We might as well give up on trying to do analysis or use any form of logic or reason, this Season is simply out of control.
Warning: Spoilers Ahead, Obviously.
It makes sense we're just living in a simulation at this point, PartinG has made it to the Code S Ro8 in the year 2019 and not only that he did it by coming out in 1st place without even getting to play the most beatable opponent for him in the entire Group, get me out.
Out of all the remaining would-be-monsters, it was honestly a little surprising that 2nd place ended up going over to soO – considering his nemesis and TvP master Dear was still there & the fact GuMiho had been on a roll – but the Zerg's dedication to the "fuck this game" mentality caught his opponents completely offguard and as a direct result allowed him to reach the next round without really revealing any actual builds.
GuMiho < 1 : 2 > PartinG | Playing with a wet towel
The start to the day on King's Cove was so promising in hindsight it makes the whole night in its entirety that much worse. PartinG came out with a nifty proxy Gate play that significantly slowed down his opponent and then proceeded to style on the Terran with some vintage Blink Stalker play. Primarily through these moves the Protoss established the pace of the game and was up on bases/economy throughout it. There were quite a few over-extensions from PartinG disguised as pressure but he was mostly losing Gateway units i.e. it didn't really end up mattering and GuMiho looked unable or unwilling to counter attack throughout the course of the map, the game literally took place almost entirely on his side of it. You can frame it however you'd like, but the Protoss player definitely was faster and stronger in every area up to the point he caught GuMiho trying to switch into BCs while down 50ish supply, which snowballed the game into a win for the underdog.
Don't worry, though, it's all downhill from here pretty much. To be fair there was certainly some visible adaptation done on New Repugnancy from the Terran, mainly when he decided to put the CC inside the safety of his own base and also doing much better against the Blink pressure this time around, barely losing anything. PartinG, on the other hand, kept playing as if his opponent would never move out which is why when the Terran did versus the greedy build of his opponent there was literally nothing the Protoss could do to make him turn around and avoid giving up the set against GuMiho's army which marched across the map and smashed him.
Kairos Junction looked like it would deliver to wrap this match up, with PartinG going for an interesting early Gate and doing some cute pressure that definitely did its job. What's better, GuMiho even had a little sneaky attack of his own using Marauders which ended up getting 9 Probes killed and basically immediately snowballed the game completely to his favor. Always remember, though, when behind Dark Shrine. It seemed the Towel Terran had forgotten the age old saying, as he wasted consecutive scans to not kill an Observer and then in order to satisfy Murphy's Law we got to see a few Cloaked boys walk into both his mineral lines and instantly end the game. When your opponent has literally one last out they could try to put themselves out of a shitty situation, it's just ridiculous you would let them (reminded me of the last map of the final from last season, where Maru didn't die to a few DTs for no reason).
Dear < 0 : 2 > soO | This month's salary on black
It's a scary day when soO is the severe underdog heading into a match, which is why the decision to go for a Nydus all in – a build he doesn't do almost ever – is something I was completely in support of. The fast execution definitely caught Dear sleeping and as a result he had next to no units when the flood of Lings and Queens breached his main, sealing the deal immediately.
The second game on Kairos Junction, though, although also incorporated the spirit of "fuck actually playing against this guy" was so winnable for the Protoss despite that it felt unreal. The fact Dear halfheartedly micro-ed his units around made me question if the incredible PvZ hold from last season he'd done was a fluke or whether we were getting to see a much worse version of the Protoss player today (lets put it this way, Dark would have never lost to this Dear). Regardless, soO's Roaches, Lings and Ravagers did tons of damage to the Protoss player – who honestly looked mentally checked out, regardless of technically surviving – and the relentless pressure from the Zerg bought him enough time to switch into Mutas at which point his opponent instantly tapped out, seeing as Immortals don't shoot up. All in all an incredibly disappointing second map from Dear here, considering what we know he's capable of, the tilt was strong.
