After seven hours of frantic combat, our Grand Finalists were crowned. Sean ‘Probe’ Kempen and Ethan ‘iaguz’ Zugai had qualified for WCS Valencia and were a minimum $2,000 AUD richer.
With the pressure of qualifying now behind them, the finalists were able to relax and play their natural game. The winner of the Grand Finals would be awarded an additional $600 AUD and more WCS points, so neither player treated the opportunity lightly.
Probe had defeated iaguz 3-1 in the Winner’s Finals to qualify and enjoyed one map advantage leading into the best-of-seven Grand Final. Iaguz was itching for revenge.
Play began on the map Sequencer and both players expanded immediately. Probe moved into Disruptor tech and upgraded his Warp Prism’s speed, allowing him to strike his unsuspecting prey.
Probe’s harass proved to be too mighty for iaguz to handle, securing him a quick 2-0 lead in the final.
The second and third games in the series showed a return to form for iaguz. He began to hold Probe’s pushes convincingly with a combination of faster upgrades and superior liberator positioning.
Combined with well-timed drops sniping key economic bases from Probe, iaguz was able to level the series 2-2.
The next game was on Odyssey and both players poked and prodded at each other until Probe finally plucked up the courage to push forward with a decisive engagement for the win.
With Probe on match point, there was no chance for iaguz to catch his breath. With engagements happening in three or four places throughout the map during the late stages of the game, iaguz emerged victorious with a cacophony of brilliant engagements.
The crowd’s dream had come true and the series was level at three maps apiece. The series had been a marathon and the players were both neck-and-neck barreling towards the finish line.
It appeared from the beginning both players respected the other too much to consider opening aggressively.
Orthodox openings paved the way for a standard mid-game, however Probe seemed to struggle with indecision as he made a huge army and abstained from either securing an additional base or engaging for a long time.
Both players appeared hesitant to commit to engagements as the game stretched on. Iaguz was content to harass using Ravens and small Medivac drops, while Probe used Warp Prisms to keep his opponent busy.
Eventually a big engagement became inevitable and we were treated to the most explosive display of micromanagement of the tournament:
With this engagement and iaguz’s ensuing economic advantage, victory was assured.
Iaguz had finally figured Probe out. While his trophy cabinet is surely bursting at the seams already, there’s always room for one more.
Be sure to cheer for both players as they compete in WCS Valencia and in Season 4 of WCS ANZ Challenger league, coming soon.