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Wings of Liberty
Although Serral has kept a relatively low profile, he has had some appearances in major tournaments. Serral participated Copenhagen Games Spring 2012 in April, 2012. He was in the same group with StarNaN, Joe and Buddha and managed to advance to the main bracket by placing 2nd in his group by only dropping two games against the group winner, StarNaN. In the main bracket Serral was put up against Seiplo, who defeated Serral by a score of 2-1.
World Championship Series
2012 WCS Finland Nationals
On July 28, 2012, Serral participated in the World Championship Series 2012 Finland event. He was one of the eight players to qualify for the event through Vectorama 2012. Serral lost against Welmu in round 1 and fell into the losers bracket where he managaed to beat grim and Winsti, but failing to defeat elfi in round 3. Serral finished 7th/8th along with core, winning $200.
Heart of the Swarm
On April 23, 2013, it was announced that Serral had joined Ence eSports. He became the second StarCraft II player in their roster, along with elfi, who became, according to the team, his personal mentor.
Serral made an impressive run at 2013 DreamHack Open: Bucharest on September 14, 2013. After topping his 3-player group in the first group stage, he played against SuperNova, pal, and TargA in the second group stage. His match against SuperNova was not originally planned to be featured, however due to delays to the DIMAGA vs. Flash series, it was casted on the main stream. Despite losing the series 0-2, his performance was impressive regardless and was mentioned in the TL.net tournament recap. After defeating pal and TargA 2-0 each, he advanced to the third group stage to play against three notable Koreans, Jaedong, CranK, and ForGG. After winning only a single game in the group against Jaedong, Serral was eliminated before reaching the bracket stage.
Legacy of the Void
On October 20, Serral took part in the first Take's Penthouse Party, a smaller version of the popular HomeStory Cup tournaments. Serral cruised through the winners' bracket, facing off against HeRoMaRinE in the finals. The Finnish Zerg took down the German Terran player 4-1, earning Serral a lion's share of the $4,350 prize pool.
In January, Serral qualified for the IEM Season XI - World Championship. In the final qualifiers he dropped down to the losers' bracket in the first round, but was able to hold on, eventually defeating Elazer 3-0 to qualify for the main event. At the Spodek Arena, Serral topped his group with a 4-1 match score, making his way to the quarterfinals. There he met Dark and lost 0-3, ending his run.
Having qualified for WCS Jönköping, Serral started out directly in the third group stage. He topped his group with a map score of 4-1, taking down MaNa and Scarlett. He made his way from the Ro16 all the way to the grand finals, defeating Stephano, PtitDrogo and Elazer, and dropping only a single map on the way. In the finals he met the North American Protoss Neeb. The two had met less than two months prior at the WCS Austin quarterfinals, where Neeb had been the victor with a 3-1 score. The two traded blows, taking the series all the way to the last map but in the end it was Neeb who emerged victorious from game 7. With a 3-4 loss, Serral had make do with a silver medal. The second place finish would also eventually prove to be his best WCS result of the year.
On September 30, Serral played in TaKe's Penthouse Party 3. He went 2-1 in his group, earning a spot in the quarterfinals. In the playoffs, he defeated Kelazhur, Solar and Harstem on his way to the finals, where he met Solar again. The Splyce Zerg player defeated Serral 4-1 in the rematch.
Serral qualified for the 2017 WCS Global Finals in third place, with 4730 WCS Points. It was his first ever Global Finals appearance. He was placed in Group D with INnoVation, GuMiho and TRUE. He lost two matches against GuMiho, 0-2 and 1-2 respectively, but won his match against TRUE 2-0. With the loss in the decider match against GuMiho, he was unable to advance from the Global Playoffs and didn't play on the BlizzCon stage.
