GSL 2019 Season 3 Round of 32 - Group D Battle Report

Published on 07/10/2019 06:25 PDT by Saxon "Saxy" Durrant

Welcome one and all to the fourth installment of the final series of 2019's GSL. We've had some great and some crazy games in the past three groups, with every night providing us with a different storyline and different casting duo. Having experienced the lovely vocal chords of RapidCasting, CreightonOlsen and NoRegret we are back with the casting archon themselves.

Our three groups have seen three Zerg players advance, as well as two Terrans and a single Protoss. Perhaps a welcome sight for some members but I have faith we will see a fairly equal representation in the later rounds this season. Group C showed us some great and crazy matches, which ended in fan favourite Scarlett and previous seasons semi-finalist Hurricane bowing out. Our two escapees were Stats and Cure, who both played some taxing games.

Group D sees us with two Protoss players, a Terran and a Zerg. IEM champion soO heads the field, with Dream in his first GSL for a long while. Those two are supported by some scary Protoss players, Zest and herO. Timing attacks may be on the board for tonight.

2019 has been a strange year for soO, despite his maiden major championship win at IEM. Whilst he bathed in glory in Katowice, his GSL performances have been medicore, a round of eight finish in season two probably the right outcome for all things considered. Perhaps a slight relaxation has occured considering his assured place at Blizzcon but soO has not been the scary Zerg that I expected him to be (that mantle is clearly held by Dark). I think there's definitely a world tonight where soO doesn't make it out of this group, a recent loss against Zest at homestory cup showing some shakes, whilst herO is always dangerous. His first opponent Dream should not give him any trouble however.

Former MVP and SKT player Dream makes his triumphant return to the GSL today, featuring in his first GSL since 2016 season two. A defeat against Ryung saw him finish third that day, with our Terran player back today with his back up against the wall. If soO wasn't hard enough, Zest and herO have enough tricks to make anyone shake. Dream did beat Zest 2-0 in the qualifiers however and has been very active in online cups, beating MaNa and Harstem among others. No pressure for him today, that's for sure.

Zest has had an abysmal 2019 when it comes to GSL performance. Both seasons ended in exits in the round of 32, with minimal noteable results at either Super Tournament or IEM. A blizzcon run seems extremely unlikely at this point, with a massive run or a championship needed to bolster his points. Zest has not seen his talent wane however. A third place finish at Homestory Cup saw him destroy some players with ease, utilising attacking play to beat Bunny, Lambo, Elazer and soO himself. A narrow loss to TY is impressive in itself, although a lack of PvP in that tournament makes it hard to comment on this initial game.

I feel like herO and timing attack are words that often appear in the same sentence. In any case, this first series may promise to be an absolute slugfest. Whilst my mind says herO has played very well in PvP this year, aligulac disagrees, placing his PvP as his worst in terms of map win rate. I never back against him in the matchup however and I expect fireworks. A good season so far sees herO in 7th place in WCS rankings, an early elimination here could cost him dearly.

I predict Zest making it out first, with Protoss compatriot herO exiting in second place.

soO vs Dream – ZvT

A gas and pool for soO seemed to signal some aggression in our opening game, with our Zerg looking to bring it to Dream. It has been a common theme this season where our pro’s aim to unsettle the ‘new’ boys. soO utilised the early pool for caution and defence however, with Dream adding on an extra two barracks before any starport. He hid them well, with everyone interested in how this non-standard build would fare. soO pulled the trigger before Dream could however, pumping 10 roaches and zerglings off only 40 workers. Dream was extra prepared with the two extra barracks though, beating back the assault before going for a counter. 

The counter looked dangerous but some counter zerglings prevented reinforcements, Dream continuing to push despite the setback. A late third command centre saw Dream continue to push but soO’s count of roach ravenger continue to spiral out of control. soO maxed out to Dream’s 120 at the time, with Dream moving to 150 as soO pushed into the bases of Dream. Dream’s third was denied, but a counter by Dream kept the game going on super low economy, 45 drones to 30 scv’s. Dream continued to prod as banelings were mixed in for soO, but he failed to find much damage with his drops. Dream had bought enough time to build a big army of his own though, holding firm on four bases.

A double pronged attack by soO hit a firm wall, with Dream’s army staying strong as it scaled better into the late game. soO continued to run in but could not kill Dream, supplies slowly becoming more and more even with our Terran player now on five bases to the Zerg’s six. We entered into the 20 minute mark with this game still even with either side able to win. Ultralisks, vipers and then infestors were added, soO unrelenting in his pressure to topple newcomer Dream. The tipping point was a couple of attacks that crippled Dream’s worker count, moving down to only 30. With our Terran now on such little economy compared to soO, gg was soon called to see an end to this very interesting game one.

