GSL 2019 Season 2 Round of 32 - Group E Battle Report
We are at the halfway point of the round of 32, moving onto our second week where we will conclude this round and finalise the 16 names moving onto the next round. We've already had some insane games, some insane upsets and like always, beautiful production to boot.
If you needed a reminder of how the groups went or the groups to come here's the quickest of quick recaps.
Group A: Defending champion Maru was knocked out by INnoVation as Patience wiped the floor with both Terrans, giving us an initial crazy shock.
Group B: Despite GuMiho and Zest being favoured to advance, our winners match saw Impact play Trust. Zest bopped out, while GuMiho just scraped through against Trust.
Group C: Classic gave us our first expected dominant performance as he 4-0'd, while Hurricane continued his good form to beat Solar and advance.
Group D: Despite a heroic stand by Creator, soO just survived in second, whilst Dear showed dominant play once again to advance in first.
That leaves us with a bracket like this, with four Protoss, two Zerg and two Terran players currently advanced.
We head into group E today, which is my stand out group of the round. It is truly wild and any four of these players has a solid chance of advancing into the next round. Stayed tuned for what is hopefully an epic group.
We'll start first with the Jin Air Green Wing, the 2017 World Champion, Rogue. Still easily one of the best Zerg's in Korea (Dark and soO only come close), Rogue is no pushover and will be many peoples easy favourite to win the group. A semi-final appearance in last year's World Championship still shines bright, despite a lack of massive finishes in 2019. Simply put, it would again be a massive upset if he doesn't make it through even with this ridiculous group. Rogue's GSL curse is also apparent having never made it past the round of eight. He does however usually make it to the round of eight. His form hasn't been awe inspiring though and an upset is on the cards.
Rogue plays one of the old but new again up and comers in FanTaSy. A fan favourite for me, FanTaSy's rise since returning from the military last year has been remarkable. Qualification for both seasons this year, and some impressive results has seen him rise high in comparison to other returning pro's. He was narrowly stopped in the round of 16 last year by Impact but also managed to get one over on Leenock in that group, somehow he could very possibly play today. Having been an early pioneer of battle mech against Zerg, will FanTaSy bring that style once more or does he have other tricks up his sleeve? One to watch.
Having just mentioned him, Leenock is the third player in this group. Another critically underrated player, Leenock always has the possibility to upset big names. It's unfortunate he's placed in a group as tough as this as I think he is easily a round of 16 player. He made the round of 16 twice last year (with one of those a round of eight finish) and had a top 20 finish in IEM. He is also the most experienced player in this group, with Leenock now participating in his 20th Code S. Playing against Stats first will be a tough ask, one factor on his side is that in 2019 ZvP has been his best match up statistically with a win percentage of 59%.
Stats was the big shocker last season with his upset round of 32 exit. He went quiet for a month, resurfacing in Katowice to take second place. If anyone had any thoughts that 2019 wasn't going to be his year, he quietened those voices quick-smart. A 3-2 win against Maru in Super Tournament further enhanced that reputation despite his loss to GuMiho in the next round and I fully expect Stats to advance onto the next round here. To leave the GSL in the round of 32 once again would be a massive blow to not only Stats but also his Blizzcon goals, despite the IEM performance. Stats also paves the way in the advance rate he has made it through this round safely 70% of the time.
Although my heart wills FanTaSy on, I see no surprises here. Stats to advance first, Rogue to 2-0 Leenock in the deciding match. I cannot wait for this one.
Rogue vs FanTaSy - ZvT
This ZvT kicked off the night with us once again unable to see GSL Cobalt in action. Cyber Forest was our opener, as we began the journey into group F. Normal openings were observed, with FanTaSy moving out with five marines and a mine in a medivac at the four minute mark. This medivac poked around but was soon flanked by two additional, one with two tanks and the other with marines. It set up behind the main and caught Rogue off guard, killing 13 drones and a massive handful of zerglings. Mech was the follow up play behind, FanTaSy moving into his battle mech composition. Hydra-ling-bane was Rogue’s response, with FanTaSy prodding in and around Rogue’s bases. He set up shop around Rogue’s fourth, adding in siege tanks to his composition. FanTaSy took some good trades, constantly up on supply to his Zerg counterpart. Rogue nydused into FanTaSy’s natural from here though, forcing FanTaSy home.
With both players now on four bases our Terran pushed again. Rogue was hurt and the constant rally from FanTasy took it’s toll, another base falling. It was a crazy, action packed game one, with us all wondering if FanTaSy could finish off the game with his supply lead. He could, consistently pressuring until gg was called.
