GSL Code S 2020 S3 | Ro24 | Group A | Rundown

Content of the article: "GSL Code S 2020 S3 | Ro24 | Group A | Rundown"

For the final time this year, lets kick off the last remaining offline tournament on the planet worth mentioning with a bang.

Group A:

  • Trap's 17th Code S with his highest achievement in GSL being the back to back Silver medals in 2019 (also has a Ro4 finish to his name and three more Ro8s in addition to that). Currently at the very top of the Protoss food chain, the clear favorite heading into today.

  • Solar's 20th Code S with his highest achievement in GSL being four Ro8 finishes, the last of which he got a long time ago in 2017. A tough Dark Horse player regardless, up and down during offline play at the best of times but never an easy opponent.

  • SpeCial's 8th Code S with his highest achievement in GSL being three Ro16 finishes, during two of which he got close to making the next Round. The only foreigner competing in the tournament this Season and closest to Korean Terran play we're going to get outside of Seoul.

  • Spear's 1st Code S ever, meaning he would likely be in for one hell of a rough debut considering the luck of the draw didn't give him much to work with.

Warning: Spoilers Ahead, Obviously

The ball clearly bounced Solar's way this afternoon, scraping by against both his opponents to nevertheless secure 1st place in the Group through unpredictable and coin-flippy plays along the way.

After that Trap got handed the easiest layup of his professional career, only to find himself on the edge of death having to lean on veteran savvy to bail him out of trouble, securing 2nd in the process.

| Trap < 2 : 0 > Spear | ★☆☆☆☆ | Brutality

This match felt like the definition of watching the skill gap and/or lack of experience at work, don't bring a spear to a gunfight.

  • Eternal Empire | The full wall from the Terran with fast three CCs behind it looked like a solid choice. The problem turned out to be the Protoss player's complete disregard for safety and or disrespect as he blindly took his own two expansions pretty quickly, earning himself a solid econ lead regardless. From there some finesse with Stargate play by Trap completely threw Spear off, picking off SCVs and army alike in addition to blocking the third CC from landing. Forced into a desperation push of sorts, the Terran pulled The Boys™ and arrived circa 9:35 when even a nice move with EMPs couldn't get rid of all the Storms, so as the Protoss Thunder came down up against something barely resembling micro the writing was on the wall for this one even before the arrival of the Colossi.

  • Ever Dream | The most interesting thing about each player's opener here turned out to be a Marauder Hellion assault in the works versus another Stargate opener. When a vigilant Probe saw a pair of suspicious infantry come around to turn its lights off early in the game, Trap immediately started pooling his Phoenixes back at home so as the attack arrived around 4:20 seeing as none of the Terran units could shoot up this game ended on the spot, regardless of how much fun the Protoss got to have playing with his food after that.

| Solar < 2 : 1 > SpeCial | ★★☆☆☆ | Slugfest

In this series the players took turns smashing each other to pieces, ending with a fancy-pants build from the Terran that fell flat so he lost accordingly.

  • Deathaura | I didn't think there would be anything wrong with SpeCial kicking things off by putting down three CCs, however it also looked like he wanted to go heavy into Mech production right away too, which felt incredibly greedy. Solar invested into Overlord speed, got to see just enough to make his decision and bet it all on an early Ravager Roach Ling assault when he correctly evaluated the defense would be nonexistent. Off not even 40 Drones or so, the Zerg swarmed across the map and hit at seemingly the most opportune moment around 5:50 as he surrounded the enemy army out of position and got on top of the couple of Tanks that were out to immediately get the bop win.

