GSL 2019 Season 2 Round of 32 - Group H Battle Report
The thrilling finale is upon us for the round of 32. Fourteen of our sixteen have locked their place, with one final group to come. We've seen a domination from Protoss so far, eight Protoss outweigh Zerg and Terran combined, who have three particpants each.
Group G saw the return of DRG to the GSL Code S, flanked by PartinG, Cure and Dark. It was an intense group, with some tight games and some not so tight games, Dark showing why he is one of the in form players of 2019. If you missed that group and want to quickly catch up, my report for that one is here.
Today we have a representative from all races, with a chance for Terran and Zerg to catch up and bolster the ranks of their own race in the next round. Leading us out we have sOs of Jin Air Green Wings, who will play our second part of the foreign hope, SpeCial in our first match. Our next match will see a ZvT, with RagnaroK playing TY.
sOs has seen teammate after teammate fall in a total collapse of Jin Air dominance. Despite six players entering, four have fallen, leaving Trap sitting by his lonesome in the round of 16. sOs will hope to join him and in a meta where Protoss trickery is everywhere, surely that favours sOs. He was doing crazy two base stuff before it was meta and I'm excited as always to see what he has for us. In terms of his form, a semi-final appearence at Super Tournament saw him beat Solar and Zest narrowly, before losing to Classic. His PvT has been fairly untested recently however, with only two series against INnoVation (winning both) and wins over Rookie and Kas.
An unproven sOs in PvT maybe be a blessing or a curse for our man from Mexico, SpeCial. They face off first and I just hope SpeCial has taken note of some of the abusive builds that have dismantled Terran players in this tournament and prepared accordingly. His form has been consistent if not fantastic, a loss in group stage two of WCS Winter, a narrow group stage elimation from IEM and a round of 16 exit at WESG. A recent win in Copa America will have his spirits high though and we'll all be cheering him on, doritos ready.
RagnaroK is our Zerg player for the group and whilst his results again haven't shone for a few years, there is definite signs of improvement. After an average year last year where he qualified for only two GSL's and IEM (getting knocked out in the round of 32 both times), he's had a much more impressive 2019. A hard group containing Maru, herO and Scarlett saw him exit in the round of 32 last season, but he has backed that up by qualifying for Super Tournament, finishing in the top 12 at IEM and qualifying for this season as well. He's going to have to rely on his ZvT, but it's a match up he excels in with a 60% win rate this year.
Despite all the hype for RagnaroK, he still faces TY in his opener. The last time TY failed to make it out of the round of 32 was back in 2015, with his last three seasons ending in a semi-final, a final and a round of eight. Another scary opponent, it will be a big upset if he fails to make it out today. It's been an average 2019 though for our Splyce player, although his average includes a round of eight in GSL and a round of 12 at IEM. I'll look to him to lead the group today with some safe play, perhaps mixing in some battlecruisers like he has been on his stream.
I'm taking a safe prediction today, TY to advance first whilst sOs comes comfortably in second. I'll be cheering for SpeCial as hard as I can though.
sOs vs SpeCial – PvT
With doritos flying in the chat, we entered into our first match with SpeCial playing the cucaracha himself. An initial probe scouted SpeCial extremely early and with sOs not taking an expansion at the normal timing, sOs went into a proxy twilight council. Blink came out afterwards, as sOs went into some aggression with his early blink. The early blink exploited the lack of units and mobility for SpeCial as sOs continued to poke around and find add ons and the odd scv. Cloaked banshees on the other side of the map were easily deflected with an observer as we moved into our seventh minute with a third and upgrades on the way for our Protoss. SpeCial wouldn’t make a third, as with five barracks he looked to apply a massive amount of pressure on sOs. Pressure turned into an all in with the scv pull, the boys coming to help the troops. sOs engaged in the middle of the map but took a strange engage, losing a lot of his army with a strange blink. SpeCial powered through from here and took the first map in dominant fashion.
We’d see GSL Cobalt in our next match, the map featuring for the second time this season. A proxy gateway in the middle of the map saw sOs getting aggressive once more, a bunker hastily thrown down to try and deflect the rush. It came up in time, sOs conceding defeat and throwing down a nexus. Dark shrine was next from sOs, as SpeCial went into two cyclones, a tank and a banshee once more. A prism came in and was shut down and destroyed straight away, SpeCial looking in control of this second game. A passive couple of minutes saw the armies clash in the middle of the map, SpeCial looking to apply aggression while landing his third. 15 probes died but a dark templar equalized the damage, 18 scv’s dying. SpeCial didn’t back up from his aggression though, taking a beautiful fight to destroy the third and kill valuable colossi. SpeCial was up 40 supply at this point, holding his siege at the ramp of sOs’ natural. Another fight saw sOs break the chokehold but he was still behind, SpeCial moving into heavy viking production and ghosts to try and find a finisher soon. The finisher came on the 15 minute mark, disruptors unable to provide miracles to see SpeCial advance onto the winners match.
sOs 0-2 SpeCial.
