Code S RO16 - Group B Preview:by TheOneAboveU
Dark, herO, cure, Dear
Sunday, Mar 24 12:00am GMT (GMT+00:00)
We conclude the Round of 16 of GSL Code S with some decidedly personal affairs. Were this a crime story, we’d see the members of Group B as a strongly connected circle of string on the evidence-plastered wall of the detective’s office: So, who slighted whom? Who has the best motive for revenge? And, most importantly, who’s the most capable murderer here?
As far as 2019 goes, Code S is really the only thing going well for Cure so far. He qualified by beating two of his present group members in Dark and herO, and then went on to eliminate MC and Stats in the Round of 32, thereby gaining some strong TvP credentials.
Outside of Code S, however, the Jin Air player could not impress in the same manner: A great deal of online losses mar his record, but even greater weigh his offline defeats at Katowice, where he was eliminated during the round of 76 at the hands of Namshar and HeRoMaRinE. So, being sent a long flight back home after merely playing three series of StarCraft 2, Cure has had nothing to do other than look to this group and prepare for about three weeks. That should make Cure's adversaries pause for a moment, despite his recent losses. Jin Air Green Wings players are notorious for their meticulous preparation, being the last team with a functioning KeSPA-style house and organization (even though the end-result can be merely "proxy 2-rax"). Cure has at his side some of the most dangerous and smartest players of every race. He even got to decide the final make-up of this group, persuading Maru to switch in herO for Bunny, so he must be confident in his abilities to defeat the Protoss player again. That, or he simply enjoyed building a group with only four-letter names in it. Cure, despite being the man with the weakest pedigree and least titles in this group, has managed to be in control here, duping Dark’s group selection plans. We can be sure he’s planned to dupe a few other expectations as well.
The man switched into the group at the behest of Cure, herO, is in an interesting spot after his top 4 run at IEM Katowice. On paper, the Protoss player is getting his best results since he won a GSL Super Tournament and achieved several second place finishes in 2017. Looking at his recent run more closely, however, we find a bunch of mistake-ridden, scrappy PvP series that might not mean much in the big picture. What are we to make of them? Sure, Dear, one of herO’s IEM victims, is in this very group. But will he really be duped by herO’s chaotic PvP style again, or will he be ready for it this time? Winning the OlimoLeague February Finals over soO, INnoVation, and TY only two days after Katowice certainly enhances herO's credibility in other match-ups, but overall he is not a favorite here—especially considering that the last time he advanced from the round of 16 in Code S was two years ago. Since then, herO has been unable to reach the top 8, no matter how well he's performed elsewhere. In a way, herO's in the position of being the newcomer again, who needs to prove himself against most accomplished foes.
The other Protoss of the group, Dear, heavily argued against Bunny leaving their group during the selection ceremony—and it’s fairly obvious why after seeing how he dismantled Terrans in Katowice. Dear's match against Bunny—just one of this seven wins against Terran in Poland (with a perfect 14-0 map score)—demonstrated his ability to really take the measure of his opponent’s play-style and develop the perfect counter. Dear played into Bunny’s drop-heavy, multitasking-oriented style and left gaps for Bunny to drop into, before closing the trap to simply net up the drops and leave no survivors to tell the tale. Dear played the player just as much as he played the match-up. This is why his potential PvP series against herO may go very differently than the one in Poland. It’s also why his other matches against Cure, and the potential one against Dark, could be very interesting affairs. As we’ve seen repeatedly with Maru recently, the Jin Air Terrans can be figured out and defeated, despite their fantastic control and speed. Dark and Dear already had a close-cut meeting in the GSL qualifiers, which Dark managed to win 2-1, so Dear is certainly a danger to him. Stats showed the world how to beat Dark in a PvZ. Dear is fantastic at the preparation game, and with how much time he now had for this group, his opponents should be very careful indeed.
The only player of the group to not only play in Katowice but also at WESG in China is Dark. The ever-confident one is probably not very happy with his latest expeditions: another top 4 finish in Poland was followed by a top 8 exit at WESG, where Dark once more lost to Serral after looking dominating up until their quarterfinal match. All in all, Dark is in quite a similar position as last year. He did better at IEM this time around, but lost earlier at WESG. Still, for someone as hungry for success and as confident as Dark, everything below the very top spot is simply not enough. While he's undoubtedly been a top three Zerg for all of LotV, he hasn’t won a title for three years now. Dark’s ability to keep up his high confidence despite the relative lack of success is truly marvelous. And it’s all quite warranted: Dark never truly looks bad in his losses, while sometimes looking absolutely stunning in his victories. Perhaps that's what allows him to keep up his image so easily and so believably.
So, all in all, what are we to make of this group? Well, the first and most important thing: this has the potential to be quite entertaining indeed. Cure and Dear bring cold and calculated preparation with them, herO on the other hand is—for the moment—aggression incarnate. And Dark, incited by his recent shortcomings, is the avenging wraith haunting them all. Having finally managed to not put together a group of death for himself, but still being duped by Cure and Maru, he looks on course to advance into the playoffs of Code S once more.
Dark 2:1 herO
Dear 2:1 Cure
Dark 2:1 Dear
herO 2:1 Cure
Dear 2:1 herO
Dark and Dear to advance.