The creme of the crop of StarCraft II is set to clash at the SC2 WCS Global Finals, which will mark the conclusion of 2019 StarCraft II World Championship Series. The biggest StarCraft event of the season is set to open its gates on Thursday, October 24 and conclude on Saturday, November 2, when the best two players in the world will duke it out for the title and US$210,000 in prize money.
The StarCraft II WCS Global Finals will feature top 16 players from the WCS Circuit and WCS Korea, bringing together the "best of both worlds" under one roof where one last battle will take place to determine who is worthy of being called Champion.
The group stage will kick off the tournament before the top eight players will advance to the playoffs, which will start on Friday, November 1 and conclude a day later, on Saturday, November 2.
The SC2 WSC Global Finals group stage will feature four groups of four players - two from WCS Circuit and two from WCS Korea. Player seeding is based on their WCS Korea/Circuit points. The group stage will use dual tournament format, with all matches played in best-of-five (Bo5), with only top two players advancing into the next stage. The playoffs on the other side will use a single-elimination bracket, with all fixtures up to the grand finals using the same best-of-five (Bo5) series. The grand finals will then switch to a best-of-seven (Bo7) series to determine which player deserves to claim the throne, lift the trophy and go down in history as 2019 World Champion.
Looking at the lineup present at the tournament, there is a huge gap between top four players and the remaining 12, and while all 16 players proved their worth and deserved their spot at the most prestigious StarCraft tournament of the year, there is no denying Maru ($9.50), Dark ($6.75), Rogue ($5.60) and Serral ($2.20) are a class above all others. That being said, there is always a room for an upset, which could see an underdog overcoming all obstacles and claim the prestigious title of World Champion.
One such player, who we believe is capable of achieving that feat, is the Italian prodigy Riccardo "Reynor" Romiti, who finished WCS Circuit season second to Serral with 7365 points. What makes him a player to watch out for is the fact that he was the only player who managed to test Serral in the WCS Circuit. Not only did the 17-year old push Serral to his limits throughout the season, but he also managed to defeat him twice. It's worth noting that in six of their meetings, Serral came out ahead in four with an aggregate score of 20:10. And while that is by no means an incredible record to hold on the paper, Reynor is still the only player outside of Korea that can stack up against the reigning World Champion.
Another player worth talking about is Lee "Rogue" Byung Ryul, who is priced a bit too high, considering what he is capable of. At the end of September, Rogue won 2019 Global StarCraft II League Season 3, where he dominated everyone who stood in his path. Rogue ended the tournament losing only four rounds along the way, with a very strong finish, which saw him defeating both Dark (4-1) and Trap (4-0) in a very dominant fashion. That, however, was not the only strong result from Rogue this year, seeing how he claimed several podium finishes throughout the season. And while he was not as dominant as many would expect him to be, Rogue is still a highly experienced player who should be seen as a threat in any tournament he appears in. He might have finished "only" sixth in WCS Korea standings (6000 points), but there is a reason why Rogue won 2017 edition of WCS Global Finals and is, in our eyes, able to do it again.
The favourite to win the tournament is, of course, no other than Joona "Serral" Sotala, who has been the dominant force in SC II world for two years now. The Finnish giant will arrive at SC2 WCS Global Finals as reigning champion and a player that will go down in history as one who single-handedly ended the Korean era in StarCraft by becoming the first-ever non-Korean player to win the StarCraft II World Championship Series. Entering the tournament, we can expect Serral to aim for the title and nothing else, and considering how strong he looked throughout the season, it's easy to imagine he will do just that.
That being said, Serral will be tested at WCS Global Finals, where he will have to prove his worth against the elite Korean players, which will not be an easy task and Serral knows that all too well. At the start of August Serral finished third at Assembly Summer 2019, where he lost to Stats (3-2), and while it was a close match, it’s worth noting that Stats is not even one of the best players Korea has to offer. That alone leaves us to wonder whether Serral can pick up the pace and be as dominant as the odds suggest or will he fall flat against Korean opponents once more.
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