Following BlizzCon, Serral participated in the WESG qualifier in Barcelona. Serral placed second in his group, his only loss against ShoWTimE. He was able to advance from the Ro12 against Majestic, and took down uThermal in the quarterfinals. Following a quick 3-0 semifinal victory against Elazer, Serral met Nerchio in the finals. He defeated the Polish Zerg player with a 4-0 clean sweep, earning himself both his first offline victory of 2017 and his largest prize pool yet.
Starting the year, Serral participated in the WCS Leipzig qualifier. Because the tournament organizer had inadvertently drawn up the brackets wrong, Serral at first thought he had qualified for the main event. After the admins caught the issue, Serral, along with the other players in the playoffs, was forced to play his matches again. In the revised bracket, he took down Harstem 3-0, followed by defeating Nerchio likewise 3-0. In the finals he met Elazer, and the Polish Zerg player was able to finally stop Serral's run. Nevertheless, Serral held on to his qualification spot for Leipzig.
At Leipzig proper, Serral started out in the third group stage. An all-Zerg group, he took down Stephano and Namshar to advance to the round-of-16. Once in the playoffs, he was able to advance to the grand finals by taking down MaSa, Nerchio and SpeCial, only losing a single map on the way. In the finals he met ShoWTimE, the German hometown favorite. Serral first took the series to 3-0, with ShoWTimE not able to keep up in the longer macro games. On match point, Serral moved to more aggressive openings, trying to catch the German Protoss off-guard. Much to Serral's chagrin, ShoWTimE was able to hold fast against the Zerg aggression for two games in a row, bringing the score to 3-2. In the sixth map, Serral was able to finally close out the series, winning his first ever Premier title and a guaranteed spot to BlizzCon 2018.
Having qualified for IEM Pyeongchang in December 2017, Serral was placed against the Colombian Zerg eGGz in the bracket. The Finn won his first match in a clean sweep 3-0, and advanced to play against Scarlett. The Canadian Zerg player was able to turn the tables on Serral, taking the series 3-1 and ending Serral's Pyeongchang run in the quarterfinals.
At IEM Katowice Serral participated in the offline qualifiers in the Ro76. He played in Bracket #2 on the first day. He plowed through his bracket, winning three matches in a row, and ensuring himself a spot in the main group stage of the tournament. There he played five matches in Group C. Serral took down Rogue, Impact, Neeb, Zest and Nerchio in a row, only losing two maps on the way, and securing his spot in the quarterfinals. Facing Trap for the semifinals spot, Serral lost the first two games, but clawed his way back from the 0-2 position to win the series 3-2.
On championship Sunday, Serral was pitted against Classic in the Ro4. The Protoss opened the first game with a strong unscouted charge-zealot push, catching Serral wholly unprepared. In the second game it was Serral who opted for an all-in, flooding zerglings into Classic's base. The Protoss was not fazed, however, and with a strong build and a good defense, was able to repel Serral's attacks. The third game was slightly longer than the first two, but in the end Classic's stronger tech was able to overcome Serral's lurker-heavy style. With a 0-3 result, Serral was unable to advance past the semifinals.
Nine days after IEM Serral took part in the WESG 2017 tournament. In group stages 1 and 2 he would face notable non-Koreans such as ShoWTimE, Elazer and Bly, but Serral would not drop a single map in the six series he played before playoffs. After going 15-0 Serral was seeded to play against Neeb in the quarterfinals. The beginning of the first two games started out strong for the Protoss opponent, but Serral managed to crawl back into the games with his harassment that kept Neeb on his own side of the map. Serral would then finish off the series with ling aggression to take himself to play against Maru, who had only dropped one game before facing Serral. In their lengthy series against each other the top Terran 3-0'd Serral with great usage of ravens and ghosts being a noticeable part of it. As a result Serral faced Classic in the 3rd-place match, where after the rocky start he was able to take revenge from their IEM series. In games two and three using the hydra-lurker composition, and then starving out the Protoss eventually in late game in the fourth and final match.
- He is the only player along with Nerchio to qualify for all of the four 2017 WCS Circuit Events through the European Qualifiers.
