GSL Round of 32, Group A Battle Report

Published on 02/02/2019 09:21 PST by Saxon "Saxy" Durrant

Rejoice! It's back after four long months.
Time for GSL and the first group of Code S 2019.
Featuring a representative of every race, Dark, Trust, KeeN and Dear battled it out for the first two spots in the round of 16.

With a highly impressive post Blizzcon, qualifying for WESG and IEM, Dark is the favourite to make it out in first, however the fight will be on for second place. Dear will be hoping to bounce back after an underwhelming 2018 whilst KeeN will be looking to build on his round of 16 finish from last seasons GSL. Trust also returns to the GSL for his sixth appearance in the competition and it will be left to be seen if he can turn any heads and make it into the round of 16 for the first time ever.

Read on to see how the action unfolded.

Dark vs Trust - ZvP

The first match saw favourite Dark take on Trust in a ZvP match up. With a 10-1 LOTV record in Dark’s favour, the first match saw Trust try a DT Archon drop. With minimal damage taken from the DT’s, Trust then tried to distract Dark with the archons, before forcefielding the main ramp and warping in chargelots. This was to try and destroy the economy of Dark, and the attack saw 12 drones fall, but a sharp roach counter attack saw Trust’s third base fall. The addition of mutalisks saw Trust tap out to give Dark the advantage.

Despite some cute moves by Trust, Dark took game one in decisive fashion. Credit - Afreeca TV

Game two saw a quick finale, Trust going for a five gateway warp prism aggression. A careful Dark stayed on 25 drones and held down the roach and zergling button, crushing the aggression before busting Trust’s base to reach the winners match in comfortable fashion.

Dark 2-0 Trust

KeeN vs Dear TvP

With Dark waiting in the wings, KeeN faced off against Dear to see who would meet the Blizzcon quarter finalist in the winner’s match.

Game one started just as many TvP matches did last year with a barracks in the middle of the map, however the quick reaper dealt zero damage to a ready Dear. KeeN went for a cloaked banshee play, swinging around the back with two as he pushed the front with tanks. Despite killing 8 probes, the push was effectively swatted back by Dear, who then, with a 20 supply lead at 8 minutes 30 pushed with three colossi. KeeN couldn’t clean the colossi up and saw lasers shred his army until the gg was called out.

Game two saw the first instance of Cyber Forest in the GSL. KeeN went for a fairly quick three command centre build, with Dear using a variant of the robotics first build he used in the last game. After establishing a third, KeeN in a surprise move pushed with two tanks and a massive SCV pull. However KeeN once again fell victim to forcefields and seemingly unkillable colossi which saw Dear take a clean 2-0.

Dear 2-0 KeeN.

The boys were pulled but sadly to no avail. Credit - Afreeca TV

Dark vs Dear ZvP

Dark against Dear was to decide the first qualifier from the group. The two met in the qualifiers for WESG recently, with Dark winning 3-0. With that and a 64%-win rate against Protoss since Blizzcon, Dark was still the clear favourite to advance.

Game one saw a sharp Dear race out of the blocks, seizing control of the game with a four kill oracle, adding to that with two adepts which secured another four drones. A surprise push by Dear at seven minutes seemingly caught everyone off guard with how much damage it did. The push, which originally looked like it was going to be easily swatted away, killed Dark’s fourth base and 15 drones to boot. With Dear now comfortably in control of the game, another attack at 10:30 cancelled the rebuilding fourth and took the map.

A very impressive game by Dear, who with a 68% win record against zerg since Blizzcon, went into the driving seat in the series.

Game two was a similar repeat to game one of Dark vs Trust. An archon drop with DT’s killed six drones and Dark powered into roaches off 50 drones, not even bothering to make ling speed. Upon seeing Dear’s army Dark retreated with his roaches, leaving Dear to push into Dark. A sublime counter attack by Dark with five roaches went unopposed in the mineral lines of Dear, forcing him into an all in. Although he killed many drones, he was unable to topple Dark and forced the game into a decider at 1-1.

