The time is nigh. As we enter the last days of the GSL Code S Ro32, as group G and H hit the stage
Well, Stacraft fans, we’ve made it. Almost two weeks since it first began, today marks the end of the Season 1 GSL Code S Ro32 for the 2013 period. Its been an incredibly tense two weeks with some surprises throw in that nobody. Who would have guessed that “MVP” the four time GSL champion, would be knocked out by players that have yet to even make it any further than the Ro16? Is this a sign that the older veterans are losing their edge? Its hard to say for certain.
Lets dive straight in and see what happened in the final group stages of the competition:
Group G Summary
Group G took to the fields of battle yesterday, January 31st. Certainly not the most first class lineup in the tournament so far but it certainly has its perks! Taking to the arena once more, Group G boasts one of the smartest Korean Zergs LG-IM “Nestea” whom alongside his recent 3rd place at the Iron Squid ll tournament, also comes equipped with 3 GSL Championships to his name. Next up the only member of team Liquid to make it into Code S this season Liquid “Taeja”, the young Terran that has had huge success in the foreign leagues, taking 1st place at Dreamhack Valencia and 2nd Place at the more recent Dreamhack Winter, this Ro32 marks his 7th GSL Code S appearance. The group line up wouldn’t be complete without its second Zerg and Terran that come in the forms of former Starcraft Progamer Woongjin_”Soulkey” and MVP_ “Noblesse”.
Game 1 and we already have a fairly solid lineup for the starting game of the day as Soulkey takes on Noblesse. First set and Noblesse plays thinks a little tricky. Planting bunkers at Soulkeys expansion, Soulkey is forced to think on his feet. As the set progressed, neither player could grab an advantage. Attempting to force a base trade, both players end up retreating. With Broodlords taking the fight to Noblesse’s front door, GG was called. Second set and Noblesse heads into a Mech build which ends up putting Soulkey in a very tough spot. Just managing to hold on, Soulkeys Broodlords once again end up being a turning factor, allowing him to crush through Noblesse’s army in no time. 2 – 0 to Soulkey.
Game 2 see’s the titans Nestea and Taeja forced to the battlefield to make their marks on the tournament. The first set played out as a very standard TvZ, with Nestea opting to take on Taeja’s forces with Spire tech backed by Ling/Bane. Yet despite having map control for the majority of the match, some sloppy engagements saw him lose most of his army and eventually the base trade scenario that ensued. Second set and Nestea is quite clearly irritated by his previous play. 10 minutes in saw Nestea push out with a large roach force, Taeja held it without issue.With both players building up forces, Nestea was set to throw down the hammer, but almost immediately his decision making slips, losing 3 Infestor’s in seconds, with the army he had amassed following close behind. With terrible execution, Nestea falls to the sheer might of his opponents forces. GG. Taeja takes it 2 – 0.
Game 3 - Next up; Soulkey returns after his 2 - 0 win, to take on the previous games winner, Taeja. A fairly standard build opens up the game for both players, as Soulkey opts for a 6 queen build to support his slightly greedy build. Failing to catch Taeja out with burrowed Banelings and unable to really harass, the Broodlords and lings come out to deal the damage required. GG. Second set and the game appears to be extremely one sided as Taeja opts for a quick third expansion, something that Soulkeys build is able to punish hard. Able to keep pushing out with a mass ling/bane and Mutalisk composition, Taeja was kept at bay, once more the Broodlords become a deciding factor. In a final showdown, fungal growths help seal the deal. GG. Soulkey wins 2 – 0 and Advances to the Ro16
Game 4 and the shattered Nestea takes on Noblesse with everything on the line for both players. First set and Noblesse ends up in a bizarre situation, as Nestea opts for a Nydus worm to delay the third expansion of the Terran. Yet it is the late game that really proved costly, with Nestea blundering leading to the loss of one of his last remaining mining bases and then the rest of his army with it. First set to Noblesse. Second set and we see the true essence of Nestea emerging somewhat, after his talent was clearly lacking in the previous games. After causing huge damage to Noblesse’s economy at the start of the midgame, it was the multi pronged ling/bane attack that bulldozed the remaining forces of Noblesse. Second set to Nestea. Final set and we were in “do or die” territory. After putting on the pressure early on, Nestea was in game winning territory as blunders were rife in Noblesses defense. Yet, Nestea let the victory slip away, failing to realise his advantage and allowing Noblesse to come back. With the final battle, Nestea takes on some terrible engagements and loses everything. Noblesse takes it 2 – 1. 4 time champion Nestea is relegated to Code A Ro48.
