Four StarCraft II players remain at the Intel Extreme Masters New York City event inside of New York Comic Con, fighting for some of the last points to qualify for Blizzard’s World Championship Series Grand Finals at BlizzCon.
BlizzCon-hopefuls Johan "NaNiwa" Lucchesi from Sweden and Ko "HyuN" Seok Hyun from Korea will go up against each other, while StarTale teammates Lee "Life" Seung Hyun and Lee "Curious" Won Pyo battle it out on the other side of the bracket.
Ko defeated fan-favorite Park "DongRaeGu" Soo Ho in the quarterfinals, who eliminated Lee "Flash" Young Ho earlier in the event. Ko credits his consistent play in the Zerg vs Zerg matchup, which earned him three wins this weekend.
“I do think my ZvZ is top notch,” says Ko. “I prioritize getting upgrades and being aggressive against my opponent. Even though in my next round I’m playing against a Protoss [Naniwa], once I make it to the finals, because a Zerg is already qualified, I think I’ll be able to win the whole tournament.”
Ko only gained entrance to the tournament because reigning WCS America Champion Choi "Polt" Seong Hun dropped out at the last minute, giving Ko an opportunity to earn crucial points leading into BlizzCon.
“I didn't have a seed going into this tournament, but I've always believed in my skill," he said. “I was very confident in my capabilities since I've been wining so much, and on this momentum spree, if I keep following it I can win this whole tournament. Then I plan on winning WCS America.”
After wins against Park and YH Lee in the group stage, WP Lee came through in a full five-game set against KeSPA Protoss Kim "sOs" Yoo Jin. The top 4 performance from WP Lee thus far gives him his best ever tournament placement, tying his 4th place finish in the 2013 WCS Korea Season 1. He will now play against his GSL and MLG Champion teammate for a spot in the finals.
“Because I lost the first game, I thought there might be a chance for me to lose," he said. “After that I thought of different strategies to minimize my chances of losing, and I think that helped me with the rest of the games.”
“Life is one of those players who knows a lot of different styles. I think I’ll just have to be very prepared.”
Watch the StarCraft II IEM New York City finals on ESL TV. GameSpot eSports is reporting live from the floor of the event.