The Final Circuit Champion of the Year Is Crowned

  • Blizzard Entertainment

Three days full of top-level StarCraft II wrapped up this weekend as the World Championship Series (WCS) in Montreal at DreamHack Montreal closed out the qualifying events of the 2017 season. With all WCS Circuit tournaments and global events now concluded, it’s time to get ready for BlizzCon. But before that, let’s take a look at some of the big stories coming out of Montreal this past weekend, September 8–10

Unstoppable Neeb

The United States' Alex ‘Neeb’ Sunderhaft has been one of the biggest names in StarCraft all year. He first started getting major attention with his dominant run in the 2016 KeSPA Cup late last year, and he’s only gotten stronger during the 2017 season. At WCS Austin this past April, he faced a stacked bracket with the European favorite, Tobias ‘ShoWTimE’ Sieber, and the Latin American favorite, Juan Carlos ‘SpeCial’ Tena Lopez, both standing in his way. They were close sets, but he pulled through to face Poland's Artur ‘Nerchio’ Bloch in the finals and take the trophy. In Jönköping this past June, Neeb followed a similar path as he took out SpeCial in yet another tight series before facing a crowd favorite, Finland's Joona ‘Serral’ Sotala, in the finals. In the intense seven-game series, he managed to take his second WCS Circuit win in a row. In Valencia in July, SpeCial finally managed to get the best of Neeb, who fell in the quarterfinals. It was a disappointing end to his tournament run, but it seemed to inspire him to approach Montreal with a new level of skill and execution. 

Unstoppable is the best way to describe Neeb’s performance at WCS Montreal. Throughout the entire event, he only lost two games out of the 19 he played, and even the finals were a dominating sweep. In the finals, he faced Jens ‘Snute’ Aasgaard of Norway, who is one of the most prolific, highest-earning players in StarCraft II history; despite Snute's experience and reputation, every strategy and tactic he brought to the table was expertly handled by the American Protoss player. Even when Snute managed to secure an advantage or pounce on a vulnerability, Neeb’s mechanical skill and execution would shut down and punish the effort. WCS Montreal is 2017’s master class in Protoss play, and it’ll be exciting to see how Neeb will prepare to face the best in the world at the WCS Global Finals at BlizzCon this November.

A Great Ending for Snute

Snute has been a strong presence in professional StarCraft II since 2012. He’s the highest-earning non-Korean player in the game’s history, and he attends an astounding number of tournaments. After winning the WCS Copa Intercontinental late last year, he looked poised for a premier tournament win this year as well. While it didn’t happen, the Norwegian Zerg player did make it to the finals in both Valencia and Montreal, and he secured enough WCS points to make it to BlizzCon. He’ll be a major player to watch in the Global Finals, so make sure to tune in to see how he’ll fare against the top Korean players in the world.

The eight players attending BlizzCon through the WCS Circuit have been decided. With the Global StarCraft II League (GSL) concluding this coming weekend for WCS Korea, we’ll soon know all 16 players heading to the 2017 WCS Global Finals. Make sure to check out the GSL Season 3 finals this Friday, September 15 at 9:00 p.m. PDT to see who will take home the trophy and a ticket to join the top WCS competitors at the biggest global event of the year.