GSL Code S 2019 S1 Ro16 | Group A Quick Recap

starcraft 5 - GSL Code S 2019 S1 Ro16 | Group A Quick Recap

GSL is finally back with the Ro16, featuring one of the weakest Groups Assembled in recent memory & we still managed to rock the ship. You know how the Casting Archon likes to remind you to get your boats ready? Well, if you're a Maru / Jin Air / Terran apologist, make sure to have your excuses ready, because I'll be going hard on this one.

Warning: Spoilers Ahead, Obviously.

Bunny – who was fortunate to even make it into this round and was technically "first" picked along with Impact as one of the two worst players in the Ro16 by the 3x GSL Champion – made his way out in 1st place while demonstrating why arrogance is a bitch. During the final match of the day, in the 11th hour Artosis brought out his infamous Curse in order to rescue Maru & prevent the humiliation the GSL Champion would have suffered if he had been defeated by both of the players he himself had decided would give him the easiest wins out of everyone.

Bunny's amazing Cinderella run gets prolonged in the most unlikely fashion imaginable

I need to emphasize this – the guy had never taken a map off Maru before today. The mental toughness it takes to not roll over and die in this scenario is indescribable. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

To get into the winner's match the Terran had to get one over in the most hotly debated and dreaded matchup right now, but thanks to how relatively weak Group A ended up being due to the GSL Champion's picks, Bunny wasn't up against one of the toughest opponents he could have gotten either – instead, he only had to take down Patience. In a series that looked closer than it actually was, Bunny pretty comfortably took the 2-1 after he stopped letting the Protoss player use his own Mines as the main source of splash damage against the Terran army.

Right about here would have been the part where I briefly mention how Maru completely stomped the massive underdog in the winner's match and then proceed to explain what Bunny had to end up doing in the final match of the day to make it out of this group – but that's not what happened today. After going down a game in the series – which just to briefly mention didn't look remotely close, Bunny was completely and utterly outplayed on the first map – a chain of unlikely events was started off by the 3x GSL Champion's inane decision to proxy after he himself had declared that playstyle obsolete. While a lot of people would have crumbled regardless in that scenario, Bunny decided to take this generous lifeline and milk it for everything it was worth, eventually locking down the second map of the series & dealing a giant blow to Maru's ego. Speaking of which, in spite of it being obvious to everyone and their grandmothers watching that the only rational way to approach the final map would be to go back to playing standard, the 3x GSL Champion's arrogance prevailed and he decided to proxy again. Bunny took full advantage of this gifted opportunity again and beat down the massive favorite one more time & his pants' belt looked loose as hell in the winner's interview.

Maru avoids having to swim back home to Jin Air's Team House by clutching his way to the Ro8

Here's a simple guide on being any player's fan – ignore every result you don't like and preach how the only ones that count are those where he performed at the peak of his ability. We've all been guilty of this in the past & will surely be guilty of it again in the future. That said, I'd still love to hear someone explain away Maru's complete collapse of judgement against Bunny and how he almost pulled a Solar by losing to a player he'd already beaten 2-0 just hours earlier.

The day started off as you would expect considering Maru himself chose who his opponent would be in the Ro16. The stomp I already mentioned was swift & unsurprising for everyone involved. Furthermore, the first game in the winner's match against Bunny made it seem like vintage Maru had shown up & it would be a short day for the 3x GSL Champion. Just as the Jin Air coach was booking their tickets to the cinema, though, the King of Code S decided his opponent didn't deserve any measure of respect & he would style on poor little young Bunny to finish off the day with some sass. We already talked about how that decision went in reality. I do have to say, though, that the hubris it took to do it twice was something special, it was like watching the Prime Terrans of old playing.

In spite of the critical error of judgement he made, Maru got rewarded with Impact as his final opponent of the day, however by that point neither player looked the same. I would dare to even say that at many points in those last few games Maru played scared. I think he realized – just like we did, as we held our collective breath on that final map of the series – just how close he was to getting knocked out in the Ro16 by his own hand. No disrespect to Impact – in fact, I'll be commending him in his own dedicated paragraph a bit later – but the one in charge of the course of every single game he played today was without a doubt Maru. In that regard, being clutch and having ungodly mechanics is a great recipe to pull through when the going gets tough and fortunately for everyone the GSL Champion ended up living to fight another day.

Patience and Impact unfortunately end up regressing to the mean

It's a very unkind way of summing it up, but as you were watching Patience lose that final game against Impact via a successfully failed cannon rush – there's no better way of putting it, is there? He certainly had his moments today, of course – took a map off both opponents, that's more than a lot of people did even in the Ro32 – but when it counted the most he didn't have it in him to take either of Bunny or Impact out. In a group that also features Maru, that's just one player too many that you couldn't beat. I will say this though, considering how mentally shaken the GSL Champion looked in that last series of the day, it really makes me wonder "what if" – had Patience gotten that far. Alas, what could have been doesn't matter here and now, Patience will have to go back to the drawing board and return renewed for the next season (hopefully with different builds depending on the matchup).


