GSL Round of 32, Group D Battle Report
It’s a three day flurry of GSL action! If you’re still in shock about last nights group, you should go get a Gatorade and sober up, as group d hits our screens today. If you missed the action last night, check out the battle report here.
There’s a representative of every race here, in another argueable group of death. Representing Protoss we have sOs and PartinG, for Terran we have Bunny and Zerg players can hopefully look forward to Solar’s play.
Unlike the last two days, there is no clear favourite in my mind as to who will advance. sOs is the highest rated player out of the four, with multiple championships and two blizzcon trophies to his name. However the Jin Air player is unpredictable at the best of times, with his play sometimes crushing through opponents and other times falling flat. He’s also had a very quiet off season, with only 24 series played in total. He faces PartinG in the first match, who he beat twice in recent IEM qualifiers. Whilst PartinG still is an active streamer and a big community figure, he should not be overlooked in this group. He beat Solar and TY in the GSL qualifiers, beating TY again in early January 3-0. Whilst PvP is statiscally his worst match up since Blizzcon, don’t count out PartinG reaching the round of 16.
Bunny, the lone Terran in this group is possibly the player in the best form heading into this group. Despite qualifying on the second day of the qualfiers, Bunny managed to secure qualification to IEM Katowice. He beat her0, HeroMarine, Zanster, Dear, sOs, so0 and Solar in his successful campaign and is surely expected to carry that momentum into this group. Solar wraps up the group, with the very active Zerg player participating in over 100 series in the off season. Whilst knocking off some names like So0 and Stats, Solar has not had the most impressive off season and it will remain to see if he can bring good play to this tough group.
sOs vs PartinG - PvP
The first match saw sOs face off against PartinG in a PvP series. SOs could easily have the title of best PVP player in the world but as we saw yesterday anything can happen in this match up. Game one saw PartinG wall off his natural base, going into a one gate early expansion play, followed up by a robotics facility. Both players refrained from aggression, with only some adept harass from both sides claiming some probes. An early third by PartinG saw him, in an unconventional move, posture and move forward to attack sOs. An even fight ensued, but with PartinG up a base, the emphasis was on sOs to make a move. Make a move he did, as he pushed forward and took a great fight at PartinG’s third. SOs then moved on, powering through PartinG’s third and taking the first map.
The second map saw an old classic. The cannon rush. PartinG was the aggressor, pushing forward into sOs on a map rated five out of five for cannons by the man himself, printf. SOs tried to block the probe, but was unsuccessful the probe laying down two cannons just before it’s death. The cannons fired and fired, until sOs tapped out much to the smiles of PartinG.
The third map saw normal two gate openings by both players, with sOs going into a stargate whilst PartinG went into a three gate robotics play after scouting the stargate. With PartinG pushing up sOs’ ramp, oracles came in from behind to reduce PartinG’s probe count by five. PartinG threatened to break sOs with some impressive shuttle micro but the Jin Air player held, using his double oracles to cement his advantage with further probe kills. From there the pressure was on PartinG and an unlucky push found most of his army caught up in a stasis trap, sOs puncing to claim the series win.
sOs 2-1 PartinG
Solar vs Bunny - ZvT
Bunny is no stranger to proxy plays in this match up and map one saw the Blacer player go for three barracks in the centre of the map in an attempt to end the game early. A bunker went up on the low and high ground, with Solar going straight into roaches. The proxy barracks killed the natural but in the ebb and flow of a proxy, roaches and ravengers headed to Bunny’s base. These were held well by Bunny, who assumed control of the game as both players powered up after the early aggression. A push by Bunny in the 10th minute shut down by Solar, jumping on the army and seemingly catching Bunny by surprise. It was then an even and back and forth game, with Bunny and Solar trading armies as both side failed to deal any significant economic damage to each other. It was a tight game but Solar had the momentum swing in his favour. With ultralisks out, Bunny’s composition lacked just a little firepower and after a couple of engagements in Solar’s favour, Bunny tapped out to see Solar in the ascendency.
Although game one was a great game, sadly game two would not live up to the hype. A command centre first build by Bunny met an aggressive spawning pool first by Solar, followed up by very quick roaches. Bunny’s build was in trouble and upon seeing the roaches, he left the game to give Solar the quick 2-0.
Solar 2-0 Bunny
sOs vs Solar - PvZ
SOs is a special someone and we knew we were going to be in for a special series as soon as the first pylon went down. Despite walling off against Zerg being more than common place, sOs did not wall off, going for a seemingly exposed nexus, into a very quick forge. This was a strange build, one that I had not seen, nor Tastosis themselves. A robotics facility followed the forge, as well as gateways to wall off the natural to null the threat of ling speed. Solar on the otherside macro’ed and played a normal game, even getting overlord speed to fully scout the build of sOs. To the mystery of us all this build continued, sOs eventually pushing out with sentries, two immortals, +2. archons and zealots, backed off six gateways. As he expanded to a third, he moved out. ‘Surely it can’t work’ we all said, but work it did, as sOs pushed easily through Solar’s roach hydra. A game to rewatch and study, the crazy king of Protoss at it again. 1-0 sOs.
The second game on Cyber Forest saw again this strange style, with a couple of tweaks. The forge was cut, replaced with an earlier robotics facility. This was a build in similar variance to the ‘soul train’ two base all in we saw in HOTS, with sOs moving out with sentries, a couple of immortals and six gates. Again we saw a standard game from Solar but the question would be, could be hold? In a genius move, Solar moved a couple of spore crawlers into the middle of the possible battlefields. With roach ling and a spore crawler gunning down the warp prism, sOs was stifled and the push was beaten back, with the series tied at 1-1.
