And so it has come to an end. The ZOWIE GEAR EU Series started early in October of 2013 and ran 11 Qualifiers - 7 Region Bound and 4 Open - to determine 16 players who would fight for €250 and ZOWIE Products. The overall Prizepool is estimated to be over €1000. There were some delays but eventually we made it this weekend, the Finals Weekend, where the four RO16 groups and the 8-man single elimination bracket was played out. Patience, a replacement for Chubz, came out ahead of all the others without dropping a single map.
Patience's run included a string of PvZs in which he took down Nerchio, Bly, JonnyREcco and Tefel. He also defeated the Protoss player GraVe in the first match of his Group. The best thing about watching Patience play PvZ this weekend has to be the way in which he uses a wide variety of builds, each designed for certain maps, to continually force his opponents to change their reactions and to make sure their scouting was on point. We saw everything, from Phoenix-Collossus-Immortal two-base timings to one-base 3 Gateway plays, as well as macro games in which he was able to produce timings to kill of his opponent before Vipers or other essential tech made it to the field.
Nerchio, Bly and JonnyREcco all went for extremely economically based builds, which Patience generally punished early, if he were not to be just as greedy himself. Tefel played a much safer style, always taking a gas against his opponents gateway openings. Tefel was very aggressive with Roach-Hydralisk armies throughout the series, but just fell short of doing enough damage to completely deter Patience, allowing Patience to build up a large enough army to end the game each time it occurred.
The run of Patience was definitely the main story of the weekend, but it definitely was not the only one. The Polish face-offs in the tournament produced the best series of the weekend - Nerchio vs Tefel. I'm not going to say much about the series itself because it truly is something you should watch for yourself (see the link below to Game 1). It had everything you wanted - drama, tension, macro games, aggressive timings and cheese. There is nothing more you could have asked for in this set of ZvZs - so what are you waiting for?
The final thing to mention is the performance of some of the lesser known players who we saw make it to the RO8. Namshar, Avokado and Pink are players who you may not have heard of especially if you compare them to the other names which were a part of the tournament - but what a performance they brought to the table!
Namshar and Avokado both went toe-to-toe with JonnyREcco in the RO8 and Group Stages respectively, series from which some great macro games stood out. While neither of them caused the upset, the games were extremely entertaining and exciting to watch. Avokado went on to beat TomikuS and Ourk to advance from his group, but fell to Tefel in the RO8. Namshar actually beat Naama to earn his spot in the RO8, which after losing to him in the first series of the group was a fantastic turn around for him.
Pink gave us the largest surprise/upset by advancing first from his group, defeating Revenge 2-0 and Bly 2-1. The Danish Protoss has continually improved since he was picked up by the Fnatic academy and this was a fine example of that. Unfortunately he was not able to go any further than the RO8, falling to Nerchio 0-2. Pink is currently in a great position to qualify for the SC2Improve Winter League Playoffs and I am extremely excited to see if once again he is going to make it out of the group and into the bracket.
Altogether the ZOWIE GEAR Series was an incredibly fun event, once the stresses of organisation were out of the way. All three streams had great viewership over the weekend, even up against competition from the Warer Invitational. I hope you all enjoyed checking it out and I can only say that I'm excited to bring more ZOWIE GEAR events in the future!