Game two saw two very interesting builds. Rogue went for lair before a third, going into a quick infestation pit. On the other side, FanTaSy went for a two starport battlecruiser build. Theoreticallt and literally battlecruisers beat swarm hosts, but could the battlecruisers come out in time. Rogue was in FanTaSy’s main but the battlecruisers came out and suddenly the tides had turned. An instant teleport saw queens and drones die on Rogue’s side of the map. Massive damage was done on both sides but the battlecruisers were key, continuously going unopposed. With battlecruisers gunning down the hatcheries Rogue could do nothing, FanTaSy taking our initial series in a surprise 2-0.
Rogue 0-2 FanTaSy.
Stats vs Leenock - PvZ
We’d seen upsets everywhere in this season so far, but would the shield of aiur hold here? A robotics first from Stats indicated a somewhat aggressive opener from Stats, with a warp prism coming out initially. Leenock went to three bases and droned whilst trying to figure out what, if anything was coming out of Stats. Our Splyce player then moved into a twilight / forge from here but in a change from the meta acted passive, all whilst constantly producing immortals. He then pushed at 7:30, catching Leenock in a spire transition. Leenock was on 60 drones but that number went down fast, Stats taking a quick game one. It was an interesting game, Stats seemingly scaring Leenock into a composition that faired badly against his timing.
Stats had taken an interesting game one, with his strategy deceiving all of us with his seemingly passive turns into big aggression. This time it was big aggression, Stats moving out with four sentries with six gateways backing him up. It was a massive attack but Stats lost his prism a few warp rounds in. Leenock cleaning the aggression and taking an immediate reply in the series.
Game three saw another robotics first warp-prism opening by Stats, into continual immortal production. A swell of gateways went down though and Stats pushed. Leenock had stayed on 46 drones though, going for a zergling drop whilst trying to defend at the same time. Nine probes fell but Stats still pressed the issue. Leenock nearly crarved through the army but an additional warp in put the nail in the coffin, Stats carefully moving further and further into creep before taking the series 2-1. An interesting note, Stats had three builds with the same opener which turned out much different.
Stats 2-1 Leenock.
Stats vs FanTaSy - PvT
Our somewhat surprising winners match saw a TvP, with FanTaSy initially hiding an scv to cheekily scout Stats’ tech path. FanTaSy again took the match in a weird direction, going into a liberator range build. He had scouted there was no stargate, so our Terran had the possibility of massive damage. Setting up his liberators in a perfect position, Stats’ mining was handicapped and was forced into a stargate. FanTaSy was non stop with the liberator harass and more probes fell but Stats looked to punish our Terran player. His blink attack hit a wall though, Stats’s warp prism flying into two widow mines before an aggressive blink sent him way behind. All it took then was a big move out by FanTaSy and a beautiful anti army missile to seal the deal. Our Terran player one map away from the round of 16.
Stats didn’t flinch from the liberator build in game two, going for another three gate blink build. FanTaSy however was taking weird to the maximum, going into a proxy armoury into a very quick drilling claws. All eyes were on how much damage FanTaSy could get done but Stats was more decisive, blinking in to deal some massive damage and over 10 worker kills. The mines did little on the other side of the map, killing only three workers initially. Another three mines did little as well, FanTaSy not getting the damage he needed from such an off meta and risky strategy. From here Stats was ahead, moving out as soon as FanTaSy took his third. It was a decisive push, rolling over FanTaSy with little trouble. To the decider we go.
Our decider saw a slight deviation from Stats, who went for a cybernetics core before nexus. His adept didn’t delay the command centre however, as we saw Stats once again going into a three gate blink build. With his most standard opener in the five games FantaSy went into cloaked banshee. Stats again applied significant pressure with his stalker squad though, sniping a tank and banshee speed as FanTaSy once again moved into mech. The attack did significant damage, placing FanTaSy behind but with a third command centre. Stats did not let him sit on it for long however. In an aggressive attack, Stats pushed with zealots and stalkers. Despite some good tank shots FanTaSy couldn’t stop a massive warp in his main, zealots swarming all over the Terran main. Stats taking the match and the ninth spot in the round of 16.
Stats 2-1 FanTaSy.
Stats advances to the round of 16.
Leenock vs Rogue - ZvZ
Leenock ripped us straight into a crazy game one. A 12 pool followed by a drone moving across the map meant only one thing, a spinecrawler in Rogue’s base. A drone popped up from Rogue scouting the spinecrawler but he did not react, painfully unaware despite his vision. He only realized too late, as drones and lings from Leenock came running into his base. A furious Rogue typing only a single ‘w’ to end the game.
