The Future is now! After 15 weeks of competition a US player was finally able to win the ESL Open Cup on the NA server. He may have been helped by the fact that the NA server's (former) colonial overlord Clem was already content with winning the EU server cup and for once went to bed early. In Korea, the fearsome online-Zest once again claimed his rightful due.
As participation in the KR cups ebbs and flows, we looked at another rather shallow field of competition this Sunday, with a total of four Korean progamers taking part. Among them, Zest and Solar clearly stood out as the strongest names, and indeed both made short work of the other competitors to meet in the finals. Zest and Solar are two of the most active ESL Open Cup players, and have won seven out of the 15 tournaments between them. However, this was their first personal clash in the finals of one of these cups and the Protoss came out victorious after a closely contested bout that went to very last map. This brings Zest up to four gold medals in these cups.
With Reynor taking a break once again, the European ESL Open Cup was a tough free-for-all without a clear favorite for the second time in a row. With his online rival gone, Team Liquid's Clem was able to secure a way into the finals for himself, having won a tough semi-final duel with EU cup regular Neeb. On the other side of the bracket, HeroMarine was upset by Denver, who in turn fell to another German in Lambo (Lambo had already taken down the previous week's winner souL in an impressive ZvT match). It was about time for another French-German duel in the finals (the last was in Week #9), and both players delivered an action-packed series. The Team Liquid Terran was able to win out in the end, taking his second EU cup victory and, coincidentally, gave Lambo his second silver medal as well. Together with his NA cup wins, Clem now has equalized HeroMarine's gold medal count of six—though Big Gabe is still the only one to possess six wins on the same server.
Perhaps the biggest story in this Sunday's cups was the first win for an American player on their home server, as Future was able to secure the victory after a very deserving run. He took down three-time previous cup winner PartinG and two tricky EU Zergs in TLO and Bly. Bly to be proved an especially hard challenge and dragged Future all the way to the deciding match in the Bo5 series, where Future was finally able to seal the deal and make history. Noteworthy as well is the run of Nice, who made his first return into the top 4 of the cup after taking second place all the way back in the very first edition of the tournament. Also noteworthy is the silver medal count of Bly, which now stands at five in the NA cup. With each region having a winner from home this week, we have achieved somewhat of a happy ending to this Sunday's cups. Next week, however, the dice roll anew!
ESL Open Cup winners earn $100 in prize money and 10 ESL Pro Tour points. Players who finish second earn 5 ESL Pro Tour points. Week #16 of ESL Open Cups is set to take place on April 26th.
European Server Cup #15 (Click for full bracket)
Americas Server Cup #15 (Click for full bracket)