soO < 1 : 2 > PartinG | Painful to watch
With two consecutive upsets out of the way, it was now time for one of these players to win the lottery i.e. get to play against Hurricane in the Ro8 instead of Classic. It was honestly amazing to watch PartinG attempt to reignite the Immortal all in magic on Kairos Junction, as he basically flew his Warp Prism into a group of Queens and watched his push instantly evaporate, considering he had only one Hero unit left and next to no army having decided to go as soon as humanly possible off two bases. Nothing says a player renowned for his micro and build orders "is back" more than watching him lose his most important unit instantly while doing a questionable push.
In order to truly remind us this was the 2019 version of PartinG we were watching, on King's Cove it was time for a Cannon Rush into Robo proxy, which funnily enough looked like it surprised soO – I don't know why that would be the case, though, considering the Protoss player's preferred style in the matchup – and so the Zerg basically died almost immediately off the back of this "shocking" strat from his opponent.
The horror show on New Repugnancy was nothing short of unbelievable, from soO just randomly taking his third base before his natural while still taking both of them before the 2 minute mark against one of the cheesiest players in the tournament to PartinG deciding his build from Kairos was so good he would do it again. To my utter shock and disappointment, I had to watch the Protoss just stroll his army between the Zerg's two expansions uncontested (wonder why the creep wasn't connected as well as it could have been…) & get to use Force Fields as if we were playing Wings of Liberty. soO then basically watched his third/second base get ravaged for a little over a minute, which let PartinG build up his forces and ultimately push into his crippled opponent and steal away the preferable spot in the Ro8 in what can only be described as an absolutely incredible shitshow of a game.
Dear < 0 : 2 > GuMiho | Like a Protoss in headlights
Would the real Dear please stand up? Sitting down quite firmly on King's Cove, the Protoss player allowed a pair of Hellions to tag team with a Marauder/Reaper pair that together ended up killing 12 of his Probes extremely early into the game. The follow up Banshee that couldn't get shot down due to its Cloak secured another 4 worker kills for GuMiho and even got a Sentry, which made his follow-up push on the third look unstoppable despite using just two Tanks and a handful of other units, yet the game ended instantly all the same as the Protoss tapped out unable to keep up.
We got to relieve some classic horror on Thunderbird, where Dear seemed uninterested in keeping his workers alive, leaving the front gate open for GuMiho's Hellions (which got 10 Probe kills to kick things off in style). The fact the third CC was put down before the third Nexus said it all after that, but watching Dear walk Colossi into sieged Liberators after a weird drop from the Towel Terran on his expansion was something else too. GuMiho stayed basically up a base for the rest of the game, was almost always around 30 supply ahead and even got to use Cloaked Ghosts to turn a losing fight around since Dear's Observers looked to be infinitely out of position. Down nearly 100 supply by the end, one of the best PvT players in the world tapped out one last time and as a result went out of today's Group 0-4, absolutely extraordinary.
| soO < 2 : 0 >
GuMiho | Get me out
Basically repeating his ZvP build from Kairos Junction against his previous opponent, soO looked to be completely oblivious of the current matchup as he marched his Roaches across the map to punish the greedy decision from the Terran to wall off a lot more forward than you would on other maps (though to be fair, at this point it felt like soO was just done with trying to play normal for the night, not necessarily an attack triggered due to GuMiho's wall position). By the end of the initial onslaught it was 32 workers to 10 in favor of the Zerg, which of course meant the game was over but the Towel Terran used Banshees to prolong his suffering until the Mutas came out to get him out of the game.
Turbo Cruise '84 after that featured a proxy Barracks build from the Terran that was unfortunately put on top of the first Overlord's scout path and soO's perfect drone pull stopped 2/3 of the buildings from completing which meant the game was already over – leaving us to wonder why you would even pick this map if you were going to do a strategy that doesn't even utilize the features of the terrain at all. A brilliantly underwhelming ending to – at best – quite a mediocre day of sub-GSL-level games.
