Content of the article: "GSL Code S 2020 S2 | Ro24 | Group C | Rundown"
- 1 Group C:
- 2 | Solar < 2 : 0 > Super | ★☆☆☆☆ | Annihilation
- 3 | Rogue < 2 : 1 > TaeJa | ★★★★☆ | Heart of Starcraft
- 4 | Rogue < 0 : 2 > Solar | ★★☆☆☆ | Mirror Mirror On The Wall
- 5 | TaeJa < 1 : 2 > Super | ★★★☆☆ | Wings of Liberty
- 6 | Rogue < 2 : 0 > Super | ★☆☆☆☆ | Dismissed
There is no better way to kick off the weekend than with some stellar GSL action, don't @ me.
- Living Legend with eight Ro8s he suffered through before lifting the trophy: Rogue
- Dark Horse with terrifying peaks and unbelievable lows: Solar
- Returning Legend, the man who once upon a time ruled the world outside Seoul: TaeJa
- Underdog Supreme a familiar player we have next to no recent data on: Super
On paper, here's how this Group was supposed to go – Rogue slaps the taste out of everyone's mouths while on the war path to redeem himself for that slip up last Season, with Solar following close behind to put down whoever was left in the wake of his destruction. The problem for the Zerg duo was that the man who loves killing them had not only returned, he was looking to be on his way to establishing himself back at the very top, so provided the same TaeJa arrived with what he'd already shown us – or possibly something even better – things suddenly would feel a lot more open. Normally this is where I would also theorize how the complete unknown/underdog would also be a factor, however the lack of Super we've seen as of late coupled with his weak qualification realistically set up severely low expectations for the Protoss, with the only thing going his way being literally no one would focus on him, which if anything certainly didn't hurt his chances.
Warning: Spoilers Ahead, Obviously
Surprise, surprise, the mirror facilitates an upset with Solar securing not only 1st place but also an undefeated 4-0 record in some unfortunately truly unremarkable games.
What followed perhaps should have been a glorious "rematch", instead Rogue got to play the easiest ZvP of his life to secure 2nd and avoid another humiliating elimination for someone of his status.
| Solar < 2 : 0 >
Super | ★☆☆☆☆ | Annihilation
- Ever Dream | The forced third Hatch location by Super and interesting decision to go for Disruptor drops had us thinking "not bad, kid" only for the Protoss to then do a bizarro fake out third Nexus twice and go with a single Immortal push onto the Swarm's territory, which crashed and burned around 6:10 when Solar picked off his only Robo Bay unit for free before the all in even started and then sniped the Prism, meaning the assault and game were essentially over.
- Ice And Chrome | Things spiraled from there when the Zerg made two extra Lings at the start which shut down the double Pylon block shenanigans cold and even though some light Adept harassment while the Protoss was taking his third made it feel like we would be in for a longer game Solar's decision to stop near 40 Drones and the fact Super only had one Immortal to defend around 70 supply of Roaches and their friends made the bust at 6:10 feel unstoppable, even more so considering the timing hit just before all the Shield Batteries were done in addition to catching the Protoss army completely out of position.
| Rogue < 2 : 1 >
TaeJa | ★★★★☆ | Heart of Starcraft
- Eternal Empire | You know we're playing on this map when the third CC goes down before the third Hatch, however the Zerg wasn't too bothered since even though having to defend a steady flow of Hellion Liberator Viking harass is straining, when the Terran then walks a few squads of Marines straight into Banelings, the pressure vacuum created against someone like Rogue basically means the game's over at that point. Instead, despite the terrifying number of Ling Bane Hydra on the battlefield, TaeJa kept his cool and macro up, took the most aggressive fourth and fifth CCs on the map and started a push that would never end. Just as Rogue decided being maxed and not doing anything with it wasn't a sound plan, the Zerg's choice to try overwhelming his opponent backfired hard when it turned out the Liquid Terran had been churning out three Tanks at a time so around 11:40 the Swarm simply got melted. Rogue was still in a fine enough position regardless, with the remax of Lurker Viper coming in hot, however TaeJa simply did his thing and ended up with more bases than the Zerg and put a severe strain on their Gas income with some truly beautiful tactical play throughout the game, featuring the assault on the entire map 16 minutes into the fray, a nuke that deleted a significant chunk of Rogue's forces at 19:20, snipes on Lurkers for days and finally the last straw around 23:45 where TaeJa finally broke his opponent's back in terms of losing an unrecoverable amount of econ and tech to close out the game of the Season.
