The thrilling finals of the KeSPA Cup played out yesterday and the champion has been crowned.
We’re spoiled as Starcraft II viewers and fans, so regularly treated to high level tournaments that seeing the likes of Maru or Zest fail to even make the semi-finals of an event is usually met by not so much as a shrug. We’re blessed with such fantastically high quality play, seeing rounds of 16 where any competitor could potentially be a tournament winner, that it’s not easy to shock the average fan anymore, and that’s especially true for Korean tournaments where virtually every player is a world beater.
That makes this year’s KeSPA Cup even more special, as for the first time in 16 years of Starcraft II a non-Korean player has won a tournament in Korea, and the world was truly shocked. Alex ‘Neeb’ Sunderhaft defeated Cho ‘Trap’ Sung Ho in impressive fashion last night when he took down the Jin Air Greenwings’ Zerg 4-0, marking a historic moment and possibly a turning point in Starcraft II. For many years of Wings of Liberty and Heart of the Swarm, the title ‘the foreign hope’, already a statement of how fearsome and dominant Korean players were, was given to handful of players, but none had delivered that fabled win in Korea. The likes of Snute, Idra and Stephano have all claimed this title which already marks a fantastically high bar, but it was Neeb last night that did what none of those other players have been able to do. While there is no doubt they all have the ability to take games or even series off of Korean players, Neeb was able to do so consistently and make his way to the $18,000 prize, as well as a place in the history books of competitive Starcraft.
Neeb convincingly defeated his opponent in a series that seemed, for the 18 year old American, easier than either his quarter or semi-final matches, and comparable to his earlier 2-0 victory against Zest. This victory sets up an interesting dynamic going into Blizzcon, and with five foreigners including Neeb heading to California in one month, this could be an interesting end to Starcraft in 2016.
The full standings for the KeSPA Cup 2016 are as follows:
1st – TING Neeb $18,100
2nd – Jin Air Green WingsTrap $9,050
3rd/4th – KT Rolster Stats $4,072
3rd/4th – KT Rolster TY $4,072
5th/8th – Jin Air Green Wings Maru
5th/8th – MVP Pet
5th/8th – KT Rolster Zest
5th/8th – Jin Air Green Wings Patience
9th/12th – ByuN
9th/12th – PSISTORM Gaming True
9th/12th – Samsung Galaxy Solar
9th/12th – Euronics Gaming Nerchio
13th/16th – Jin Air Green Wings Rogue
13th/16th – Millenium MarineLorD
13th/16th – SK Telecom T1 Classic
13th/16th – CJ Entus Her0
Now that foreigners have broken the glass ceiling of Tournament gold, will they do it again at Blizzcon?
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