The BSL's biggest and most bombastic season yet has finally reached into its main Ro16 stage, the competition thus far has already been a magnitude higher as is and Kwark gives us a brief overview of the first two groups in the Ro16. One of which he himself has been a part of.
BoA vs KwarK on Butter.
BoA opened with a proxy 9 gate in KwarK's nat and though it was quickly identified it still managed to rack up significant probe kills in the extremely laggy environment. Both players transitioned into mass units, KwarK with 3 gate and BoA with 4 gate, and followed this with dts. BoA held with cannons while KwarK was unable to.
BoA vs KwarK on Sylphid.
An extremely mirrored opening led to 2 gate goon exchanges in TR12 extra high. BoA transitioned into a 2 reaver push while KwarK opted for 4 gate goon but a mistimed flank and some strong scarab connections ended the game in BoA's favour.
TerrOr vs ZeTy on Butter.
An early vulture runby secured drone kills and forced far more lings than ZeTy would have liked to make. With no eco to speak of ZeTy committed to a 2 hat muta allin which was blocked by turrets and goliaths. TerrOr's stronger eco transitioned into mass goliath and ZeTy lacked the minerals to block it.
TerrOr vs ZeTy on Sylphid.
Both players opted for macro openers with TerrOr going CC before his first marine with no scouting info. He picked up two quick drone kills, one with his scouting scv and one in his base, and transitioned into an academy rush. ZeTy's attempts to recover his economy left him open and his natural fell before the sunkens could be completed.
KwarK vs ZeTy on Monopoly.
A forge expand into corsair identified a 3 hat hydra allin and cannons were able to deflect it. ZeTy macroed his way out of it with a quick 4th base and 7 hatcheries while KwarK camped on 2 bases with 2 forges and the entire tech tree (complete with darchons). KwarK failed a drop attempt and his corsairs did little but he was able to establish and saturate a 3rd. The double forge upgrades gave KwarK map control to take a 4th and a recall to ZeTy's main sealed the game.
KwarK vs ZeTy on Sylphid.
Another failed 3 hat hydra left KwarK with a tech advantage in the midgame, again with better upgrades and a dark archon. ZeTy's quick expansion to the other natural gave him a secure 4 bases from which to play but KwarK rapidly took 4 bases of his own, forsaking the min only for the low resource 3rd and high ground 4th. Hydra lurker pushes were unable to deny expansions against mass high templar and took heavy losses for little value. KwarK struck as ZeTy's hive completed, forcing hydra and lurker to fight into dragoon and storm before the critical dark swarm timing.
BoA vs TerrOr on Monopoly.
A proxy dt rush caught TerrOr unprepared. TerrOr's scout scv missed the missing pylon powering the proxy citadel and the dts struck before the engineering bay was complete. A valiant scv drill resulted in scvs saving a turret and killing a dt but the other 3 dts overran TerrOr's unit production.
BoA vs TerrOr on Vermeer.
TerrOr's rax expand traded evenly with BoA's 2 zealot into dragoon pressure and both players transitioned into drop play. TerrOr opted for an extremely bold drop, placing his only siege tank and 2 vultures into a dropship while BoA's reaver crossed the map in response. TerrOr's turrets discouraged the reaver drop with BoA unaware that there was nothing behind them while TerrOr found BoA's main base naked. Mines shut down the gateway production and killed a returning reaver while BoA's dragoons helplessly waited at his natural for an obs to be completed.
A quick 3rd by BoA was plagued by vulture drops due to the pylon wall and TerrOr did not allow BoA to recover, instead opting to capitalize on his economic lead with a 6 fact timing.
BoA vs TerrOr on Overwatch
BoA opened with a quick gas steal and TerrOr chose to respond with a marine siege tank allin involving 11 marines, 2 scvs, and 2 proxy factories. The narrow bridge worked against him preventing the marines from adequately defending a tank and the first tank was picked off by dragoons as it attempted to siege. The remaining tank attempted to cover the marines but an arc of dragoons slaughtered them as they crossed the bridge. TerrOr attempted to play his way out of the allin with an expansion but by then BoA had reavers in speed shuttles with a 3rd of his own. TerrOr's next attempt to move out onto the map was met by a much larger army including an arbiter with stasis and TerrOr GG'd out.
