Three European players confirmed their spots in TSL5, with HeroMarine, Reynor, and uThermal surviving the first European server qualifier to join seeded players Serral and ShoWTimE in the main event. First place in the qualifier went to HeroMarine, who activated "Big Gabe" mode to run through a gauntlet of players including souL, GunGFuBanda, Clem, and Reynor (twice!). For his efforts, HeroMarine won a first-round bye in the TSL5 main event in addition to qualification.
The most impressive part of HeroMarine's run was his two series victories against Reynor, which he won by a combined 4-0 score. There was an element of payback—up until mid-March, HeroMarine had dominated the weekly ESL EU Open Cups by winning six out of ten competitions. Then, Reynor decided he'd to throw his hat in the ring as well, winning three consecutive cups while directly eliminating HeroMarine in two of them.
The four qualifier games between the two should have disillusioned anyone of the notion that HeroMarine was merely a placeholder champion until Reynor came along. Their initial series, played in the upper bracket semifinal, saw HeroMarine eventually outmacro and outproduce Reynor in two tightly contested games. Had this been 2019, Reynor reaching Hive might have spelled the end for HeroMarine. But in 2020, there's apparently no expiration date on Marine-Medivac, as HeroMarine was able to overpower Brood Lords, Vipers, and Banelings by sheer force of numbers.
Spiel einfach wie Gabe.
The rematch between HeroMarine in Reynor in the BO3 grand final (with the first round bye on the on the line) turned out to be comparatively less interesting. In game,one Reynor's failure to scout HeroMarine's two-Factory Hellions with Infernal Pre-igniters—despite upgrading Overlord speed early—spelled his doom. In game two, Reynor's attempt to backdoor attack during HeroMarine's first Marine-Tank advance turned into painful Zergling donation, giving the HeroMarine the slight edge he needed to win the game off his Tank push.
For much of the the qualifier, it seemed like HeroMarine, Reynor and Clem—the power trio of European online play—would finish in the top three. But uThermal snuck in to subvert expectations, taking out teammate Clem 2-1 in the lower bracket qualification match. uThermal subverted expectations in-game as well—by hiding a couple of Reapers in the early stages of game three, he was able to goad Clem into a disastrous sortie which ended up deciding the series and who qualified for TSL5.
Recommended game: HeroMarine and Reynor's brawl on Ever Dream. Hey, sometimes a plain, good ol' fashioned TvZ is all you need!
VODs (via WardiTV): Day 1 - Day 2
Unfortunately, the first Korean qualifier was less than smooth, with several players forfeiting abruptly while the format was changed to a one-day tournament on the fly. TeamLiquid addressed the issues, and will try to improve the situation for qualifiers #2 and #3.
Despite the issues, Korean qualifier #1 reached an expected conclusion: Korea's online powerhouses Solar and Cure ended up fighting for the first place spot (Zest, the other member of Korea's online trinity, was already seeded into the main event).
Cure had already defeated Solar 2-0 earlier in the bracket, and had given Solar plenty to be annoyed about—early Hellions had roasted several Drones in game one, while a proxy-Rax Bunker-rush into BC's had led to his doom in game two. However, despite actually getting to play a macro game to start the BO3 final, Solar was unable to avenge himself. Cure proved to be just as strong in the late game as he was in the early game, out-trading Solar and eventually forcing him into a somewhat premature GG (Solar was definitely running out of steam, but could have plausibly tried to play it out a few more minutes to try and get a miracle engagement).
Spiel einfach wie Gabe.
In game two, it was Solar's turn to get tricky as he tied the series back up with Speedlings into a Nydus Worm. Unfortunately for Solar, he was once again unable to deal with Cure's early Hellion play in the deciding game three. A Hellion run-by killed several Drones to start, and Cure's follow-up Banshees further crippled Solar's economy. With a solid advantage in hand, Cure was able to safely close out with a Marine-Tank push.
Cure secured a first round bye with his first place finish, while Solar will begin TSL5 in the initial round. The third qualification spot went to soO, who having having advanced far enough to qualify, forfeited without attempting to play for first place.