In the first group stage, things went about as expected. Players like TLO and PtitDrogo advanced with little trouble, while the rest of the big names avoided embarrassment.
Surprises began to crop up in the second group phase as some favorites fell early. NoRegreT was bumped by Lambo in the final match of his group, while MajOr suffered the same fate against Zanster. ZhuGeLiang also stumbled on the final hurdle after losing 2-1 to the Polish Terran, Ziggy.
The field was narrowed even further in the always ruthless group stage 3. 32 players entered, but only 16 earned spots in the playoffs. Local boys Semper, Jig and Boice were early casualties, while uThermal was also a casualty. Serral, Snute and Neeb all topped their groups, with Scarlett and Has among those who sneaked by in second place.
With the brackets drawn, Neeb and SouL met to kick off the Ro16. The American Protoss won 3-0, while his North American counterpart Scarlett had more trouble with Harstem. She managed to win, 3-2, however, as did TRUE who defeated DnS 3-0. Nerchio set up a ZvZ quarterfinal by taking care of Cham 3-1. Serral reached the quarterfinals with a clean sweep of MaNa, while Elazer did the same against MaSa. Snute won 3-1 against Has’ endearingly cancerous skytoss, becoming the sixth Zerg to make the quarterfinals. Last up was Kelazhur and ShoWTimE, with the Brazilian getting the better of the German, 3-2. Given no time to rest, the final eight returned to the stage for the quarterfinals. Neeb eliminated Scarlett 3-1, with TRUE advancing by an identical score over Nerchio. On the bottom half of the bracket, Elazer eased past Serral 3-1 in a battle of European wunderkinds, while Snute took care of business against Kelazhur to finalize the Ro4.
With the final day of the 2017 WCS Circuit having finally arrived, Neeb and TRUE squared off in the first semifinal. Employing supposedly outdated builds like phoenix/adept and a cannon rush on Mech Depot, Neeb utterly dominated TRUE in an easy 3-0.
Elazer and Snute took a full five games to decide a winner, with everything coming down to the final game on Catallena. Snute lost his hatchery to Elazer’s aggression, but emerged from the fight with a much greater roach count. Elazer soon left the game, sending the Team Liquid Zerg to the finals.
That set up a meeting between two fan favorites and storied players.
Game one swung back and forth, but Neeb's oracles and zealots eventually came out on top. Snute bored into Neeb's main with hydralisks, but he had lost more than 48 workers back at home, putting him virtually all in. Having lost his army outside Neeb's fifth, Snute conceded game 1.
In the next game, Snute was forced into roaches by Neeb's archons drops, a move that put him at a disadvantage going into the midgame. Unable to build a proper hydra/ling/bane army, Snute lost 12 workers at home to zealots before running into a psionic storm/immortal buzzsaw.
Neeb again went for archon drops on Abyssal Reef, but this time his dark templars killed Snute’s natural before fusing into archons. There was no coming back from that position for Snute, who left the game after a failed attack with hydralisks on Neeb’s building fourth.
With the tournament on the line, Neeb's dark templars weren't nearly as effective in game four, but he still navigated his way to three bases ahead on supply. Snute attacked, but his banelings were caught while morphing, and his hydralisks were cleaned up soon after. All Neeb had to do was walk across the map to claim the WCS Montreal championship.
With three WCS titles this year, Neeb has cemented his place as the unanimous best WCS player of 2017. This is perhaps the best year a foreigner has ever had in StarCraft 2, and Neeb should be considered a contender as the first seed in WCS come BlizzCon. We know from his KeSPA Cup title in 2016 that he can beat anyone on the planet, and he has once again proven that everyone in StarCraft should fear him.