TerrOr vs KwarK on Vermeer.
TerrOr opened rax expand into 2 fact pressure while KwarK opened range expand into 2 base arb. The 2 fact was deflected by a dt and both players secured a 3rd in the stalemate. TerrOr's scans read the recall rush and responded with mass turrets and mines with KwarK in turn transitioning to carriers. TerrOr's 2-1 push was too strong for KwarK's ground army and forced a refugee style shutting down TerrOr's attempts to expand while the carriers saved KwarK's main but could not save his other expansions. Ultimately the economic damage was too great and TerrOr was able to secure a 4th base from the carrier pressure while KwarK could not reestablish his own expansions.
TerrOr vs KwarK on Longinus.
Both players took quick expansions and opted for timing attacks, KwarK with a bulldog and TerrOr with a siege tank vulture drop, striking each other at the same time. A rapid repair saved TerrOr as he held 5 zealots and 4 dragoons with 3 marines in a bunker and a single tank. KwarK attempted to recover from the economic damage by taking a third while TerrOr transitioned into 2 base nukes. KwarK was able to attack and deny TerrOr's 4th base while securing 4 bases of his own but after a nuke wiped out the entire probe line at his natural he was unable to match TerrOr's production. Despite excellent storms TerrOr's massed tank lines were able to break through and end the game.
Hawk vs Ptak on Butter
Hawk opened overpool while Ptak opened 12 pool into 12 hat giving Hawk stronger timings on speed/lair while Ptak would have the gas and larva advantage if he was able to secure the natural. Hawk slipped 2 speedlings in and managed to inflict a little economic damage but was forced to transition into a defensive spire/sunken play on 1 base vs the 2 hat speedling of Ptak. Ptak for his part was forced to build spores to secure his bases after his speedling commitment slowed his tech.
Hawk employed his textbook misdirection (Hawk's strength is, in my opinion, that he is never actually doing the thing that he is making you counter). Taking drones off of his gas he neglected to make any combat units or mutalisks and rushed his own expansion while droning. Ptak found himself on his side of the map with a dozen speedlings and 4 spore colonies waiting for pressure that wasn't coming.
Ptak realized the feint and crossed the map with his speedlings hoping to deny Hawk's expansion but by then Hawk had produced 4 muta and the hatchery was far enough along to tank the pressure. Hawk was left with a muta lead, even bases and gas income, and a 3rd hatchery. The game played out without major error from either player but ultimately Hawk's map control secured him an additional base and Ptak was unable to resist the muta deathball.
Hawk vs Ptak on Vermeer
Hawk opened overpool gas vs Ptak's 12 pool 12 hat and had the overlord scout advantage with their vertical close spawns. As on Butter Hawk opted to defend his quick lair vs the threat of 2 hat ling production and trust in his spire play for victory. Both players made adjustments from Butter, Ptak skipping the ling speed for a faster lair and Hawk opting for more drones, and therefore a faster 2nd hat (built in base), as his existing lings were judged sufficient to hold the top of his ramp.
As Hawk's first muta spawned he secured his natural with a 3rd hat and claimed an overlord kill while Ptak misplaced his spire and was forced to cancel it before remaking it. The delayed spire allowed Hawk to pick off 2 drones at Ptak's natural which were defended only a spore. As in game 1 Hawk had 3 hatchery to 2 and a gas/muta lead while Ptak had spores giving him more freedom on the map.
Ptak's muta managed to wipe out Hawk's main mineral line getting him back into the game but Hawk's additional larva gave him additional drone production which rapidly paid for themselves and then some letting Hawk retake the supply advantage with ling support for his muta. While the muta flocks appeared even Hawk leveraged his production lead to give him ground control with lings and Ptak's attempt to place a 3rd hatchery at his 3rd was denied. While the muta fought to a draw Hawk's zerglings were able to take down the 3rd base, the spores at the natural, and some drones.
Ptak made some strong plays to retake map control from a disadvantageous position as Hawk progressed towards hive but Hawk's devourers completed to end the muta battle decisively in his favour (acid spores bonus damage mechanic is applied to stacked units and triggered for each instance of damage which means 3x for every muta attack due to the bounces, it's absolutely ridiculous in a large muta fight).
