StarCraft

GSL Code S 2019 S3 | Ro32 | Group E | Quick Recap

starcraft 6 - GSL Code S 2019 S3 | Ro32 | Group E | Quick Recap
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Welcome back to the initial Round of Code S, where we put two recent finalists against each other and then make sure to add in a tricky underdog or two to boot!

That obvious jab at a flawed concept aside, Group E was still supposed to be incredibly straightforward when going off name value, seeing as the 4x Consecutive Code S Champion Maru was back from "vacation" to reclaim his throne and the only real obstacle out of his opponents today should have been pro Korean commentator TY. Nevertheless, we all remember what happened to both these elite players last season very well, meaning that taking the underdogs in this Group lightly likely wasn't in the cards for either of them & with good reason – Impact had proven himself to be quite persistent and dangerous in the Ro32 at least over the course of the year and Super had booked his ticket here off the back of beating GuMiho 4-1 in the Qualifiers implying his PvT play was ready to deliver some upsets.

I think there's one word that perfectly describes how I felt while watching this supposedly Easy Group play out – uneasy.


Warning: Spoilers Ahead, Obviously


Make sure to postpone those retirement tribute posts boys, TY put down the microphone for a day and put on the hurt to handily secure 1st place while looking like the best player here, while Maru did his best impersonation of himself to limp into the Ro16 right behind him in 2nd after having to overcome adversity from everyone all night long.



| Maru < 2 : 1 > Super | ★★☆☆☆ | Warming Up?

  • The Code S King channeled his inner One Punch Man on Thunderbird, where an overly defensive Super did a lot of staying back and not enough scouting to make it so Maru had one of the most comfortable Mech games of his career, culminating in his very first maxed out army rolling across the map to instantly demolish the duped Protoss with ease.

  • What followed on Acropolis kind of felt like the perfect storm in hindsight with Maru going back into Bio play and relying on a much weaker 2.5 base push to do serious damage, which was a problem since Super's fleet of Phoenixes combined with a few too many Colossi cleaned it up handily and then the Protoss massed up a huge Gateway army & used it to tank in order to utilize the power of Lasers to decimate the Terran defenses at what looked like an impossibly precise and deadly counter attack timing just as Maru was trying to switch up into Liberators to punish the heavy Robo play.

  • The switch up on King's Cove from the Terran to go into Mine Drops and a Raven instead of the Hellion Banshee play he'd utilized on the first two maps would end up paying off tenfold, partially thanks to his opponent's unfortunate decision to forego the Stargate tech he'd relied on so far. Having suffered a severe loss of Probes immediately from the initial harassment, it was clear Super was already behind early and the fact Maru then pushed into his third & even killed the Nexus turned things from bad to worse. While the Terran forces were cleaned up not long after in payment, Maru then really put his foot on the gas using his superior economic engine to fuel endless Drops that tore the Protoss apart pretty quickly, basically relying on pure multitasking to secure the victory.



| TY < 2 : 0 > Impact | ★★☆☆☆ | False Hope

  • The first question TY should have been asked in his winner's interview tonight is whether it hurts his back to walk around with balls that big, seeing as on Acropolis the Terran opened up with a 3x CC build into a Battlecruiser rush virtually off two Marines against one of the most aggressive Zerg players in Korea, absolutely mental. What's worse is that when he got away with it TY must have felt so good it likely spurred him on to try a Hellbat BC timing which failed pretty convincingly, but then the Terran transitioned into Mech a lot smoother than he probably should have been able to. Impact spent all this time looking incredibly confused and trying to figure the game out while relying on Ling Bane Muta which as we all know is the best way to lose any advantage you might have versus the most cost effective Terran army in existence. Nevertheless, the Zerg did get some serious damage done – to be fair, just like a lot of them do, maybe that's ironically what fuels the false belief in this composition against Mech – before ultimately exhausting himself and getting crushed under TY's iron boot.

  • A wise player from the upcoming Group H once said "I don't believe in momentum" however in my opinion that's the force that got utilized on New Repugnancy by TY to put the game completely under his control from start to finish, opting for a more aggressive Hellion Banshee build this time around which got its damage done much earlier. Impact tried his best to stabilize, even cleared the patented two Tank pressure attempt on this map from his opponent, however the price he'd paid earlier in terms of Drones would turn out to be too much as the Terran's macro went into overdrive. Speaking of which, TY once again decided it was Mech o'clock and literally by using only Banshees and Hellions made his opponent tap out due to his workers getting burned alive in every single mineral line, crushing the Zerg's very soul with his relentless pressure like an absolute savage.



| TY < 2 : 1 > Maru | ★★★★☆ | "Ro32"

  • In case anyone wanted to know what Maru's ladder games look like, feel free to watch the game on New Repugnancy where the Terran proxied two of his Barracks and then built Reapers for as long as he had minerals to do so with. On a more serious note, TY did hold the initial attack – even sent a Reaper of his own across the map that got just as much damage done in the early game – however it seemed like he hadn't taken the potential danger seriously enough as Maru kept finding openings and whittled down his opponent's SCV count throughout the game, to the point where TY was forced into a desperation push across the map, which was stopped dead on arrival granting the Code S King the upper hand in the series.
Read:  Most terran i've seen has lower than 50% TvP, why is it a taboo to talk about the inbalance in TvP?

