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GSL Code S 2020 S1 | Ro24 | Group F | Rundown

StarCraft 2 /r/starcraft /u/d1MnZz 20 comments

It feels strange to end the initial Round of Code S not on the letter "H", however that's the price of improvement.

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Group F:

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  • Living Legend on possibly one of the last runs before he enters the military: Stats

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  • Opportunistic Underdogs looking to score on the vulnerable opposition: SpeCialHurricane

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  • Days of Future Past, the once upon a time legendary Champion and fan favorite: TaeJa

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You know trouble is brewing when the default favorite to win the Group has question marks around him, with Stats growing possibly more susceptible surely it only opened the door for both SpeCial and Hurricane to pounce on the opportunity but even if you were to look at things from the angle of the man fated to settle for 4th, there weren't many if any Groups easier than this to score the upset in, leaving room for TaeJa to come in with a lot of nostalgia and veteran resolve to potentially steal a spot away for himself.

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Warning: Spoilers Ahead, Obviously

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Although it certainly wasn't clean, Stats once again found himself more than capable of pulling through with just his B level play to secure 1st place, showing a lot of style & calm along the way.

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Do you believe it... despite getting utterly smashed at the start of the day, TaeJa not only rallied the Liquid Terran showed stellar defense and even managed a comeback in the fated M5 "rematch", basically taking a random nerd's calendar and ripping it in half to secure 2nd.

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M1 | Hurricane [ 2 : 0 ] TaeJa | ★☆☆☆☆ | No Chance In Hell

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  • Nightshade | The calm macro game after some Phoenixes shut down the Terran's attempted Widow Mine play must have felt good for the Protoss, up until the point he had a critical lapse in attention, allowing TaeJa to pull off a drop that should have never worked and kill 9 Probes with it accordingly, however the counter pressure of basically just a few Zealots and a Warp Prism not only killed workers it also got rid of the 3rd CC, forcing the Liquid Terran's hand, which didn't end well when his forces crashed and burned into the defensively postured Hurricane, who was just sitting pretty on pretty much five bases.

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  • Eternal Empire | When nothing was happening again during the early portions of the game, I started wondering if the nameplates were switched and this was just Stats. Regardless, the Protoss player once more got an earlier third base and even put down a fourth as he was doing a Warp Prism drop and attacking the third CC. After around 15 SCVs died, a lift was forced and the alien forces reunited to shave off some more enemy army supply, from there Hurricane was basically in an insurmountable position, held off a desperate counter attack or two and then literally chased his opponent off the map.

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M2 | Stats [ 2 : 1 ] SpeCial | ★★★☆☆ | So Close Yet So Far

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  • Eternal Empire | The opening here was extremely interesting, even starting from a Reaper that was killing Probes like it was an Oracle to the infrastructure choices made by SpeCial who ended up going into a hybrid composition, ultimately doubling his opponent's army supply around 9 minutes into the game as a result. Stats, however, responded perfectly by moving out early to intercept the incoming push, denying what would have been a terrifying siege with 11 Tanks and over 60 Marines supporting them and finally cleaning everything up with a timely Zealot flank, allowing the Protoss AoE to do the rest.

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  • Nightshade | Blocking the Nexus with an Engineering Bay made it so the Terran's CC was finished first for what was likely the first time in TvP since the start of the Season. What followed were some harass attempts by Stats featuring both Adepts and Blink Stalkers, however the lack of damage they ended up doing snowballed the game even further into SpeCial's hands, making the army supply difference truly ridiculous as the Terran crashed into the third Nexus to win the game, ignoring the Warp Prism inside his main that could never make up the difference at that point.

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  • Simulacrum | SpeCial then put down a Factory inside the Protoss player's main, at which point we had to check if sOs had taken over the controls. Not only that, it worked, resulting in 8 Probe kills for just two Hellions and a Mine & the Terran even saved his Factory to add insult to injury. Stats somehow kept his cool throughout it all though, just delayed his upgrades and kept going as if nothing had happened. From there the Protoss finally found the then proxy Factory trying to pump out Mines two at a time and for some ungodly reason the two base Terran used his entire army to fail defending the reactor there, delaying his at that point all in push, since there was a Warp Prism doing its thing in his base and as SpeCial finally pulled the boys he took a truly awful & late engagement into the waiting arms of Stats, who held on and warped in reinforcements to clean up the Terran's last army as Zealots were still raging inside enemy territory uncontested.