  • Golden Wall | The most important part worth mentioning at the start of the game turned out to be the Overlord speed again, finding out it would be Bio play this time from the Terran. From there both players signed a peace treaty and got into their macro, notably with SpeCial getting away with the Gold base third virtually for free. When the Mutas arrived inside a pretty empty Terran base, the Zerg's chances were looking pretty hot, only for the Terran push to finally come out at roughly 08:40. At first, it almost seemed futile as SpeCial didn't necessarily siege anything too important, only to then snipe a poorly placed Bane Nest around 09:30 while shutting down the attempted counter attack cold with his reinforcements. With a commanding army supply and tech gap, the Terran did his best Bomber impersonation and so paraded Marine Tank across the map to completely roll over his opponent with a knockout blow out of nowhere.

  • Ever Dream | SpeCial lived up to his name as he put down the proxy Ghost Academy, however Solar's insistence on the Overlord speed every single game made it so no amount of trying to hide the Ghosts barely in and out of vision would work against the Zerg. The technical attack featuring mostly Hellions by the Terran kicked off around 5:15 and immediately got sent back home after it ran up against one too many units ready for it. From there it's true SpeCial did continue gaining some value out of the Ghosts with snipes on Queens, Roaches and even an Overseer but ultimately just didn't have the econ engine to keep up. The last real assault by the Terran hit at roughly 8:20 and considering the Zerg had a bigger army already that should tell you how well it went, with Solar cleaning everything up pretty quickly and snowballing across the map to end the series.

| Trap < 1 : 2 > Solar | ★★☆☆☆ | To Shreds, You Say?

An utterly brilliant start from the Protoss player here off the back of truly merciless harassment quickly devolved after some questionable micro slash positioning was followed up by two ugly losses featuring a Ling flood and then inadept Glaives to wrap up the defeat.

  • Pillars of Gold | I can't praise the harassment by Trap here enough, his first Oracle killed off four Drones and when the second one joined the fleet an additional five went down instantly. A pair of Adepts then swept in to kill off even more of the Zerg's econ, essentially sealing the deal. From there the Protoss just expanded and teched up, pressured the fourth Hatch and forced Solar to invest heavily into low tier units just to survive, so at that point he didn't really have a choice to hold back. The attempted Zerg assault around 8:30 felt incredibly desperate, Shield Batteries and a single Immortal did their thing before the Disruptors also arrived, which even with at times terrible positioning slash micro couldn't give Solar enough of a lifeline back into it as waves of Swarm washed up against a wall of Protoss they could never get through.

  • Ever Dream | As if dedicating a tribute performance to Stats and Dear, Trap's turn to lose against the Ling flood in 2020 finally came, with his only nearby patrolling Adept just missing the incoming swarm around 3:12 at which point the Lings got to waltz into the Protoss expansion uncontested and I'm sure everyone knows what that means.

  • Golden Wall | The backdoor expansion from the Protoss looked cool until the Zerg also mined out his own minerals, basically opening the door for another rush, which Trap respected the possibility of a lot more this time around. From there it turned out to be Glaives o'clock and Solar responded with Roaches while utilizing the awkward entry point the Protoss had to work with. Trap spent a really long time just posturing, only killing off Drones much later as he set up the Disruptor Speed Prism play behind the Adepts. The third base location from the Protoss expanding towards his opponent looked really cool all things considered, however in hindsight when he then committed to a sketchy assault at 7:20 that not only got cleaned up pretty easily but then Trap also had to deal with multi pronged attacks on his own bases, the snowball effect kicked in hard. When an Immortal died to a few Roaches and the third Nexus got killed off, if there was any hope left it would soon be gone as the Mutas got revealed on top of that, kicking off a base race that the Protoss immediately tapped out on seeing as it felt completely pointless.

| SpeCial < 0 : 2 > Spear | ★★★☆☆ | Running Into Walls

This series felt like watching one guy expecting the other one to just roll over and die, only to find himself on the receiving end of a devastating upset.