  • While things were much calmer at the start on Thunderbird making it look like we were in for a longer game, it just simply wasn't meant to be as TY's early Hellions did a number on Maru's mineral line. The counter punch came in soon enough to deliver some comparable damage, but the former GSL Champion's blind reliance on his opponent being stylistically predictable when it comes to going for macro play would end up sealing his downfall here as the greedy build he'd gone for featuring an early third CC got brutally punished by TY's bigger and better army sieging up right outside Maru's base, taking a few favorable engagements and then closing the show accordingly after that.

  • It would be hard to believe a completely failed proxy Barracks build on Acropolis was how the best map of the night started, unless of course I told you Maru was involved. Fortunately for everyone involved, TY did a much better job respecting his opponent's aggression here and putting it on himself in kind, most notably utilizing a few Ravens to snipe Stim and constantly pressuring with his army to keep the fight away from his own base as much as he could. While it would be unfair to pretend like Maru didn't show slightly better control throughout this beautiful game, that only goes to further demonstrate how much better TY was with his decision making, positioning and composition. In any case, I would be doing a huge disservice to this great final battle between these two Titans if I failed to properly sum it up using a few sentences, so lets just say this was definitely the one to watch & by the end there were fireworks everywhere as the two Terran fleets clashed, with TY eventually coming out on top having taken control of the game and made it his own throughout its course.



| Impact < 2 : 1 > Super | ★☆☆☆☆ | Clown Fiesta

  • I would hate to be the players that have to come up with a way to make their match look even vaguely as interesting after that incredible TvT, although on King's Cove at least we got off to a good start with some cheeky Hatch blocks from Impact and an even bolder three base Spire play. It felt like Super could hold on in this game, if only he could decide what to do. Instead, the Protoss player put down two Robos and two Stargates on just three bases as if he was made of money, completely overreacting to the Muta threat and so opening himself up for the painfully predictable Roach Ravager followup push that ended the game using the vintage one-two punch Zergs have utilized to win games since early Wings of Liberty.

  • You might be thinking to yourself "why such a low rating, though, that didn't sound too bad" but don't worry, we're getting there, seeing as on New Repugnancy it basically looked like Impact went for a Bane bust build yet somehow forgot to build his Baneling Nest, resulting in an incredibly weak Ling Flood which did so badly his opponent basically flew a couple of Immortals with some Gateway units into Swarm territory a few minutes later to punt him out of the game, since there's no real transition as a Zerg player after you build a million Lings and then don't do anything with them.

  • On the smallest Cyber Forest in the map pool it looked like Super was going for an all in with a ton of Immortals, which was even disguised behind a fake third Nexus, but then it almost looked like the Protoss player forgot to go for it. Impact, ever the opportunist, took advantage of the situation using a Drop Overlord to get a bunch of Lings inside his opponent's main in order to kill some Probes & a particularly money Artosis Pylon, but then the Zerg thought it was a nice idea to go for the Spire versus a Protoss player he'd basically primed to attack him as soon as possible. Impact then proceeded to not build any Mutas while getting +1 Air Attack and instead rely on an extremely questionable Ling Roach Ravager attack into the third Nexus, protected by a bunch of Sentries and Immortals. Having lost one Probe too many, Super seemed well aware it was now or never to punish the Zerg after he threw away so much army – but he then somehow managed to end up without a Warp Prism to juggle his Immortals, walked his entire army down a ramp into a full concave plus Bials and then even allowed some abysmal pathing to get the better of him, letting Impact steal the win and head into the final series of the day instead of him.



| Maru < 2 : 1 > Impact | ★★★☆☆ | Tension Made Manifest

  • Maru looked to restore everyone's confidence including his own with some decisive play at the start of Thunderbird, making it feel like the game was over before it had even began with some stellar Reaper micro to deny his opponent's third Hatch for what seemed like an eternity. Nevertheless, both players got into their midgame weapons of choice with Impact relying on his trusted Ling Bane Muta and Maru fully warmed up & utilizing Bio with Mine and Thor support. Although the Zerg did his best with some scary looking Nydus play and multi pronged attacks, Maru eventually cleaned everything up and significantly damaged the Muta flock, allowing him the room to march across the map with almost the entirety of his superior army to finish an opponent relying on guerrilla tactics i.e. severely unfavored to win a true head on engagement.

