Code S RO8: Day 2 Previewby Orlok
With Classic and Trap securing the first two semifinal spots in Code S, only Dark stands in the way of all-Protoss semifinals in both StarCraft: Remastered's KSL and StarCraft II's GSL. With trembling hands, TL.net offers up what could be our last GSL preview before the entire StarCraft II world is burned down by rioting mobs of Terran and Zerg players.
Quarterfinal #1: PartinG vs HurricaneStart time: Saturday, Jun 08 4:00am GMT (GMT+00:00)
Facing off in the third Code S quarterfinal match are two Protoss peas in a pod: PartinG and Hurricane. Together, they form one of the most unexpected pairings of Code S quarterfinalists we have seen in a very, very long time. Neither of them is exactly rated highly compared to the other six quarterfinalists. 'Run-of the-mill Code S player' would have been a fairly accurate way to describe Hurricane before 2019, as he only achieved one RO16 finish prior to this season. PartinG, while previously a championship caliber player, really seemed to have fallen into the same category as Hurricane after his unsuccessful forays into progaming in other games.
Despite their poor resumes, both of them have ground their way past difficult opponents in one way or another to make it to this stage. Hurricane used a combination of filthy cheeses, solid all-in defense of his own, and a bit of out-side-the-box thinking to nudge his way past FanTasy, Solar, and Ragnarok. PartinG also cashed in on his expertise with aggressive builds, taking out the likes of DRG, Cure, GumiHo and soO on his way here. Protoss fans would say they're a testament to how far cleverness and determination can take you, while non-Protoss fans would say they're a testament to Protoss BS.
The last time these two met in the Super Tournament quarterfinals, PartinG completely blew Hurricane out of the water in a clean sweep, seemingly getting the better of him in every little skirmish. Hurricane has a worrisome 2-7 record in PvP since that defeat—losing to Classic, Patience and Creator—which leads one to think that PartinG should be able to easily defeat him once more. On the other hand, PartinG hasn't exactly been killing it in PvP himself, with a 3-3 record since his victory against Hurricane.
It becomes harder to predict this match when you consider how much precision matters in PvP, and how PartinG's play has been very unstable in his return. He's looked great when his micro is really clicking, but he still has the problem of occasionally making a big mistake in a key moment—whether it's in unit control, reaction time, or decision-making. It's cliched to call PvP a coin-flip, but that's what it's starting to feel like in a match between two players who got here on the back of PvT and PvZ. Whether we’ll see a blowout, long macro games, or a proxy-apocalypse is anyone's guess.
PartinG may have won the Super Tournament clash, but I still see this as pretty much dead equal. When these two unload their bag of tricks against each other, it will all come down to who can stay calm in the face of unexpected strategies and momentary setbacks.
PartinG 3 - 2 Hurricane
Quarterfinal #4: Dark vs herOOddly enough, the 'main event' of the quarterfinals is what could be the most lop-sided match: Dark vs herO. While we all like a nice underdog story, there comes a point where the favorite is so overwhelmingly powerful that we can't really talk ourselves into an upset anymore. While herO has placed well in 2019 tournaments and shown some real panache in his timing attacks, Dark's class, consistency, and all-around solid play is likely to grate herO's cheddar to shreds.
If we look a little closer at this dire situation, there is still a slight ray of hope glimmering through it all. Despite Dark being a player with some of the best mechanics and fundamentals in StarCraft, his recent eliminations in big tournaments were due to one of three factors: 1) His own inexplicable throws, 2) Serral, and 3) Protoss aggression. Even though his peak performance can look unstoppable, he wasn't beyond gifting GuMiho a free game-five win in the Super Tournament. And we should recall that Dark was actually favored to withstand Classic's barrage of builds headed into last season's semifinals, and Classic only earned his Zerg-killer image after he won that upset victory against Dark. herO may not be as good as Classic on the whole, but he still might be able to wrack his brains and find a way to steal three maps against Dark.
Of course, Dark could also just smash herO the same way he steamrolled all of his opponents so far in Code S, with only INnoVation being deemed worthy of getting played in a 'proper' macro game. herO is basically betting his chips on the chance that Dark will slip up against him—and Dark’s confidence HAS lead him to the chopping block before. Unfortunately for herO, he's not a Protoss player who has that kind of threat level, which Dark demonstrated by going 4-1 against him in the previous season of Code S.
While it's normally risky to say one player will completely dominate the other in knockout rounds, this time it's just too difficult to put forth a case for herO. He needs so many things to work out, from his own build preparations and execution to Dark dropping the ball mid-game. Dark has had trouble in big matches, but he's rarely been someone to lose to lesser players. He should really have no trouble at all taking herO down.
Dark 3 - 0 herO
Credits and acknowledgements