The season of upsets continues. I definitely think this was supposed to be a Group of Death on paper, but the disappointing performances by pretty much everyone not named PartinG (who himself had quite a few slip ups too) really kind of ruined it for me. I think this could have been an utter banger of a day and really under-delivered in the end, the utterly underwhelming ending didn't help either.
- Match of the Night – Not even kidding, was there one full series that felt great to watch throughout its entirety? If I'm forced to pick then I'd go with soO's dissection vs Dear, considering the nemesis status of his opponent and how the Zerg finally decided "you know what, I'm probably not gonna beat this guy in a regular game, lets see what I can do". On a side note I think he should have done something like this a long time ago, there are just certain opponents you're not going to get over if you stick to your normal style so I'm glad he finally adapted here at least.
Finally, here are some of my Takeaways from Group B for each player:
PartinG is going to play against Hurricane again to potentially make a Ro4 in a Korean tournament and the worst part is this time it's a GSL Code S. If this isn't proof that we need either a) better seeding or b) reseeding or c) the idea to give players control over Ro16 Groups isn't always ideal – I don't know what is. Considering the players that are knocked out already, it feels like a joke one of these guys is going to make a Semi before likely getting utterly smashed there, but you know what? It's not their fault. PartinG and Hurricane beat everyone they could in front of them, played to the best of their ability and won. At the end of the day this is what all these upsets result in, which is why having underdogs win in very unlikely circumstances has always been short term excitement for what most times ends up being long term disappointment.
soO both started and ended the day so well that it feels amazing how badly he screwed up his run here despite those facts. Instead of having to deal with first time Ro8 participant Hurricane in the next round, now he has to face Classic i.e. the best player left in the tournament and the guy who knocked him out pretty much without any real contest in the Ro16 of the Super Tournament. And all of this because he couldn't beat PartinG in two out of three games, despite his opponent going for the same build in two of those games. I think the Kong of Kongs is really going to be kicking himself for his performance, this was going to end up being the easiest Ro8 into Ro4 of his career and now he might get knocked clean out for basically no good reason.
Dear didn't have it in him today, his play felt labored all night long and it just looked like there was no fight left in the Protoss by the end of both his matches. I honestly considered him a strong favorite to get out in first place after getting such a favorable Group set up for himself – his main weakness being PvP and his victim soO on a silver platter in the opening match against him – so the fact he lost 0-4 is simply abysmal. If anything, I thought he wouldn't win this Code S due to some monster like Stats or Classic getting in his way, this is just such an unbelievable and incredibly disappointing way to go down in the context that you're considered one of the best TvP players in the world & in addition get to style on an easy rival to open the day up in your favor. It can't be emphasized enough how much of an upset these results are, there's a reason Dear himself couldn't believe what had happened by the end.
GuMiho is likely going to skate under a lot of criticism today because he wasn't as disappointing, but if you're being honest you definitely have to give him more than a little shit as well. From losing the opening game he'd basically already won vs PartinG of all people – who he monstered in the Super Tournament, it wasn't even close there – to going quietly into the night after presenting no threat to a far from unbeatable soO (by picking a weird map and going for a random proxy rax build no less, get me out). More and more it's starting to feel like the Super Tournament was one incredible overperformance from the Towel Terran, his play today just didn't look like a Ro8 worthy performance and it's a shame because people were shitting the bed all day long, this was an extremely winnable group in hindsight considering how everyone showed up today, going out here – even if it ended up being to soO – definitely has to feel more disappointing than not.
Keep in mind these are just my observations & I definitely went a little harder than usual on today's clown fiesta, which honestly felt warranted. As always, if you feel differently let everyone know why in the comments below.
Catch you back next week, when we'll hopefully get to watch some actual GSL level games!
Thanks as always for reading & see you when I see you! (:
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