GSL Round of 16, Group C Battle Report
It’s straight out of the WESG and into the GSL! The crazy schedule continues this week with the last remaining groups of the GSL round of 16. If you’re looking to catch up on a group you missed, check out my write ups of group a here and group d, here.
The round of 16 has seen some monstrous groups and today is no exception, with three protosses and one terran. The three protosses, Classic, sOs and Trap will be looking to kick start their seasons with a good finish and the lone terran INnoVation will be looking to continue his fine form at WESG.
We’ll start with the man who won a ludicrous amount of money only four days previous, INnoVation. He walked out of Chongqing with $150,000 USD, beating Serral in an epic seven game final. It’s glossed over his (dare we say) disappointing IEM performance and it will remain to be seen if the travel and possible celebrations will affect him tonight. Another point to add is that in both IEM and WESG, he played only one TvP series, against Rail. It will be interesting to see how his form compares against protoss. He plays the one and only sOs in his first match. The Jin Air player has had a quiet start to 2019, with an open bracket loss at IEM and a fairly convincing first place exit in the round of 32. Apart from that it’s a very tough call, with sOs always having the most unpredictable playstyle, will he fly or will he fall?
In a rare circumstance, both Classic and Trap were in the same round of 32 group and they also face off here. In that group Classic 2-0’d Trap to advance out in first and in my book I place Classic to advance from this initial match as well. Trap has looked somewhat shaky in PvP recently, having been clean swept by herO at IEM as well as the loss to Classic. If he still has problems in that department he could have a short run tonight. Classic is the last person in our group and the former SKT player must not be overlooked. His non-appearance at IEM may have paved the way for some massive practice, in either way he has often had the mantle of best PvP player and will be looking for those skills in that match up to shine tonight.
Classic vs Trap - PvP
With Classic holding a 5-0 offline record over Trap he perhaps had the mental advantage going into this initial series. Trap went into a proxy stargate, with Classic making his own stargate. A beautiful probe scout saw Classic scout the proxy, making a phoenix to completely shut down Trap’s oracle. Classic then went into four phoenix, shaving off a couple of workers to see Classic take a five worker lead. It was immediately repaid by Trap, who used some excellent Oracle control to pick up six worker kills of it’s own despite the phoenix being ever present. Both players powered up to eight gateways off two bases, taking a third at identical times. Trap looked to push around the 10 minute mark, the big engage happened and despite some of Classic’s archons being stuck behind each other, Classic smashed through the army of Trap, pushing into Trap with a big army supply lead to take the map.
Another atypical PvP opening was not in the cards from Trap in game two, with the Jin Air man going into a one gate expand. Classic looked to punish him with four adepts and an oracle. Trap held with flying colours, keeping the lead in the worker count. A frantic back and forth saw the oracles of Classic shaving off workers, whilst on the other side of the map adepts were gunning down workers of Classic. In an uneventful climax, both players held with equal workers, halting production at 45 probes and powering up into eight gateways once again. Trap pushed and cancelled Classic’s third, before pushing into the natural to take the series to a final game.
Normal openings were seen by both players in map three, with Trap once again opting for a proxy, this time a twilight for blink. Classic applied heavy pressure with an oracle and six adepts but had to retreat as Trap pushed back with blink stalkers. It looked like Classic had nothing, but an immortal popped out just at the right time and held the line. The game stabilized from here, with Trap surprisingly moving into some late oracles. They could only find five probes however and Classic went to push, having the emphasis with an immortal count of 4-0. It would prove decisive as déjà vu was felt, Classic once again beating Trap in the GSL.
Classic 2-1 Trap
INnoVation vs sOs – TvP
In typical sOs fashion, the initial map turned to mind games, with the Jin Air player taking the 3rd base instead of the common natural and forcing INnoVation into an initially defensive posture. Both players looked to open from here but sOs would not be content on passiveness, going into a very quick blink attack. Expecting the blink into the main, INnoVation was caught out, losing over 10 workers to place sOs in a serious advantage with stimpack only beginning at the six minute mark. INnoVation was caught in a hole, having to push out in an all in move. sOs had been given too much time however, with a swarm of zealots and stalkers surrounding his push to send us into a quick second game.
Our second game saw another peculiar opening by sOs, with the Jin Air players opting for a three gate glaive pressure build. It looked dangerous for INnoVation but with the pressure petering out, sOs moved into a two base push with colossi behind eight gateways. It was a strange build, with the refusal to expand making his attack an all in. A warp prism was picked off, delaying the inevitable attack for a valuable couple of minutes. I talked before about sOs either flying or falling, this build was a definite fall, the series going into a decider.
Game three was the most normal of the bunch for sOs, with a normal expand into stargate. INnoVation made the decision of a bunker this time around, with a 1-1-1 standard opening from the Reciprocity player. sOs looked to get the momentum with phoenix, making six to scout around and poke at INnoVation. sOs looked to move into colossi but INnoVation wasn’t looking to wait around as he pulled the boys for a two base all in. Colossus were gunned down as INnoVation pulled in, slowly moving forward into the natural of sOs. The Jin Air player had to hold, and hold he did, just managing to clean up the army to take a 22 worker lead. From then it was just a matter of time, with INnoVation’s next push getting lasered into nothing to send sOs into the winners match.
