Last year, Joona “Serral” Sotala made history. The Finnish Zerg player completed his monopoly of the WCS StarCraft 2, took down Kim “Stats” Dae-yeob In GSL vs The World, and finished out the year with a victory over Stats again at Blizzcon 2018. He was the first non-Korean player to ever win the World Championship, a feat setting him above everyone else. Cho “Maru” Seong Ju was able to win all three GSL tournaments last year, hyping up every StarCraft 2 fan in the world for the Serral vs Maru matchup. Unfortunately, we never got to see the two giants play. They did play in a Show Match Best of One at GSL vs The World, however, many of us in the Esports community refuse to see a Best of One match as a true show of prowess for either side. I would like to revisit the absence of a Serral vs Maru finals, and revisit the possibility of seeing them play a true best of series.
Maru fell 0-3 to Kim “sOs” Yoo-jin in the first match of the bracket stage at Blizzcon, I was able to interview him and asked about how he felt about whether or not sOs could make it to the finals, he responded “Yes of course, since he beat me I think he can go all the way.” Unfortunately, sOs then fell 0-3 to Stats, giving us a little more excitement for the finals, a rematch between Stats and Serral with the GSL vs The World Finals going all the way to seven games.
After Serral’s victory over Stats, I was fortunate enough to get a couple questions in. I asked how he felt about not getting to meet Maru in the finals, and if GSL was next on his hitlist. In regard to missing out on the chance to face Maru he told me, “Maru probably would’ve been the hardest for me… obviously it’s a bit sad we didn’t get what the people wanted but it was the best for me.” He then told me that he wasn’t going to actively try to play in GSL, but if he “happened to be practicing there I will participate.” He kept true to his word as the only Foreign scene player participating in GSL 1 is Sasha “Scarlett” Hostyn. While this doesn’t mean we won’t see Serral in the future GSL tournaments, it seems we will have to wait a bit longer for the Finnish Zerg to take on Korea on its home turf.
For me, the idea of a Serral vs Maru Best of Match in the future, is still the most anticipated match. Here’s hoping we get to see it soon, but if I have to wait for Blizzcon 2019 that’s just fine! While we wish Scarlett good luck in her GSL run, as she was placed into Maru’s group, Group E, Febuary 13th is still a couple weeks away. This Friday, Febuary 1st we see GSL 1 Group A faceoff to see who advances to the Round of Sixteen. Group A features two favorites in the likes of Park “Dark” Ryung Woo, and Baek “Dear” Dong Jun, there are two wildcards as well who have a chance to knock down Dear and possibly even Dark. Choi “Trust” Sung Il and Hwang “KeeN” Kyu Seok, the Protoss and Terran players respectively, make a comeback hoping to upset. Be sure to tune in at 9:00pm MST to watch the beginning of the StarCraft 2 festivities for 2019, welcome back everybody.
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