HoTS GSTL Pre-Season RO8 Day 4: Life's Good

General Harry “SuperHario” Lewis

LG-IM hoped to stop GSTL newcomers' Axiom-Acer at the first hurdle as the two teams met in the opening round of the HotS Pre-Season. Todays games were of particular significance to fans as they marked MMA's first appearance in the team league in almost 6 months.

The partnership of Acer and Axiom played their first official games since unifying in this mornings' RO8 match against LG-IM, fielding a team that was nearly entirely comprised of ex-Slayers players. Hoping to replicate their past championship success, the teams' debut in the GSTL was set to highlight how quickly the Slayers' old boys could re-adjust to the format and reclaim their past form.

The opening game saw both players opting for economically focused builds with Ryung taking three CC's before adding additional production, while his opponent Ragnarok secured 4 bases by the 10 minute mark. Ryung used roaming helions in an attempt to stem the zerg's great creep spread before pushing out to reduce the effectiveness of the hydra-roach composition. With both players focusing heavily on double upgrades, it was Ragnarok's decisive use of the viper's 'Blinding Cloud' ability to limit the range of the tanks that allowed him to hold off the aggression with great flanking. The counter-attack stabbed straight at the heart of the terran production, swiftly ending game 1.

Howling Peak hosted the showdown between the former TSL team mates as Heart represented the Axiom-Acer alliance in game 2. Ragnarok once again opened up with a hatch first, teching this time instead to muta-ling-baneling while his opponent decided to play it safe with a barracks before command centre, using helions and widow mines to secure himself three bases. Heart hoped to use his constant drop harass to split the zerg's attention as he set tanks up outside the base however there were just too many units and Ragnarok convincingly crushed the push. After losing a secondary force that was caught out of position and unable to inflict economic damage to the zerg through drops, the late game composition including ultralisks and vipers proved too much for Heart to deflect the onslaught at his expansion.

Ragnarok continued his win streak in the following game with an extremly close zerg mirror. Miya stopped his opponent from getting too comfortable as he punished the greedy single spine crawler defence against his banelings, running his zerglings into the main to pick off a handful of drones and all of the defending queens. This gained him a lead in production capabilities, allowing Miya to secure a faster third and hydralisk den. The game hung on a razors edge as Miya looked to move out with his stronger army but Ragnarok baited his opponent into a fantastic flank, exposing the weakness of the hydralisk, reclaiming some momentum for himself. The Axiom zerg pulled ahead in upgrades which then coupled with more fantastic flanks shut down Miya's valiant attempts.

In a crucial game 4, MMA showed a return to form as he stopped Ragnarok dead in his tracks. After some technical difficulties and a restart, the game finally got under way on Silver Sands. MMA suffered some economic damage in the mid-game as he was completely unprepared for mutalisks with very late turrets. Although he was able to pressure the expansion of Ragnarok as he pushed out, he was finally repelled and completely overrun at his natural. MMA showed his ability to stay relaxed under severe pressure as he constantly dropped all of the zerg bases, using the map to his advantage as he abused the architecture around the zerg base, and was able to gain himself a supply lead. Ragnarok was able to deal with the drops using 'Abduct' but had no answer to the huge number of well placed widow mines, which ate away at his ultralisk-broodlord army making it considerably easier to hold off for the Acer terran.

Ruin put an end to any pipe-dreams Axiom-Acer had of a reverse all-kill in his debut game on Akilon flats. MMA put on the aggression throughout the early game with his marines and medivacs, using his widow mines to gain map control and limit his opponents movement. As the game progressed the rookie protoss turned the table on his veteran adversary with relentless dark templar and zealot harass. MMA tried to damage control best he could throughout and seized the first opportunity presented to move out with his superior army size but strong feedbacks and storms was enough to deter him as more zealots continuously ravaged his bases. Despite attempting to aggressively expand, Ruin's superior economy allowed him to constantly flood zealots into the weak spots in MMA's defence and bankrupt his opponent going into the final engagement.

GSTL HoTS Pre-Season Ro8 Day4
LG-IM 4:1 Axiom-Acer
Korea RagnarokWhirlwindKorea Ryung
Korea RagnarokHowling PeakKorea Heart
Korea RagnarokBel'Shir VestigeKorea Miya
Korea RagnarokSilver SandsKorea MMA
Korea RuinAkilon FlatsKorea MMA