GSL 2019 Season 2 Round of 16 - Group D Battle Report

Published on 06/01/2019 01:47 PDT by Saxon "Saxy" Durrant

Three quarters of the way through the round of 16 and boy is GSL shaping up to be a Protoss fest. For better or for worse, five out of the six players qualified so far play the advanced alien race, leading to at least a Protoss player in every match of the round of eight. It's a striking throwback to GSL Super Tournament, where after the first round, there were seven Protoss and only one Terran player in the round of eight.

For the sake of viewership alone I hope we get a more diverse round of eight than we saw in Super Tournament. In recap of group C, Trap advanced in first place, while foreign hope SpeCial fought valiantly but was unable to advance, losing to herO 2-1 in the final series. Check out my report of that day here.

The updated bracket. Credit - Liquipedia.

Our final group is perhaps the tastiest. INnoVation leads the last hope Terran resistence, whilst Dark carries the flag hoping for another Zerg to partner soO. The two Protoss players in the group are no pushovers though, with the eccentric Patience and Stats going to provide a stern test. At this point any Protoss is basically a bad guy (they're a baaaad guy... duh).

Whilst not the last bastion of hope for his race, Dark represents a lot of hope for our Zerg (and anti Protoss) contingent. Simply put the man has been in a rich vein of form for the whole year, casually destroying players seemingly at will. There's no denying that this group will be harder than his round of 32 group, but a semi final appearence at both last seasons GSL and IEM put him as a favourite here.

He faces of against the man, the myth and resurgence of a Patience scorned. Truth be told, Patience has been a bit of a meme player in the past few years, popping up here and again and in 2018 the man only qualified for only one GSL. He has come into 2019 hot though, a succesive round of 16 appearence here for the team LP player. He's looked dangerous as well, showing some deadly build orders in PvT especially. Sadly, I think he is the perfect opening opponent for Dark, who has a tendancy to bash down the more 'creative' Protoss strategies. If Patience manages to advance today, he should no longer be considered a meme.

His Protoss counterpart in this group is the one and only, Stats. After being knocked out in the round of 32 in season one Stats came back strong at IEM, finishing runner up to soO. A fairly convincing round of 32 group saw Stats advance here, picked into this group of death. He faces off against the robot INnoVation in the first match, which in all honesty could easily be a final in any major tournament. It's therefore fairly hard to call, but I think if Stats sticks to his guns and goes defensive, he should be able to win over Inno, with TvP being the Reciprocity players worst match up.

The sad thing is, I don't see INnoVation advancing today but by god will I be supporting him. In a Protoss dominated landscape Inno has found himself on the end of a zealot charge more times than he would have liked and as a whole he has seemed very inconsistent this year, despite a WESG victory. Bottom of a round of 16 group with three Protoss players last season and bottom of an IEM group with no Protoss players, INnoVation can swing either way tomorrow. It all depends on what version of him shows up. I hope it's the WESG version.

I see a Dark first place, followed by Stats. Sorry Terrans.

Dark vs Patience – ZvP

Our first game of the night saw Dark take on Patience and weird met weird. A 12 pool from Dark met a nexus first from Patience. A lucky scout saw probes called into action, Patience losing seven probes but not the crucial pylon. Both players macroed up, Patience moving into a robotics for immortals and a third base. Dark wasn’t messing around though, a nydus on the way for our Zerg player. A nydus got up in the main fairly easily with our Protoss player offering little resistance after his economic build after the early game. Roaches hit the third at the same time to see Patience instantly hit the ‘gg’ keys.

The moment the tide turned. Patience who had the advantage was bullied out by Dark.
Credit - AfreecaTV.

Game two started a lot more standard, both players opening normally to send us into the early mid game without much blood spilt. A robotics and twilight from Patience would see an immortal and a dark shrine. PUBG noises started from this point, providing a funny set of sounds to accompany a GSL cast. Patience had tricked Dark though, having seen the immortals Dark had made no detection, thinking it was going to be an immortal push. Dark templar warped in at the naked third, Patience easily sniping the base. Patience seemed to have an advantage and moved out with a scary push, two immortals and two archons were supported by sentries and zealots. Drones were pulled and Dark managed to hold, using a nydus worm to counter straight away. Roaches poured into Patience’s natural and despite some fantastic immortal juggling Patience was down, Dark advancing quickly in this first series.

Dark 2-0 Patience.

