GSL 2019 Season 3 Round of 32 - Group C Battle Report
Two groups down, six to go as we enter our third group of the final 2019 GSL season. We've already seen some great games from groups A and B and hopefully tonight is no exception. If you need a quick recap, read my battle reports on group A here, and group B here.
Our first big name of the tournament has gone. sOs eliminated yesterday, felled by the swift strike of RagnaroK. He becomes the second Protoss casualty of the tournament, with PartinG eliminated in group A. Not the best start for the sons of Aiur but surely they will get their first player advancing today.
Representing group C we have last season semi-finalist Hurricane and the shield of Aiur, Stats. Alongside them we have Jin Air's Cure and the Queen of Blades herself, Scarlett. It promises to be an action packed group for sure.
We'll start with Hurricane, who went on the run of his life last season to finish in the top four. He showed some great play to get there but now his question becomes, can he do it again. Second in a relatively weak round of 16 group and victory over PartinG in the round of eight, there is no question his run could have been harder. In fact I would almost say the best player he beat was Solar (or RagnaroK), which says a lot. His group today contains some formidable players and he will once again have to perform to get out.
In contrast Stats was the ever present last year but his form this year has left a lot of people wanting more. A round of 32 and round of 16 exit in both GSL seasons in 2019 exemplifies that, a long way away from the 2018 GSL runner up, super tournament winner and Blizzcon runner up. Even his performance in the recent homestory cup didn't excite, losses to TY and soO in fairly simple fashion not exciting us. He has a lot to prove here and must advance if he wants to keep up his fight for Blizzcon.
Every fibre of my being wants Cure to do really well in a GSL one of these seasons but today I think he sadly comes in as the weakest player of this group. The Jin Air player reached the round of 16 in season one and narrowly missed out in season two in relatively normal fashion for him, with a semi-final place in 2016 season one now seemingly a distant memory. He has shown good play this year though and I expect him to bring a good performance today. He is not a walk-over by any means.
This leaves us with our last player, the insanely popular Scarlett. I expect us to see a good crowd today purely on the fact that she is playing, with our Canadian Zerg also having a somewhat disappointing 2019 GSL display. Knocked out by herO in season one and KeeN and Trap in season two, Scarlett will be trying to make it past the first stage once again. She usually shows aggressive and interesting styles and I hope she does well today.
This is a very hard group to predict but I will go for a Stats first place, followed by a Cure second place finish.
Hurricane vs Scarlett – PvZ
The casters of Artosis and NoRegret emphasised how tough thus group was to call, as we headed into Thunderbird for our first map. Normal openings graced us, with a stargate and oracle the tech path for Hurricane. A follow up void ray was a strange choice for our Protoss player, with Scarlett going into quick melee and a plentiful number of drones. An archon drop with chargelots followed. Hurricane cancelling the fourth and trading well allowed him take a big advantage. Another nine drones followed into the bin, as Hurricane’s tempo advantage only increased from here. Nine minutes in and Hurricane was ahead on supply at this point, pushing with ease back onto creep. Scarlett folded from here, Hurricane playing a great game to take a commanding 1-0 lead.
King’s Cove saw another standard opening from both sides, with the only change being Hurricane went for a robotics instead of a stargate. A quick two base lair from Scarlett was scouted by Hurricane, with our Protoss player wary of the fact something aggressive was coming. Swarm host nydus was the plan, as an adept all in would meet the swarm host build. Before Scarlett could launch a siege adepts were everywhere, Hurricane continuously warping in and sniping drones. It was a quick and decisive series from Hurricane, Scarlett knocked down to the losers match in quick fashion.
Hurricane 2-0 Scarlett.
Cure vs Stats – TvP
An even match record between the two suggested an tight offering here, as once again we had normal openers from both sides. A 1-1-1 met a twilight with blink, as both players couldn’t have tried to play a more standard game if they tried. The mine drop and reaper only killed five workers, as Stats responded by sending his stalkers across the map. They could do no damage though as Cure beat them back with minimal losses from both sides. The stalemate continued, as our Protoss player powered into double upgrades, with +2/+2 and storm on the way. Greed got the best of Stats though and it led to his downfall. Trying to take a low ground fourth, Cure pounced in the open ground and traded extremely well against Stats, who took the fight without his upgrades or storm. Cure pounced from here, not letting up his attack to see our Terran player take a decisive game one.
