10 Defining Esports Moments of 2016

Neeb vs. Trap at the Kespa Cup Grand Final

We've seen esports grow in fits and starts over the past decade, but we've yet to see a year with such strong momentum as 2016

We've seen esports grow in fits and starts over the past decade, but we've yet to see a year with such strong momentum as 2016

Neeb becomes the first Non-Korean to win a Korean 'StarCraft II' tournament

The cradle of esports civilization is South Korea. Here, years ago, StarCraft: Brood War filled stadiums and airport hangars with screaming fans. Today, in StarCraft II and League of Legends, South Korean players reign supreme. Non-Koreans do not win tournaments in Korea. Certainly not StarCraft tournaments. Not since 2000, when Guillaume "Grrrr..." Patry scraped out a win in a Brood War event. It just doesn't happen.

Until Neeb, that is. Alex "Neeb" Sunderhaft, proud New Yorker and Protoss player, won the 2016 KeSPA Cup 4-0 over Cho "Trap" Sung Ho in a spirited, lopsided romp.

You can argue that StarCraft II is on the downswing, with KeSPA discontinuing Proleague (the world's longest-running esports league) in 2017. But that doesn't change the fact that Neeb, on October 3rd, did what all previous non-Korean StarCraft II stars had failed to do – he beat the masters of the sport at their own game.