For the first time in StarCraft 2 history, a non-Korean stands atop of the world. After defeating Kim “Stats” Dae-yeob 4-2 in the WCS Grand Finals, Joona “Serral” Sotala became the new StarCraft 2 world champion.
Serral’s run ends the eight-year hegemony of South Korea at BlizzCon World Championships. The country’s domination over the strategy game extends even further, into StarCraft: Brood War territory, making Serral the first non-Korean StarCraft world champion in 18 years.
The zerg’s victory wasn’t surprising either. The Finn had a tremendous year, winning four WCS Circuit events, as well as the GSL vs. the World event in August. He accumulated a total of 14,090 Circuit Points in total and the only player who managed to outperform him world-wide was Cho “Maru” Seong-ju.
While fans and pundits expected a Maru vs. Serral grand final, that never happened, as the Korean terran lost 0-3 to a well-prepared Kim “sOs” Yoo-jin in the quarter finals. With his biggest opposition out of the way, Serral had little trouble bringing the trophy home. He opened the playoffs bracket with a clean sweep against Park “Dark” Ryung-woo, schooled reigning champion Lee “Rogue” Byung-ryul in multitasking in the semis, and defeated Stats in six games for the championship. During his entire run through the World Finals, the champion only dropped three maps.
Serral will bank $280,000 for his triumph, but making history will forever remain as the highlight of his achievement.