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M3 | Stats [ 2 : 1 ] Hurricane | ★★☆☆☆ | Ultimately Outclassed

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  • Ever Dream | Things quickly got complicated in no one's favorite mirror as Hurricane shut down a proxy Stargate only to fall behind in terms of his expansion but did try getting ahead in econ by the time it was third Nexus o'clock while kind of attacking with mostly Blink Stalkers. It was at that point Stats used two Adepts across the map to kill quite a few Probes while managing to lean on his Immortals back at home to hold on while his own Blink was coming along. After stabilizing the Protoss Champion tunneled his vision on the aforementioned enemy third Nexus and took care of business accordingly with both the supply and tech leads he'd secured himself.

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  • Eternal Empire | It was time for some aggression from the stereotypical defensive Protoss, with an ironically conservative proxy Robo meant to punish an early expansion which did in fact happen however Hurricane sniffed out the attack just in time, put down a couple of Shield Batteries and bought himself enough room to come up with his own Immortals. From there it was incredibly one-sided with the underdog in full control, keeping his lead and dodging Disruptor shots later on like his life depended on it - because it kind of did - ultimately closing this out with a Phoenix switch that completely toppled over Stats' committed Robo heavy play, forcing him to leave.

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  • Simulacrum | The opening on the final map was calm enough, up until Stats decided to build and smash a bunch of Adepts into his opponent's defenses, killing three Sentries and almost an Immortal, in addition to causing a panic that allowed him to be up 10 workers by the end of the assault. The counter punch from Hurricane came soon enough, however a stellar defense off the back of a few Shield Batteries and his own Immortals allowed Stats to stop wave after wave of aggression, opening room for the Protoss to send his own deadly duo across the map to further extend the econ lead and as soon as Hurricane finally lost his pair of cherry red Immortals & the styling going on inside his main became too much to handle, the underdog tapped out accordingly & reluctantly.

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M4 | SpeCial [ 0 : 2 ] TaeJa | ★☆☆☆☆ | Inexplicable

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  • Ever Dream | Literally nothing happened for what felt like forever and then SpeCial tried ramming his forces into a defensively postured TaeJa near his third CC, resulting in getting dumpstered there as you would expect. The game didn't immediately end from there of course, however it did seem to give the Liquid Terran some courage and as he took the upgrade lead combined with a faster fourth base, after a couple of more great fights he basically just walked across the map and killed his incredibly behind opponent, demonstrating why mirror matches are unforgiving when it comes to basic mistakes.

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  • Eternal Empire | Again, there was seemingly a peace treaty signed at the start and neither player touched each other as they set up three bases, however this time SpeCial did opt for a slightly different game as he went into Mech and Air. In response TaeJa took a faster fourth - as he should have, considering he stuck with Bio - yet SpeCial once again decided he must attack no matter what, attempting to siege between the third and fourth bases of his opponent while also double expanding back at home, which funnily enough got shut down by a single Marine from TaeJa, who maxed out first as he was taking his sweet time, flanked the impossibly out of position force in front of his base and utterly crushed it with a monstrous engagement that won him the series then and there.

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M5 | Hurricane [ 1 : 2 ] TaeJa | ★★★☆☆ | Rolling Back The Years

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  • Purity And Industry | You would think getting to hide and use a Gold base successfully extremely early would be game over already, but you would be wrong. Although completely blind for the better part of the map, Hurricane went into his pre-planned Oracle pressure regardless and used his fleet to snipe a ridiculous number of units to keep up in the game he otherwise would have been behind in. I'm not sure when exactly it became clear to the Protoss something was wrong, however even when TaeJa was putting down a bizarre fourth CC somehow Hurricane was still ahead of him in macro and did finally find & crush the hidden base to further cement his position. The Liquid Terran tried responding by denying a Nexus and attacking into the third, however it was clear he expected a much more favorable army supply difference and a combination of disbelief & miss-control resulted in the Protoss army trampling over his forces, letting Hurricane walk across the map to kill him for the third consecutive time today.

