This week kicked off the first set of deciding qualifiers for Intel Extreme Masters Toronto. With the Canadian qualifier early in the week followed by the European final qualifier only two days later, the best StarCraft II players in their respective regions set out to prove that they are the world’s best gamers - and to qualify for the US$25,000 tournament at Fan Expo Canada on August the 28th to the 31st. However, not only the money is up for grabs, with 4,000 all-important WCS points and direct qualification into the Intel Extreme Masters World Championship also at stake.
Talented and unpredictable: Canada’s StarCraft II elite
Canada has countless incredible players, most of which have had their share of international success at some point in their careers. HuK, Kane, Scarlett, desRow, to name but a few, and all of them have partcipated in our Canadian qualifiers to determine who the best Canadian player really is.
An intense qualifier commenced as Scarlett and Kane had incredibly close series against the likes of HuK and MaSa, with HuK’s 2-1 victory against Scarlett being especially impressive. With almost every series in the bracket going to the third map, it looked like anything could happen - and it did. With only MaSa, Kane, HuK and Scarlett making it into the top four, the only Terran player in the bunch, MaSa, pulled ahead as he defeated Kane twice in a row, moving through the winner’s bracket. It’s the second time that MaSa has managed to qualify for an Intel Extreme Masters event this season, and we’re looking forward to seeing what he can do in Toronto.
Europe and the Korean takeover
Two days after the Canadian qualifier was our European qualifier, with two spots at the event in Toronto up for grabs between 16 of the best players currently living in Europe. As such, the qualifier featured nine Korean players from GEM and mYi respectively. Populated with these amazing players, the top eight of the tournament could have been the RO8 at any respectable international tournament. With HyuN, MMA, YoDa, First and many more incredible players, intense action was had as Apollo and HasuObs hyped up match after match.
A big highlight of the European qualifier was the series between HyuN and MMA - a showcase of exactly why ZvT is everyone’s favourite matchup in StarCraft II. After an exciting start to the series in which MMA just managed to hold off HyuN’s roach all-in and take the first map, HyuN managed to even out the series with a similar push. This time, though, MMA was not prepared for it. The third map then came down to the HyuNstoppable Zerg pushing through MMA's beautiful defensive setup with nice blinding clouds with perfect timing. This allowed HyuN to pull ahead, take the third map and move on to the deciding match against yet another incredible Terran player: YoDa.
YoDa’s series against HyuN ended up with a failed attack from his side, or rather a perfect defense from HyuN. Looking to be a lot better equipped against HyuN’s style, YoDa knew how to handle the situation, building a perfect army to deal with what the Zerg was throwing at him.
Map two in the series then saw HyuN switching up his ZvT style. Heading into the game with a Mutalisk, Zergling and Baneling combination, a couple of mistakes on his side cost him the all-important Mutalisk flock to incredibly well-placed Widow Mines - and thus the game. Still, with both games being incredibly back and forth, it’s a ZvT worth checking out!
You can find the entire collection of VODs from the European qualifiers on our YouTube channel!
Make sure to stay tuned for more Intel Extreme Masters Toronto action as the American and Asian qualifiers coming up in the next weeks will determine another five players who will join the world’s best gamers in their battle for US$25,000 and 4,000 WCS points!