The IEM Season XI StarCraft II World Championships final group stage concluded with the play of both C and D. With all 12 players qualified, the bracket stage of the tournament is set.
Group C provided plenty of notable names in EURONICS Gaming and RedBull's Artus "Nerchio" Bloch, Joo "Zest" Sung Wook, and Team Dead Pixels' Jo "Patience" Ji Hyun with Zest and Patience as arguably the favorites to dominate the group. The winner of Group C was lesser-known Ence eSports' Joona "Serral" Sotala. The Zerg wunderkind beat both Zest and Patience en route to a 4-1 overall (8-4 on maps) record. His only blemish was a loss against Nerchio in a rather lopsided mirror match, but his performance against some of the best Protoss in the world was an encouraging sign. The other two qualifiers for the round-of-12 was Zest and Nerchio with the latter eliminating Patience, 2-1, in their final match of the group.
Group D was a lineup of StarCraft notable names. From the famous Korean names like the best Zerg player Park "Dark" Ryung Woo, Terran legend Lee "INnoVation" Shin Hyung, and dark horse PSISTORM Gaming's Koh "GuMiho" Byung Jae to international powerhouses, Team Liquid's Marc "uThermal" Schlappi and Arma Team's Tobias "ShoWTimE" Sieber, it was a great mixed field. The winner from the group, with the best overall record and the slimmest of margins, was GuMiho with a 4-1 overall (9-5 on maps) record. The runner-ups were Dark (4-1, 8-4) and INnoVation (3-2, 8-4) to make Group D an all-Korean qualifier. Despite Dark's series victory over GuMiho, his 0-2 loss against INnoVation cost him the overall group.
The bracket is now set and there are some intriguing first-round matchups. First, the matchup against Splyce's Kang "Solar" Min Soo and Dark is quickly becoming a StarCraft II classic and a set befitting of a grand finals; it's not one to miss. The other notable matchup is rising star, True eSport's Kim "Ryung" Dong Won against the comeback legend, INnoVation.