We went to King’s Cove again for game two, as we saw an insanely quick third command centre from our Terran. It was complete by 3:45, with Stats’ forced into a third to reply. Cure had played the perfect opening against this, with Stats now forced to put on pressure to try and deal damage. With both players sitting back, Cure looked to a couple of mine drops to try and find damage. They couldn’t find any big juicy probe clumps, Stats splitting his workers well. The two continued to trade with Cure holding a siege at the third of Stats. It was beaten back by our Splyce player though, as both players then sat back and maxed out. It was a game of seemingly constant trades, as both players seemed oh so eager to fight.
With questionable fights from both sides the trades kept coming, with Stats pressing hard into Cure. A small back up lead into another assault. Stats decided not to play with psistorm (he had it researched, just decided not to make templar) though, leading into a huge fight that saw Cure trade out extremely well, with our Jin Air player up a base on Stats. It wouldn’t matter in a few minutes though, Stats eventually grabbing the win in an insanely weird, scrappy game in which both players seemed off their game.
With myself still trying to piece together what even happened last game, we headed into Acropolis for game three. Normal blink and 1-1-1 openers saw us with a repeat of game one. A mine drop sat in dead space in between the second and third. It was standard stuff with double upgrades for Stats and a third command centre for Cure. A push out from Cure was held strong at the third. More passive play followed, both players content to sit back, max out and head into the later game. Sitting back didn’t last for too much longer, with Stats pushing into Cure. It took one bad fight and Cure was down and out again, losing 2-1 in an extremely strange series.
Cure 1-2 Stats.
Hurricane vs Stats – PvP.
Our first PvP of season three saw both Protoss players vying to be the first of their race in the round of 16. We’d seen an infection of proxies in this match up in Korea but none was to be had in his first game. Boring if you ask me… A nexus from both sides was coupled with a stargate by Hurricane, a forge for Stats. We went into a passive game from here, with both players going into a passive robotics and twilight councils.
Stats had the upgrade advantage though, something that would serve him well later into the game. Third bases were added early but the truth was that this game so far was a bit of a snoozefest. Hurricane moved forward to cancel the third with our first real action of the game, as he assumed the economic advantage. It looked like this game was heading for at least a few more minutes, but one fight in the middle changed everything. Hurricane set up an amazing flank on Stats, coming in from the side with zealots and archons to take an incredible fight. Stats high immortal count meant nothing, as suddenly and abruptly Hurricane took game one.
Cyber Forest was our next battleground, with the small map featuring for the first time tonight. Another stargate opener by Hurricane met a nexus of Stats, in identical openers to the initial game. The forge after hallucination scout was picture perfect to last game. Hurricane went into immortals, adding glaives to see him assume the role of aggressor here. Six gateways and a prism came down as Hurricane postured to shade in. He shaded into the main, Stats forcefielding himself into his natural to see Hurricane engage on top of him. In an even fight Hurricane looked to have to edge until his warp prism was picked off, leaving Stats down workers, but ahead in every other way.
Disruptors and dark templar were Hurricane’s next step, desperately trying to do anything to keep Stats at home. He succeeded, pumping out two disruptors and then moving out in this strange game. Stats held at the choke, knowing he couldn’t engage into disruptors until phoenix came out. They came out eventually, as both players instead moved into a base trade because why not. With Stats sitting on +3 compared to +0 however, one result was the only conlclusion. Hurricane gg’ing on zero supply to see us into a decider.
Proxy time! A stargate was hidden but scouted almost instantly by Stats. Hurricane then cancelled the stargate, moving into a robotics. A three gate robo indicated aggression from Stats, with our Splyce player finally turning on the aggression tonight at the GSL. Both warp prism builds clashed heads though, neither player committing to the aggression. Passive minutes followed, with Hurricane moving into a couple of phoenix for a warp prism and the disruptor once again. Hurricane was 20 supply down at this point however, with Stats in a good position to take the series.
A decisive blink sealed his position in the round of 16, jumping on the disruptor to snipe the aoe unit, as well as Hurricane’s immortals to see him snowball and take the series 2-1.
Hurricane 1-2 Stats.
Stats advances to the round of 16.
Cure vs Scarlett – TvP
Our losers match saw an explosive start, Cure moving into a two barracks proxy. Reapers were the name of the game, with Cure picking off three drones. These builds are very momentum based and Cure picked off some zerglings, before some clutch transfuses saw every queen saved. Cure gave up from here, moving into a natural and hellions. The next wave, hellions included hit hard and fast, Scarlett scrambling roaches to hold again. Cloaked banshee paved the way for Cure to move into mech, as the possibility of a long game was now upon us. Swarm host nydus was Scarlett’s response, looking to utilize the big map of King’s Cove to siege Cure from multiple locations. The siege wasn’t very effective though, Scarlett only denying an upgrade with the first five nydus worms.