TY vs RagnaroK – TvZ
With an upset in our first match, would RagnaroK’s ZvT propel us to another upset? I mentioned battlecruisers in my introduction and I was seemingly on point, a fusion core slapped down to see us go into a fun game. It was full scouted by RagnaroK though, who then went into an immediate baneling nest followed by a nydus. We hadn’t seen this response before, TY killing 15 drones before the nydus’ broke into his main. Over 25 scv’s died but the battlecruisers stayed alive with a mass repair. TY was forced out of his natural but able to continue the aggression on the other side of the map with his battlecruisers. RagnaroK had no response or anti air at this point, gg soon coming to send TY 1-0 up.
With the battlecruisers racking up over 40 kills a piece last game, TY had shown his proficiency in the build. He switched it up though, a proxy starport going down with TY heading into a hellion drop. Twelve drones went down, with TY following it up with a battlecruiser play once more. A small tank and marine push found its way into an abuseable spot by the third. The attack proved hard to handle, the tank-marine eventually cleaned up but the battlecruisers still flying around, over 15 drones dying once again. Eight minutes thirty into the game, TY had more workers than our zerg, with the Splyce player heading into mech behind the constant aggression. Another push hit a wall of mutalisks however, catching TY with only two battlecruisers as anti air. The push was destroyed but thors stabilised the game, TY still seemingly far ahead despite RagnaroK’s impressive mutalisk play. Both players powered up and hit 200 supply, TY looking to push with his massive mech army. Ragnarok had been given time to power up to brood lords though and suddenly the game was over, RagnaroK abducting thors into his army to leave TY with no anti-air, a quick gg followed. With the domination TY showed throughout the game, could this one be considered a throw?
TY was proving his allegiance to the battlecruiser side of life, with yet another fusion core being planted down. It was such a refreshing turn of pace seeing the unit utilised, it wasn’t even a year ago that we never saw the unit at all. Eleven drones went down initially, as RagnaroK looked to go into a baneling bust. It fell flat on it’s face as only three depots were destroyed. With the battlecruiser reigning above, TY pushed onto the fourth, destroying it with ease. Mutalisks were once again the next path for RagnaroK, supported by zerglings and banelings. TY was better prepared this time though, with his bio composition marines easily fended off the mutalisks. A massive surround by RagnaroK near his fourth propelled him in a good position though, sending him 40 supply up as he sat pretty on his swarmy composition. TY wanted to keep operating with tanks rather than mines but was caught in the middle of the map, banelings crushing through everything to see RagnaroK surprisingly advance to the winners match in an impressive showing.
TY 1-2 RagnaroK.
RagnaroK vs SpeCial – ZvT
Our winners match saw another surprise, with both players given a golden opportunity to advance out in first. With a deviation from our previous series, SpeCial moved into a quick third command centre before starport and fusion core. We had seen a similar build before in GSL this season but it was crushed down, although the build in that game had two starports. We’d seen banelings before as an answer by RagnaroK but this time his answer was to be a roach warren and a spire. Hellions and battlecruisers combined to kill 10 drones, as SpeCial went into mech over 10 workers ahead. It was a roach corruptor composition for RagnaroK this time, moving away from the composition that worked so well for him last series. Both players built up, SpeCial continuing to build battlecruisers as RagnaroK moved into greater spire and hydralisks. SpeCial moved onto creep but some great blinding clouds saw RagnaroK clean the ground army.
It was an even game, both players sitting on five bases each as we moved further into the late game. The 14th minute saw nydus worms added into the mix as SpeCial roamed the map with a massive battlecruiser count. It was almost hilarious how many battlecruisers were in the mix, hell raining down wherever they went. SpeCial had taken great trades though, RagnaroK falling down to four bases as SpeCial showed masterclass in this late game. Despite neural parasite the cruiser count was purely too high, SpeCial taking an amazing victory in game one here.
Having faced battlecruisers four games in a row at this point, RagnaroK would be forgiven if he went into a 13/12 or roach rush. He did not however, playing a lovely macro game whilst the fusion core went down once again. Despite seeing it four times, we’d seen many variations, this variation coming off only two bases, with no yamato and partnered with stimpack. RagnaroK went into his nydus counter, exploiting the big main base to plant a nydus at the back. It was scouted by SpeCial though, who was forced to use his jump to defend the worms. They eventually came through but we saw the same engage, queens unable to destroy the battlecruiser whilst being repaired. SpeCial jumped without clearing the nydus but it was too early, RagnaroK funneling zerglings and queens through to seize the game.
With either player on the cusp of an incredible first place, all was on the line here. A liberator came out, indicating no battlecruisers, with stimpack and a third on the way for our Mexican Terran. A liberator combined with hellions to see 10 drones die, placing SpeCial equal on workers with the Zerg. It was a great start for SpeCial, landing his third and moving into regular bio play. RagnaroK powered into melee upgrades and spire in what was regular play for him. SpeCial was not to sit back though, the Terran pushing in the sixth minute and wedging himself between the third and the fourth. RagnaroK’s fourth died in exchange for a lift on SpeCial’s third, the Terran taking a supply lead by the 8:30 mark. Everything was going well, big mine hits continuing the momentum for SpeCial. He pushed once more but got hit hard on the counter, 30 scv’s dying to place the Zerg in an advantage.
