Ting's Alex "Neeb" Sunderhaft took down EURONICS' Artur "Nerchio" Bloch, 4-2, to win the Starcraft II World Championship Series Austin event at DreamHack Austin on Sunday. The tournament at the Austin Convention Center in Austin, Texas, was the first of four in the WCS Circuit and awarded the winner a WCS Global Finals seed.
Neeb was the favorite before the tournament but labored through the group stage and looked extremely vulnerable to the rest of the field. He qualified second from his group and took down two German players, Julian "Lambo" Brosig and Arma Team's Tobias "ShoWTimE" Sieber, in shaky fashion to qualify for the final day. Nerchio, meanwhile, looked clean throughout the weekend. He breezed through his group stage with a 4-1 record and entered the grand finals with only three game losses during the main event bracket. His only struggle was a close set against ROOT Gaming's Diego "Kelazhur" Schwimer.
The other two semi-finalists, Juan Carlos "SpeCial" Tena Lopez and PSISTORM Gaming's Bang "TRUE" Tae Soo, came just short of becoming the stories of the tournament. SpeCial was just one fight away from upsetting Neeb, but could not finish the job. The control and micro was simply not there to take down his opponent. TRUE looked outmatched against Nerchio in the mirror match. He lost in the macro game and could not keep up with the aggression and timing attacks from Nerchio in a quick loss.
Grand Finals: Neeb against Nerchio
Nerchio struck first blood against Neeb by punishing his opponent's micro mistakes. Despite a favorable pace for Neeb's style of play, Neeb was overzealous with his important units and exposed his Mothership Core to the zerg army. Nerchio took advantage and got the win. It was a brief confidence boost to Nerchio that did not last.
The entire set had a crawling pace. Neeb controlled the macro aspect of each map and dictated when the fights would take place. Nerchio's better control of his units provided highlight shots of great fungal fights, but it was not enough to consistently outperform his opponent. Neeb's better unit compositions and overall slower pace crushed his opponent's chances. It looked close on paper (4-2 in favor of Neeb), but it was a set that truly belonged to the Protoss.