match in opposition to Serral. Scarlett, one other overseas gamers with a pedigree for fulfillment, noticed her inventory rise barely as she completed fourth and practically beat Maru within the comfort finals.
If 2018 was the rise of a dynasty, 2019 might be the start of one of the crucial vicious struggles for relevance StarCraft 2 has ever seen. The divide between one of the best and everybody else appears to be widening as the sport grows older, however it’s an extremely tight pack vying for first place in each Major event, and there may not be any apparent favorites like there have been final yr. INoVation, Serral, and Maru symbolize a cerberus of gifted, power-hungry athletes on the prime of their sport, however a resurgent TY, a curse-free soO, and an on-form Dark are all threats in each event they compete in. 2018 was a battle between Serral and Maru, however 2019 might be much more thrilling.
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