Titans Clash in Jönköping

  • Blizzard Entertainment

From June 17 – 19, the 16 players who qualified during the World Championship Series (WCS) Challenger tournament will join open sign-up players to compete for their share of $100,000 USD and 11,000 WCS points. Additionally, the winner of this even will join Jun ‘TY’ Tae Yang, Kim ‘Stats’ Dae Yeob, and Alex ‘Neeb’ Sunderhaft at BlizzCon in November. Let’s take a look at what to expect from WCS Jönköping and the over 70 players headed to Sweden to show us their best on the global stage.

Serral Hits His Stride

One of the big stories out of Europe this year has been the strength of Joona ‘Serral’ Sotala. He’s been at the top of the European ladder with an incredible 80% win rate, but he hasn’t made the splash at premier events that fans have expected — at least, not yet. At the Intel Extreme Masters (IEM) World Championship in Katowice, he was eliminated in the quarterfinals by Park ‘Dark’ Ryung Woo, and at WCS Austin he fell to Juan Carlos ‘MajOr’ Tena Lopez in the quarterfinals as well. In the Jönköping Challenger series, he seemed ready to show his top form and move past the first playoff round this time.

Except for Anton ‘Zanster’ Dahlström, nobody managed to take a single map from Serral in the bracket stages. Grzegorz ‘MaNa’ Komincz, Tobias ‘ShoWTimE’ Sieber, Christoffer ‘Namshar’ Kolmodin, and Mikolaj ‘Elazer’ Ogonowski all fell in flawless 3-0 matches despite them being fantastic players. If Serral brings this level of talent to Sweden, he’s likely to take home the championship.

Scarlett’s Triumphant Return

Sasha ‘Scarlett’ Hostyn is a North American favorite, and a talented Zerg player. She couldn’t make it to WCS Austin earlier this year — she was participating in the prestigious Global StarCraft II League (GSL) Code S — but now she’s ready to take on the competition in Jönköping. In the Challenger series, she came out strong. She won all her best-of-five matches in the upper bracket without letting any of them get to a fifth game until she faced Neeb in an intense winners’ finals.

As the winner of WCS Austin, Neeb was a favorite to win the Jönköping Challenger. However, even after winning his way back to the finals, Scarlett beat him once again with a mix of aggressive openers and solid Baneling and Hydralisk play. With such a commanding performance throughout Challenger, she’s going to be a player to watch at DreamHack Summer. Even more interesting will be how her style will match up to the powerful Zerg players from Europe who will also be there.

Seither Surges Ahead

In Australia, we saw a big surprise from Sheldon ‘Seither’ Barrow. The favorites to qualify for Jönköping were Sean ‘Probe’ Kempen and Ethan ‘iaguz’ Zugai, as they had both previously qualified for WCS Austin and performed well there. Seither surprised as he took out Probe in a clean series before moving on to defeat iaguz in the winners’ finals. While he ultimately lost the finals in a rematch against iaguz, Seither didn’t make it easy. In a back-and-forth series, iaguz finally took the win in the fifth game.

WCS Jönköping starts on June 17 at 7:00 a.m. PDT on the StarCraft Twitch channel and concludes on June 19 starting at 4:00 a.m PDT. Check out the schedule to keep up to date on all the goings-on, and keep up with the brackets by watching the event page.