The Protoss pairing of PartinG and Trap were triumphant in Group C, eliminating Bunny and soO to advance to the eight-player playoffs of GSL Code S. The major surprise of the group was the order in which the two Protosses advanced: PartinG, picked on as one of the weaker RO16 players during the group selections, put in a surprisingly strong performance to advance in first place.
PartinG's initial match against soO was the most unusual clash of the night, as soO decided to turn the tables on the infamously cheesy PartinG by going for 12 pool starts in every single game. This worked in PartinG's favor in game one, as his Cannon rush into proxy-Immortal proved to be a perfect counter to the build. Game two, however, went the way soO expected, with PartinG GG'ing out at around two minutes of game after early Zerglings smashed his more standard opener.
In game three, PartinG decided to Probe scout, which let him hold off the early Zerglings and transition into a macro game. Of course, this being a PartinG game, even the macro game was unusual: he brought out a retro, HotS-esque composition of Colossi and Stalkers supported by mass Sentries. This led to the highlight moment of the night: In the face of near-perfect flanks from soO's Ling-Bane-Ravager force, PartinG kited back and laid down a labyrinth of forcefields to defeat the Zerg swarm and take the deciding game.
The other initial match of the group delivered an upset, as Bunny took down Trap, the top seeded player in the group. The first two games were split 1-1 depending on Trap's ability to hold against Bunny's timing attacks, sending the series to a deciding set on Eternal Empire. Allowed to play a more slow-paced game than in the previous two, Trap looked well on his way to snowballing a macro advantage to a slow but assured victory. But a disastrous fight against the Terran army—with Zealots blown up by Mines while Stalkers were turned into scrap by Marauders—turned the tide in an instant, giving Bunny the series victory.
If Trap was expected to be the PvT master headed into the group, it was instead PartinG who demonstrated top-notch PvT skills in the winners match. In the first game, he barely held the line against Bunny's pull-the-boys attack, even rallying some of his own mechanics workers in defense. Game two seemed like a sure loss for PartinG after his early DT gambit failed, but he used a hidden expansion and excellent army movement to claw his way back into the game. As the conflict dragged on, Bunny just couldn't deal with both the threat of PartinG's main army and backdoor attacks. He was eventually forced to GG out, giving PartinG the unexpected 1st place finish in the group.
After taking a one-sided 2-0 victory against soO in the losers match, Trap took on Bunny in a rematch for the 2nd place spot in the group. Playing in his third TvP series of the night, Bunny seemed content to face Trap in fairly straight-up games (that, or he had expended his arsenal of timing attacks already). For the most part, Bunny's confidence seemed well-founded, as he took his half of the map and matched Trap's army with his own counter units. Unfortunately, in two straight games, Bunny made disastrous, split-force movements versus the more unified Protoss army, and ended up gifting Trap the series and a spot in the Code S playoffs.
Recommended games: The sheer strangeness of soO going for 12 pool three games in a row against PartinG makes it my pick as the series to watch. It also helps demonstrate why going for blind-counter builds against cheesy players isn't as simple a solution as it seems on paper.
Coming up: The Code S RO16 will resume on Friday, May 15 4:00pm GMT (GMT+00:00) with Maru, RagnaroK, INnoVation, and Zest competing in Group D.