Stats vs INnoVation – PvT

These titans opened up normally on King’s Cove, with the hope of some beautiful long games to come. A robotics first from Stats lead into observers and robotics bay, with Stats setting up safely to take a third behind the watchful eyes of colossi. There was no quick third from INnoVation, with our Terran only throwing down the third command centre at 6:30. In comparison, the third nexus of Stats was done by this time. Stats scouted the push but still sat back, INnoVation postured to attack and set up in a beautiful spot between the natural and third. With tanks in the perfect position, all it took was a couple of disables on the colossi and the army and the colossi count of Stats seemingly melted. It was surprising how damaging the attack was, INnoVation effectively claiming the win there and then as a follow up push sealed the deal.

Using a fantastic tank position, Inno crushed through this Stats force.
Credit - AfreecaTV.

It was a clean and easy win for our Terran in game one, with our second game taking place on Turbo Cruise. A reaper claimed a probe head as a trophy, as Stats went into twilight to switch things up this game. A blink opener saw Stats put a small amount of pressure on INnoVation but could not find a hole. INnoVation found his opening though, nine probes falling to a widow mine drop. INnoVation was up 15 supply at this point, as Stats threw down five gateways. A push came out from our Terran but it was beat back, INnoVation continuing the momentum and his supply lead. A passive couple of minutes followed but the tale was in the tape, INnoVation stretching his supply lead to over 40. The attack came and despite a zealot counter, INnoVation simply had the numbers. Storm / colossi and 3-3 threatened a solid fight, but emp’s and widow mines shred through his army. The Terran hope survives another game, with Stats looking somewhat fragile in his first series of the day.

Stats 0-2 INnoVation.

Dark vs INnoVation – ZvT

Holy smokes guys, no Protoss! Take a good hard look while you can, it might be the last TvZ we see this season. A quick roach warren from Dark saw the potential of a huge attack, whilst INnoVation went into cloaked banshee. A small amount of roaches failed to do anything at all, denied by the banshees and slow zones of Turbo Cruise before they could even get half way across the map. It was again another encouraging start by INnoVation, with some solid macro seeing him nearly level on workers and supply with the Zerg. Ravenger-ling-bane was the composition from Dark, as two macro hatcheries went down in his main. INnoVation was on a tear though, using the slow zones to great effect as he moved 30 supply up on Dark. A big push on 2-2 from INnoVation saw some fantastic micro and action all over the map. In a frantic couple of minutes, our Terran took good fight after good fight, gradually grinding out the first win in once again, dominant fashion.

If you aren't much of a player, these are the slow zones that make up a big part of Turbo Cruise.
Credit - AfreecaTV.

Our second map saw a similar opening from our first game, with cloaked banshee once again from INnoVation. Dark this time around didn’t go for a roach warren though, going full force into drones and then a hydralisk den. It indicated a change of composition from Dark, with hydralisks the back bone of his army rather than ravengers. INnoVation was looking to hit another sharp 2-2 push. Dark forced sieges time and time again though, halting the push and eventually holding very well with virtually no economic damage taken. The game continued into the later stages from here, adrenal, 3-3 upgrades for both and ultralisks, and liberators the next steps for both players. INnoVation hit max once more and pushed again, but his army ran into a massive Dark flank. Our Zerg was playing extremely well, mixing in nydus worms to spread INnoVation around his own bases. A fourth was destroyed by Dark and had our Terran pinned, constantly chipping away to send INnoVation on a big push. INnoVation was doing a lot with a little but it was eventually swarmed by an abundance of Zerg units. Dark pushed once more and this would be the final time, our Zerg overwhelming INnoVation to send us into a decider. Such a great game from start to finish.

A big flank by Dark saw him kill off most of INnoVation's tank's.
Credit - AfreecaTV.

Dark took a quick break before our third game, but hit the ground running hard in our decider. A quick pool and gas would see a massive ling flood, Dark staying on 14 workers as the zerglings pooled before leaping onto the command centre. INnoVation brought down some scv’s but it was the wrong move, speed finishing to see seven scv’s die to only seven zerglings. With the command centre cancelled as well, Dark found himself in a big advantage but unable to enter the main to kill the game off. A quick third command centre from our Terran signalled the game moving on, as INnoVation cut corners in an attempt to try and come out even. It seemed to work, Dark not getting aggressive as by the eighth minute both players found themselves even in supply. A spire went down, signalling another change of composition by Dark. A push out from INnoVation looked to rock Dark but mutalisks blindsided him to send him home, minus 10 scv’s. Dark had the control again and a massive attack reduced INnoVation to only seven workers. Where was INnoVation you ask? Parked on the other side of the map with a massive force, reducing Dark to only three bases. Facing off against a wall of banelings our Reciprocity player microed his heart out but it sadly wasn’t enough, Dark advancing, INnoVation dropping to either face Patience or Stats.

