Sixty-four of the United States’ best players gathered at the Anaheim Convention Center on June 8-10 to fight for sixteen slots in the StarCraft II World Championship Series (WCS) North America Finals, and for one to earn the right to be called the greatest StarCraft II player in the USA.
As the USA’s best fought it out, the matches were shoutcasted by Ben “MrBitter” Nichol and Blizzard’s own Rob Simpson.
The pool of talent invited to the event was as diverse as it was enormous, ranging from sponsored progamers to comparatively unknown ladder warriors. Many fan favorites found themselves ousted from the tournament much earlier than expected: Kevin “coL.qxc” Riley fell to the Lower Bracket in the first round and was eliminated by Ryan “Quantic.State” Visbeck, who went all the way to the fifth round in the lower bracket. Shawn “Liquid`Sheth” Simon was dispatched 2-0 by rising star Chris “Quantic.Illusion” Lee, who himself was knocked to the lower bracket by Collegiate StarLeague (CSL) mainstay and SoCal hero Kenny “x6.Mystik” Vu in round 4 of the upper bracket.
Dan “ROOTViBE” Scherlong avenged past losses and defeated Greg “EG.IdrA” Fields, in a surprising 2-1 in the third round. ViBE would ride the momentum garnered from that win all the way to the Winners’ Bracket Finals. There, he was joined by Sky “i7.Insur” Xu, the player who ended Mystik’s run in the Winners’ Bracket. ViBE got the better of his opponent and took him down 2-0 – assuring himself a spot In the Grand Finals.
That wasn’t the end for IdrA, however. Smashing his way through the lower bracket, IdrA took down Adrian “KawaiiriceLighT” Kwong, ROOT Gaming’s new recruit Connor ”ROOTFitzyhere” Fitzpatrick and Michael “x6.Perfect” Thompson to face Illusion – whom he defeated 2-0 and advanced to the lower bracket semifinals. Meanwhile, another Zerg player was having quite the run himself. Independently sponsored Peter “NITRIXDaisuki” Yoo, after losing to Mystik 2-0, defeated a series of strong Protoss players (including State and fan-favorite Tyler “Liquid`NonY” Wasieleski) to earn the right to face Mystik in the lower bracket Quarterfinals. Yoo got his revenge for the earlier loss, and defeated Mystik 2-1.
The two players who met in the lower bracket Semifinals couldn’t have had more different histories. IdrA, a player with GSL Code S experience and international tournament victories under his belt, expected himself to win the tournament. Daisuki, a relative unknown with little prior offline success, bore no such expectations -- but his run in this tournament caused people to sit up and take notice. In the biggest upset of the tournament, Daisuki defeated IdrA 2-1 to reach the lower bracket finals. He then defeated Insur 2-0 to claim a spot in the Grand Finals.
ViBE was the clear favorite going into the Grand Finals match, and it showed. His prior stage experience proved to be a huge advantage, as nerves caused Daisuki to make control errors in the first game. In the second, a few key decisions by ViBE -- such as the use of burrowed Infestors to snipe Daisuki’s third base -- were able to carry him to a dominating 2-0 and the title, earning himself a spot in the WCS Global Finals later this year.
Please join us in congratulating ROOTViBE on his victory and to the fifteen others advancing to the North America Finals Thank you to all of the players who participated, and to everyone that showed their support!
Photos by Kevin Chang and Richard Stanway