Last weekend one of the most important StarCraft 2 tournaments of 2017 took place — DreamHack Jönköping. Hundreds of players ventured to Sweden to play in the WCS Circuit event, and earn a slot at BlizzCon 2017. American hero Neeb (P) won the tournament, becoming champion in his second consecutive WCS event.
Many players and casters pointed out through the weekend that it’s quite hard to beat Zerg if you are Protoss these days. Members of the analysis panel even declared that PtitDrogo (P) would be a real god if he got to the finals through a bracket, stacked with the best Zergs who play outside Korea. In the first day of the tournament Neeb was asked about current balance in Protoss vs Zerg matchup, and he had something interesting to say:
“I think PvZ is quite hard right now. A lot of it is through the maps and a lot of it is that we’ve been playing the same style for so long, and we need to try some new things. I don’t know how good they are, but I have a lot of things I wanna try at least.”
Runner-up of the tournament Serral (Z) from Finland has been making waves for more than a year. Every non-Korean player when asked pointed out Serral as a very strong opponent. He is known as someone who will go the distance in a macro game and crush you on ladder or in an online tournament. Last weekend Serral showed that he’s good not only in online tournaments but on the big stage as well.
He had nearly perfect score in his group, crushing MaNa (P) 2:1 and Scarlett (Z) 2:0. On his way through bracket he gave just one map to PtitDrogo (P), while Stephano (Z) and Elazer (Z) left him unscathed.
Meanwhile Neeb showed weakness against PtitDrogo in his first match of the group stage, and started the decider match of the group against TLO (Z) with a loss. Nevertheless, the future back to back champion managed to come back in the best of 3 series and get to the bracket stage. In play off Neeb struggled against SpeCial (T) (aka MajOr), but won the series 3:2.
DreamHack organizers have a long-standing tradition of giving champions a bottle of Champagne to open and splash around themselves. Seeing that many players are not old enough for alcohol and don’t know what to do with a corked bottle, they decided to give a little lesson to the finalists beforehand. According to analysis panel, Neeb was defeated by the Champagne bottle despite practice.
After the finals Serral showed both confidence and respect for his opponent. He tweeted, “Congratz @onfireNeeb, he was better this time but not in Valencia”. The player refers to DreamHack Valencia, next WCS Circuit event, that takes place in July. Worth noting that Need never qualified to the tournament and would have to start from open bracket, if he even chooses to participate. On the other hand, Serral has qualified through Challenger and will be starting from third group stage.