GSL Round of 32, Group E Battle Report

Published on 02/13/2019 10:53 PST by Saxon "Saxy" Durrant

The GSL returned last night with group e, the fifth group out of eight to decide who will move on and who will drop out at the first hurdle. Currently we have four protoss, three terran and one zerg in the round of 16, will we achieve even distribution by the end?

Featuring today we have the only non-Korean representative in this season, Scarlett. She's joined by terran player and three timer winner Maru, zerg player RagnaroK and protoss player, herO.

Maru is the favourite to advance in this group hands down. At this point it feels almost stupid to introduce the man who won not only every GSL season last year, but also the Asian Games and WESG. A powerhouse of a player, for him not to advance out of the group today seems borderline impossible. Apart from Maru, an interesting fight for second ensues. RagnaroK has been an everpresent in the scene but has failed to break out into a serious contender for titles. Bowing out in the round of 32 twice last year, it will have to be seen if he can compare to the other players in this group.

After making it to the round of eight at Blizzcon and winning SSL and a GSL supertournament in 2017, no one expected to see herO have such a quiet 2018. Making it into only two out of three GSL with round of 16 finishes both times, a semi final at the first super tournament was the highlight of his year. He will be hoping he can bounce back , showing his amazing abilities and his crisp timings. He faces Scarlett, who now in her 6th GSL is very well versed on this stage. Her showings last year on the foreign circuit were creditible if not impressive, winning IEM PyeongChang and making the quarter finals at WESG and Dreamhack Montreal. Despite her great round of eight run in the GSL last year, the pressure will be on if she can consistently achieve results like that in the Korean scene.

Maru vs RagnaroK - TvZ

The night started with the champion of last year, Maru, spar up to the ever present Ragnarok. A 1-1-1 opening from Maru saw a three pronged attack with a mine drop, hellions and a liberator. An expert defence by RagnaroK saw only one queen fall, in an encouraging sign for the PSISTORM Gaming player. A three tank-marine push at Maru at 7:30 saw Maru engage RagnaroK’s fourth base, showing some beautiful timing so kill the base to set RagnaroK behind. Maru fell back, but a 2-2 timing push saw Maru press the initiative again. It looked like Maru had an impregnatable position, but RagnaroK stalled until some blinding clouds enabled him to clean up the push. The zerg player then powered into hive, swatting away another push and pushing the initiative with his brood lords. It looked like he could perhaps take advantage and overwhelm Maru, but a poor fight down a ramp led to the brood lords being too exposed, Maru countering to seal the deal.

Maru's GSL in 2019 started the same way every match in 2018 went. Credit - AfreecaTV.

Despite the loss, RagnaroK was showing great play as map two took us to Cyber Forest. However the game didn’t start well, with Maru’s reaper sniping RagnaroK’s drone, delaying the third base by almost a whole minute. Maru, switching things up went for a hellbat timing, but once again RagnaroK showed great defence to swat away his attack without any hassle. The game once again stabilised, with Maru having to wait for stimpack to become active on the map. With stimpack finished, a 1-1 push by Maru looked to deny the fourth of RagnaroK, setting up outside the base. Instead of hydralisks seen in game one, RagnaroK changed into mutalisks, with the first wave flying across the map to counter attack Maru. Despite the threat Maru held well, using the opportunity of an out of position zerg army to kill the fourth and set himself into the lead. Killing bases was the name of the game by Maru, who then repositioned to hit the new fourth of RagnaroK. That base fell also, with the zerg player once again pushed back to a three base economy. Blood was in the water, with Maru double the army supply of his opponent. A follow up push decimated RagnaroK, with Maru marching onto the winners match in impressive fashion.

Maru 2-0 RagnaroK

Scarlett vs herO - ZvP

Our other opening match saw the Canadian Scarlett, face off against herO. With a match history of 6-0 in herO’s favour, game one saw herO saw play similar to sOs, with an in base wall in, followed by an early robotics facility. In another interesting build, a double immortal drop came out from herO, then transitioning into two stargates, massing phoenix. It was an interesting and new play from herO, perhaps anticipating to capitalise on a lack of hydralisks. However Scarlett had gone into spire and with a clever scout made corruptors to shut the phoenix down. In a very off meta game, we then saw herO research blink, whilst Scarlett went into hydralisks. Both players powered up, with herO going into late charge and storm. HerO pushed with his frankly, weird army but some great positioning from Scarlett saw herO’s push surrounded and destroyed, Scarlett pushing on to claim a crazy game one.

Game two saw us on New Repugnancy, with Scarlett going for a pool first, whilst herO played a standard opening into stargate, oracle and archon drop. Scarlett decided against roaches, opting to bounce off the archon drop by going into an aggressive nydus play. However the nydus network was scouted by herO and although Scarlett attempted to bust through, herO’s defence was impressive, barely losing a structure or a worker. He then countered, killing Scarlett’s nydus network before a worm could appear, instantly killing over 30 supply and taking us to a game three.

"I feel like if there were minerals next to Scarlett's hatchery this would be a Has game." - Artosis.
Credit AfreecaTV

Our decider saw some beautiful cheese, an aggressive proxy hatch by Scarlett. With the aim being to overwhelm herO with lings, spines and queens. A tug of war ensued, with probes pulled and cannons and batteries made to counter. It was a nail-biting game but herO’s defence was up to par, as he claimed the series victory, to send him into a winners match with Maru.

Scarlett 1-2 herO

Maru vs herO - TvP

Our winners match started off spicy, with herO going for a proxy gateway to push the aggression into Maru. Prompting the cancel of a command centre on the low ground and a bunker from Maru, herO didn’t commit, expanding and moving into a stargate behind it. Two oracles were pushed away by Maru, killing one as he pushed with three tanks and a handful of marines. With herO only on blink stalkers, all it took for Maru was to get into position, siege up and watch the stalkers and herO’s base, melt away.