It would be a 13/12 in game two by Leenock, our TitanEX1 player bathing in aggression in this ZvZ. Hiding his zerglings from view, he once again surprised Rogue, who brought his drones down to try defend. It was the wrong move against a 13/12, banelings making brutal connections to send Rogue flying out early in the GSL.
Leenock 2-0 Rogue.
FanTaSy vs Leenock - TvZ
FanTaSy was on again earlier than anyone expected, would he bring out anymore special plays in this deciding match? He had beaten Leenock in his round of 16 group last season, could he do it again?
Banshee cloak was to be the way for FanTaSy but Leenock wasn’t interested in a long game. Making a massive swell of zerglings and roaches he moved across the map. It was met by banshees however, making the push easily deniable by FanTaSy. The numbers told the story at this point, Leenock losing over 700 minerals in the attack to FanTaSy’s zero. Our Terran player then pushed hard into Leenock’s third, looking to make his advantage known. Leenock wasn’t going to sit there and take it however, a massive zergling counter slipping past unraised supply depots and killing over 20 scv’s. FanTaSy’s attack stalled whilst he was trying to defend but eventually continued, killing the third of Leenock. With a third already landed by this point, FanTaSy was well ahead, over 20 workers and 40 supply ahead of his opponent.
As we recovered from that action, we saw our players next moves. Mech was on the way by FanTaSy, whilst Leenock went into a spire to try and take advantage of FanTaSy’s lack of anti air. Mutalisks descended on mineral lines, killing over 10 workers as turrets were hastily built. Another FanTaSy push resulted in a Leenock counter, the two eventually coming to blows in a big fight next to his natural. Our Terran player emerged from that 30 supply up and a swift counter sealed the deal, FanTaSy one game up.
Leenock was in aggressive mode, another 13/12 gracing our screens. FanTaSy didn’t scv scout, relying on his reaper to scout. Leenock hid it perfectly, crushing in again to send banelings scurrying after scv’s. It was only ending one way, Leenock being ruthless tonight and sending it to a decider.
There was an electric feel for this third map, any player could bring out absolutely anything. There was no crazy one base play by Leenock this time, as FanTaSy scouted with a scv just to make sure. FanTaSy moved into a 2-1-1, looking to exploit Leenock’s sub par third base location. He moved to the other side though with his marines, seemingly undermining his own strategy. Whilst the initial 2-1-1 didn’t eventuate into significant damage, FanTaSy would continue his aggression with tanks supporting his bio. This again met a sour end as Leenock was utilising great flanks to engage into FanTaSy with ease.
Nine minutes in here, Leenock sitting pretty on four bases to two at this point. Ultralisks were next for Leenock, with FanTaSy trying his best to find any damage into the seemingly ever expanding Zerg. He found a mining hatchery but Leenock had a scary force constantly moving around. Known for his harass though, FanTaSy was making it work, finding pockets of damage.
The constant harass perhaps motivated Leenock to pull the trigger, assaulting FanTaSy’s third base. He funneled everything into a choke though, ultralisks, zerglings and banelings melting under the tank fire to propel FanTaSy into a massive supply lead. There was barely a second to breathe in this one, FanTaSy everywhere with Leenock trying to hold on. We moved into the 15, 16 minute mark with both players reaching super late game armies.
Twenty minutes had passed in this absolute epic, with constant and constant engagements which if I described all, you would be reading all night. At this point, twenty minutes in Leenock held the momemtum once more, pushing slowly with brood lords, infestors and corruptors. FanTaSy in a last ditch effort held, just gaining the air advantage to push back and kill the brood lords. Both players were crippled but managed to regain some sort of an economy, grabbing whatever they could akin to the start of a battle royale. In a nail biting finale that went right to the wire, FanTaSy’s constant harass eventually wore down Leenock enough, a final engage seeing mines destroy three full energy vipers to just give FanTaSy the win and a place in the round of 16.
An absolute classic which my words will not do justice. Please go watch this game.
FanTaSy 2-1 Leenock
FanTaSy advances to the round of 16.
Stats and FanTaSy advance to the round of 16.
Game of the Day: Leenock vs FanTaSy Game Three
GSL Code S continues tomorrow with group F, featuring Trap, Scarlett, KeeN and herO. It kicks off at 18:30 KST.
All pictures courtesy of AfreecaTV and all stats courtesy of Aligulac and CodeSFacts on twitter.