The final map saw another non wall off initially by sOs. In nearly every other instance of PvZ we have seen this season, stargate has been the opening tech of choice. Not for sOs though, as we again saw the robotics facility pump out immortals. A hilarious push with five sentries and one stalker (you read me right) saw Solar halt drone production for a cycle, with the ‘army’ moving behind a mineral line and simply recalling home. Back at home there was eight gateways and immortals and sOs pushed once again, looking to end the game here and then. The prism did not die this game and with Solar’s army forced behind his own hatchery, sOs bullied his way through and became the first player to advance out of the group. A crazy series from a fan favourite.
In his interview sOs said he felt his group was really tough and he tried to think of a way to win without stargate units against Zerg.
“I was saving [those builds] for later rounds, but the round of 32 is very tough so I used them early.”
sOs 2-1 Solar
PartinG vs Bunny - PvT
The first elimination match saw our fourth PvT in 24 hours, with one of these players heading home after the series. Our first map saw very standard openings, a proxy barracks forced an early cybernetics core but no damage was dealt. Both sides going into three gate blink and a 1-1-1 expansion opening respectively. In a fairly passive game, PartinG went into colossi technology. With a starport reactor snipe earlier, PartinG was able to chip away at Bunny’s marine count, prompting a big SCV pull with tank, marine and banshee support. It was an easy hold for PartinG however, as he went 1-0 up.
Another standard game set up for game two, with no proxy barracks this time. Bunny was content with being the aggressor after the openings, as a two hellions followed by four widow mines attempted to cause critical damage. PartinG had eyes everywhere, with good probe splits only seeing two probes fall to four widow mines. After PartinG had looked to put pressure on with his stalkers, a double medivac drop took a great trade at the third, bleeding many important units out of PartinG’s army. That engage was crucial, as a follow up push by Bunny caught PartinG lacking, killing the Protoss players’ third and sending Bunny 40 supply up. PartinG knew he was down and tried for a push to end it but in similar fashion to the first map, the push was held and the match was thrown into a decider.
In a very similar game to the second, the same openers were copied and the same aggressive style was once again used by Bunny. This time the result was much different, with one widow mine drop forcing an evacuation of the probes, with another medivac dropping in to destroy 18 probes to shatter PartinG’s economy. Despite PartinG finding nine SCV’s over the other side of the map, the game was Bunny’s to lose. An obviously distraught PartinG was on the edge, losing more stalkers for free. Although he found a great pick off in two medivacs, a big push by Bunny at the eight minute mark saw PartinG having to defend for his GSL life. An initial hold was encouraging but reinforcing liberators sealed the deal to see Bunny face Solar once again in the winners match.
Bunny 2-1 PartinG
Bunny vs Solar - TvZ
In a repeat of the opening match, we were witness to another glorious TvZ from these two. In what has become almost tradition for Bunny, we were witness to a three barracks proxy from the Blacer player. It had worked well in their first meeting and the Blacer player seemed to want to take the game in that scrappy direction. A bunker was set up, but an over eagre Bunny committed to the main drone line, over extending and only getting six, leaving the natural alive in the process. The roach counter was nulled by Bunny, who went into a quick third command center. Solar was done with the macro play of the first series, as he looked to power into a 1-1 roach timing and overwhelm Bunny. Overwhelm he did, as massive roach number attacked the Terran player, killing 39 SCV’s. Everyone thought a gg was seconds away, everyone except Bunny. On around 25 SCV’s for the rest of the game, the Blacer player swept in and killed not only the fourth but also the third in two decisive manoeuvrers. With Solar not wanting to advance up the technology tree any further, he went for another big push. Somehow Bunny, still only on 25 SCV’s held again. The win slipped further and further out of Solar’s grasp and one final attack saw the roaches and ravengers beaten off again, with Bunny taking an incredible victory.
Game two saw an obviously disgruntled Solar looking to claw his way back into the series. Another three barracks proxy met a pool first and early roach opening, the attack doing sweet nothing to place Solar in the lead. With both players macroing, Solar once again went for a roach push at seven minutes. Whilst not as committed as the last game, this time the attack crushed through Bunny, bringing the deciding match, into a deciding game.
In a flashback to the second game of their first series, game three saw macro openings by both players, Solar with a hatch first and Bunny coming out with an ultra economic command centre first. An initial wall at the natural seemed like something special was on the way and we got it, a double starport, followed by a fusion core. It could only mean one thing.Battlecruisers. The popular pre season build came to the GSL, the crowd sounding their excitement. Solar sniffed something out and started a spire, but he never got full confirmation. Queuing nine mutalisks as the battlecruisers teleported in. The battlecruisers rained down fire on the zerg base, killing 12 drones and nearly eight or nine mutalisks, even able to escape with one battlecruiser. Solar had sacrificed a lot for the early spire and Bunny wasn’t going to give him the time to recover. A quick push with stim marines, tanks and the lone battlecruiser found Solar with no ling speed and the zerg player was forced to type gg, as Bunny moved on into the round of 16.
Bunny 2-1 Solar
Qualified players: sOs, Bunny
Game of the Day – Solar vs Bunny, deciders match game one
GSL Code S continues next week, with three time defending champion Maru, RagnaroK, Scarlett and herO
All stats courtesy of Aligulac and all pictures from AfreecaTV and GSL.