WCS Challenger: North America, Asia, and Latin America

  • Blizzard Entertainment

The last three StarCraft II World Championship Series (WCS) Challenger tournaments have concluded, and we now have 16 players directly qualified to the Round of 32 at DreamHack Summer. From North America, we have Scarlett, Neeb, JonSnow, and Semper. From the Taiwan/Hong Kong/Macau/Japan region, we have Sen and Winter. Finally, from Latin America, we’ll see SpeCial and Kelazhur headed to WCS Jönköping in June. For information on the winners of Europe and Australia, check out our recap article from last week. Let’s take a quick look at the excitement from the final Challenger games.

Scarlett’s Final Form

Sasha ‘Scarlett’ Hostyn has been growing in strength for years, most recently with an impressive showing in the Global StarCraft II League (GSL) Code S. Competing alongside the best players in Korea is no small feat, and it’s done wonders for her level of play. Throughout the Jönköping Challenger series, she used her signature aggression — tempered by top-tier game sense — to earn her spot as the victor of this Challenger tournament.

Following Scarlett in second place is the winner of WCS Austin, Alex ‘Neeb’ Sunderhaft. Neeb’s flawless play and streamlined strategy had him looking unstoppable as he took out Jay ‘Raze’ Whipple, Maru ‘MaSa’ Kim, and Jarod ‘JonSnow’ George while only dropping one game. When he came up against Scarlett in the winners’ finals, he barely fell in a close five game series. After winning his way out of the lower bracket, he had his chance for a rematch against Scarlett, but she was playing on another level. Scarlett managed to take a very convincing series against him while only dropping one game. We’ll need to see if Neeb can draw upon the same skill that won him the Austin crown to find a way to deal with Scarlett at DreamHack Summer this year.

More Zerg from Asia

As dominant as Zerg has been in the European Challenger series, they’ve also been tearing things up in Asia. The Challenger series for Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, and Japan concluded with Yang ‘Sen’ Chia Cheng winning the championship. As such a storied player — he took third place at the BlizzCon 2011 StarCraft II Invitational and won the 2014 Taiwan Open — he’s really turned the heat up lately. He barely missed qualifying for WCS Austin earlier this year, which makes his top place finish for Challenger even more exciting to see. Joining him in qualifying for Jönköping is Felix ‘Winter’ Hegethorn. Winter has been in the competitive StarCraft II scene since 2011, but he’s been bringing a new level of skill to the table this year. Like Sen, he nearly qualified for WCS; now that he’s guaranteed a spot in the Round of 32 in Jönköping, we’ll see if his growth in skill is enough to compete on the global stage.

Latin America’s Rematch

At WCS Austin, we saw an incredible showing from our Latin American players. Three of the eight contenders in the quarterfinals were from the region, and they all played some of the most exciting games of the tournament. While one of those players from the Austin tournament, Pablo ‘Cham’ Blanco, fell in the Round of 8 in the Latin America Challenger series, Juan Carlos ‘SpeCial’ Tena Lopez and Diego ‘Kelazhur’ Schwimer both made it to the finals, and both will find themselves in their second premier WCS event of the year. If their play is as strong as it was back in April, we’re likely to see them go deep in the bracket again.

Now that all regions are accounted for and 16 Challenger players are guaranteed a place in the bracket stages at Jönköping, watch them do battle with open sign-up players at DreamHack Summer starting June 17 at 12:00 a.m. PDT on the StarCraft Twitch channel. In the meantime, the WCS Valencia Challenger series starts this week, so check out the WCS schedule and watch as these players vie for a spot at the next Circuit event in July.