So it's been quite some time since I last wrote anything here, but I've been kind of busy preparing for interviews and the like. But now for something completely unrelated: WCS Season 2.
Those were some extremely intense games, not least of all the games between Scarlett and Bomber. Though it happened in the round of 8 and not for a final, it was the final stand for the Canadian Zerg. She and Naniwa were knocked out that round, ending the run of the non-Koreans at this season's championship. They didn't go down without a fight, though, Scarlett taking it to a game 5 against the eventual champion, and Naniwa still managing to take a game off the runner up, Jaedong.
Round of 16
The group stage, usually clearly dominated by Koreans, had a Swede and a Canadian make their way through, renewing hope that the foreign scene is not worthless or full of bad players. While those alone were surprising, almost more so was the fact that not one of the regional champions actually made it through the group stages.
Welmu, one of the foreign hopes in the tournament was sadly knocked out in Group A with a match score of 2-0, though he did not go without a fight, winning a game against his two opponents, MC and Jaedong. MC, the man of money, did not make his $400,000 mark in this tournament, and was defeated handily by both Jaedong and Rain, who advanced 2-0 and 2-1, respectively.
In group B, Polt was knocked out 1-2, losing to both Bomber and First, though taking a match against Grubby. Without dropping a single game, Bomber broke through the group stages in the 2nd and 3rd matches. He would continue to win throughout the tournament, though he would drop games later on.
Group C saw Innovation once again falling unexpectedly, only winning a single game. Losing first to Taeja, he was expected to make it completely fine through the round with a 2-1, going up against Naniwa on the second stream. However, peoples fears were confirmed that last years champion was in a slump after taking a beating from Maru in the Korean regional qualifiers. The King in the North swept Innovation 2-0, with bringing his A game and showing that foreigners cannot be taken lightly. Then duckdeok played against Naniwa in the final match of the group, but could not overcome the other Protoss player, not even able to take a game off of him. However, the games were still close, Naniwa winning by the skin of his teeth, but winning nonetheless.
With three Korean Terrans and a single foreigner Zerg, it was expected that there wouldn't be too much of a fight, even if the fans wanted Scarlett to advance. She proved people wrong, though, winning against her teammate MMA only to knock out the Korean regional champion, Maru. She won the second game by perfectly scouting Maru's proxy 2-rax, an secured her spot in the round of 8. She faltered, however, against Alive, though, who made it through the group with a clean 2-0. Maru and MMA dropped down, and the final regional champion had seen his doom.
Round of 8
And now the fight for the finals, a single elimination bracket, began. With a surprisingly even race distribution, 3 of each Protoss and Terran and 2 Zerg, the matches began. All of these matches were extremely intense, only one being a clean sweep.
First up was a crazy TvP, Alive versus First. Alive, who had actually gotten 6th in the American regional qualifiers, was not supposed to be at the season finals, however Jim was unable to attend and Alive was allowed to show his skills at crushing faces. It was a close series, Alive showing excellent play and managing to push it all the way to a 5th game, but losing at last on Derelict Watcher. Although being pulled in at the last moment for this, Alive showed his fans amazing games and did very well. First would, however, advance to face off against the winner of the next match.
Jaedong has a history of second place. Rarely does he win an tournament, but he is almost always running so deep that he can taste the sweet victory. Up against Naniwa he would show us that he intended to make it to the finals no matter what stood in his way, exercising superior control and decision making. Naniwa was knocked out in a 3-1, showing his skill and the Naniwa rage we are all so fond of. The winner, Jaedong, would move on to fight yet another Protoss, as he had for the entire round of 8.
The second half of the bracket was kicked off with a resounding victory by Taeja, crushing Rain in a comeback against a player he had yet to win even one game against. This leaves us with only one final game for the last coveted semi-final spot.
Nothing could prepare the viewers for the best of 5 to follow. It was a nail biting and close series of games between Scarlett and Bomber, with the Zerg swarm coming out in force propelling Scarlett to a quick first victory. She managed to push the series to a 5th game after a strong showing on the four player Whirlwind, but it was not enough, and she eventually lost to the eventual champion, Bomber.
With the whole lineup decided it was time to see who would get a chance to stand tall as the season 2 champion. Not a single regional champion remained, even Innovation falling out in the group stage. Up first was a ZvP with Jaedong facing off against First, followed by a powerful TvT of Taeja versus Bomber.
Showcasing his increasingly powerful ZvP, Jaedong swept with a 3-0 victory, skyrocketing him to the finals against the winner of the next TvT. While previously Jaedong struggled against Protoss, he seemed to be in extremely good form, wiping out the almost all Protoss group A, pushing through the King of the North and wiping the floor with First. But things were not over for the Zerg just yet. The final, hardest challenge would await him after the next match.
Having defeated Flash and Innovation, two of the worlds best Terrans, no one was doubting Bomber, though Taeja had also decimated Innovation in the group stages of this very tournament. What would come would be a close fight between two titans, both gods of TvT. There was no easy game in this match, which went all the way to the 5th game, with Bomber once again just displaying very powerful builds and play.
This was the moment. Two of the best players in the world sat down in their booths, ready to face off for one of the most prestigious title in the world of StarCraft, a WCS Season Champion. Bomber, having demolished lesser players with his stunning play in the previous matches, was up against Jaedong, who, more than anything, wanted to get more than second place.
The series was a quick one, with Jaedong trying and trying to defeat the new Terran mennace that is Bomber. He was so close once again, yet he lost at the cusp of victory. While he may not have won, he still managed to be crowned one of the very best players in the world, and will hopefully continue to work towards that trophy. Even losing the series and his place in the spotlight, he showed some of the best spirit of any player at the tournament, and even came out of his booth to support his opponent.
Bomber now gains the coveted WCS Season 2 trophy, and both get an almost guaranteed spot at the years finals, Blizzcon.
Season 3 is heating up in Europe and Korea, the group stages for each have already started. You can see the brackets on TeamLiquid.net through the WCS portal. The American premier contenders have yet to be fully decided, and as such the group stages there have not yet started. I can't wait to see how the game evolves and changes with this next season, and which titans rise to meet the occasion.