Up 1-0 in the series, it was time for the next game which took place on Third World. This is a semi-island map that was used in the last ASL and has produced some of the most interesting and crazy games. What makes this map interesting, but also rough to play on is deciding just how much to commit to either side of the map. Units have to be dropped or in the case of zerg, can also be nydused over to the third world, top 1/2-3/4 of the map. Establishing control of that side means the ability to freely expand and imo, control the game because there's 7 total bases there, 5 if we exclude the 2 bases adjacent to the mains.
Going into the game, my thoughts were simple. Focus on air early on, expand, keep up the aggression and make it a game where my opponents focus is on trying to hold my attacks from all over, a multitasking battle. This is also where we see the micro vs macro bit I've constantly brought up in part 1 and in previous blogs. In small to mid engagements, microing the terran army well means great benefits, especially when you are playing bio compared to say mech where it's more positional. From that perspective, every engagement is important in the general scheme of things. If zerg manages to control the top of the map, it'll be rough to do much. Truly a Yang Wen-li vs Reinhard von Lohengramm type of battle!
The game starts with me spawning in the bottom left corner while my opponent spawns in the top right corner. I settle on 2 port off 1 base, getting a cc as soon as the ports are done to exploit the inability of zerglings to reach my back expo. My wraiths do a lot more damage than even I anticipated, helping to deny a third twice, including a drone snipe. All the while, my opponent is growing more frustrated with my game. POINTS! :D
I decide to be a nice guy and ease up on the pressure. After all, BW is a fun game and I can't allow such statements to be uttered in a TvZ matchup. It's blasphemy at its finest! I decide to play nice and lift my cc back into my main after I've added several rax and gotten a covert ops. My opponent takes this opportunity to triple expand, taking the previously unattainable third as well as the bottom right corner and top left corner. I'm nice and he goes greedy, what a guy!
Wanting to keep up the pressure, I ferry 2 groups of units to the third world, landing on the high ground close to the third. My opponent scouts this and prepared with sunkens and quickly morphed 5 lurkers. I manage to bust several structures and deny mining temporarily, but overestimate my attacking power deciding to take on 5 lurkers instead of focusing down the hatch and microing out of reach. A costly mistake that will likely come to haunt me down the line.
With my attack halted, I decide to switch my focus onto the other part of the map and focus on getting a large SK Terran army to push the zerg base. I manage to catch my opponent's fourth base before he's had a chance to finish morphing his lurkers and bust it easy.
With a large army still intact, I set my eyes on hitting his expansion with everything I've gotten. I also decide to take his 4th base as my third to keep a large bank available for when its needed. By this point, I've already lost control of my macro meaning that I'm starting to put heavier emphasis on my control and decision making. Whether my decisions or control are always great is a story for another blog haha. Furthermore, I drop some marines on third world and keep them there to attack at the most opportune moment.
With my attacks thwarted, I set up a nice army across the bridges outside my third and focus my effort on trying to land a cc at my fourth base. My opponent had been keeping tabs and denying it, but I finally manage to land it with tank support. My opponent realizing that my focus is shifting goes for his largest attack ever, throwing units at my third base in an attempt to deny mining.
I manage to survive by having just enough units, but start to realize my bad situation. It was time for drastic action, time to pull the move that Shuttle pulled in his game against Larva in ASL on this map. It was time to float and build RAX IN BOTH LOCATIONS. The idea is pretty simple. Rax at both locations means that I have an easier time holding them using units produced. Add on the fact that I've started to float like crazy and it all magically fits!
If only things can be this easy! My opponent realizes that he has a narrow timing window to attack before I get a large enough army to push and attacks shortly after my rax have finished. I manage to repel the attack and this gives me a small window to strike his fifth mineral only with my special marine force from earlier.
Things start to look up slightly. I've managed to start mining un-disrupted from the fourth and my third is still mining. I'm floating a lot still, but I've started to queue up a bit more too and was slowly gaining supply again. You know what that means? It's time that I face aggression once again! My fourth is hit again and I've not fully prepared. I decide to counter on the other side, but run smack into 4 lurkers across the bridge that were blending into the background. My opponent is clearly CHEATING!
Though I've lost my fourth, things aren't fully gloomy yet. My MVP rax that was floated in the earlier picture landed safely at the mineral only base at 12 and I was producing a small army to hit the mineral only again. With my opponent's attention focused on my fourth, I strike from the dark, managing to kill his drones and his fifth before retreating. Guerilla tactics at their finest!
My opponent in disarray, I finally try one of the most famous moves in all of starcraft, A DOOM DROP INTO HIS MAIN. As the dropships start moving out, my opponent attacks my third right at the same moment, sniping 2 of them; one with 2 scourge and another with a scourge+2 hydras. Despite that, I was still determined to see the drop land in his main!
Throughout this, I kept producing from my MVP rax and decided to hit his almost mined-out third base to try and eliminate even a single hatchery and source of income. Alas, I underestimated his defenses. Keeping him focused on defending was slowly starting to hurt my own game, as the constant multitasking meant my macro wasn't as strong as it could be. This also meant that my fourth was getting up to speed slower than usual and it was then that I was hit again. The bright side was my aggression was still denying him new bases.
With my fourth broken again, I finally decide to give up on trying and shift my focus on just trying to deny additional bases. One at our level can only multitask and macro so well, especially when you're playing a non-standard map like Third World. I scanned his fifth and make a simple drop to deny mining while I hold the ramp near the MVP rax.
My opponent realizes that he will eventually need a sixth base, despite floating even more minerals and less gas than I am so he decides to sneak a base on the other high ground base as I focused my attention on taking down his fifth base.
By this point, I have already mined out all my bases and my bank was slowly starting to drain. I barely manage to hold the next large endless attack on my third, losing all my rax, but one in the attack:
Having lost most of my production structures and my bank has been drained, I start inching closer towards defeat. With not much of an ability to make units, I make several rax at home and try to drop units to reclaim the back expansion, but my opponent decides to be BM AS HELL AND INFEST MY CC!
I stay in the game to reclaim my thoughts and go for a fantasy gg timing when I get the final knock on my expansion:
With that, the series is now tied 1-1. JxN manages to bring himself back on a map that is rough for terran and imba as hell. He's lucky he gets to play this map in the second slot! With one more game to go, the final game on Transistor will be the decider! Will JxN bring it back now that he's managed to equalize or will Bigfan hold and come out as the victor?
Stay tuned for part 3!
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