The 2017 World Championship Series (WCS) is coming to an end, and BlizzCon is right around the corner. Professional StarCraft II players have been competing all year for a chance at the schedule’s most prestigious tournament, and most competitors are confirmed at this point. However, there’s one event left to score some last-minute WCS points, and five of the best players in the world are competing for the last available spot.
Right now, the top seven Korean players of the year have been locked in. These players have earned enough WCS points that no matter how well anyone does at the Super Tournament, they can’t be knocked out of the top eight. But Kim ‘sOs’ Yoo Jin is at serious risk of losing his eighth-place standing. He’s a two-time world champion, and he recently finished second in a very close and intense Global StarCraft II League (GSL) final, but he’s got a tough road ahead of him if he wants to go to BlizzCon.
Cho ‘Maru’ Seong Ju is one of the very best Terran players in the world. While he hasn’t gotten the results he’d like this year, he did make the semifinals in the GSL’s second season, and he’s a force to be reckoned with. Of the four players able to take sOs’s spot, Maru is the closest. But not far behind is another Terran player who absolutely tore up the field early in the year. Han ‘aLive’ Lee Seok was in top form during Intel Extreme Masters (IEM) Katowice in March, and he looked ready to win the first GSL Super Tournament of the year until he fell in the finals. Since then, he hasn’t looked as strong, as he failed to make the quarterfinals in all three seasons of the GSL. Though if we were to see the same aLive that we saw at the beginning of 2017, he could easily take this contested spot for the Global Finals.
In addition to these two top-tier Terrans, we also have Kim ‘Classic’ Doh Woo bringing a Protoss threat to bear. Classic has had a solid showing all year, making it to the semifinals of both the second season of GSL and the StarCraft II StarLeague (SSL). But he’ll have a struggle, as he needs to defeat aLive and most likely Lee ‘INnoVation’ Shin Hyung just to make the semis. In a similar boat is Zerg player Lee ‘Rogue’ Byung Ryul. It’s possible for him to take this last contested spot in the Global Finals, but he’ll need to make his way past Maru in his first match and then the winner of Koh ‘GuMiho’ Byung Jae and Baek ‘Dear’ Dong Jun to advance.
For better or worse, sOs is in the bottom part of the bracket, so he won’t encounter these players gunning for his spot until the finals, if he makes it that far. That means he has no direct way of influencing whether or not they take his eighth-place spot. It’s going to be a fascinating race to the Global Finals as these five players all go for the win.
Tune in to the GSL Super Tournament this weekend starting Thursday, September 28 at 1:00 a.m. PDT (17:00 KST) to see which of these five will get the chance to head to the WCS Global Finals at BlizzCon.