Half of the GSL Code S quarterfinal match-ups have been decided, with Scarlett set to face soO while Zest goes up against Dark. Now it's time to find out which four players will join them in the contest for the first Code S championship of the year.
The players of Group C have a bit of history between them, with recent and old rivalries developed both online and offline. Group stage matches might not be enough to settle any scores, but they WILL decide who deserves to be in the RO8.
GuMiho’s choice of Classic as his initial opponent during the group nominations was in line with his in-game reputation: crazy and unpredictable. On paper, this is one of the worst ideas in group selection history, given Classic’s frightening recent form and his long list of victims. On a closer look, the decision might just come down to familiarity. While Classic and GuMiho haven’t faced off much in live matches, the two have clashed regularly in online games with The Towel Terran usually coming out on top (when we look back a year or so). The two are similar in some regards, as both like to dictate the pace of the game—often on the back of clever, well-prepared builds. GuMiho might have reason to be confident, but he should respect Classic's recent form and put in extra preparation.
Online results don’t always translate well to live events. While Classic’s form has been amazing, that's not a guarantee of success in the GSL. Still, Classic looked pretty good in the Ro32. He was solid in victory against jjakji and Impact (admittedly, not the scariest opponents)—he scouted, responded appropriately to threats, and seized the momentum whenever an opening was spotted. However, he did drop a map to jjakji and lost a series to Stats when he miss-interpreted his situation. If Classic wants to make it even deeper into the tournament, he needs to prepare better for all-ins and other unpredictable plays. As long as he can do that, Classic should be in prime position to advance from the group, given his 75% win rate in PvT over the past 2 months.
Like Classic, Dear is another player currently enjoying a resurgence, and is translating his online results to solid offline play. In fact, it's even beginning to feel like Dear actually got the better end of INnoVation group swap, as he is sitting at a scary 67.35% win rate over Terrans in the last couple of months. His victories have come against strong opponents including INnoVation, Maru, GuMiho and TY. Speaking of Maru, it will be interesting to see how Dear fares against his old rival. Back in their primes, the two gave us some of the most memorable TvP slugfests we’ve ever seen. At that time, Dear proved to be just slightly superior to Maru, the rock against which the Terran wave broke time and time again. Dear's career has gone through many ups and down since then, but he's stayed consistent in being one of Maru's toughest opponents.
The situation looks grim for Maru. He advanced to the Ro16, but the manner in which he did so was not the most inspiring. He lost his first series 0-2 against KeeN: a good player, but not someone you’d typically place at Maru's level. Maru was forced to fight his way back from the losers' match, having to rely on cheese to make his way to the Ro16 (though some may see his execution on the cheese builds as a positive). Maru has also dropped series recently against each of his group opponents and failed to make it through any of the IEM qualifiers. Without a Zerg in his group, he's also been denied a chance to play his best current match-up. Maru will need to work very hard to right his ship or risk sinking. The only certainty he faces is that the tide is against him.
While it sounds gloomy, I will go with the safe pick once more and say that Terran will go extinct in this Code S season. The wily nature of GuMiho and Maru don’t seem to be enough for the solidness of Classic and Dear.
GuMiho 0 – 2 Classic
Dear 2 – 1 Maru
Classic 2 – 1 Dear
GuMiho 2 – 1 Maru
Dear 2 – 1 GuMiho
Classic and Dear advance
At its best, the GSL group nomination lets the players create well-rounded groups full of intriguing internal storylines. At worst... well, here we are. The one redeeming factor is that the players in the group fall all across the cheese spectrum, so we might sample every flavor of PvP play possible at the moment.
While Stats’ 2018 got off to a rocky start with him failing to make it through the IEM qualifiers, he did manage to get his bearings by winning his Code S Ro32 group against a strong opponent in Classic. But Stats isn’t out of hot water quite yet, with his PvP form in recent months putting him at a measly 44.44% win rate. He really needs to shore up his PvP or invent a time machine to undo this group if he wants to advance. His previous Ro32 match against Classic wasn’t particularly inspiring, as he went for risky, aggressive plays that didn't always pan out. It's possible that he could make it to the RO8 with the same approach—it's PvP after all—but he needs to be careful to not have a repeat of his first game against Classic where his proxy plays failed miserably.
Trap managed to pull off a brilliant performance in his Ro32 group. After being virtually forgotten about as a title contender, Trap nearly bested Dark in a three-game duel for the first place spot out of their group. Trap handily defeated ByuN 2-0 on the back of solid play to make it to the Ro16. While Trap has taken on some big names on his path to success thus far, not many of those names have belonged to Protoss players. He lost to Zest and sOs in the IEM qualifiers, and one could accuse his recent PvP record of being inflated off the back of defeating foreigners. However, he does have a recent series win against his initial opponent Stats in the online Ballistix Brawl.
herO has been another player whose offline presence has been a bit hard to track as of late. While he did show off his dominance in GSL, it wasn’t against the most impressive of opponents (Keen and Ragnarok). His online results are very impressive with wins over INnoVation, Rogue, Maru but that doesn't mean much in this all-Protoss group. It's not encouraging that the series he played against Zest and Classic in the IEM qualifiers ultimately ended in his defeat.
While the other players in the group have either struggled with recent PvP or have generally not faced off against many of their peers, sOs has had more than his fair share of Protoss BS lately. He is sitting at a impressive 64.52% win rate over the last 2 months with victories over Dear, Hurricane and Trap. His victory over Classic in the IEM PyeongChang qualifier gives these stats some substance. The number of PvPs sOs has played and the caliber of his opponents make sOs a scary player to face right now in PvP. His unpredictable nature also make him a nightmare to prepare for, and he’s given his group opponents headaches in the past.
This group seems pretty simple on paper. sOs, while not the strongest PvPer at the moment, should still be a cut above the rest. It's harder to guess the other player to advance, as everyone's PvP is a giant question mark. Thus, as is tradition in such cases of PvP conundrums, I flipped a few coins.
Stats 1 – 2 Trap
herO 0 – 2 sOs
Trap 1 – 2 sOs
Stats 1 – 2 herO
Trap 2 – 1 herO
sOs and Trap advance.