Kings Cove saw the decider game and it was best game of the night. A very standard opening by both sides saw both sides enter the mid game with hydra-ling-bane going against immortal archon zealot and high templar. Then in several very decisive fights and decisions, Dark slowly tore apart Dear, using a combination of distracting mutalisk plays and baneling and zergling run bys to slowly chisel away at a seemingly powerless Dear. These decisive moves left Dear on only three workers and a base trade occurred, with Dark eliminating Dear’s buildings to claim a tough series win.

In his interview, Dark (through the aid of the GSL translator) commented on the day and the new map rotation,
“It wasn’t easy at all, in the end I made it through so I’m very happy in regards to it. I couldn’t practice a lot on the new maps, so I tried to use the veto system as much as possible in order to make the series favourable for me," Dark said.

"I personally feel this seasons map pool is very bad for Zerg to play on.” 

Dark 2-1 Dear.

Three banelings, +2, one mineral line. You do the math. Credit - Afreeca TV

KeeN vs Trust TvP

The losers match saw KeeN take on Trust, with both players eager to improve after their opening matches.

Game one saw normal openings, with KeeN making a 2 tank push, complimented with marines and banshees in an attempt to kill Trust’s exposed third base. Whilst eventually the push was cleared up, KeeN had killed the third and a couple of gateways, as well as seven probes. The game was in the balance, but an upgrade lead and a couple of brilliant storms saw Trust kill 30 SCV’s. A failed counter attack by KeeN singnalled the end of the match and saw Trust pick up the first map.

In a map debut for New Repugnancy, a similar build from KeeN saw a big push with tanks and banshees around the six minute mark. Despite some impressive stalker control by Trust, a contain was set up between the second and third bases, banshees, bunkers and tanks the name of the game. Whilst it looked impossible to break, a triple pronged attack by Trust crushed the contain and immediately countered to send KeeN out of the GSL.

Trust 2-0 KeeN.

"He's so serious about this. He's trying so hard to win. Is this even in the spirit of the game?" - Artosis.
Credit - Afreeca TV

Trust vs Dear PvP

A brutal PvP was to come for the deciding match, with Trust playing Dear. With Trust’s PvP percentage sitting at only 26% since Blizzcon, however with PvP, stats can only take you so far in such a crazy match up.

Map one took us to Year Zero, where we saw a mirror strategy which has become commonplace in PvP, the phoenix vs phoenix showdown. Adepts from Trust snuck into Dear’s main and picked off seven probes, putting Trust into the driving seat, and he added another stargate to try and cement that advantage. Whilst the game would have eventually gone in Trust’s favour with an overwhelming phoenix count, Dear went for a proxy DT play and surprised Trust, taking the win in shocking fashion, with Dear having been down in supply for most of the game.

In what was the quickest game of the night, Kairos Junction saw an efficient and brutal takedown of Dear by Trust. With some expert micro and a slight stalker advantage, Trust broke through and crumbled Dear, leaving it all to play for in the final game.

In classic PvP fashion, both sides opted for a proxy tech building in the third game, leading into an interesting finale. Trust, with the proxy robotics facility, and Dear with the proxy stargate. Stargate has always been seen as the robotics counter in PvP and this match would prove to be no different. Dear shutting down Trust’s aggression and with it, Trust’s hopes of reaching the final 16 for the first time.

In his interview, Dear commented on his success recently in PvT after beating KeeN today and Maru in the GSL qualifiers.
“Terrans do a lot of semi all in or very aggressive builds early on, so I just try and counter all these aggressive builds and things just have worked out well,” Dear said.

Dear 2-1 Trust.

Caught out with no detection and dark templar in your base. It's okay Trust, we've all been there.
Credit - Afreeca TV

Series of the Day – Dear vs Dark.

Game of the Day – Dark vs Dear game three.

GSL Code S continues with Losira, Classic, Trap and TRUE on February 7th, 18:30 KST.

All stats courtesy of Aligulac and all pictures from AfreecaTV and GSL.