INnoVation 1-2 sOs
Classic vs sOs – PvP
It would be a PvP to decide who would be the first protoss player in the round of eight. A repeat of an earlier game of today occured, with sOs going for a proxy stargate, Classic making a stargate of his own. The oracle of sOs found five kills and both players pushed into double oracles, followed by a phoenix. The game developed with Classic going into a big phoenix count, whilst sOs went into blink. A big gateway swell was seen by both players but the difference was in the bases. sOs, already mining off a third was a complete base ahead of Classic. Classic had to shut it down and went for a big glaives attack to try and end the game. sOs just had to hold and despite a fantastic position by Classic, sOs busted through to take the advantage.
The proxy shenanigans were in full swing by sOs, playing a three gate robotics build against Classic’s stargate on Year Zero. Whilst it looked like sOs had hidden the buildings, a probe just scouted the proxy. It was then promptly shut down by Classic. sOs looked then to take a cheeky victory with dark templar in typical protoss fashion. In a game of clutch decisions by Classic, the dark templar shrine was scouted last minute. Classic then managed to build up a last minute defence to deny sOs and take the ascendency in this match with both plan a and plan b denied. It was then easy pickings for Classic, easily pushing through the natural of sOs to take us once again into a decider.
It was proxy central for sOs in this series with another blink proxy against the stargate and oracle of Classic. sOs’ tricks were not going to work on Classic tonight however with the proxy once again being scouted. Then, an idea was formed by Classic. An oracle distracted the stalkers of sOs, with Classic able to push in with stalkers at the same time, depowering the blink upgrade just before finishing. Oracles were to add to Jin Air players misery, running in to pick off over seven workers, putting Classic in a dominating position. sOs was visisbly frustrated and attempted to take the gold base but Classic was too far ahead, Classic being the first protoss player into the round of eight.
Classic 2-1 sOs
Classic advances to the round of eight.
Trap vs INnoVation – PvT
After three games of sOs, this elimination match started off seemingly slower. Both sides went into standard expansions off the bat of three gate blink and a 1-1-1. In a passive games, both thirds started around the five minute mark, both players powering up double upgrades and moving into the mid game. Despite a minor skirmish around a warp prism the game continued very passively, both sides moving into the 10th minute on four bases, moving into late game. It’s a rarity that we see this late game in TvP, as Trap moved into a heavy tempest count, persisting with zealot run bys with great effect. Shield batteries were set up in the middle of the map to form a wall for Trap to retreat to, however the need was rarely there. INnoVation tried to engage into Trap, but some amazing psistorms kept INnoVation at bay, Trap picking off a base and the majority of the army to send INnoVation on the brink of elimination. Beautiful play by Trap, making INnoVation look powerless through some precise movements.
Another set of standard openings saw us in map two, with three gate blink once again meeting a 1-1-1. Instead of raven from the last game INnoVation looked to apply the pressure with banshees. Trap held a solid defence however, holding them off before looking to apply pressure of his own. A warp prism flew into the main, whilst Trap pressured the third. Whilst INnoVation held at his third, zealots cancelled the all important stimpack upgrade. With INnoVation without the key upgrade, Trap abused it, flying around with the same warp prism and holding the terran player in his own base whilst also attacking the third base. As soon as stimpack came into effect INnoVation looked to push, bringing tanks and marines hurtling towards Trap. With key upgrades nearly finished for Trap he looked to stall, holding for the 25 seconds required before setting up an impressive 360 degree surround to send the WESG winner out of the GSL.
Trap 2-0 INnoVation
Trap vs sOs - PvP
The battle between teammates would be our final match for today and the question to be asked was would sOs’ tricks work on a teammate? The answer would be this yes this time, as a fake cannon rush saw an overreaction from Trap. The opening would allow sOs to open one gate nexus and take an economic advantage. Despite the advantage Trap wouldn’t look to deny his teammate with oracles, with both players staying passive, eight gateways and third nexuses for both players. This would not turn into a normal PvP though, with sOs pulling a page out of the sOs book of wacky builds and researching psistorm in a move virtually unseen in PvP. With Tastosis frantically discussing if the move was viable, sOs looked to posture for a fight. Trap had the concave but storms rained, sOs postured around and took a fight with one upgrade up on Trap. Whilst it’s an unknown how much difference storm made, sOs won the fight and with it the map. One to look back on and possibly a meta changer.
Game two saw perhaps the most normal sOs game of the night, with an expansion after two sentries and two adepts. Trap’s oracle found a beautiful stasis ward, locking down a complete mineral line to send sOs behind. Whilst sOs hallucinated six adepts and sent them out (you read me right) Trap’s oracles swung in, killing 13 probes. Trap was firmly in front and even a proxy dark templar shrine could not find save sOs, Trap prepared with cannons in every base. It was then a simple end, Trap pushing into sOs with an overpowering army to send the Jin Air players into the decider on the cannon friendly map, New Repugnancy.
Much to the dismay of all of us, no forges were made in this decider as both players went into double gateways. Some early stalker pressure by Trap saw him take an earlier base as both players went into adept glaives. It looked like both players would power up and clash in the middle with the same strategy and that is what happened, Trap picking off an immortal to push into sOs’ base. With adepts being frantically warped in on both sides, it was Trap who eventually shaded through to take the map and the series against his teammate. It’s Trap’s first round of eight appearance since 2013.
Trap 2-1 sOs
Trap qualifies to the round of eight.
Qualified Players: Classic, Trap
Series of the Day: Trap vs sOs.
Game of the Day: Trap vs sOs Game one.
GSL Code S continues with Dark, herO, Cure and Dear on Saturday at 13:00 KST.