  • The build order loss on New Repugnancy wouldn't be that big of a deal under normal circumstances, seeing as Maru was going for a cheeky Hellbat Marauder timing when he just so happened to run into a Roach Ravager Ling all in that was on its way, however seeing as this was the elimination series any faux aura of invincibility felt immediately stripped after the Zerg rolled over his opponent to take things into the final map of the day, very reminiscent of what he did to the Code S Champion in the Ro16 of S1 this year.

  • With the upset on the horizon, Maru made sure to put things back under his control on Acropolis as he went for the all of a sudden popular BC rush into Hellion timing and used his phenomenal micro to make it as efficient as humanly possible, kind of breaking his opponent's legs from the start. Impact once again would not go down without a fight, however his instinct to go for his Mutas one last fatal time would come back to bite him as the Terran's Battlecruiser heavy Mech style would turn out to be too much for the Zerg, handily deflecting desperate waves of Swarm attacks designed to keep Maru from maxing out. Although it felt like there was more danger this could still go either way until near the very end, the Code S King held it together in his third consecutive map three to survive the surprisingly close repeated attempts on his tournament life.
Read:  GSL Code S 2019 S3 | Ro32 | Group C | Quick Recap


"Cutting it a little too close for comfort is part of Maru's style" is what I assume a lot of people will argue as they usually do, however for my money being one map from elimination in the Ro32 definitely isn't where you want him to be if you want to see that 5SL trophy get lifted anytime soon. Honestly, it was a much closer day of games than they probably should have been, even if in the end there were no upsets.

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  • Match of the Night – listen, you can vote for whatever you'd like, but that last map between TY and Maru blew everything else out of the water for me at least, it could very well end up being the game of the tournament (which is yet another reason it shouldn't have happened in the Ro32). I even enjoyed the show of force on the first map by Maru and the willingness from TY to demonstrate aggression of his own on the second too, overall a phenomenal series, here's hoping this won't be the last time these two meet.

Finally, here are some of my closing thoughts on each player:

  • TY started each series slightly shaky, yet looked like the better player by the end in both instances, which is obviously incredibly impressive when one of those happens to be the guy who couldn't stop winning Code S trophies if he tried including at your expense one of those times. In addition, after losing the HomeStory Cup Grand Final by the absolute smallest margin possible with the 3-3 score versus Serral, you can honestly argue TY has put his name right back up there as one the scariest players in the scene (not to mention in that same tournament he took care of both Stats and Zest, two of the best Protoss players in the world, in what's undoubtedly his worst matchup). This is an incredibly promising start for the Terran so here's hoping he can keep it up into the later rounds, no one except maybe Dark so far has looked better than him heading into the Ro16.

  • Maru has joined the long list of players who've made it to the next Round this Season by showing at best B level play, which of course is a testament to how deadly he truly is. The Code S King may have only limped through the games tonight, but we all know as he gets deeper into the tournament Maru tends to pick up speed – a trend that's going to be broken sooner or later, something the Terran should be cognizant of and work to prevent accordingly if he wants to lift another trophy anytime soon. In any case, Maru's career is a testament to the fact what we saw today is nowhere what he's actually capable of, so lets hope the Terran proves that to be the case so we can get some dream matchups in the Playoffs.

  • Impact's job today was to upset at least one of the two players on the shortlist for best Terrans of all time, which as it turns out was a bit too difficult seeing as their TvZ in particular has almost never wavered. Unfortunately, the Zerg's own slight under-performance today was what kept him from eliminating a very vulnerable Maru and a TY who started cold, but then got out of control real quick. The luck of the draw can be a bitch, but this certainly isn't the last time we'll be seeing Impact challenging to reach at least the Ro16 in Code S.

  • Super looked so weird tonight, I know he's gotten the most wins out of the returning players so far, but it was off the back of some seriously questionable play by his opponents. If we must get into specifics, his PvT felt very one dimensional and unnecessarily reserved, the PvZ was simply atrocious and overall it looked like he could put himself in some decent positions but had no idea what to do with them. Regardless, this was one of the worst Groups he could be parachuted into & did lose to people he technically shouldn't be able to beat yet, so lets see what he can do next time when put up against more manageable opposition – provided he also does some much needed work on his own play.


Keep in mind these are just my observations. As always, if you think differently let everyone know why in the comments below.

Catch you on Saturday for Group F where Classic and INnoVation are going to crush the hopes & dreams of Creator and KeeN to the sound of thunderous applause.

Thanks as always for reading & see you when I see you! (:

-M

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