  • Eternal Empire | The start here can only be described as looking into the mirror and refusing to blink, so lets skip ahead to after both players had established all their expansions and someone decided to start playing the game. Before the ingame clock could hit double digits a generous donation of two Medivacs prompted SpeCial to put his foot on the pedal, rushing across the map to siege a slightly overeager fourth base by Spear. At roughly 10:40 after perfectly setting up a great siege, the foreigner hope decided to go for the throat instead of the easy points, resulting in getting himself sandwiched and swallowed up by the underdog's eager forces, essentially the key moment of the game. Losing one too many Tanks thanks to these shenanigans, SpeCial only had his Vikings to lean on for some control over the game and that didn't last too long either. Little victories here and there were follwed by Marines running into sieged Tanks over and over, the aggression from SpeCial felt unnecessarily turned up to 11 for no particular reason and even when he finally got off a great attack sneaking in around 15:25 to get rid of another CC and a bunch of SCVs the same would happen to him across the map not before long. Spear's setups all over the map, Sensor Towers everywhere and solid defense allowed him to completely deflect all of his opponent's attempts to get a "gotcha" style win, earning the victory in a war of attrition with some truly impressive play.

  • Deathaura | There would be a lot less downtime on the second map with Spear doing a weird early attack with one of each Terran unit that didn't really work out only for SpeCial to then pull out a full on assault a few minutes at 6:50 when he took out a CC while his opponent tried to mini doom drop across the map. What felt like a wild opening then got tamed by SpeCial's solid defense, basically taking a near insurmountable lead at that point. Spear kept with it regardless, putting on the most pressure he could while gambling on a double expand to catch back up, which thankfully for him didn't get punished. Still, the ball clearly remained in the foreigner's hands as he leaned on the trusty Ravens to keep gaining victories in skirmishes, which more than likely fueled his desire to once again try for the instant win around 12:35 when he got himself flanked again and tried to play it off with a doomed drop inside the enemy main. Throughout all this, despite some questionable decisions here and there, SpeCial still kept the lead and all Spear could do was essentially hunker down and hold on. The fatal mistake, however, came at roughly 21:00 when another botched attack by the foreigner resulted in his infantry disappearing for the price of just two Liberators, which completely tipped the scales for the first time in the underdog's favor since the start of the map and as soon as Spear got the lead he smashed his opponent over the head with it as if to make a point. Not even a few minutes later SpeCial found himself without any more money to burn, low on army and completely out of position as the underdog pulled off an even more unlikely upset here to secure the win.

| Trap < 2 : 0 > Spear | ★★☆☆☆ | So Close Yet So Far

I believe a young Liquid Terran player said it best: "I don't believe in momentum, only skill" and our underdog looked as if on a mission to prove him right as he completely botched the consecutive upset here.

  • Eternal Empire | Spear started strong with the perfect mixup as he put up the early wall off again only to go into a Drilling Claws with Armory rush this time as opposed to infinity CCs. Trap stuck to his guns with the Stargate play and looked just shy of ready to deal with the harassment, instead at roughly 4:35 the Terran got off a money shot that killed 9 Probes and then even got to save all three of his Mines. Admittedly, the Protoss found himself still ahead in workers at that point and even got some minor revenge across the map with his fleet, since those early game attacks are pricey to put together. Nevertheless, Spear built off that early lead in tempo which culminated in an assault on the fourth Nexus around 10:10 when he took a couple of great fights and got a commanding lead in supply, so when just a minute or so later Trap also donated both his Colossi to the opponent this game felt already over. At that point Spear killed the fourth Nexus and we were all just waiting for the Protoss to tap out accordingly. Instead, showing a healthy amount of stubbornness, Trap queued up a bunch of Disruptors and crossed his fingers his opponent would throw the game somehow. Spear all too quickly obliged, donating squads of units on weird harassment suicide runs repeatedly instead of maxing out and ending his lower econ inferior supply opponent, eventually tipping the army lead completely after a tragic Medivac fleet went quietly into the night with one too many passengers onboard, after which Trap pounced and took care of business across the map.

