Entering the Quarterfinals of Valencia

  • Blizzard Entertainment

The Round of 16 has concluded at the World Championship Series (WCS) in Valencia, and we’re ready to head into the quarterfinals. Now that only the top eight players remain, let’s take a look at some of the most exciting player stories heading into this stage.

Surprise Performance from Probe

Playing StarCraft II on the global stage is a nerve-wracking experience, even more so when the opponent is the two-time, back-to-back WCS champion, Alex ‘Neeb’ Sunderhaft. As Sean ‘Probe’ Kempen took the stage in the Round of 16, he faced this exact situation. In an incredible series, Probe not only held his own, he took the defending champion to a fifth game in a masterclass of Protoss skill. If you only watch one series from this round of the playoffs, make it this one.

Snute Breaks Through

While Zerg has had great representation at WCS Circuit events so far this year, two high-profile Zerg players have had difficulty in the playoffs—Jens ‘Snute’ Aasgaard and Sasha ‘Scarlett’ Hostyn. Snute fell in the Round of 16 in both WCS Austin and WCS Jönköping, and Scarlett fell in the Round of 16 in WCS Jönköping as well. Both were looking to improve and place higher in Valencia, but only one could break through to reach the quarterfinals. Though Scarlett’s exceptional brand of aggression managed to secure one game of the series, Snute’s consistent defense and game awareness won him the series handily with a 3-1 advancement.

SpeCial versus Neeb: Round 3

Few matchups in the past two WCS events have been as exciting as Juan Carlos ‘SpeCial’ Tena Lopez versus Neeb. Both players are among the most skilled at Terran and Protoss, respectively, and both have been successful against top-tier Korean players as well. This will be the third time the two have met in a playoff series, and SpeCial stated in his most recent post-game interview that if anyone can bring down Neeb, he’ll be the one. Their match will be the last of the quarterfinals, and it should make for the most exciting series outside of the finals.

Will Neeb win his third WCS championship of the year? Can SpeCial take him down? Any of the remaining eight could take home the Valencia trophy. The conclusion to WCS Valencia begins July 15 at 3:00 a.m. PDT, so make sure to tune in either here on the WCS site or on the StarCraft Twitch channel.