GSL Round of 16, Group B Battle Report
Six are decided, two are yet to come! It’s the last group of the round of 16 in the GSL, featuring a representative from all races. With three terrans, two protosses and one zerg already in the round of eight, another zerg participant would be keenly received. If you missed group c earlier in the week, check out my report here.
Group b contains some household names, with Dark, herO, Cure and Dear propping up our list today. They’re also some names that have been on form lately, with Dear, herO and Dark impressing in recent tournaments.
We’ll start with our Jin Air representative today, Cure. Perhaps one of the lesser known Jin Air players, Cure has been a consistent figure in the scene for a long time. In truth he is the least likely to make it out today but a win against Stats and MC in the round of 32 plus a 64% TvP win rate since Blizzcon indicates good TvP form, a skill he will need today. A less than ideal open bracket elimination at IEM didn’t give us a chance to see any recent form, can Cure turn some heads? The other non-protoss in this group is the one and only, Dark. What’s to be said about this man than the tear has been on recently. Semi-finalist at IEM, quarter finalist at WESG indicates that the rest of this group have their hands full with the Gosu Crew player tonight. My pick for first out.
The interesting part of this group is that first out will have to play Maru, while second out will play Bunny, which is on paper, an easier match for the player who places second tonight. Our two protosses may have this in mind tonight. herO is another player enjoying a prosperous 2019, a semifinalist appearance at IEM showed his PvP prowess and he will surely fancy himself against Dear if they meet tonight. In a common theme of this group, Dear also had a very strong IEM, although being 3-0’d by herO brought a sudden end to his run. Dear showed some innovative play especially in the PvT match up in his round of 32 group as well as IEM, so he cannot be undervalued here. In summary, another very strong and very even group.
Dark vs herO - ZvP
Our first series would start out action packed with a proxy hatch by Dark delaying the natural of herO by a minute, before stealing the gas of herO. It forced herO to take a different approach to the game, taking an early forge into a robotics facility. Strangely not beginning an upgrade, herO went for a big five gate prism attack. Dark read him like a book however, dropping lings into herO’s base just as the move out occurred. Over 20 probes died, the attack petered out and Dark took a beautiful game one.
Map two would start off strange as well, with herO going for an ambitious nexus first play, with a supremely early forge. The build was sOs like, an early prism into immortals, complimented by charge and +2 attack. Dark wasn’t scared however, skipping roaches and moving straight into hydralisks. A +2 timing was on the cars and herO pushed across the map, encroaching creep at the 7 minute mark. He would then turn back however, leading into a passive couple of minutes with herO on a slight economic lead. Another push out at +3 saw herO with a massive upgrade advantage, using forcefields to kill the fourth base . It was an action based game from here, Dark pushing into herO’s fourth and trading evenly. It was then herO’s turn to push, but a slight overextentsion saw him lose his precious tech units. Mutalisks would then be next on the table for Dark, baiting out archons before a more serious transition caught herO storming his own army. It was a massive see-saw game with herO losing another big army but he had the initiative and the upgrades behind it, with another big warp in of zealots sealing the deal for herO. Amazing game.
More standard openings were seen by both sides on King’s Cove, a quick three hatch met with an expand / stargate. herO looked to go for a double stargate play, but an excellent scout by Dark forced the cancel, instead prompting a robo / twilight into a quick third base from herO. The game was passive compared to the last, both sides content to sit back and power up. Dark would take the mantle of the aggressor from here however, looking to cripple and spread herO. With nydus’ going everywhere between herO’s three bases, Dark played an amazing game, exploiting the lack of mobility and carving the series win, moving onto the winners match.
Dark 2-1 herO
Cure vs Dear - TvP
Normal passive openings opened up this series tonight, with a 1-1-1 meeting three gate blink. Instead of tanks, Cure went into a three widow mine drop doing little damage as it was well defended by Dear. Behind this Cure went for a heavy bio play, pushing and killing Dear’s third. It would have been a great position for Cure, but a sneaky warp prism went into Cure’s base, with zealots mopping up over 20 scv’s . It put Dear in a dominating position, over 20 supply up on his opponent. The advantage would not untold, as a quick follow up push by Dear saw him storm through Cure’s army to take map one.
