Zest sets the stage for an exciting IEM Katowice Starcraft showdown

This past weekend saw a number of mini-tournaments taking place for Starcraft II, in the final stage lead up to IEM Katowice 2021. It was the last major before the next big event and Joo “Zest” Sung-wook took full advantage of it.

If we were looking for indicators of performance in the upcoming events, there was a few standouts that are worth talking about.

IEM Zest

© Intel Extreme Masters

Starcraft Weekend Tournaments

Two events were held this past weekend, both small in size and prize pool, but featuring the best SC2 talent on the planet. Here’s how events unfolded.

WadiTV 2021

The WardiTV 2021 tournament concluded over this past weekend, giving us a glimpse of what IEM Katowice 2021 will look like.  This event spans January 23rd through to till Sunday 7th. It featured 20 players and a $8,300 prize pool. Most importantly, 17 out of 20 participants were all either already qualified or fighting in the Round 36 bracket at IEM Katowice.

The tournament followed a standard Group and single-elimination Playoffs bracket typical for SC2 events. The key takeaway was the performance of Joo “Zest” Sung-wook not dropping a single game in Playoffs, all the way to the finals. On his path, he took down Reynor, INnoVation and Cure with clean 3-0 sweeps before dropping only a single map to TY in the bo7 final.

The resurgence of the former RYE (Raise Your Edge) player will now completely skew SC2 betting odds for upcoming events.

Into the AlphaX Pro Circuit

The Into the AlphaX Pro Circuit has been running for a few days and will keep going until the 17th of February. This event isn’t the biggest in the StarCraft calendar, but it is still one to watch. AlphaX events are held periodically since they began in March 2020.

In the fifth event of its type, 16 Players are competing for a $1,250 prize pool. The tournament was split into two group stages and single elimination playoffs. Four groups of four play the initial groups with the two best performers in each group advancing to the second group stage. The eight winners play another round robin in their groups to select yet another two best performance from each group going into Playoffs.

The first placed players from each group go to the opposing sides of the Playoffs final bracket, with the second placed players playing against the winier for each group.

So far, Zest and TY, two legends on the scene have earned their spot in the final bracket. They are waiting on Cure, Patience, INnoVation and Trap to play out their group in two days time. We are likely seeing Cure and INnoVation in the finals matching out against TY and Zest respectively.

What’s next for Zest?

There is one full StarCraft 2 weekend coming up before IEM Katowice kicks off on the 17th of February. Most matches played will be in minor’s and weekly tournaments, but a good final checkup before Katowice kicks off.

Zest will play his AlphaX and Alpha Pro Series Elite match against RagnaroK next weekend. If he wins both duels this upcoming weekend, you should hurry and set Zest as your outright winner at IEM Katowice 2021.

GG.BET is giving him a 13x return to win the event and 7.5 to reach finals right now, with odds expected to dip a a little if he wins next weekend.

Read next: Brawlhalla Esports going even stronger in Year Six