With a fierce battle between South Korea and the reigning title holder China, the osu!catch World Cup 2017 concluded last Sunday. After long six weeks of intense fruit-catching competition, we are glad to pronounce South Korea as the new osu!catch World Champion of 2017!
The past five weeks have seen 189 intrepid fruit-catchers from 32 different countries duke it out for the ultimate prize of being crowned the 2017 osu!catch World Champions. We've seen thrills and spills, crises and comebacks, as the best players in the world showcased their talent in a total of 73 exciting matches. When all was said and done, only two of those teams remained standing for a final, fateful encounter.
South Korea and China, two true powerhouses of the game would take to the stage one final time, both bringing their own dreams and aspirations. China, looking to claim their second victory in a row after triumphing over Indonesia in 2016. South Korea, looking to return to the winners' circle after emerging triumphant in 2014 and 2015. Could South Korea repeat their Winners' Bracket victory, or would China return with a vengeance to steal the show? Read on to find out, or check out the video on demand below!
South Korea could claim a tactical advantage from the start, having seen China's performance on nearly every map in the pool after their breathtaking 6-5 victory over Indonesia the previous week. They knew the DoubleTime strength of the Chinese team, again choosing to ban ChouCho - Yasashisa no Riyuu. China responded in kind, again banning one of the two Approach Rate 8 Hidden picks, Grand Thaw - Aventyr. China would, unsurprisingly, kick off with DoubleTime, locking in NeLiME - CODE NAME : ZERO, with captain Dusk finally securing a winning roll and having the chance to pick first.
The similarities would end here however, as South Korea pulled out a turnaround victory to break from the start. As expected, a Hidden pick followed, with the South Korean team electing to unsettle China with Susumu Hirasawa - The Secret of The Flowers of Phenomenon, resulting in another comfortable victory.
China, looking to settle the nerves and secure a point on the scoreboard, would stick with DoubleTime, choosing the consistency-demanding converted osu! difficulty 3L - Endless night, hoping for Dusk to achieve a repeat double S performance and a comfortable victory. Once again this was scouted by South Korea, switching in Berea who proceeded to drop only a single note and usher in a second break point. A switch to NoMod almost backfired due to a string of early misses on the South Korean pick of dj TAKA - quaver, but once again though, a slender Chinese advantage would be turned upside-down in the closing moments, with Callionet dropping an entire section, costing himself a would-be spectacular Full Combo, and China their fourth chance at a point.
With no DoubleTime picks remaining, the two teams would trade blows on NoMod in three extremely close affairs, the culmination being China overcoming their consistency demons to achieve victory on Excision & Pegboard Nerds - Bring The Madness (Noisestorm Nightcore Remix) by the skin of their teeth at a mere 8,223 score split. South Korea, seeking to crush any hopes of a Chinese comeback, immediately seized upon the remaining Hidden pick, coming out of a low-scoring affair on Hatsune Miku - Nightmare Party Night on match point with a score line of 6-2.
With their options running out, China turned to HardRock, picking the CS6.5 Yooh - snow storm -euphoria-, a map on which they suffered a crushing defeat when the two teams last met. The hours of practice paid off however, taking a convincing third point and forcing South Korea to pick again.
The insanely technical standard convert gmtn vs. kozato - squartatrice from the NoMod pool would be the stage, a map which South Korea lost as their first pick at the previous meeting. Chinese hopes were high as they were buoyed by some impressive early comboing, but as the map ran on, the wheels came off, with South Korea sealing the victory and with it, the crown of 2017 osu!catch World Champions.
Congratulations to South Korea on becoming three-time osu!catch World Champions, who each take home $300 in prize money, an exclusive osu! tumbler and pins, a unique profile badge, and the "osu!catch Champion" user title for one year.
Congratulations to China on once again reaching the Grand Final with an impressive silver medal placement, who will receive $160 per team member as well as the aforementioned exclusive osu! tumbler, pins and profile badge, and also to Indonesia, missing out by the narrowest of margins to claim bronze along with $80 per player in addition to the mentioned loot.
Additional thanks must go to all the players for putting in the utmost effort for our viewing entertainment. To the tournament staff, referees, statisticians and my fellow commentators, it has been an absolute pleasure to work with you all. And lastly, huge thanks to everyone who tuned in to watch the tournament unfold, to support their favourite players, and make this year's osu!catch World Cup a truly unforgettable experience.
Whilst it may be too early to say, I doubt I am alone in the eager anticipation of next year's edition...
See you all there!