From here super late game seemed like a certain, with both players sitting on a huge five base count. Fifteen minutes passed before Cure moved onto creep, his massive mech army trudging forward, marching into the upcoming brood lords. Scarlett took the momentum from here, pinning Cure back with nydus and brood lords combined. Cure managed to put some pressure on the map from here though, splitting his army into two and it worked, splitting Scarlett’s army so the thors of Cure could gun down every brood lord.
It proved to be the stepping stone that Cure needed, as his powerful thor based army stepped across the map onto creep. The new brood lords, vipers and anything zerg was gunned down, giving Cure a rather off-tempo win, very similar to KeeN’s win against Scarlett in season two.
With a normal opening in game three, Scrlett had to take a map here or should would be leaving the GSL without a single win tonight. Cure dived into the TvZ build list, bringing out a single starport battlecruiser build. Two queens fell to the initial cruiser, with hellions committing a drive by to kill 10 drones.
Another battlecruiser joined the fray but was unable to deal much damage, Scarlett choosing to move into mutalisks, a strange move considering how good battlecruisers are against the zerg flyers. Cure sat at home from here, deflecting everything that came at him, building a massive ball of mech once again. The ball moved out, setting up outside Scarlett’s forward base. Despite some neurals the big engage went crushingly in Cure’s favour. Our Jin Air terran utilising a great battlecruiser build to move onto the final match against Hurricane.
Cure 2-0 Scarlett.
Cure vs Hurricane – TvP.
Hurricane pulled out a sick trick in game one, with a sneaky pylon in Hurricane’s own main remaining un scouted. It made Cure scout heavily for a proxy, even making a bunker just in case. A stargate from Hurricane saw him take an early third, realizing Cure was mirroring his build from the series against Stats. Cure changed tactics, going for an ambitious bio move out, unaccompanied by medivacs or even stimpack. The attack was devasting though, 18 probes falling as Hurricane was caught out of position and with a lack of any real backbone in his army.
From here Cure took the advantage, moving into a third and another double pronged attack. Our Jin air player styled from here, using the same double pronged attack to kill over another 10 probes. Thirty-two probes had been slaughtered, Cure emotionless as he takes a crushing victory in game one.
If Hurricane was going to be tilted, this was the time for it. I would be shouting curse words at the moment, but that’s probably why I’m not in GSL. A blink opener met a 2-1-1 opener, with Hurricane proxying the twilight council to the left of his base. The 2-1-1 ran into a scouting pylon however, killing any possibility of the drop doing damage. From here the game stabilized, both players sitting on three bases, tucked safely behind the single ramp of Thunderbird. The nine minute mark came and went, both players trying and failing to find any avenue for damage. That was until Hurricane hit a disruptor shot of maximum value, prompting a fight that saw Hurricane lose decisively.
This day does not make sense.
The lack of anti air against liberators proved to be his undoing. Cure didn’t push from here though, instead allowing a warp prism to float on by, killing 18 scv’s. This then prompted an attack, Hurricane suicidally blinking into the full army to once again taking a horrible trade. Another crazy game past the 15 minute mark, with ghost, tempest and all the rest of the gang joining to make big late game armies for both players. It was a massive slugfest at this point, Cure taking a great trade only to see Hurricane remax with 15 dark templar. Fifteen guys.
Both sides exchanged 25 workers a piece and some army with his to see Hurricane drain his bank and not max out. Did I mention he made another 10 dark templar? They were ineffectual though, Hurricane wrapping up this bonkers day with a bonkers game. Cure took another good fight and had his foot in the door, Hurricane’s over eliance on dark templar proving to be his downfall. The semi-finalist from last season, eliminated in the round of 32. Crazy game.
Cure 2-0 Hurricane.
Cure advances to the round of 16.
Stats and Cure advance to the round of 16.
Series of the Day: Cure vs Scarlett.
Game of the Day: Cure vs Hurricane game two.
GSL Code S continues on Wednesday the 10th of July at 18:30 KST with soO, Dream, Zest and herO
All pictures courtesy of AfreecaTV and all stats courtesy of Aligulac, Liquipedia and Code S Facts on Twitter.