Dark 2-1 INnoVation.

Dark advances to the round of eight.

Patience vs Stats – PvP

PvP is crazy man, this proxy meta is showing us some strange games. Continuing the trend, Patience went into a proxy nexus, surely the strangest of proxies. It was unscouted for a while by Stats, who played very safe and lost the worker lead. When it was scouted it had finished, Patience starting a third immediately, expecting the proxy not to last for long. A supply block at 54 for Patience stalled him for a few seconds, before moving into charge. To be on three nexuses by 6 minutes on PvP is unheard of and Stats looked to punish the proxy. Stats pushed on the proxy and Patience pushed with his blink stalkers, but was seemingly always behind in army numbers and strength. A base trade finished us off, but with Stats on a mass of adepts and immortals it was an easy fight to win. A strange game, Stats 1-0 up.

The proxy meta is evolving guys, maybe soon no building will be in the Protoss base.
Credit - AfreecaTV.

Our second game took place on New Repugnancy, with both players opting for no proxy buildings. In a strange no proxy situation, Stats went into a three gate robotics push, Patience building up a phoenix count. The armies clashed at Patience’s base, Patience picking up the immortal and sniping it before holding the aggression. Patience had an air advantage now but both players sat passively, taking their naturals. The passiveness didn’t last for long though, Stats pushing out with a big immortal count flanked by stalkers. Despite the air advantage Patience simply could not fight that many units, losing his natural and a vast majority of his workers. That was to be it, Patience eliminated without winning a map, Stats moving on to face INnoVation once more.

Patience 0-2 Stats.

INnoVation vs Stats – TvP

Our earlier match between these two saw INnoVation dominate, would we see the same once more in this deciding series? A three gate blink opener met a double mine drop but both sets of aggression were deflected. Another big push with three tanks from Innovation hit at Stats’ third and once again, Stats seemed overwhelmed. With great micro INnoVation crushed through again, Stats looking hopeless to defend against Terran aggression so far today.

Using the brushes as a vision blocker, INnoVation covered the Protoss army in dorito dust and then dipped them into tank salsa.
Credit - AfreecaTV.

With INnoVation in touching distance of the round of eight, the impetus was on Stats to change something up. A robotics building indicated colossi once more, similar to the strategy Stats employed on King’s Cove. Just like the King’s Cove game, Innovation seemed poised to take an aggressive approach, looking to drop heavily in the main. It was seen by an observer though, Stats pulling his army up to swat off the attack. INnoVation then went for a double pronged attack but it was caught by Stats in the middle of the map. Catching the Terran in the middle Stats took a crushing fight, eliminating INnoVation’s army. It was over from here, Stats pushing to take us into a decider.

The fate of a whole race placed clearly on his shoulders.
Credit - AfreecaTV.

Seemingly INnoVation had to just not get cocky in this last game and the place in the next round would be his. Stats built on the confidence from last game, moving into the exact same build of robotics into observers and early colossi. It was another repeat, these players seemingly forgetting they’re in GSL and not practice matches. INnoVation’s attack came in but Stats held, surviving the attack he had died to a couple of games ago. It was not a great hold though, three colossi dying, INnoVation moved into a 30 supply lead and he did not skip a beat in production. No upgrades were on the way though for our Terran and the boys were pulled. Having killed three colossi before, Stats’ splash was minimal, a hero emp further sealing the deal to send our first Terran into the round of eight.

INnoVation 2-1 Stats.

INnoVation advances to the round of eight.

Dark and INnoVation advance to the round of eight.

Game of the Day: Dark vs INnoVation Game Two.

Series of the Day: Dark vs INnoVation

GSL Code S continues on Wednesday the fifth of June at 18:30 KST with Classic vs soO and Trap vs INnoVation.

All pictures courtesy of AfreecaTV and all stats courtesy of Aligulac, Liquipedia and Code S Facts on Twitter.