Now lets move on to the player who isn't sleeping tonight and/or the next couple of nights – Impact's Nydus Worm placement in that final game of the day is going to haunt him. There's no way of knowing what did it – Maru's harassment, the pressure of the moment or just a simple miscalculation that could happen to anyone – but in the end the Zerg player's daring all in came back to bite him as the King of Code S recomposed himself and stopped his attack before it ever began with only moments to spare. It's really hard to be disappointed with Impact regardless of that last map, though, because it wasn't his fault Maru shit the bed in the winner's match so he had to go into the unfavorable rematch. If anything, I'm sure a lot of people have some newfound respect for the level Impact showed in those first two games where he played more or less "straight up" vs the Terran King. Lets put it this way, it's not like Impact got completely stomped 4-0 so we could just say "well, he choked this one away as well". Looking forward to his continued development in the upcoming seasons, I certainly don't think this will be his final chance to reach the Ro8 of GSL.

Here's a link to the VOD from today, the nail-biter series of the day was the fifth match but if you wanted to watch Bunny pull off another miracle instead, I wouldn't blame you.

  • Match of the Night – Like I already said, without a doubt the most tense and unpredictable rematch ended up being Maru and Impact's second clash. If anyone tells you they always knew Maru would win, they're basically full of shit, the GSL Champion looked as vulnerable as ever in this series – which is why it was so intoxicating watching him do it one more time i.e. find a way to win regardless.

Finally, here are my takeaways for the first two players advancing to the Ro8:

  • Bunny has finally made it to his first ever Quarterfinal in the GSL and the craziest part of this story is that it doesn't have to end here. To contextualize, there were two "weak" groups in the Ro16 – please don't interpret that word literally, it's the premier tournament in Seoul Korea, of course these guys aren't actually bad at the game, lets not pretend I'm saying otherwise – and our boy wonder is going to be facing whoever comes out 2nd from Group B. Here's the thing, unless Dark pulls a Maru and shits the bed, Bunny should be facing either herO – who is very tricky to play against and equally as beatable – or Dear – who has shown the capacity to fall apart when he can't front run i.e. things don't completely go his way – or Cure – who is Maru's teammate and presumably slightly worse than him at TvT. Why wouldn't the Terran underdog have a decent chance against any of those names I just listed, especially considering all the unlikely things he's already accomplished? This has been an amazing journey as is and it feels like Bunny has already faced so much adversity, but I hope he dares to dream about reaching his first ever GSL Semifinal now & makes it a reality, it's truly been a lukewarm experience to watch the guy fight for every inch he's earned in this Season of Code S.

  • Maru – for whatever reason – seems to be "regressing to the mean" in his own way. I was definitely inclined to join the army of apologists every time he bombed out of a "weekend warrior" tournament, but if we have to be honest it's become obvious that we're quickly running out of excuses at this point, aren't we? You would think with the Jin Air machine behind him he'd be a little more disciplined when it comes to the tournament that'll inevitably be linked to his name now and forever in the history books. Say what you want about how unreasonably often people bring up Mvp's name when discussing the greatest players of all time, but one of his best qualities was accurately and reasonably picking out the perfect build orders for his situation (especially when he wasn't at his best). It feels like Maru did/does the exact opposite a little too often & relied on his incredible mechanical skill and talent today to bail him out of trouble. The problem with being so gifted is that you can take things for granted. None of this means Maru won't come back looking like the 3x GSL Champion we know he is in the next round, but the question is starting to form – can he actually repeat what he did in 2018? I think a lot of people thought so, but the games he showed today are making me have some doubts. Lets put it this way, the people who are the most mad about Maru's performance today aren't Impact and Patience – the people really mad are the likes of TY and Rogue, because if this version of Maru had come up against them there would be no 3x GSL Championships to speak of. When you deliver greatness on such a consistent basis it becomes an expectation – from your fans, but more importantly it should become so from yourself. It's not cool to coast on talent if you could've been the greatest player ever, is it? Lets see if Maru agrees and sets even more records by the time this season of Code S is finished or decides to go back to just being a very good player, only occasionally peaking to the heights we know he's more than capable of.

Keep in mind these are just my observations. If you caught something I missed / think differently, feel free to express yourself as well in the comments below. I'm a very opinionated individual as I'm sure you can tell by now & I like to call it as I see it without much sugar coating.

In any case, thanks as always for reading & catch you again for tomorrow's ridiculous Group of Death!


P.S. Here are the links to every other Quick Recap I've done so far for 2019's S1 of GSL Code S


Group A | Group B | Group C | Group D | Group E | Group F | Group G | Group H

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