GSL Code S 2019 S1 Ro8 | Day 1 Quick Recap

starcraft 4 - GSL Code S 2019 S1 Ro8 | Day 1 Quick Recap

The kickoff to GSL's Ro8 was nothing short of brutal.

Warning: Spoilers Ahead, Obviously.

We witnessed an absolutely vicious and painfully predictable one sided clinic put on by Dark to start the day off in style & then had to endure through yet another clash between Rogue and seemingly the entire universe conspiring against him – which had taken the shape of Classic in the physical realm – for what is now the 10th time the Zerg has made it to the Ro8 and failed to move on in the GSL/SSL.

| Dark vs Bunny | The dream run is brought to its inevitable end

"Overachiever" is often perceived as an insult, especially by people who choose to ignore context and sometimes reality itself. What's great about unlikely runs or upsets in general for me is that they remind you nothing is really impossible, as long as you do your best, provided the right circumstances present themselves. It's unfortunately very easy to get misled by an anomaly or two and start buying into results that would clearly be designated as flukes, if only we could not get caught up in the excitement of the moment. In that regard, Bunny had so many things go right for him during this Season it felt unreal, opportunity after opportunity presented itself and to his credit the Terran took all of them without hesitation. One by one everyone in his path – regardless of their name value or status – gave him a way to win and the underdog gladly ran away with it every single time.

Dark gave him nothing today, putting a long overdue end to Bunny's amazing fairy tale story.

  • The Zerg's boats Roaches were ready to get some work done on Port Alexander, pressuring Bunny into making only one Battlecruiser for his own rush and distracting him from the fact Dark was droning as greedily as possible behind the attack. While some sleek moves from the Terran's harassment certainly helped prolong the game, the difference in economy got even wider as Dark's counterattacks sabotaged the third base for Bunny and definitely helped keep the Tank count manageable throughout the game. The Zerg teched up in terms of upgrades, added more melee units to his composition, utilized a late Nydus and eventually made some Vipers & Ultralisks to close the show with a stellar combination of all the aforementioned weapons, by which point he was covering more than half the map in creep and Bunny had nowhere left to go.

  • To the underdog's credit, the Terran didn't opt to do the predictable thing and just Proxy Rax out of desperation on Kairos Junction, which would have never worked against Dark's own fast aggression. This time the Zerg went for an even more powerful Roach/Ravager timing just off two Hatcheries and while Bunny looked ready for it, the Terran was caught with his pants down when he failed to repair his Bunker and generally took way too much damage, considering just like before Dark was droning heavily behind the attack. From there, once again the Zerg's lead only grew throughout the game – the map became slowly but surely covered almost entirely in creep – things never looked out of his control and in an almost identical conclusion to the game Bunny eventually tapped out, helpless against Dark's swarm.

  • King's Cove became the last ditch attempt to change something up and find a way to win by the Terran. Dark once again opened aggressively, but this time the weapon of choice were Lings, which did some decent damage despite great micro shown by Bunny, but very importantly didn't really manage to slow down the Terran's plan. Speaking of which, the madman built a bunch of Hellbats and paired them with a cloaked Banshee & sprinted across the map to do his best GuMiho impression. Unfortunately, that's where Dark's multitasking and counterattack came in one more time to put the cherry on top as he devastated Bunny's expansion, killing three times more workers and eventually cleaning up the Terran army that had attacked him all the same. Bunny kept building Banshees, went into an older version of Mech and did his best to find a chink in Dark's armor, but today the Zerg was bulletproof. Dark once gain took full control of the map, expanded an unreasonable amount of times and adjusted his composition continuously throughout the game to systematically dismantle the Terran & secure his spot in the Semifinals.

| Rogue vs Classic | A nightmare this Zerg can't seem to wake up from

Hope is a bitch.

I felt nothing while watching Rogue go down a map against one of the most beatable opponents for him in recent memory, because the only thought in my head at that point was "here we go again". But then we saw the Zerg do something astouding, he actually won the next two maps in a row and in convincing fashion & looked ready to slay the "demons" haunting him since early 2015. That's when the dreaded thing we call "hope" came knocking on our collective door, because I'm sure what a lot of us were thinking was that this would be it at that point. Rogue had won 10 out of the last 11 maps in offline bo3+ matches he'd previously played against Classic, surely in such a powerful position he could close this out. To make matters even better, the Protoss player's only win in the series so far had come off uncharacteristic cheese and the Jin Air Zerg still had two chances to get it done. The former World Champion, the former IEM Katowice Champion. Not only would he beat Classic here, but then also smash Dark in the Semi, reach his first ever GSL Final and maybe even win it, considering he's never lost a Final, freeing himself from the burden of the past. Right?

As the former GSL Champion was mercilessly taking the fourth map away from Rogue, that all too familiar sinking feeling – loosely associated with the realization that history repeats itself because no one was listening the first time – hit me (and probably Rogue as well) like a truck.