Soulkey and Nestea advance. Noblesse falls to the Code A Ro32 whilst Nestea falls to the Code A Ro48
Group H Summary
We’re down to the final Group of this GSL Code S Season and out of all the groups out there, this one deserved the most hype. Why? Well as we’ve alluded to all week, the foreign hope lies well and truly in Evil Geniuses “Stephano”, the Zerg that after ripping up the European scene over the past two years, finally makes his first GSL appearance. Alas, the path to victory is a difficult one, as arch rival and arguably one of the best Zergs in the world, MVP”DongRaeGu” also find himself in the group. Fans of the GSTL may recall that it was in fact DRG that kept Stephano from attaining a reverse All kill earlier this month. Then of course we have the Terran STX Soul “INnoVation”, STX Souls only Code S player to date. Finally finishing up the lineup, Startales “Hack”.
Game 1 and Stephano is thrown in at the deep end with his first opponent, INoVation. The first set and Stephano is quite clearly not comfortable yet about his position in the GSL. After a fairly slow start, the constant drops and multi pronged attacks from INoVation during the mid game managed to kept the young French star at bay. After losing alot of tech and unable to get a good position, the first set goes to INoVation. Second set and INoVation knows he has his opponent reeling after the first set. Opting for a mech style play, he delivers the final hammer blow with nothing but massed blue flamed Hellions, catching his opponent off guard. With nothing left to do, Stephano has no other option than to call it. INoVation takes it 2 – 0
Game 2 and we have Hack take on the undisputed Zerg champion, DongRaeGu. Although evidently quite nervous, everything at camp DRG remained fairly calm with standard openings coming from both players. After some pokes from both sides, DRG takes a quick lead by teching into a very early Hive. After successfully pushing Hack back several times and destroying his economy, Hack can no longer keep it up and with a final Ultralisk flank, the game is won. Second set and Hack pulls out the cheap guns, attempt what can only be considered an all in, mixing in Marines, Marauders, Hellions and SCVs. DRG holds it off by the skin of his teeth and after making no mistakes, DRG crushes the dwindling forces of Hack bu taking the fight to his base. GG. DRG takes it 2 – 0
Game 3 and we’re onto the winners round; INnoVation takes on DRG. First set and both players are looking fairly relaxed, whilst neither player is really looking to do anything too daring. In true DRG style, a weakness is found in INnoVations defense and instantly exploited. With that, INnoVation’s chance’s of pulling the game back simply melt. Second set and we have a a game that is strikingly similar to the first. Taking the group 2 – 0 DRG unsurprisingly advances into the Ro16
Game 4 – and we have Stephano, battling for his Code S life against Terran, Hack. First set and jumping straight into the mid game, Hack opted for a Mech heavy style. Catching a few drones and here and there, Stephano is eventually pushed back by the excessive number of Thors Hack has on the field. Yet, with his trademark nontraditional play Stephano takes the game with a purely Broodlord/Corruptor base army. Second set and Stephano wasn’t prepared to let his lead slip. With Hack opting for a small Hellion poke, The Terran completely missed the excessive number of Roaches heading for his front gate. Ripping through his opponents defenses, Stephano did it! 2 – 0, meaning Hack is relegated to the Code A Ro48
Game 5 This is it. Make or break time for the French star, coming up once again against the Terran that brought him to this position in the first place; INnoVation. The first set was ended fairly quickly as Innovation throws down a double proxy rax that Stephano is just unable to hold. Second set and Stephano claws back lost ground, crushing through INnoVations bio heavy force, evening the scores. Final set its all or nothing for both players and INnovation was prepared to risk it all. Going for an early marine/marauder push, INnovation catches Stephano entirely off guard and manages to get a ton of drone kills. Fending it off, Stephano tries to stabilize but the second wave with the inclusion of SCVs helps seal the deal, it was just too much for the French hopeful to take on. A swift GG from the foreigners side and that is it. Stephano loses 2 – 1. And with that it is official – Stephano is relegated to Code A Ro32
DongRaeGu and INnoVation Advance. Stephano and Hack are relegated to the Code A Ro32 and Ro48 respectively.
That’s it, until next week!
That’s right folks. That’s it! The Ro32 is officially over and its been an extremely tense first season. I don’t know about you, but I’m extremly saddened to see Stephano end up in Code A, but on his first attempt it wasn’t a bad try. Another Season that the foreigners claim to the GSL Code S title remains untouched. We’ll just have to wait and see how he does in the coming weeks.
With this stage of the GSL Code S out of the way the players through to the Ro16 are:
Life (Z), Symbol (Z), MC (P), Curious (Z), Bomber (T), GuMiho (T), BBoongBBoong (Z), Squirtle (P), PartinG (P), LosirA (Z), MarineKing (T), RorO (Z), Soulkey (Z), TaeJa (T), DongRaeGu (Z), INnoVation (T)
Terran: 5 Zerg: 7 Protoss: 3
These are your 16 that shall battle it out for the GSL Code S title, in this last ever Wings of Liberty play off.
We’ll be back with more GSL Code S news when the Ro16 begins next week, February 7th.
Until then, be sure to check out all of this weeks VOD’s with Tasteless and Artosis over on the GOMTV website or visit them on the new GOMTV Twitch stream