In the transition from the final 16 to the final 8 the men are separated from the boys. In the first two groups two Koreans battled 6 Europeans for a finish in the money. I guess it was almost a given that the Koreans would make it out, but the question was which Europeans would be able to make the cut.
The first player to not live up to expectations was IdrA. Seemingly reinvigorated by his 3-0 run in the first groups he was unable to continue his good run in the second group stage despite having the last pick in the group switching. Materializing the position he gained by putting the spotlight back onto himself seemed too much for the American Zerg, but at least he put himself back on the map after a long absence.
Virtually the same situation can be sketched about Happy. With the pressure of Empire on his shoulders and a limited amount of experience to boot he played a decent first group stage but was outclassed in the second stage. No doubt though Happy, with the right training and experience, can back up Kas and viOLet in the Empire against other top of the world players in the short future.
The surprise of the group was HasuObs, who easily took out IdrA and then outclassed Happy in a thriller of a best of 3, with games of over 50 minutes in length, and nukes flying back and forth. Taking 2 wins early HasuObs ensured himself a spot in the top eight alongside Sleep, who equally easily shut down the competition.
In Group B the competition was more fierce, as Nerchio, Snute, YongHwa and BlinG had to decide which two would advance. Nerchio, seemingly fitting into the scenery just fine, was able to draw first blood as he put YongHwa in his place with a 2-1 victory. After that the games against Snute and BlinG were a breeze, resulting in consecutive 2-0 wins.
For YongHwa, the relatively unknown force from Korea, the group must have been harder than expected. Not only did he lose to Nerchio, but he also dropped a map against BlinG. He progressed in the end, but it must have been a wake-up call for him that Europeans aren't the walk-overs he might of expected.
The tournament did end in this stage for the English competitor BlinG, who went 2-6 to go out as last in his group. Although BlinG obviously would have rather progressed there is also a kind of relief, as the drinking can begin for him.
The other competitor to go out is the Norwegian rising star Snute, who did well throughout the event but had to let YongHwa and Nerchio pass, for now at least. He's shown the potential and is reaping the rewards from the constant training he's been doing since joining the Ministry of Win house in Poland.
Stay tuned because the second leg of groups will be where it's at, with the likes of Mvp, MC, SaSe, DIMAGA and Ret back in action for a chance in the playoff brackets!
This piece is part of Cadred's HomeStory Cup V coverage. For our other great pieces and news updates surrounding HSC click here.