This week we’ve seen a remarkable run from Joona “Serral” Sotala at the Intel Extreme Masters World Championships in Katowice, Poland, where the recent WCS Leipzig champion came in hungry for another trophy. Starting the tournament he swept through his group with a astonishing 5-0 record, netting him a spot directly into the quarter-finals.
The only “foreigner” on the top
With a field full of South-Koreans, Joona was the only player outside of the country able to make it this far in the tournament. In the quarter-finals he showed his resilience with a phenomenal comeback after trailing 0-2 in a best of 5 series against Protoss player Jin Air Green Wings’ Cho “Trap” Sung Ho and reverse sweeping for a 3-2 victory and a spot in the finals day of the tournament.
Serral in front of a 12,000 seat Spodek Arena ahead of his semi-final. Photo: ESL
Coming in to the semi-finals, analysts and fans alike held Joona’s chances very high of not only winning the game but the whole tournament. Last year has seen him climb the ladder steadily towards the top of the StarCraft II -scene and he has shown his ability to play against any type of opponent. Unfortunately Kim “Classic” Doh Woo, a South-Korean Protoss player proved to be too much for Serral, as he clinically secured a 3-0 victory and ended Joona’s tournament run to a 3rd/4th finish and $26,000 in winnings.
Katowice marks another succesful event for Serral, who can look ahead to a bright 2018. He has proven to the world that he truly is one of the greatest players in the game currently.