Normal openings and no proxy shenanigans were saw in game two, as a similar game took place from both sides. After two oracles and blink, herO powered up to seven gateways, looking to hit a sharp blink timing. With an incredible (or lucky) SCV scout Maru got wind of the push, leaving herO to stay put and look to develop into some splash damage. A move out by Maru at 7:30 prompted herO to try and delay the inevitable. Two disruptors came out but were disabled in an incredible one-two punch, which saw Maru crush through and advance to the round of 16 in dominating fashion.

Maru (Probably): "Why can't all the other Terrans just play like me?" - Credit AfreecaTV

Maru, (through translation) in his interview said he was very anxious before the games. He also mentioned about his lack of proxies and sOs’ claim that terran players always whine.

“I think the proxy barracks is no longer in style if I don’t use it, so take that into advice,” 

“I think sOs needs to keep his mouth shut because he always whines in the teamhouse,” Maru said.

Maru 2-0 herO

RagnaroK vs Scarlett - ZvZ

Our losers match would see the first elimination and it would be a zerg player, as Scarlett faced off against RagnaroK in an all zerg affair. Game one would prove to be anything than standard, as an extremely quick third base, at the end of the map saw RagnaroK look to end the game early with a massive ling flood. Despite having not scouted the attack until it was beelining for her base, Scarlett held the chokes, took good engages and made it look easy as she strolled to the win.

RagnaroK went full fromage in this series. Credit - AfreecaTV

From one all in to another, game two saw RagnaroK try something crazy. A 12 pool followed an early drone, that drone building a spinecrawler in the corner of Scarlett’s base (through the hatchery cancel trick). RagnaroK then pulled all but two of his drones and eight lings in an attempt to end the game right there and now. A Scarlett scout saw the spine however and after drones rushed out and cancelled it, the game was thrown into a desperate situation. RagnaroK attacked in and was promptly crushed, ending a crazy ZvZ series and sending Scarlett into the deciders match to face off against herO once more.

RagnaroK 0-2 Scarlett

Scarlett vs herO - ZvP

In a repeat of our earlier close series it was again a clash of the new Chinese teams, with Newbee’s Scarlett facing off against Triumphant Song Gaming’s herO. New Repugnancy saw Scarlett open up with a quick three hatch, herO opening up with a standard stargate into an archon drop. With herO doing a great job of denying creep but little else, both players powered into third and fourth bases respectively, with Scarlett focusing on roach / hydralisk as her main composition. An attack by herO threatened Scarlett with some great forcefields, but an even fight saw the attack repelled, with Scarlett 40 supply ahead. With fights coming fast and furious with mostly even trades, Scarlett looked for 10 mutalisks to do some critical economic damage. With herO pushing as the mutas flew in, 27 drones and a base was lost for herO’s main army. However the mutalisks paid for themselves, with over 30 probes dying and forcing herO into stalkers and an inferior composition. With the Canadian surging ahead in supply and herO still stuck on three bases, brood lords and lurkers signalled the end of game one with Scarlett one map away from the round of 16.

Scarlett and herO engaged in an incredible back and forward final series. Credit - AfreecaTV

With Scarlett on match point, herO went to his earlier opening as he walled off in his main and followed up with a robotics facility. With standard play from Scarlett, herO altered his build, using the prism to ferry two adepts around, killing five workers early. He then moved into dark templars with Scarlett again caught unawares, 12 more drones falling to the cloaked assassins. Scarlett powered into more roaches as a push at eight minutes saw herO cancel her fourth base. He failed to push further with a heavy roach ravanger force from Scarlett pushing the army back. An action packed game saw armies exchanged once again two minutes later, with both sides not sitting back in the slightest. With the game in the balance, Scarlett went into swarm hosts and nydus worms, looking to exploit herO’s lack of splash damage and mobility. HerO was 50 supply down, but he went for a fight, looking to bludgeon through. A wave of locusts killed herO’s fourth, but this gave herO time to pounce, dramatically powering through Scarlett’s roaches and now useless swarm hosts, sending us to a deciding match.

Game three took us to Kairos Junction, where we would see one of these players advance and one get eliminated. A standard opener saw herO head into double stargate phoenix, using a new build to hopefully surprise Scarlett. Surprise it did, with 10 drones dying as well as some overlords. Scarlett however would not roll over with a whimper. In a big push she brang the queens, roaches and lings across the map. With this strategy, she looked to overwhelm herO and catch him with little on the ground having made so many phoenixes. In a drawn out battle we saw the phoenix reign supreme, picking up queen after queen. Their energy ran out eventually however, seeing herO’s third based destroyed and seeing him only survive through a desperate wall in, but still with over 15 phoenix in the sky. The phoenix controlled the sky and patrolled Scarlett's bases, forcing a transition into hydralisks as Scarlett kept tight and defensive. In a genius move, herO moved into colossi technology, a unit normally never seen in PvZ. HerO moved out with four colossi and despite a massive convex by Scarlett, he won the fight, the phoenix proving invaluable with their lifts. Scarlett tried to hold on but to no avail, as the only non-Korean in this season of the GSL was knocked out in the first round.

Scarlett 1-2 herO

Qualified players - Maru, herO

Series of the Day - Scarlett vs herO (Deciders Match).

Game of the Day - Scarlett vs herO Match 2 (Deciders Match).

GSL Code S continues tomorrow with Hurricane, Creator, InnoVation and SoO.

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