- Golden Wall | I'll be real with you, when TaeJa's initial Reaper killed the Drone trying to make a third Hatch after it had already been denied for a while via Bunker shenanigans, my stupid little heart screamed out "GG EZ" – considering the only thing the Terran was lacking in G1 had been his control – only for Rogue to make the perfect call by switching things up into Muta Ling Bane, giving himself a lot more presence on the map and the potential to launch devastating counter attacks. Starting from immediately surrounding every Hellion on the map as soon as the flock came out to play to devastating his opponent's production while taking every base on the map, this one looked like the Zerg had it completely on lock. TaeJa, however, was also uninterested in going quietly into the night so he pressed on and took incredibly cost efficient fights, most notably forcing the Bane-heavy defense to bleed repeatedly after 11:35. From there the advantage in direct engagements clearly went to the Thor Mine Marine heavy Terran until pretty much the end of the game, yet Rogue understood this completely and sacrificed everything to kill not only SCVs but also bases all over the place, putting his opponent's econ in the dumpster and allowing the war of attrition to work out in his favor, best demonstrated by the final moments around 19:15 at which point an unstoppable Ultra hit squad was just wiping the Terran defense off the face of the planet while TaeJa realistically didn't have anything more he could afford to lose and at the same time had bled out too many units to take a great fight on creep to turn things around.
- Ice And Chrome | The calm before the storm ended ahead of schedule when the Liquid Terran decided to march a few Hellbats and Banshees into Rogue's waiting arms around 5:30, which went as badly as you would imagine, allowing the Zerg to grow completely out of control in every aspect and as soon as Rogue was done Droning up like a madman from there he simply smashed his opponent with superior upgrades Ling Bane Muta, made to look even more lopsided as he caught the Terran Tanks in transition at 9:50, basically meaning it was just over for TaeJa at that point.
Rogue < 0 : 2 > Solar | ★★☆☆☆ | Mirror Mirror On The Wall
- Ever Dream | I kid you not, both Zergs mirrored each other completely for at least the first 50 supply, it was the most bizarre thing I've seen recently. What was even more weird after that was that Rogue was the one to break first and commit to aggression, which was basically never going to work considering his opponent had pretty much the same amount of stuff and the defender's advantage on top of that, making his hold around 5:20 not only incredibly solid but realistically game ending. There was admittedly some finesse to be had shortly after and maybe a tiny window for Rogue to utilize his lower tech massed up army to steal this away, however either hesitation or a simple delay gave Solar enough room to get his Mutas up and at that point it was time for the Jin Air Zerg to tap out considering Roaches don't shoot up.
- Pillars of Gold | When the two players started mirroring each other again I fully admit my attention span collapsed, although Solar made sure to wake me up in time for his own early army flood, which Rogue did scout however was unable to stop regardless thanks to Droning up a little too hard, so not even 5 minutes into the game Solar's sharp timing cut into and tore through the Jin Air defenses to comfortably secure 1st place for himself in genuinely nonchalant fashion considering who his opponent was.
TaeJa < 1 : 2 > Super | ★★★☆☆ | Wings of Liberty
- Eternal Empire | When your initial Mine drop not only does damage but also scouts the impending DT rush, you'd think as the Terran player you would be riding high on winning a game before it had even started, however Super still somehow caught his opponent with his pants down i.e. Energy spent, resulting in 15 SCV kills thanks to the tight timing and Prism play. As we were paying attention to the Protoss player's followup of Colossi and third Nexus, TaeJa found a way to not only keep up in supply – and sometimes get ahead – he also did it while going into an extremely Tank-heavy Mech that didn't even really get scouted, so when the Liquid Terran basically maxed out first and with the vastly superior composition, it genuinely felt like he would take this one away after overcoming that atrocious opening, only for TaeJa to then put himself critically out of position and as a result lose every single Tank around 13 minutes into the game, making absolutely sure this one would be lost.
- Ice And Chrome | The proxy shenanigans at the start from the Terran turned out fine with his Reapers and Hellions doing some work, although Super showed some great scouting and pretty solid defense all things considered. From there the game slowed down significantly, with TaeJa's macro once again providing him more supply than he realistically should have, which culminated in an engagement that could have gone a lot worse if the Protoss had a little more patience, instead Super looked like he kind of lost his nerve and tried to smash an incoming Terran attack around 11:40 which resulted in a terrible amount of losses considering he was walking into Sieged Tanks twice, yet none the less the Protoss managed to eventually clean that one up, however his decision to stick with a mostly Gateway army until the end of the game provided him flexibility but also made him outclassed tech wise and when his 3/3 upgrades never got started the writing was on the wall. TaeJa took a few more great engagements, kept up the pressure and got quite a few catches, with the most crucial one being at 19:00 when the superiority of his forces simply could not be denied at that point, taking us into the final map.
