‘Chiu on This’ is a short and regular opinion blast
Serral has won Blizzcon 2018 in emphatic fashion. Across the entire year he has dominated the foreigner circuit as he has won every WCS event he attended. He also won the GSL vs the World tournament, which was a weekender in Korea. He has finally capped it off with this Blizzcon victory as he looked dominant through the entire run. His year has been one of the most impressive in SC2 history.
I’m not certain how to rate it relative to other runs in Starcraft history as we are a bit too close to the present. It’s hard to break apart the various factors such as the game, meta, race, and context of the scenes. For instance, I consider 2013-2015 to be the hardest eras of SC2 because of the inclusion of KeSPA. There is also the fact that in the past, LAN tournaments could be a week or even days apart from each other with no time to rest or practice. The more I consider how LotV has played out compared to HotS and WoL, the more I think that early game and mid game are so different that they may as well be completely different games from LotV.
For all of that context though, it’s pretty easy to say that this is the best foreigner vs Korean run that anyone has ever had. In terms of the eye test, Serral looks to be the most skilled foreigner to have ever played the game. In terms of peak skill seen in LotV, it’s comparable to either the INnoVation or Maru runs, even if the accomplishments aren’t the same. The only asterisks you could even point to is his lack of participation in the GSL and the unknown head-to-head matchup between Serral and Maru as they have only ever played one best-of-one in a showmatch recently. The other time they played was at WESG where Maru created the raven meta and won 3-0.
In the case of Maru, I consider him to be the player of the year. But in this moment, Serral is the undisputed best player in the world as even if you assume that Maru has a good match head-to-head against Serral (I think it’s at worst a 50/50 personally), Maru is worse against the entire field compared to Serral right now. Maru has dropped games to Protoss players while Serral drops games to no one.
As for the fact that Serral hasn’t played in GSL, that’s a fair critique. However even if you don’t play in that tournament, you can still be considered the best in the world so long as you play and beat all of the best players in LAN tournaments. That is precisely what TaeJa did from 2013-2014. Thus if you believed that TaeJa was the best at different points in time in 2013 and 2014 (as I do), then it is easily possible to say that Serral is the best now (which I also do). For those reasons, I consider Serral to be the undisputed best player in the world.