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Finally, it’s a StarCraft tournament weekend! With $100,000 and 12,600 WCS Circuit Points on the line, the competition will be fierce. WCS Valencia is the final WCS tournament series that will be played in Europe this season, so we should expect our European players to push their home-ground advantage. Chief among these players is the Finnish Zerg Serral, winner of both WCS Leipzig and Austin, who is looking for a third WCS top finish to add to his collection this season.
Serral is a clear favorite for this weekend, however, that doesn’t mean Valencia will be a cakewalk for him. With a bracket packed full of the best players outside of Korea, there is true potential for any one of these players to walk away with a trophy. We’ll have recaps here at Daily Esports throughout the weekend, so be sure to check back if you miss any of the action. We have a lot of good StarCraft ahead of us, so let’s get started.
(Z) Serral vs Scarlett (Z)
Final Score: 3-2 Serral
The Zerg mirror match is the knife fight of StarCraft, where a slight miscalculation can spell your doom, and this series exemplifies that. Scarlett took an early 2-1 lead using aggressive builds to prevent the games from progressing into the late game. However, Serral, riding his momentum from WCS Austin, maintained his composure.
In game four, Serral countered with his own aggression using Roaches to cripple Scarlett’s economy before her Mutalisk army spiraled out of control. Serral used a Nydus Worm in Scarlett’s main base to deliver the crippling blow and tie up the series. Serral went on to win the ace match and will move on to the next round, but Scarlett did not go down without a fight.
(Z) Reynor vs SpeCial (T)
Final Score: 3-0 Reynor
It’s the new kid on the block pitted against the grizzled veteran in this matchup. Reynor, who is barely 16, faces off against SpeCial, one of the most veteran players in StarCraft II.
The series began with SpeCial dominating the midgame, using constant Medivac drops to apply pressure across all of Reynor’s bases. Reynor somehow held on even after losing several of his Hatcheries, transitioning to a late game Brood Lord army. Despite being nuked several times, Reynor eventually overwhelmed the army of SpeCial and secured first blood. This would be the last time SpeCial held the upper hand in the midgame.
In game three, Reynor held off SpeCial’s early game aggression. Followed up with a great economy and excellent creep spread, Reynor maxed out with a Roach and Ravager army to shut the door on SpeCial’s tournament hopes. Reynor will go on to face the WCS Austin champion, Serral, in the quarterfinals.
(T) HeRoMaRinE vs DNS (P)
Final Score: 3-0 HeRoMaRinE
One of the shortest series of the day, DNS tried to exploit early game aggression in almost every match. Unfortunately for him, HeRoMaRinE came prepared. In the first two games, the early attacks were deflected with minimal damage taken by HeRoMaRinE. HeRoMaRinE rocketed ahead in the midgame and overwhelmed DNS with his superior economy.
Game three saw DNS ditch the early aggression and go for more a more macro-based game. However, HeRoMaRinE is more than comfortable playing the long game. After holding on against a Colossus/Phoenix/Adept attack, HeRoMaRinE counter pushed with his own army and secured his spot in the next round with a victory.
(T) uThermal vs Snute (Z)
Final Score: 3-1 uThermal
Unfortunately, it’s a Team Liquid teamkill! The Shibu Terran and the King of Queens met in the Round of 16, and only one would move on.
In the first two games, uThermal used early pressure with Hellions, and Snute’s worker count went up in flames. Despite the early economical damage, Snute held on into the midgame. Unfortunately, he took too much damage and was eventually overwhelmed by uThermal’s unhindered economy.
Snute managed to claim a victory in game three for himself, but it would be the last win he’d see in this tournament. In the final game, uThermal used his Tanks to secure an amazing siege position on Snute’s third base. Forced to engage before he was ready, Snute took a bad fight and lost his whole army along with his third base. Snute tapped out shortly after and uThermal moved on to represent Team Liquid in the quarterfinals against HeRoMaRinE.
(P) Neeb vs Bly (Z)
Final Score: 3-1 Neeb
The American Hope, Neeb, has a lot of fans rooting for him throughout this tournament. Luckily for them, Neeb managed to take an early lead in this matchup, winning the first two maps with relative ease.
After being defeated in the previous games, Bly opted to mix it up and used earlier Zergling pressure to deny Neeb’s third base and do some economic damage. Due to this damage, when Neeb attempted to transition into his trademark late-game Carrier composition, there was no ground army support. Bly exploited this weakness to push for the win with a large force of Hydralisks with Queen support. Neeb ditched his traditional late game style for the last map, using early pressure with Adepts to weaken Bly enough to finish him off with an Immortal push soon after.
With Scarlett and SpeCial knocked out, Neeb is the final North American player left in the tournament.
(T) Clem vs ShoWTimE (P)
Final Score: 3-0 ShoWTimE
Don’t let the scoreline fool you, this was easily one of the most interesting matchups of the day. Clem, after overcoming some early mistakes, challenged ShoWTimE to some of the scrappiest StarCraft we’ve seen in a long time. Game 3 was a nail-biter and very positional game with tons of action. Game 2 is the real standout game of the day though. It comes down to just a handful of units for each player and some of the most intense micro I’ve seen in a while. You really need to see it for yourself. It had me sitting on the edge of my couch, shouting at my TV. ShoWTimE eventually secures the win, but Clem really made him work for it. If you missed it, you can catch the entire match below:
(Z) Nerchio vs Harstem (P)
Final Score: 3-1 Nerchio
Nerchio secured an early lead in this matchup on the back of his fantastic macro mechanics and late game army control. Harstem decided to mix it up in the third game on Lost and Found. Nerchio went for a Spire-based build, but Harstem went for an Immortal/Sentry/Stalker timing attack. Harstem found a weak spot in Nerchio’s defense between his second and third base and exploited the position to wreck Nerchio’s economy and win the game.
Harstem attempted a similar attack in the next game but Nerchio held without taking nearly as much economic damage. Nerchio then came roaring back to finish the game and send Harstem packing. Unfortunately, we aren’t in the long-prophecized Year of Harstem.
(P) Has vs Kelazhur (T)
Final Score: 3-2 Has
If you know who Has is, you know that his games are almost impossible to predict and even harder to describe. If you don’t know, Has plays StarCraft like almost nobody else. While other players are content playing long macro games, Has would rather rush you in the first five minutes with Immortals and build tons of Shield Batteries in your base, like in Game 1 of this match. He really is a treat to watch, you never know what he will pull out of his bag of tricks. Kelazhur manages to go toe to toe with Has through the series but eventually falls. I highly recommend checking out the VOD below and seeing it with your own eyes.
The Round of 16 is in the books. We got some truly insane and wacky games, along with some high-level mechanical skill that we’ve come to expect from these players. I cannot wait to see how the rest of the tournament plays out.
What about you? Comment below with your favorite game, moment, or tournament predictions!
More information about WCS Valencia 2018 can be found here.
A quick recap for Day 3 of WVS Valencia can be found here.