Code S RO16 Group D Preview:by Wax
Dark, Patience, INnoVation, Stats
Start time: Saturday, Jun 01 4:00am GMT (GMT+00:00)
With five Protoss and one Zerg locked into the quarterfinals, it seems appropriate to focus on Terran hope INnoVation in this final round-of-sixteen group.
INnoVation's 2019 has been—for the lack of a better expression—f***ing hilarious. Initially, it looked like another year lost to playing League of Legends when he was embarrassed by getting quickly eliminated in Code S Season 1 (RO16) and IEM Katowice (RO24). Then, just weeks after IEM Katowice, INnoVation defeated WCS Global Champion Serral to win the whopping $150,000 grand prize at WESG. Just as 'INnoVation is back!' narratives started to pop up, he dumpstered them by failing to qualify for Super Tournament #1 (losses to PartinG and sOs) and narrowly escaping from his Code S Season 2 group in second place (loss to Patience in initial match).
Still, the funniest indictment of INnoVation's erratic form came when Patience picked him fifth during the Code S group nominations, deciding he'd rather play the PvOGPAT (One of the Greatest Players of All Time) match-up over PvP. That's right—a player who had never made it beyond the Code S RO16 and didn't even qualify for 2/3 Code S tourneys in 2018 basically gave INnoVation an 'eh, he's aight' rating.*
*Granted, there was a mitigating factor in Patience being unable to pick Impact due to him being "reserved" by #1 seed Classic.
Is Patience justified in thinking so? On one hand, he did beat INnoVation in their RO32 match, where his 'proxy-everything' approach allowed him to cripple his opponent early on. Patience even defeated Maru with more proxy-shenanigans later—you can see why he'd be confident in his ability to prepare for such a match.
On the other hand, INnoVation has looked pretty strong in the online matches I've checked out. Sure, his PvT record since the last balance patch (March 25—Protoss upgrade time patch) is a mere 38-23 (62% win rate). But going eye-test on recent his BO5+ victories against top Protoss players Stats, Trap, and Classic, it felt like everyone else should have copied Patience's cheesy approach. Given a lead, INnoVation looked just like his old self, brute forcing his way through Storms with unrelenting waves of infantry. On top of that, he still had deadly two-base timings to keep Protoss on their toes.
Also, let's not overlook INnoVation's comments from the group nominations, where he said "TvP is bad too, but it's still comparatively okay" and also stating "Games have been going well lately." Anyone familiar with INnoVation-speak and his history of exaggerating Terran weakness will know that translates to "You're all gonna die."
INnoVation vs. Stats - Olimoleague May Finals
In contrast, INnoVation said the state of TvZ balanced is "collapsed," and insinuated Dark was the main reason he didn't want to end up in Group D. That's curious, considering that INnoVation's TvZ has been slightly better than his TvP since the last balance patch at 29-13 (69% win-rate), and it being the match-up where he took two high-profile wins off of Serral earlier this year. Sure, Dark does have a seven-match winning streak (BO3+ matches) going against INnoVation since late 2017, but I don't think it will have much bearing on their potential match here. Dark's vaunted late-game play was good-but-not-great in his Super Tournament match against GuMiho, and he even committed an unbelievable throw in game five to blow the series. Dark's Roach-Ravager timings and Nydus all-ins are probably the more deadly parts of his arsenal at the moment, with macro games favoring the machine-Terran.
There's a side of me that's rooting for two Protoss to advance. After all, who doesn't like to stare into the hypnotizing, garish light of a dumpster fire? However, I'm not going to be duped by INnoVation's crocodile tears and cries of imbalance. Watch as he grates his opponent's cheeses to dust and strolls into the RO8 with glorious macro.
Dark 2 - 1 Patience
INnoVation 2 - 0 Stats
INnoVation 2 - 1 Dark
Stats 2 - 0 Patience
Stats 2 - 1 Dark
INnoVation and Stats to advance.
Credits and acknowledgements