Game two started off in exactly the same vein as the first, the same three widow mine drop causing only slightly more damage than before. Colossi would be the tech of choice for Dear in game two, with Cure going for a small two tank and raven push. He hoped to disable the colossi but great strategy by Dear baited the disable. Dear went for a return push, but a double drop killed off the weak base. It was a strange situation which saw both players emerge scarred but even, both going up to three bases. A big drop by Cure killed off 2 colossi but it would then be Dear’s turn to attack, posturing at the third before a warp prism trundled into the main base of Cure, dealing out huge damage, despite Cure winning the fight at his third. It was another back and forth match again but the upgrade difference would be telling, a big fight going Dear’s way to send the Newbee player into the winners match.
Cure 0-2 Dear
Dark vs Dear - ZvP
When these two played in the round of 32, Dark won 2-1, so everyone was hoping we’d have another close series in this winners match. A passive opening on automaton gave way to a mass zergling nydus play from Dark. The nydus went unscouted, zerglings and queens flooded Dear’s main base. It looked like Dear was in the dumps and despite a crazy amount of damage, Dear held, even being in a slight worker lead. Dark then moved into hydralisks as the game stablised. It would then be Dear who pushed, cancelling Dark’s fourth base and carefully retreating home with minimal losses. Dear had the economic advantage and looked to press again. A drawn out fight saw both armies traded, with Dark once again losing his fourth base. Dark needed to press and thrusted forward with the aid of a nydus but Dear would hold to take the first map.
It would be another proxy hatchery by Dark on New Repugnancy but in a more aggressive version than we saw against herO. Everything began to go wrong for Dark from here, with pylon blocks forcing him to take a far third and losing his scouting overlord to send him into a supply block at 25. Dear would looked to pressure with a quick prism but with only four sentries inside, the damage was mininmal. It would then become a soul train push by Dear, looking to end the game here and then. Eighteen drones went down but held. With Dear not looking to expand, his follow up push would the final say, Dear busting though to 2-0 Dark and advance into the round of eight.
Dark 0-2 Dear
Dear advances to the round of eight.
Cure vs herO - TvP
Our losers match would see Cure play off against herO, with Cure showing a different style, going for a proxy starport coupled with four hellions. Two hellions were lost for eight probes to place Cure in the advantage, with herO going for colossus. It was a passive game, with Cure going for a drop in an attempt to deal damage. It killed off a further nine probes, as Cure powered into triple liberator production, backed by liberator range. The action then spiraled, a prism entered the main and contuined to warp in, Cure unable to deal without leaving himself exposed at the third. Whilst 12 workers got killed by a marine hit squad, herO would take the initiative in the map, putting constant pressure on the Jin Air player. Tempest entered the production queue, with herO setting up a wall of batteries to keep the siege up. It would then turn into a war of attrition, with tempests, Vikings and high templar doing the dance. This would carry on for the next few minutes, until the supply told the story, herO 80 supply up and from there, taking map one.
Kairos Junction would be our next battleground, with Cure’s tournament life hanging on the line. We’d see a much more aggressive herO off the bat, with a quick reaper kill leading to some heavy adept pressure on the other side of the map, delaying Cure’s command centre. With constant pressure being applied, herO moved into four gateways and blink. We’d see the pressure never subside, herO warping in round after round of stalkers, blinking into the main and slowly snowballing his way to a victory, knocking out Cure.
Cure 0-2 herO
herO vs Dark - PvZ
Our final match would see a repeat of the first game of the night, with Dark facing off against herO. We saw some weird openings in the first series but it would be all standard on this first map. Double oracle followed into a late archon drop, with Dark heading into a spire for an ambitious mutalisk play. herO went close to scouting the spire but missed it by inches, leaving him in the unknown. An ambitious push out saw his army resoundingly beaten, Dark taking a 60 supply lead and herO simply tapping out.
Kings Cove would see the return to the off standard openers, a quick three hatch met a gas first opening by herO, moving into a twilight council and a dark templar archon drop. Two dark templar made their way around, only killing two drones but keeping Dark pinned. We’d see both players power up from here, herO moving out with a big push at the seven minute mark. Probes were cut at 45 as herO looked to push through Dark. Twenty drones were killed but Dark held and with the zerg player still on four bases, he had the advantage. herO went for another push and was squashed by overwhelming roaches. Dark now with a big supply lead doubled down on roaches, pushing back into herO to claim the last spot in the round of eight.
herO 0-2 Dark
Dark advances to the round of eight.
Qualified players: Dear, Dark.
Series of the Day: herO vs Dark opening series.
Game of the Day: herO vs Dark opening series game two.
GSL Code S will continue with the round of eight on March 27, 20:00 KST with Bunny vs Dark and Classic vs Rogue.
All pictures courtesy of AfreecaTV and stats from Aligulac.