Reynor makes history for western SC2 players in IEM Katowice Finals
Yesterday we saw some exciting action take place at the IEM Katowice SC2 event. While, the event pits the top players in the world against each other, it is usually a Korean player that comes out on top. Not this time though, Riccardo “Reynor” Romiti made StarCraft history as the first non-Korean player to claim a World Championship level trophy.
Since StarCraft’s competitive environment was reorganized, IEM Katowice is now the de-facto main event for the game. The winner of this tournament is largely held up as the year’s champion. Reynor took home the victory, cementing his palace in the top tier of the game.
There’s no stopping this Zerg!
— Twitch Esports (@TwitchEsports) March 1, 2021
Reynor’s Championship Trophy path
Reynor is an Italian StarCraft player who has been active since a very young age. He first gained notoriety at the age of 11, learning to play alongside his dad who was also a fan of the game. His first major result was a second place placement at an Italian event, losing to Narcotic. Since then, he’s been competing regularly in most major events. He started in 2013, and has been building ever since.
Reynor competed in a lot of events over his first few years in the game, but was not yet old enough to compete in every major. By about 2018, he was of age and starting to take part in bigger events. This was the year of his first major achievement in the game, pulling off a 10-win streak at the BaseTrade King of the Hill event.
Reynor’s career really began to take off in 2018, after his first training trip to Korea. Since then he’s pulled off big victories. Most recently he has shown a fantastic track record. He took home first place at the DH SC2 Masters 2020 Fall Finals, the Douyu Cup, the DH SC2 Summer Finals, and the WCS 2019 Winter and Summer. Putting him in a good position heading into IEM Katowice.
He had to defeat some of the biggest names in StarCraft to get where he is, and his recent results have been building momentum prior to this win. Reynor’s win wasn’t the most surprising result, but it was far from a sure thing.
The IEM Katowice 2021 Finals
The IEM Katowice finals were an exciting event where the best players were pitched against each other. Reynor didn’t make enter the quarter finals stage cleanly, and we didn’t have him as a favorite coming towards the semis. The initial match against Stats was the one we felt he was most at danger due to the back-n-forthyness of the series. Once he came out ahead at 3-2 in that series it was clear “big stakes” don’t phase Reynor. He went with the same 3-2 scoreline in each of the three series leading up to the finals, against Dark and Maru.
The final match was against Zest, which was eventually won 4-2. Talking about the match would not do it justice, through 6 games Reynor showed versatility in both defense and offense that was an absolute beauty to watch.
Thanks to Youtube channel SC2HL, we have a nice breakdown of how the series went.
Zest himself seems to be hit by an IEM Katowice curse. It is the second time he’s made it into the finals, but ultimately lost both finals in two consecutive years. It’s an accomplishment on its own, being the second best StaCraft II player two years running, but far from something Joo “Zest“ Sung-wook will be satisfied with.
Reynor’s victory in IEM Katowice wasn’t the biggest surprise to ever be pulled off at the event. His recent tournaments standings have shown him to be a player on the rise, and one who has been part of the game for a long time. However, it is still a major accomplishment. Being the first non-Korean winner is quite the achievement. We’ll have to see how this shakes up the StarCraft competitive community in the future.
In the short run, we might see the odds for western SC2 players finally improve at betting providers after Serral, Clem and Marine also reached commendable placements at the event.