GSL Cobalt was our map two, with the four player map making another rare appearance. Normal openings from both sides saw the usual hellion poke in, followed by a lovely fusion core. A battlecruiser with yamato followed. It warped in surrounded by hellions but soO was ready, only four drones dying. A mech follow up was our next path, with the possibility of a long turtle game on this big map. Corruptors were added for soO as he went into a big roach swell, looking to push hard once again. 

In a weird repeat of the first game soO pushed hard, his supply inflated by roaches.  Biles rained hard and despite the battlecruisers soO broke through, taking a 2-0 to advance onwards into the winner’s match.

Dream's first match in the GSL for three years was a nail biter with soO.
Credit - AfreecaTV.

soO 2-0 Dream.

herO vs Zest – PvP.

A 7:7 even record for these two players in LOTV enticed us for an even series, with our first map on King’s Cove. Both players went for a proxy play, both stargates in almost the same spot of the map. herO appeared to start a shield battery but cancelled it in a tragic move, allowing Zest’s oracle to come in and kill six probes. Zest had the advantage for a minute, before herO revealed his two oracles onto the mineral lines of Zest. Twelve probes went down to place herO back into the lead, with herO cleaning Zest’s two oracles. When all was said and done both players sat on a relatively even probe count, Zest only three ahead. Five probes were once again sacked from both sides, before herO killed another 10. 

Surprisingly, herO still remained only even on the probe count, with our Trimphant Song Gaming player neglecting in building probes. The damage was still stacking up though, with herO pushing with a big stalker force, backed by an immortal and phoenix. The technicality of the army was too much for Zest, herO moving onto match point. An absolute probe massacre this game.

Thunderbird was our next battlefield, with Zest’s proxy pylon only for show, no tech building added next to it. Natural bases were taken for both sides, with a macro game on the cards with a forge from herO. With a much later forge Zest took to harassing but his warp prism was shut down by the phoenix of herO. Our other Protoss went sneaky though, Zest taking a hidden base as well as his normal third. With a small phoenix count herO then went into double disruptor production. Using the advantage of the disruptor herO set up an attack. With no anti disruptor Zest was slowly picked apart, herO eventually moving in to see him advance 2-0.

If you don't like to see probes dying, this wasn't the game for you.
Credit - AfreecaTV.

herO 2-0 Zest.

soO vs herO – ZvP.

A quick three hatch graced us in this winner’s match ZvP, as I collectively held my breath, hoping to see some inventive herO PvZ. We saw a stargate with a phoenix and oracle, herO playing nothing crazy, producing a second oracle. The first oracle got lucky though, five drones falling as herO built a robotics, forge and twlight behind but continued to produce oracles, up to three now. Eight drones fell with an oracle exchanged, soO moving into hydra-ling-bane to see this map moving to a solid mid game. A passive few minutes followed, both players expanding worker, army and base counts. herO ended the stalemate and pushed onto creep, taking a good initial fight before pushing further whilst attacking into the main. 

The second push proved to be a massive over-extension however, herO seeing his immortal and templar count completely wiped. From here herO was behind, soO sitting pretty and moving into a heavy brood lord count. Our protoss pushed once again but it was ill-fated again, soO pushing back with a massive force to take the initial map.

A robotics facility from herO saw a shift from game one, with our Protoss player moving straight into a warp prism. The possibility of an all-in was high, with probes pulled off gas and gateways thrown down. He pushed with a single immortal and assaulted the third, herO extremely all-in off only 31 probes. Whilst the third died soO held well, herO not tapping out but severely behind. Probes were started and then stopped, herO hitting a massive supply block before starting a third nexus. soO had never droned though, building only army to try and topple herO. It looked unstoppable but five immortals with a prism were juggled incredibly well, herO holding to win the game and send us into our first third map of the day. My question is, did soO need to attack into herO at that point?

Turbo Cruise set the scene for our third map, herO moving into a stargate, oracle and then into a robotics and twilight. Whilst it seemed like a normal archon drop herO added charge and more gates, moving into a massive charge-archon attack. soO pumped out roaches and killed 14 probes with a run by but it wasn’t enough, herO shoving and shoving until nothing was left for our Zerg player. herO defying the odds to upset soO today.

In a big all or nothing play, soO assaulted the third of herO.
Credit - AfreecaTV.

soO 1-2 herO.

herO advances to the round of 16.

Zest vs Dream – PvT.