- He is the only player to have won all of the WCS Circuit Tournaments in a single year: he achieved this in 2018 beating his previous record (shared with Neeb) of 3 out of 4 in 2017.
- If not for his second place in 2018 WCS Leipzig Challenger he would have won all the WCS Challengers and Main Events of 2018.
- He and Neeb are the only non-korean players to have obtained the Triple Crown.
- He is the only non-Korean player to have reached and won a WCS Global Finals in 2018.
- Joona was included (along with his older brother, Jonne "Protosser" Sotala) in a Finnish magazine show "Ajankohtainen Kakkonen", in a short documentary about competitive video gaming.
- Joona also plays golf with his older brother Protosser and their father.
- He is the younger brother of Jonne "Protosser" Sotala, who also plays Zerg.
- Serral has faced Protoss in seven Premier finals, with a 6-1 record.
- Serral is the only non-Korean player to have two Triple Crowns.
- On October 31, 2021 he played a 3h50m Bo7 series against Trap in the PiG Sty Festival 1 Semifinals: he ended up winning the series 4-3.
- Serral is the only player to win four consecutive HomeStory Cups (18, 19, 20, 21), which also makes him the player with the most HomeStory Cup wins
2018: Hints of greatness vs the Year of Serral
Reynor and Serral first met on a big stage at WCS Valencia, in the Quarterfinals. Serral was the favourite and went on to defeat the newcomer, who had recently become of eligible age to participate in WCS, with a clean 3-0 to later claim the Title. In the following, last WCS 2018 Stop, Montreal, they met again in the Finals. For Reynor, BlizzCon 2018 was on the line; he would only get the qualification spot if he won the Title. For Serral, his perfect 2018 run and bragging rights as undisputed #1 WCS player were at risk. This time around, it was much closer. Reynor was up 3-2 but blew his lead to narrowly lose 4-3, due to a horrible throw in the 6th game. In the collective minds of the fans, this was just the conclusion of the expected performance. Serral then went on to win the Reynor-less BlizzCon 2018.
2019: The Rivalry heats up
The first 2019 WCS event was a two-region split event between Americas and EU. In the EU the rivalry finally heated up, as Reynor defeated the undefeated Champion of 2018 twice, first in the Round Robin Group Stage and again in the Final, to win his first premier Tournament. For the final game, Reynor used a hidden +1 Zergling all-in to overwhelm his opponent. He later stated that the built was poorly executed and he tried to improve on his general play. The two next met at WCS Spring in the Semifinals. This time Reynor tried to keep up in straight-up games, but ultimately failed to do so, and lost 3-0 to the eventual Champion of the tournament.
At WCS Summer the Rivals once again met in the grand finals, where Serral looked far superior to Reynor in the first half of the match. Reynor forgot Roach speed in game 1 and 3 and was harshly punished for that. Serral, on the other hand, failed with a Roach-all-in in game 2. In Game 4, Serral looked like he was on the way to a 3-1, pulling Reynor apart with his End-game composition plus Nydus harass. Reynor, down in every aspect of the game, was finally able to pay back for the crushing defeat one year earlier in Montreal and went for the "the YOLO move, F2 A-move, and it worked", unsieging all his Lurkers at the same time and devastating the natural of his opponent. Rattled by that loss, Serral was uncharacteristically sloppy afterwards, and Reynor took the remaining games to finally win his first WCS proper.
At the last WCS Stop ever, and of 2019, the two once again met in the finals, already guaranteeing that the winner of the Serral-Reynor match-up won every WCS Event from 2019 (apart from Winter NA). Serral made short work of the youngster once again, taking a decisive 4-1 victory. With all WCS tournaments done, Serral was still widely considered to be the more dominant of the two. His wins were more convincing, as he won all EU Qualifier Matches pretty one-sidedly and was more consistent in Global Events over the year, like IEM Katowice (Top 8 vs eliminated in Open Bracket), Asus Rog (Top 4 vs eliminated in Group Stage 2) and GSLvsTW (1st vs Ro16).