Pressure continued to mount, a fourth going down for RagnaroK as SpeCial relentlessly pushed on the Zerg, trying to find any good fight that he could. The economic advantage began to tell though, SpeCial eventually whittling away and mutalisks flying on the third once more to seal the series. Ragnarok defying all expectations to advance in first place for his first round of 16.
RagnaroK 2-1 SpeCial.
RagnaroK advances to the round of 16.
sOs vs TY – PvT
In another topsy-turvy group, this was our elimination match, featuring two fantastic players. Port Alexander has featured full wall offs recently and this was no different, sOs walling off before proxying all of his tech. Classic sOs. The tech included a twilight council, dark shrine, robotics and gateway. All this could obviously only mean one thing, a dark templar drop. The shadows killed six scv’s before we saw sOs move into dark templar blink and charge. sOs macroed from here, deviating from the original dark templar blink build which came out from NightMare once upon a time. With two prisms floating around harassing TY he was pinned on two bases, sOs moving into colossi and blink. On 9:30 TY pushed onto the map, hoping to utulise his army supply advantage. The Terran split his army and dropped the main before assaulting the third, hoping to catch sOs unaware and undefended. The drop did damage in the main before returning to the main army, cultivating in a massive attack at sOs’ third. The attack hit brutally, sOs having to micro his heart out to hold whilst dark templar destroyed many scv’s at on TY’s side of the map to leave the Terran on only 22 workers. sOs had held before but within the minute TY was back, using a mine drop to kill every colossi of sOs. TY seemingly had the game but it was he who tapped out gg, to the bemusement of Tastosis, the audience and the twitch chat. TY was 10 supply up and over double the army supply of his opponent.
With his tournament life on the line, TY went into a double proxy barracks. It was a risky strategy but sOs stuck on one base, proxying a robotics outside of his base. Had sOs blind countered his opponent’s strategy? A slight supply block delayed the inevitable, TY setting up two bunkers on the ramp as the marauders ran up unscouted and unopposed. They did insane damage, picking up a vital pylon before gunning down an immortal to seal the deal for TY in less than five minutes.
Another deciding match saw us on Cyber Forest, with both players experimenting with some off meta builds in the series. It would be all normal in the opening however, a 1-1-1 meeting a twilight council. It was glaives from our Jin Air player but it wasn’t supported by a swell of gateways, sOs moving into colossi from here. TY played extremely safe, making three cyclones and a bunker just to make sure he wasn’t dying to anything stupid. We didn’t see a third command centre from TY, making his push needing to deal damage. sOs bought time with good pressure and adept shades in a fantastic maneuver which paid for itself many times over. TY’s push crawled across the map, making slow progress as he advanced onto sOs’ side of the map. With all the time he had though sOs had amassed enough colossi and supporting units, crushing through the Terran army to send sOs into the decider, TY out.
sOs 2-1 TY.
SpeCial vs sOs – TvP
These two faced off once more and GSL Cobalt was our first map. sOs showed little deviation, once again going for a proxy gateway in the middle of the map. It was scouted once again, SpeCial throwing down a bunker to repel the assault. sOs did sOs things from here, hiding a nexus up in the top right corner. Taking an additional nexus at his own natural, sOs took a gamble that has defined his career. It was then a disruptor drop by sOs, who looked to take a chunk out of SpeCial’s scv line. Some great reflexes saw only two scv’s die, with a good spread preventing any further damage from the balls of death. SpeCial then lucked out, sending a banshee into the top right to scout the secret expansion. He also moved into mech, bringing a new style to the series which we did not see in the opening two games. sOs guarded the secret expansion well with cannons and his army but found himself 30 supply down to a meching Terran. Despite the scouting of the base SpeCial found it hard to kill it off, instead going for a frontal push into sOs. A great fight saw the mech cleave through the stalker colossi composition, cyclones gunning down colossi to see him move one map up.
Our second map saw another strange map, Automaton. SpeCial went for a proxy barracks and factory, whilst sOs went for a proxy stargate into a gold base. What a special game we had on our hands here. The factory floated into the main, producing two hellions inside the main of sOs. These two killed eight probes, with the surviving hellion scouting the gold base. It was a crazy game, a follow up banshee cleaning up a further nine probes in the main of sOs. A gold base was proving it’s worth for sOs, keeping him in the game despite the damage he’d sustained. A marine hit squad targeted the gold next, distracting sOs while another banshee killed 10 workers. SpeCial had the advantage and was not relenting, continuing to stretch sOs. SpeCial held his own destiny in his hands, one more force pushing out to seal the win, SpeCial advancing to the round of 16.
SpeCial 2-0 sOs.
SpeCial advances to the round of 16.
RagnaroK and SpeCial advance to the round of 16.
Series of the Day: TY vs RagnaroK.
Game of the Day: SpeCial vs sOs game two - Deciding series.
GSL Code S continues with the round of 16, with group nominations on May 15, 18:30 KST
All pictures courtesy of AfreecaTV and all stats courtesy of Liquipedia, CodeSFacts on Twitter and Aligulac.