With Dream’s life on the line, he had one more chance to prove himself. His TvP form has been encouraging but everything changes in the GSL. A proxy stargate by Zest met a concussive shell build by Dream, but neither player committed to any aggression with their strategy. A blink into the main by Zest saw a good trade. He pushed the stalkers back, before killing the stargate and pushing. A big marauder count by Dream looked scary but zest had bought enough time for himself, holding with two immortals. Both players had moved into thirds early and the game continued, Zest into colossi, Dream into liberators and ghosts by the 10 minute mark. Zest postured to attack on the finale of extended lance, Zest showed some great double pronged offence to crush Dream from both sides. Zealots swarmed and a massive amount of scv’s died, Dream surviving barely, 40 supply down. Dream went for an all or nothing but it was too little, Zest moving 1-0 up.

Our second game saw two probes dart across the map, with Zest harassing with one and building a proxy gateway with the other. A reaper couldn’t scout the barracks, with Zest playing the perfect defence and offence to kill the reaper, cancel the command centre and kill a bunker and depot. A cyclone batted away the stalkers but the damage was done, Zest continuing the gateway assault. It was almost painful to watch as Zest crushed through in easy fashion to go on and face soO.

Perhaps an image a lot of Terran players can relate to.
Credit - AfreecaTV.

Zest 2-0 Dream.

soO vs Zest – ZvP.

soO had seen himself loss a ZvP earlier in the night and saw himself up against Zest in the final. With these two having played a best of five in Krefield, Germany. Zest won 3-1 there, with our opening game seeing our Protoss move into a dark templar drop build. Zerglings pressured the front but Zest was scared, moving into an immortal before prism. Our Zerg was still on two bases and had lair, but no crazy nydus or swarm host play was seen. The dark templar sniped a building base, adepts killed five drones as Zest kept soO on a limited economy before moving into five more gateways. Another push was to come and it was to hit hard. 

At 7:20 the army marched onto creep and it looked deadly but soO would hold the attack, keeping his third alive in the process. Evolving from his earlier series soO moved into hydralisks, giving his army more substance and viability in the mid game. soO pushed hard into Zest from here though, pumping through the forcefields. With no warp prism Zest couldn’t hold back the swarm, soO taking a good game one.

A twilight opening lead into another dark shrine for game two. Instead of the immortal variety we saw in game one, it was a straight dark templar drop on King’s Cove, with soO opening standard himself. The dark templar warped in at 4:40 with soO sitting pretty on 41 drones. Spores were ready at every base though but some fantastic multi pronged aggression saw 12 drones die with dark templar and adepts. It was great damage by Zest, who took the initiative here. Both players macroed up, Zest sitting on a high probe count as soO stopped droning on 55 and sat on three bases, before moving across the map to attack. 

Zest sat up his ramps of his three bases though, holding the high ground as soO transitioned into lurkers. soO didn’t get the opportunity to make them however, Zest flanking the army from both sides to crush the contain, with the counter punch coming a minute later. Hold position lurkers surprised Zest as he stepped onto creep, forcing Zest to rebalance and reposition. Some sloppy play saw Zest lose his high templar, before he saw his army lose a fight. He was able to retreat with his Immortals though, moving into tempest as he sat defensively. 

In an aggressive move from here, soO pushed hard with a big lurker based army. It was a strange attack off creep, but when the hydralisks died, the squishy lurker underbelly was ripped apart. GG was called, with a third and final match to come between these great players.

A pylon block in game three saw Zest lose his probe in an error, forced to confirm scouting intelligence with a second probe. A robotics paired with a sentry was the move by Zest, with a mistake with soO’s overlord allowing it to be picked off for free. It meant soO could not scout any potential all in and our zerg planted an immediate roach warren. Faking the big immortal push, Zest went for a double stargate follow up. 

It was an interesting move, soO forced into unit production but still blind to the phoenix. Zest waited for 10 phoenix before moving out, with soO making mass roaches with soO completely unprepared. Roaches pressed the front but a recall by Zest crushed the push. The phoenix crushed through everything, constantly supply blocking soO and doing what he pleased. It was a painful game, soO simply unable to compete with the damage lost. Hydralisks were forced out and the phoenixes still floated around, Zest only becoming stronger and stronger back home. 

Zest turtled from here, moving into tempests and carriers, allowing soO to max out. Any hope for soO was distinguished quickly though, the golden armada crushing through creep. A decisive victory for Zest, who makes his first round of 16 appearance in 2019.

Double stargate phoenix transitions are very good apparently.
Credit - AfreecaTV.

soO 1-2 Zest.

Zest advances to the round of 16.

herO and Zest advance to the round of 16.

Series of the Day: soO vs Zest.

Game of the Day: soO vs Dream Game One.

GSL Code S continues on Wednesday the 10th of July at 20:00 KST with Maru, Super, Impact and TY.

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