That's why Serral was, despite his losses earlier that year, still considered the favourite when they once again clashed at the BlizzCon 2019 Semifinals. In this series, Reynor relied less on tricks and gimmicky plays than before and was able to pull off the victory, withstanding Serral in straight-up games. Serral lost in a narrow 3-2 and went out with a (for his standards) disappointing 4th place. Reynor went on to become the youngest ever BlizzCon Grandfinalist, where he lost to Dark and finished in 2nd place.
But the year wasn't over yet. At HSC XX Reynor looked once again more dominant than his Finnish counterpart, getting to the Grand Final relatively unhassled. On the other hand, Serral had to fight tooth and nail in the Lower Bracket to get to his awaiting Rival. Serral's game was fierce, as he demolished everyone who stood in his way to get his BlizzCon revenge. Reynor's Winners' Advantage gave him a 2nd life, meaning Serral had to defeat him twice: 3-2 in a Bo5, and then 2-1 in a Bo3 to get the job done.
They clashed once more at Nationwars 2019, where Serral took 2 Maps off Reynor, bringing his Finnish team to the Final to beat South Korea, sending Reynor and his fellow Italians to the 3rd Place Match, where they defeated Clem and his French team.
2020: Rivalry at the top continues
In 2019 the two rivals came closer and closer in terms of skill level with every encounter. The beginning of 2020 seemed more reminiscent to the beginning of 2019 however. Reynor ultimately failed to get out of his IEM Katowice Group Stage, while Serral went on to finish top 4 in the event.
In the following Online-only world of Covid-19, the two met in the TSL5 Lower Bracket, sent there by HeRoMaRinE and Elazer respectively. Reynor took that Series 3-2 but later lost to INnoVation, ending his run. At the first online version of the HSC, the StayAtHomestory Cup #1, Reynor failed to reach his Rival awaiting in the Semifinals with a loss to Solar in the Ro8. In the 2nd instalment they clashed in the 2nd group stage, where Serral beat Reynor once again.
At the first Premier online competition of 2020, the newly established DH Masters Summer EU Division, the two met in the Upper Bracket Semifinals, where Serral won narrowly 3-2. Reynor then proceeded to destroy the Lower Bracket, mirroring Serrals HSC XX run from 8 months prior. In the finals, the two met once again, this time with Reynor out-multitasking Serral in dominant fashion and taking the series 4-1. With these results both Players advanced to the Summer Final where Reynor fell to Trap in the Semis, while Serral proceeded to win the Global Event. In the winners interview he stated, he was a bit sad, that he didn t face Reynor there, as he wanted revenge for the earlier loss.
Less than a month later the two Zergs met again in the Douyu Cup. They, once again, met in the Upper Bracket final, despite a strong field of Koreans (7 Code S - Round of 8 Players where also invited). And just like in DH Summer EU Serral had the upper hand there, sending Reynor to the lower Bracket. There the young Italian met Zest again, whom he defeatet 3-0 earlier in his run. The Korean Protoss delivered a way closer fight this time and almost denied another Serral - Reynor Final, going out 3-4. In the Grand Final, the Rematch Curse stroke once again, with Reynor winning another Final over his rival. With that Reynor ties the head to head record in Premier Tournaments finals 4-4.
Interviews and notable Matches
Matches & VODs
First Person View Match VODS
|as||10 - 0||100 %||4 - 0||100 %||13 - 2||86.7 %||0 - 0||-||27 - 2||93.1 %|
|as||843 - 308||73.2 %||709 - 310||69.6 %||884 - 414||68.1 %||13 - 3||81.3 %||2449 - 1035||70.3 %|
|as||7 - 0||100 %||2 - 1||66.7 %||18 - 2||90 %||0 - 0||-||27 - 3||90 %|
1v1 Medal Statistics