Two terrific Terrans triumphed in Group B of the round of 16, employing a variety of tricks to vanquish their Zerg and Protoss rivals. Cure, a perpetually perturbed player in live tournaments, found the composure to advance in first place with a perfect 4-0 map record. Part-time GSL caster TY advanced in second place, eliminating Stats and Solar along the way.
The group started off as a cheese-fest, with both TY and Cure taking the "Maru when he's in a hurry" approach to start. TY opened his series against Solar by floating four Barracks into his opponent's main, taking advantage of the unique terrain characteristics on Ever Dream (he later revealed it was a strategy he lost to while off-racing as part of his caster research). Solar tried to strike back with a map-specific strategy of his own on Golden Wall, funneling Roaches into TY's main through a Nydus worm hidden in a shadowy alcove. Unfortunately for Solar, TY was going for a Marine-heavy 2/1/1—a strategy that had waned in popularity—and had more than enough troops to hold off the attack and take the series.
The other opening match saw Cure heed the memes and play like his former teammate Maru, relentlessly going for Drilling Claw Mine drops at great expense to himself. And, just like Maru, these costly drops still ended up conferring Cure a slight advantage, enough so that he could overpower Stats with a mass bio army before enough Templars with Psi Storm could get on the battlefield. In game two, Cure followed up with a Terran cheese of his own, proxying his Barracks, Factory, and Starport in the middle of the map for a modern day version of WoL's 1/1/1. Stats's proxy-Stargate Oracle was not the right answer—while Cure lost a handful of SCVs, Stats lost the game and the series.
As if paying penance for their cheesy strats, Cure and TY opened up the winners match with a bloody, macro-game brawl on Eternal Empire. We saw one of the classic TvT scenarios unfold: the player with the weaker, more nimble army (Cure) desperately tried outmaneuver the player with the more powerful, sluggish army (TY). In this game, it was the fleet-footed Cure who prevailed. By decisively going for counter-attacks instead of vainly defending against TY's slow-push of Viking-Tank-Liberator, he was able to cripple TY's economy and ultimately take the game. With the requisite macro game out of the way, the train of cheese continued in game two. Cure went for 3-rax Reapers, with two of his Barracks hidden near TY's base. The strategy worked perfectly (Cure said his inspiration was losing to INnoVation, who had used the same strategy in an online tournament), sending Cure to the Code S quarterfinals for the first time since 2016.
The losers match opened up with another Zerg all-in from Solar, but yet again he couldn't find success. His Ling-Bane attack fell flat against Stats, who lived up to his nickname"the shield of Aiur." Solar pivoted to mid-game aggression in game two, as he tried to overwhelm Stats with a flood of Roaches and Ravagers. Once again, Stats firmly held his ground, and took the 2-0 series victory once he had High Templars to support his army.
The last ticket to the RO8 was contested between TY and Stats, and they ended up delivering the only three-game series of the night. TY brought out yet another artisanal cheese to start, with his oddly-timed attack of four Marines and two Hellions nabbing him a sub-four minute win. TY took the exact opposite approach in the following game, opting to play mech on new GSL map Obsidian. Though Stats initially looked like he was in danger of losing to TY's max-supply push, he managed to successfully juggle the anti-mech tasks of counter-attacking, strategically giving up bases, and taking advantageous skirmishes. After Stats barely halted TY's main push, the game broke down into scrappier battles between lower-supply armies. That ended up favoring Stats, as he was able to dissect TY before he could build up critical mech-mass again. Perhaps not having the stomach for another late-game affair, TY closed out the series by being more offense-oriented in game there. A Mine drop-Liberator-Tank push combo was enough to push Stats over the edge, sending TY to the RO8 and giving fill-in caster Curious another day of work.
Recommended games: Game two of TY vs Stats was a double treat: we got to see the new, four-player GSL map Obsidian, and we also got to see more of TY's unorthodox TvP mech style. Game one of TY vs Cure was sloppy at times, but it was also one of the more action-packed, entertaining TvT games we've seen lately.
Coming up: The Code S RO16 will resume on Wednesday, May 13 9:30am GMT (GMT+00:00) with Trap, Bunny, PartinG, and soO competing in Group C.