After a long journey starting with the World Championship Series (WCS) Challenger tournament, Alex ‘Neeb’ Sunderhaft has won his second WCS Championship in a row. After winning WCS Austin, he brought an even stronger game to Sweden and managed to narrowly take down Joona ‘Serral’ Sotala in an incredible seven-game series.
Serral started the finals with a quick, decisive win in the first game and looked poised to continue the near-flawless run he’d had all throughout the tournament. But Neeb had other plans as he took the next three games in a row by shutting down Serral’s aggression and refusing to let the Zerg player focus on his strengths. Falling to a 1-3 deficit, things looked dire for Serral. As Kevin ‘RotterdaM’ van der Kooi noted, this was Serral’s first time in a premier tournament finals, and nerves are definitely a force to consider.
Whatever held Serral back seemed to fade away in games five and six, as he took both games handily with excellent positioning, perfect micromanagement, and impeccable game sense. With the series tied up at 3-3, it seemed likely that the first-time finalist would win his first championship. But it wasn’t to be. Neeb opened aggressively in the seventh game and put unbreakable pressure on Serral’s front line. Without enough forces to combat Neeb’s Archons and Immortals, Serral crumpled under the pressure.
While Serral wasn’t able to win the tournament and secure a place at the WCS Global Finals at BlizzCon, he did secure $10,000 and 1,400 WCS points, which makes it likely we’ll see him in Anaheim anyway. Even without high placement in the WCS standings, he still has two more chances to win a WCS Circuit championship this year in Valencia and Montreal. Tune in July 13 at 12:00 a.m. PDT / 9:00 a.m. CEST on the StarCraft Twitch channel to see if Serral can make another run at the finals during WCS Valencia.