- Submarine | Everything was going pretty similarly to the previous game until TaeJa decided it was Mech time again, leaning on Banshee harassment to keep his opponent on their side of the map. Super once again put down a Nexus everywhere he could, which is always a solid option against turtling players, but the key decision of the game was his apparent refusal to build anything other than a Gateway unit, culminating in what must have felt like a surprise attack around 11:25 on the Terran's fourth base, making it look like the Protoss was in command of the Swarm as he tore through the flimsy defense, securing the upset and with it chance for redemption in the final series of the night.
| Rogue < 2 : 0 >
Super | ★☆☆☆☆ | Dismissed
- Ever Dream | It wouldn't be a proper day in 2020 if we got away with no games featuring Glaives o'clock, so Super went for it, however once again completely crumbled in his PvZ, this time thanks to losing the majority of his Adepts to a Ling surround immediately barely 5 minutes into the game, once again helping us transition into the stage of the game where we get to ask "can one Immortal stop around 80 supply worth of Roaches", which unless you're not aware is a rhetorical question.
- Golden Wall | I'll be the first to admit when I saw the mass DTs and their Blink were on the way I was completely onboard with Super's idea, since I think if you're going to go out might as well do it in style, however the absolutely miserable attempt to get damage done 06:00 into the game against Spores and Overseers alike made the build look like a joke, so Rogue simply massed up and shut down the shenanigans, got Mutas to serve as the nail in the econ coffin after denying the third Nexus and then smashed the Blink Stalker only army with ease to get into the next Round with minimal effort.
I might truly be a sucker for pain, since the only two series I enjoyed tonight featured the player I liked ultimately losing.
- Match of the Night – Absolutely has to be M2 for me, TaeJa bringing it to Rogue in a game where the Zerg Master was completely uninterrupted was something else to behold; then, the Swarm got its revenge admittedly with the map's help in G2 with none the less admirable dedication to winning the war of attrition with guerrilla tactics & then the flawless closer by Rogue where he took the lead and smashed TaeJa over the head with it, great series overall, could have gone either way on the first two maps.
Finally, here are some of my closing thoughts on each player:
- Solar is now just four more Ro8s away from winning the Code S trophy, pretty exciting stuff. Jokes aside, I don't even think we can take anything away from his games today despite the fact he went 4-0 in a Group he could have easily been eliminated from, which kind of puts into perspective where I actually had him in my head coming into tonight. I definitely want to see what he comes up with in the next Rounds & honestly some longer games from him, since being on the receiving end of attempted bops and delivering them doesn't really tell you much about a player's level on this stage.
- Rogue was about to repeat what happened in S1 when a blood-deprived Vampire showed up and gave the Zerg a silver sword to stab him with. It genuinely didn't feel good watching Rogue advance like this, but it does qualify as "better than nothing" and I hope moving forward the Jin Air Zerg picks up speed accordingly in order to make this day a distant memory – and, lets be real, if there's ever a time you don't want to watch Rogue play it's in the opening stages of a tournament and the Ro8, otherwise you're quickly reminded why this guy has lifted more meaningful trophies than the vast majority of his peers.
- Super just showed why matchups are individually so important, the difference between his PvZ where he was a complete non-factor and the outdated yet I assume comfortable play the Protoss utilized to secure the upset in PvT made it look like watching two different players for the most part. I definitely think he was never getting out of this Group either way, however both series against the Zergs were just atrocious and you're not going deep in the GSL if 1/3 of your matchups are anywhere near this bad – and that's assuming PvP isn't also a problem for him – so not sure if he can really make a lot more happen moving forward.
- TaeJa turned up today only to make us suffer, providing the best series, yet losing them both. I think with each game the Liquid Terran's play got worse, which is so utterly disappointing in the context of him being incredibly close to reaching the winners' match – and then who knows how the Solar match could have gone, TvZ truly is the backbone of TaeJa's success right now – only to then lose to WoL level play from Vampire. "My disappointment is immeasurable and my day is ruined" would have been a nice way to sum it up, if I hadn't enjoyed M2 and M4 the most tonight regardless, so looking forward to seeing TaeJa torture us next Season again, hopefully this time for a bit longer than just the Ro24.
As always, if you think differently or have something interesting to add, feel free to do so in the comments below.
Catch you on Wednesday for Group D, where the Protoss tag team this time around featuring Dear and sOs will do their best to put down the rising Terran Dream and the returning Zerg Legend DRG.
Thanks as always for reading & see you when I see you! (:
- GSL The Art of setting up a Championship
- GSL Code S 2020 S2 | Ro16 | Group C | Rundown
- I really hope Blizzard buffs Protoss before DH Fall
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