Harstem & uThermal qualified for IEM01-03-2017
On Monday and Tuesday this week, Harstem, uThermal, Optimus and Thalandros participated in the offline qualifiers for the IEM World Championship in Katowice. Unfortunately the ESL Arena turned out to be the final stop for Optimus (who was bested by Dayshi and SortOf) and Thalandros (who fell to MiNiMaTh and ArT). Harstem and uThermal did not share this fate: both of them advanced to the main tournament straight through their respective winner brackets! uThermal teared through Legho, Zanster and PiLiPiLi – the latter unable to attend the WESG finals but creating an upset here by advancing over Elazer in the loser bracket. Harstem also had only three matches to play, as he quickly overcame Gauss, Kashim and Lambo to be the first player to come through the qualifications.
This will not be so easy from here out though. To say that the groups in the main tournament are stacked would be a massive understatement. Harstem plays on Thursday (around 17:30h) in Group B, which features Neeb, TY, aLive, Stats and jjakji. Just the fact that jjakji could be considered an underdog in this group shows the level of players included. Can Harstem overcome Neeb, the only player ever to win a StarCraft II tournament on Korean soil, or TY, the winner of the $200.000 first place at WESG in January?
uThermal will arguably even have a more difficult group. He joins Dark, ShoWTimE, INnoVation, GuMiho and MaNa in Group D (Friday around 17:30u). Dark and INnoVation are considered by many to be the best in the world in their respective races (or just the best in the world in general), and MaNa and ShoWTimE are absolute beasts when it comes to performing at live tournaments – especially before a home crowd.
From each 6-player group, the top-3 advances to the playoffs. Can Harstem and uThermal make it? Better dress up in orange and spam Twitch as hard as you can!