The list of eight participants for Red Bull Battle Grounds New York is almost complete following the weekend’s qualifying action. The big winners are Won "PartinG" Lee Sak, Ko "HyuN" Seok Hyun, and Sasha “Scarlett” Hostyn, who will travel to New York City to compete with five other elite StarCraft players.
Scarlett took her qualifying spot after an extended battle against Dan “ViBE” Scherlong, who was looking sharp after stunning Chris “HuK” Loranger in a 3-0 sweep. Scarlett jumped out to an early lead on Polar Night, overcoming ViBE’s early advantage in Mutalisks to take the victory.
But ViBE, showing some of his best form since his U.S. WCS championship last year, came back in the next two games. With perfect baneling play on Bel’Shir Vestige, followed by an even better Zergling - Baneling bust on Yeonsu, ViBE took a 2-1 lead and put Scarlett on the ropes.
Scarlett started playing more conservatively, showing a little more respect for how dangerous ViBE’s Banelings could be. She anticipated ViBE’s build in the next game and pushed the match into standard Roach play that she won handily.
ViBE retook the lead with a tremendous game on Whirlwind, surviving relentless Muta pressure from Scarlett as he made a difficult transition into Infestor/Hydralisk. With his back against the wall, ViBE finally caught Scarlett’s Mutas in a massive chain-fungal that gave his Hydralisks the chance to cut them down.
But even as he was trying to deliver the killing blow, Scarlett smashed ViBE’s overextended army and regained the advantage, charging forward with a massive Roach army. But her timing was just seconds too slow, taking down ViBE’s Ultralisk Cavern only after he had put six of the monsters into production. They hatched on top of her Roaches and completely shattered her army. ViBE was able to take the hard-won victory a few minutes later.
There is a reason Scarlett currently dominates North American StarCraft 2. With ViBE on match point, Scarlett needed to be perfect. She dominated Game 6 on Derelict Watcher with a strong economy powering a Mutalisk death-ball that ViBE could not break, and then won the deciding game on Akilon Wastes by crushing ViBE’s early Zergling pressure and then ramping up the economy behind it. ViBE’s gameplan never got anywhere, and Scarlett took a fairly easy defensive victory, 4-3 over ViBE.
PartinG and HyuN Dominate
Theirs was the match of the day, but PartinG and HyuN both put on a clinic in the Team Liquid Map Contest finals and Global Qualifiers finals, respectively. PartinG took a commanding victory over Kang "San" Cho Won on a series of new maps (some of them very unusual, like the lava-filled New Polaris Rhapsody, where tides of lava wash over the low ground).
HyuN, meanwhile, beat Kim "Sora" Jung Hoon in the global qualifier final after taking down Kang "Symbol" Dong Hyun with a 3-0 in the semifinal. Sora raced to a good start against HyuN with a Game 1 victory, his decision-making let him down at crucial moments, costing him a very winnable Game 3 and putting HyuN in the control of the series. HyuN never let it out of his grasp, and secured his trip to Battlegrounds with a 4-2 win.
The qualifying winners join Jang "MC" Min Chul, Choi "Bomber" Ji Sung, Jo "Golden" Myeong Hwan, and Jens "Snute" Aasgaard to compete for a $50,000 prize pool on Nov. 23 and 24. The eighth and final participant will be chosen at the WCS Global Finals, where the overall WCS winner will receive an invitation to compete at Battlegrounds.