A Finnish StarCraft II pro has just made history as the first non-Korean to win a StarCraft II WCS Global Final.
In the 20 year history of the StarCraft franchise, the game’s eSports scene has been dominated by the Korean pros but this year Joona ‘Serral’ Sotala has shown to the world that change is coming.
“This was missing from my trophy collection I guess,” said Serral after his 4-2 win to Kim ‘Stats’ Dae Yeob.
After winning a slew of titles in 2018, Serral was the favourite going into this weekend’s event. With a stellar run in BlizzCon’s opening week, Serral was able to meet expectations and cement his status as the best StarCraft II player in the world.
A showdown was expected between Serral and Terran player Cho ‘Maru’ Sung Choo, with Maru standing as the Korean player to beat going into the Global Finals. However, Maru was knocked-out in the quarterfinals in a 0-3 loss to Kim ‘sOs’ Yoo Jin.
This result would eventually lead to the match-up between Serral and Stats in the finals, as Stats dominated sOs in the semifinals 3-0.
As a rematch of 2018’s GSL vs. The World, Serral and Stats were set to go head-to-head- Zerg against Protoss.
After the Finnish player decisively took the first three games, it looked like Serral was about to take home the title but Stats was not done yet. The Protoss player fought back, winning two consecutive games and bringing the score to 3-2.
However, Serral showed why he had been dubbed the best Zerg player in the world up until this point. In a fantastic final game, that had both opponents attacking from the air, Serral engaged in a war of attrition- slowly wearing down Stats through his economy.
The Finnish player definitely had the advantage, with an economy that left Stats with only a few chances to turn the match around- the South Korean player held on. However, once Stats lost his Mothership to Serral’s Zerg forces, Serral was soon holding the WCS Grand Finals trophy in front of a crowd of screaming fans.
🌅 A NEW ERA DAWNS ‼️
— StarCraft Esports (@esportstarcraft) November 4, 2018
Serral is undeniably a fantastic player with his results in the past year. At the age of 20, the Finnish player has placed himself at the top of the StarCraft II eSports ladder and dominated not only his own home circuit but has faced and won against South Korea on their own turf.
2019 will be an interesting year for StarCraft II’s eSports scene, will Serral continue his dominance or will South Korea take back the WCS Global Finals title?