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  • Eternal Empire | As both players sat back on three bases, it felt like TaeJa was going quietly into the night, however at that point the Terran finally put his foot on the gas and got the supply lead for what felt like the first time in this matchup & managed to maneuver his army into sniping the fourth Nexus before the Colossi caught up with him, but by that point it was technically 4 vs 3 base in favor of TaeJa. Just as it looked like Hurricane was turning things around, a truly money drop from the Terran in the natural gave him a tremendous amount of room to work with and pump out some Liberators accordingly in addition to finishing up his 3/3 upgrades. TaeJa kept the pressure up, set up a brilliant defensive position his opponent couldn't break after numerous attempts and even after eating around 50 Storms straight he managed to push through and kill Nexus after Nexus until the army supply difference doubled and Hurricane got chased off the map for the first time tonight in this clash.

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  • Nightshade | Going back to his roots, the Protoss decided it was DT o'clock but once again the defensive posture from the Liquid Terran paid off, with a timely Raven and banked up Scans denying any and all damage, giving him a significant lead from the get-go. Hurricane tried to transition hastily into Blink pressure as his third Nexus was coming up and Colossi count was growing, however the Terran smelt blood in the water and after some crucial Raven shots landed on the entire Protoss army, nothing could make TaeJa turn around as he charged at the sight of his opponent in trouble, fully ready and able to destroy him.

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The rumors of Stats' demise have seemingly been greatly exaggerated, although he did give some false hope to his opponents tonight, which could have turned into very real upsets if the ball had bounced differently. TaeJa, on the other hand, might have started terribly but did none the less level up throughout the day and has finally made it back to the Ro16 accordingly.

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  • Match of the Night - aside from M1 and M4, we had a very solid day of series worth watching. I think nostalgia has to win out on this one, so I'll go with the comeback in M5, done off solid albeit way too predictable defense by the Liquid Terran.

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Finally, here are some of my closing thoughts on each player:

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  • Stats is definitely a player you can be proud to support, let me know when someone else can have an off day like this and still come out on top looking cool as a cucumber. Maybe it's just me holding on to the past, however I truly believe this Protoss Champion has more to give us so I hope he shows that in the next Round, where the competition is definitely not going to let him get away with as much as he did today.

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  • TaeJa went from being on the shortlist for Greatest of All Time to "Looks Like He's Getting There" in what would have been considered Code A promo matches once upon a time, how the mighty have truly returned. That said, after a genuinely godawful opening match, the Liquid Terran played himself into shape over the course of the day and as everyone around him crumbled the legendary Champion picked up the pieces to carve out a spot for himself in the Ro16. Now, I think we all know what happens next, but at least for this brief moment we can celebrate the once mighty Terran's unlikely victories today.

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  • Hurricane looks more and more complete as the Seasons go by, in a rare act of empathy I'm actually going to say his performance today was pretty good, all his games looked winnable except the last maps of M3/M5, which has to suck for him considering those count the most accordingly. Some of that praise aside, this was in fact a really easy Group to get out of, so you can't really complain about getting unlucky - especially when you look like you got outclassed in the end - so here's hoping he takes it on the chin and comes back stronger next time.

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  • SpeCial did not have a good day, starting from throwing away a series he "should've, could've, would've" won and ending in a TvT mirror by which point his decision making looked completely shot. I definitely favored the Terran heading into tonight, if anything I thought he would be eliminated due to getting outclassed by Stats and/or cheesed out by Hurricane, not fall under the weight of his own mistakes, but sometimes that's just how it goes. It's unquestionable SpeCial is so much better than what he showed tonight, so hopefully next Season he can have at least a less disappointing performance than this.

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As always, if you think differently let everyone know why in the comments below.

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Catch you next week for the Ro16 on May 6th, kicking off with Dark's Group A, featuring Bunny TaeJa, an opportunistic Scarlett and a very happy Dear.

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Thanks as always for reading & see you when I see you! (:

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-M

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P.S.

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Previous Ro24 Rundowns:

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Groups A | B | C | D | E

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