This Week in Warcraft: September 12th-September 18th
Never a dull week in the Warcraft 3 competitive scene, it seems! The playoffs have begun for Neo Star League (the tournament with the biggest prize pool this year), and the winner of the American Championship Series has been found!
Neo Star League 4 - Playoff Quarterfinals
With a whopping prize pool of $22.000, the NSL playoffs have finally kicked off! Read here for results on the four quarterfinals!
Lucifer had a rough time against ReMinD. The series ended in a fast 3-0 victory for ReMinD, who looked impeccably strong throughout the match.
Facing ReMinD in the semifinals will be FoCuS, who managed to beat the other top Orc player, Fly100%, 3-1, thereby showing just how good he is in the mirror matchup.
The incredibly well-performing Infi faced off against the Warcraft 3 legend Moon. Although Moon managed to take the win on Ancient Isles, Infi showed us that Moon has not yet reached his old skill level after his long hiatus. Infi took the series 3-1.
In the 4th quarterfinal we saw Yumiko against TH000. Yes, TH000 did in fact switch to Night Elf instead of playing his main race Human. In the last qualifier for WCA 2016, Yumiko had prepared for his match against TH000 for weeks. Back then, TH000 (knowing about Yumiko's preparation) also pulled off a race-switch to Night Elf, where he ended up winning on the back of a Dark Ranger skeleton push. History repeated itself as TH000 once again took the win over Yumiko, winning the match 3-1.
Remember that even though Yumiko, Moon, Fly100% and Lucifer lost, they are not yet eleminated from tournament. For the moment, they are merely down to the loser's bracket.
ACS concluded this weekend with the tournament playoffs. Despite a couple of default losses due to players being unable to play their games, this weekend was as exciting and action-packed as the last, featuring more Priestess of the Moon action from MysT, as well as some Archmage-Tinker pushes from FeRfe and a fun tower push by Priest. Ultimately, LongWalk was able to climb back up from the lower bracket to get revenge on Hunter in the finals, and claim the first ACS crown, winning $748 and an invite to GCS Western Qualifier #2.
Hols Cup 9
Foggy came through big time for Europe in this 9th edition of Hols Cup! Even though he faced four well respected South Korean players (Chaemiko, SoK, Lucifer and Check), he managed to reach the finale without dropping a single map. Foggy thereby achieved to become the very first Western player, to reach a Hols Cup finale!
In the finale, Foggy faced off against a GCS summer 2017 finalist; none other than Infi. Going into the finale, Infi already looked a bit out of his top shape. In the semifinals, the underdog Imperius managed to snatch the first game from Infi. We did, however, not see a double Western finale, since Infi managed to turn the tides and reverse sweep Imperius.
After losing the first game, Foggy made a swift revenge on Twisted Meadows. With a favourable side-by-side spawn for Foggy, he managed to destroy Infi's hopes for an expansion repeatedly with his Warden, mass huntresses and finally his Ancient Protector push, which led to him winning the game.
The loss to Ancient Protector push seemed to aggravate Infi, as on the 3rd map (Echo Isles) went straight for the immediate tower rush. Though Foggy tried to defend from it with Firelord, it simply was not enough to fight off the Guard Towers and the Beastmaster with his bear.
Trying to repeat his succes from map 3, Infi again went for the immediate tower rush. This time, however, Foggy made a clever move: he switched from the deffensive to the offensive, running to the unprotected human base and annihalated the defenseless peasants with his Firelord. And although he slipped up and lost his Tree of Life, which he could have moved out of the Guard Towers' range, he managed to win map 4 with a beautiful counterplay.
On map 5, which was played on Last Refuge, Infi decided to approach the game with a more normal playstyle. With his Archmage, he went for a very fast expansion. The expansion was, in spite of Foggy's Demon Hunter harass, succesful. The economical advantage the expansion gave Infi, was too much for Foggy to handle, thus ending the European player's great tournament in a heated battle ending 3-2 in favour of Infi.
A big applause to Infi for winning Hols Cup 9 and a perhaps even greater applause to Foggy for being the first Western player in a Hols Cup finale, and for taking a player of Infi's caliber all the way to map 5.
Ena Cup #4
Of course, we had two Orcs meeting in the finals of Ena cup (Ena himself being an Orc player). OrcWorker had a good run this tournament, taking out Foggy 2-0, but was unable to take out the Korean orc legend FoCuS, losing to him 2-1 in the finals.