On November 3, 2018, after over 20 straight years of South Korean dominance, we finally have a non-Korean StarCraft II World Champion. Serral, the Finnish Phenom, went toe to toe with Stats in the final match of the WCS Global Finals at BlizzCon. Serral and Stats recently met at GSL vs. the World, where Serral came out on top with a score of 4-3.
Serral was obviously looking to replicate that result going into the grand finals tonight. He took an early lead right out the gate, going up 3-0 and looking completely in control. Serral only needed one more victory to claim his throne as king.
Don’t call it a comeback!
Stats had other plans though. He struck back, refusing to let Serral walk away with a flawless victory. In the next two games, Stats regained his composure and found a vulnerable spot in Serral’s builds. After losing the next two games to powerful mid-game attacks from Stats, Serral was in danger of losing control of the series.
Momentum is almost as important as your actual mechanics in StarCraft II when you’re on the big stage. Once your opponent gets rolling, it can be incredibly difficult to regain composure and turn things back in your favor. Serral went into game 5 knowing that if he let Stats get one more victory, he’d be in danger of a reverse sweep.
The final fight
This resulted in the final game being almost 30 minutes long. Serral decided Brood Lords were the tool he needed to take home the championship and rushed to produce them. With a large force of Brood Lords and Corruptors, Serral carefully chipped away at Stats’ army and bases. At one point Serral was up by more than 40 supply but showed great patience. He was content to split the map until he had everything his army could possibly need. With a nearly unstoppable Zerg army, Serral finally delivered the final blow. Stats lost the entirety of his army and his sole mining base, leaving him no choice but to bow out. Serral was finally the World Champion!
A historical year
Serral dominated all year outside of Korea as well, securing first place in all four WCS Circuit events in venues all across the globe. He even won GSL vs. the World, making him also the first non-Korean to ever win a GSL event. After tonight, 2018 will truly go down in the history books as “The Year of Serral.”
Update: This article previously stated that Serral defeated Stats with a score of 3-1 at GSL vs The World. This was incorrect. The article has been updated to reflect the actual final score of 4-3.