  • Deathaura | Stargate was the order of the day, which Trap utilized a lot more effectively here, notably picking off Stim with a sizable fleet ruining his opponent's gameplan of an early attack completely. Stuck on two bases with a bunch of units that had nowhere else to go now, Spear tried to force it at 7:00 with a mini doom drop, however all too quickly got chased out and gunned down. From there, with his Blink done and fleet still more than willing and able to help out, Trap swallowed up the retreating army and just finished his demoralized opponent off in merciless fashion with ease.

This was not a straightforward day of Code S, which definitely made things a lot more exciting than expected.

  • Maps of the Night: M2G3 for the novelty value of a Ghost opener in TvZ was interesting to watch even if it ultimately failed, while M3G1 felt like for 90% of the game the Protoss play got the closest we would see to perfection in PvZ. I think the best overall series was M4, but I do understand TvT and lockdown defense play in general aren't for everyone.

  • Recommended Matches: M4 > M2 > M5 > M3 > M1

Note: Through the power of new reddit integrated Polls seem to be a thing now, so if you want to vote for a match that's underrated by me in your opinion feel free to do so at the bottom of the post, voting will close in 7 days giving everyone ample time to do so. Also, if you feel like a specific map got overlooked or underplayed that's what the comments are for, chime in with whatever interesting thing you noticed and I missed at will.

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

  • Solar got the job done here, can we say much more beyond that? It always feels weird to semi-diss the winner of a Group, however when the quality of the gameplay isn't necessarily blowing our minds it feels disingenuous to pretend otherwise. In any case, like I mentioned at the start of the post, Solar hasn't exactly had a ton of success in this tournament during his long career so it does feel like we're waiting for him to make it back to the Ro8 and possibly even go further. With the current problems Dark is experiencing and soO going away, the path is clear to the top of the food chain for Zerg and Solar is definitely on the short list of players expected to step up to that plate.

  • Trap kicked things off with three essentially perfect maps and then experienced a classic collapse to take away any hopes you could have had for him having winded the clock back to 2019. The loss to Solar felt genuinely preventable and the second series against Spear could have easily gone to the third map, possibly even been a 2-0 the other way had the Jin Air player's mental gone boom after that chaotic first map. With so many top Protoss players getting rounded up for the military, Trap is soon going to be the best player in the world for that race by default and I'd love to see him earn that title, because right now it doesn't look like it'll be given to him based on merit. When things are going good for him the Jin Air Protoss certainly looks great, but when something goes bad for him everything quickly turns awful for the Protoss and your opponent won't always be there to bail you out especially not in the later Rounds.

  • SpeCial had a confusing TvZ to start, where by the end it looked like he got too fancy for his own good, but the real trouble turned out to be a nonchalant slash even arrogant approach to facing the underdog. I'm pretty sure SpeCial wins M4 likely 90 out of 100 times and none of those involve treating your opponent like he's just a ladder wannabe. As it turns out, the enemy Terran's best quality by the end of the night would seem to be his ability to defend, making our foreigner hope's approach i.e. running into him nonstop quite flawed. I'm sure we're all aware SpeCial is a lot better than this on average, so I hope to see him regroup and reset to come in with a better performance next time because this wasn't it.

  • Spear opened up by getting deleted out of the server as you would expect when the worst player in the tournament comes up against one of the best ones, only to then open a can of whoopass on these nerds. It was one thing to experience the underdog win in the mirror overcoming adversity – especially on that second map – however as we were watching him then dismantle Trap it simply felt surreal to see. Granted, we then saw Spear choke into oblivion and lose all the same, however seeing as this was his first ever Code S lets give the guy a break and hope he can keep it together next time, because the skills are clearly there – more so on the defensive end, admittedly, but hopefully he can develop.

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 B, when a possibly still compromised Dark will have to deal with the notoriously up and down Zest in addition to an increasingly ramping up TaeJa and the destroyer of tables himself Creator.

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


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