  • What we got to see on New Repugnancy was Classic starting to show us the difference between playing a series you've planned for a very long time and just going off comfort for the most part in weekend warrior tournaments. The Protoss didn't do what was expected of him – play standard, macro, predictable – instead he put on his Has cape & started putting down buildings inside the Zerg base and building Immortals there. Suffice to say, Rogue was caught off guard and got completely dismantled. As the age old saying goes, "when macro player, sometimes cheese". Beautiful planning and execution, really set the tone for the series and made it clear to the Zerg a long day would be ahead of him.

  • The winds seemingly kept blowing in Classic's general direction on King's Cove, certainly at the start of the map at least. The Protoss kept building Oracles and killing Drones for an unreasonably long amount of time, to the point where I think he got slightly too carried away having fun and forgot he still needed to end the game. At around 9 minutes Classic's true forces finally arrived at the Jin Air base, but by that point Rogue's Lurkers were morphing, he had a good amount of units himself to defend with and so the "finishing move" ended up backfiring as the Protoss lost the majority of his expensive units & was now stuck playing the Zerg's game for the rest of the map. Rogue comfortably built a billion more Lurkers, even more Spores, added Infestors and Vipers & pretty much set up an unbreakable position, which the Protoss ironically tried to bust through while clumping his units and as a direct result got wiped out, giving the Zerg a way back into the series.

  • The problem Classic ran into on Automaton is that he tried getting a little too fancy & Rogue was wide awake for this game. The plan to go for double Immortals, Archons and Warp Prisms with a Shield Battery "outpost" just outside the Zerg's main was more than a little too ambitious, got caught too early and overall felt sort of telegraphed. Rogue kept his composure, riding high off that late game win, and defended perfectly to go up in the series and put himself within arm's reach of overcoming a burden he's had to carry around for the past 4+ years. Only smooth sailing from here, no?

  • When I saw the Proxy Stargate on Cyber Forest my stupid little heart started beating fast, because I thought to myself "this is how Protoss players lose one of their most important buildings, and as a result the game, all the time". Today, however, for "whatever" reason Rogue's defense against Oracle harassment was something else. Even though the Zerg found the proxy realistically as soon as possible, he still took a stupid amount of damage to his economy and what's worse is that Classic perfectly followed it up with a swift Adept push which combined with the Oracle – that lived, by the way – killed one Drone too many for the game to continue in a reasonable manner. Not at all overeager, the Protoss calmly took his third Nexus before eventually pushing into Rogue's creep to drag him kicking and screaming into the dreaded last map of the day, that he surely desperately wanted to avoid.

  • Whether you believe in "curses" or not doesn't really matter, the reality of the situation was that Rogue once again found himself at match point in the Ro8 of a tournament he'd never gone further in, despite achieving so much more elsewhere. We all knew what was coming, but you can pinpoint the exact moment the Zerg "snapped" on Port Alexander, it was when Classic dropped two High Templar out of a Warp Prism and killed 10+ workers with Storm, truly a classic. I swear in that moment it looked like some sort of switch in Rogue's head "flipped", he started furiously massing basic tier 1 units – not what he's known for at all – and ran as quickly as he could across the map, hoping against hope to win the game as fast as possible and end this nightmare. What we had to watch as a result were Immortals, Archons and Storm fighting against basic Roaches and Lings. While the numbers advantage was almost enough for the Jin Air Zerg to overwhelm the Protoss defense, the fact his economic engine was so diminished sealed his fate when he committed to the low tech attack and got comfortably deflected by Classic. In spite of a valiant effort after that & clever switch up into Swarm Hosts and even Mutas, Rogue didn't have enough time to come back – or to be more precise Classic didn't let him, as he walked across the map exactly when he should have to crush the Zerg's hopes and dreams one more time in favor of his own.

I already linked both matches from today in M1/M2 above, it was a pretty solid start to the Ro8.

  • Map of the Night – The planning from Classic today was nothing short of amazing, he showed a slightly different look in every single game and even some micro related misplays couldn't hold him back from winning because of it. If I had to pick just one map to rewatch, though, it would be Cyber Forest – balls of steel and no hesitation, after failing almost completely on the previous two maps, which makes it even more impressive for me.

Finally, here are my thoughts on the upcoming Semifinal between the two advancing players from today:

  • There hasn't been a boring series between Classic and Dark I can think of, the real winners here are going to be the fans. That said, we're once again faced with an "easy" choice if you're going off intangibles like I often do. Dark has never made it to a Code S Final and Classic is a former GSL Champion who looks to be on his way to "making it double", on the proverbial "victory lap" out of all times in his storied career. I think we may have hit our limit when it comes to people overcoming their "curses" in 2019 with soO's win at Katowice, but I genuinely hope I'm wrong because Dark has been fighting for so long and made it deep far too many times in every important tournament you can name to have so few trophies worth mentioning. This is the definition of a "coin toss" clash, though, and I'm afraid in that sort of scenario the mentally tougher player comes out on top and there can be no doubt right now that's Classic. In any case, I can't wait to see what happens next, especially between these two former teammates.

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.

See you on Saturday for the glorious PvT clashes, which will end up determining whether people will then be tuning in for the other Semifinal too or skipping straight ahead to the Final instead!


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


Group A | Group B | Group C | Group D

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