Dewalt vs Sziky on Butter
Standard overpool vs gate expand openers with Sziky opting for the high eco 3rd before gas while Dewalt delayed his forge and held zergling pressure with zealot movement. As Dewalt moved his zealots to place a core in his wall Sziky ran through the gap and got 5 lings into his main with Dewalt offering counter pressure as the game became chaotic (lings in Dewalt main, zealots in Sziky 3rd and main). Fantastic multitasking resulted in both players managing all the fights simultaneously and both players' builds progressed without significant advantage.
Dewalt's speedlot/sair attack timing hit at a beautiful time, sliding through Sziky's wall and killing 6 drones, all the mutalisks, and chain killing overlords. Sziky transitioned into 6 hat hydra with a critical double evo giving him a strong midgame while Dewalt went for 8 gate with a delayed 3rd. However Dewalt's mass speedlot were able to find half Sziky's hydralisks on the right hand side high ground and surround them for an efficient trade while rapidly snowballed into a drop on Sziky's main, a corsair rampage, and an opening for Dewalt to take his own 3rd. When the dust settled Sziky's hydra mass was much depleted and his economy was slowed while Dewalt's high templar (which had avoided all of the action) banked energy and secured his 3rd.
Sziky attempted to secure his 4th with hydra lurker but as dragoons augmented Dewalt's army comp and the amulet allowed 3 storms per ht the deathball was irresistible. Sziky was forced to trade units for storms and though he hit a strong hive timing with better upgrades than Protoss he was unable to secure a 5th base. Dewalt took his own 4th and as Sziky's first 3 bases became depleted a storm drop at Sziky's 4th closed it out.
Dewalt vs Sziky on Monopoly
After a hydra bust went very badly Sziky exploited the layout of Monopoly to present Dewalt with a solid wall and slowly took bases behind it. Unable to attack Dewalt went for speedshuttle drops and slowly chipped away at Sziky while Sziky defended and crept towards a favourable map split. Very close game, right down to the wire.
Sziky vs Ptak on Monopoly
Sziky 9 pool gas vs Ptak 11 pool 12 gas 11 hat. Sziky ling micro and earlier ling speed gave Sziky the angle he was looking for vs Ptak's natural and he closed the game out in less than 4 minutes.
Sziky vs Ptak on Overwatch
Sziky 9 pool gas again vs Ptak 11 pool 12 gas 11 hat at nat. Sziky opted for lair before speed and Ptak was able to hold his natural but in doing so he cut gas mining and found himself with 2h ling vs lair. Sziky's lings pulled back, transitioning from pressuring Ptak's expansion to holding his own ramp, and Ptak decided against forcing the ramp. Sziky added ling speed and as Ptak tried to transition his larva lead into the drones needed for spores Sziky struck, taking the fight with 1h speedling vs 2h speedling.
This extracted maximum value from his early speedlings which were no longer needed defensively as the muta were out. Ptak was forced to burn larva in response to make mass speedling of his own, despite them providing zero map control when Sziky's muta were already out. Sziky ran his lings past Ptak's into Ptak's main and took out the spore and Sziky's muta ended the game.
Dewalt vs Hawk on on Monopoly
Hawk opted for a 11 hat 10 pool lair rush opener which I know from experience is difficult to play against (he used it vs me in NA winners final) as it throws the Protoss off of their default mental timings. The much slower 3rd hat reduces the available larva count and Dewalt pressured with 2 zealot and a dragoon to force Hawk to produce lings. Despite a masterful defence by Hawk the trade of gateway production time for larva was profitable for Dewalt, that gateway production time was effectively free whereas the larva were vital for Hawk to get his 3rd base up to speed.
Hawk continued his economic recovery plan with no mutalisk production from his quick spire and a quick 5th hat with hydra den and evo but Dewalt kept the pressure on. As zealot legs finished he forced 4 sunkens and killed 3 drones while continuing to mass corsairs at home. Scouting Hawk on 3 gas Dewalt added 2 archons to his speedlot/corsair force and overran the sunken muta defending Hawk's natural.
Hawk stabilized but behind it Dewalt took a 3rd, upgraded his zealots to 2-1, and added an absurd number of gateways. The follow-up speedlot/corsair timing could not be stopped. Just non stop pressure from Dewalt preventing Hawk from ever really getting his build going which is, in my opinion, definitely the right way to deal with a player as strong as Hawk.
Dewalt vs Hawk on Vermeer
Dewalt opened gateway expand vs a hatch first and successfully pressured forcing Hawk to make far more lings than he'd like to. The zergling counterattack was blocked by Dewalt without damage and Hawk's transition into a 3 hat hydra timing was read and deflected with clinical counterplays. Hawk continued to make hydralisks but Dewalt's corsairs kept eyes on the hydra count and made only the cannons required while adding 5 gateway zealots behind them.
Many weaker players could have overestimated the ability of the speedlots to hold or misread Hawk's delayed attack for a macro switch but Dewalt was confident in his economic advantage, his corsairs recognized the continued hydra production, and he went up to 9 cannons in the knowledge that Hawk had effectively placed himself allin. When Hawk's hydra attack came it was completely ineffective and retreated without dealing any damage.
From there Dewalt just made gateway units and upgrades with his superior economy. Hawk attempted to recover his drone count but Dewalt didn't give him the opportunity. Speedlot pressure forced Hawk to build more hydralisks and the economic deficit could not be recovered. Dewalt forced non stop unit trades and simply outspent Hawk.
Sziky vs Hawk on Vermeer
Vertical spawns gave the overlord scout advantage to Sziky which is a huge advantage in ZvZ, especially with the 12 pool mirror openers they chose. 12 pool is a middle of the road adaptable build allowing paths for expansions, ling pressure, lair timings etc. depending on the exact larva allocations of the players and perfect information allows one player to easily punish or exploit the builds of the other.
Sziky made non stop speedlings while showing less than his total strength forcing Hawk to guess the correct number of drones to make (zero). With Sziky's overlord over Hawk's natural he saw Hawk producing drones and pulled the trigger for a speedling timing attack. Hawk added a sunken between his nat and the ramp but his speedlings started the fight behind the sunken and were forced to attack through the bottlenecks above and below it. Sziky's lings had a superior concave and the ling fight, and therefore the game, went decisively in Sziky's favour. Perfect timing by Sziky and an error in positioning by Hawk but mirror builds and an overlord above your production make ZvZ a tough matchup.
Sziky vs Hawk on Overwatch
Both players again opted for 12 pool gas 11 hat at nat, exactly as in the previous game. Sziky attempted a speedling flank but Hawk had lings on the ramp and repositioned to block it. A second speedling commitment made it up the ramp and was able to force a cancel on Hawk's spire but left Hawk with a considerable speedling lead. Hawk went for a counterattack and one sneaky Szikyling managed to get a drone kill by itself which represented about a 10% reduction in Hawk's mineral income.
The ling fight positioning was reversed from game 1 with Sziky defending with a sunken while Hawk attacked. However Sziky refused to let his speedlings funnel through the gaps the way Hawk had in game 1 and retained the concave advantages resulting in a different outcome to the first game.
Sziky had been forced to pull off of gas to hold the speedling attack and Hawk had a higher gas bank as the game transitioned into spire play but Sziky's movement and mutascourge micro was simply better. Hawk's muta were pulled in different directions as speedlings pressured his drones in the nat and muta pressured overlords near his main. Hawk's insane macro kept the supplies even and Hawk felt able to attempt a frontal muta fight. The trades initially looked even but 4 of Hawk's scourge peeled off and flew into an overlord. They may not have been enough to win him the game but the loss of them was certainly enough to lose it.
Overall the groups went largely as they should have. Group B was an insanely tough group. The group system was meant to result in even groups as each group had a player who came 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th in one of the regional tournaments but Bonyth's absurd skill level resulted in Sziky, arguably the 3rd strongest player outside of Korea, being a 3rd place finisher. Hawk, the 1st place finisher from NA, found his "lower level opponents" to be Dewalt and Sziky which is ridiculous. The players in the lower bracket are now going to have the same issue as they'll have to face Hawk much earlier than they should have to.
Group A also went roughly as planned. BoA emerged 2nd in NA due to Hawk's unstoppable ZvP run but demonstrated that he was a top tier player with victories over TerrOr while TerrOr had little trouble with KwarK or ZeTy. No real upsets so far, the recognized names from the top tier of foreign bw just showing why their reputations are deserved.