The Code S quarterfinals concluded with Cure and INnoVation prevailing in their matches, setting up a semifinal bracket with sole Protoss PartinG going up against a terrible Terran threesome in TY, Cure, and INnoVation.
Saturday's first quarterfinal match between Cure and Dear ended in a one-sided, 3-0 sweep for Cure, which earned him a return to the Code S semifinals for the first time since 2016.
Dear appeared to be on his way to victory in game one on Nightshade, holding off Cure's early-game Marine-Maraduer-Tank push while having resources to spare on a devastating Zealot warp-in in Cure's main. However, Dear wasn't able to convert his brief economic lead into a meaningful advantage in army, and a barrage of drops and frontal attacks from Cure forced Dear to GG out.
The second game looked like it could be headed toward a typical split-map macro-game scenario on Simulacrum, but Cure once again took down Dear before he could really get settled on a three-base economy. With a drop here and a run-by there, Cure was able to rattle Dear enough to finish him off with big attack of Bio + Vikings. Cure completed the sweep thanks to a proxy-Hellion & Mine drop strategy on Ever Dream. After dealing a significant amount of early economic damage to Dear, it was all too easy for Cure to finish him off with a frontal attack later.
Having earned a long-awaited return to the semifinals, Cure said his preference would be to play against Trap in the next round. However, he would not get his way, as INnoVation advanced to face him at the end of a tough, five-game series against Trap.
In game one, INnoVation showed exactly why he has taken a liking to all-ins in recent months, taking a quick, easy win against Trap with a one-base Marine-Tank-Liberator all-in. Game two on the sprawling GSL map Obsidian showed why INnoVation might not want to play a macro game against Trap in particular—his army barely ever passed the halfway point on the map as Trap tore him apart in a standard game.
It was Trap's turn to get cheesy in game three on Eternal Empire, going for a proxy-Gateway followed by a proxy-Stargate. Unfortunately for Trap, INnoVation was able to scout out both buildings, and easily defend against the harassment while building up his economy. Not one to blow an economic lead, INnoVation followed up with a series of head-on attacks to force the GG out of Trap and go up 2-1.
The previous loss didn't deter Trap from going for another early game gambit in game four, this time in the form of a Dark Templar drop. Unlike the last game, things worked out well for Trap: he took defended INnoVation's Widow Mine while taking trivial damage, and on the other end of the map his Dark Templars killed enough SCVs and units to justify the investment.
Trap almost threw the game when his four DT's got caught morphing into Archons outside INnoVation's base, but questionable Marine focus-fire allowed both to barely survive. The Archons proved to be crucial in holding off INnoVation's following SCV-Marine-Tank all-in, which was still dangerous despite the early DT harassment. Trap had to pull Probes in defense, but he was able to scrape together a successful hold in the end. A simple counter-attack forced INnoVation to surrender, sending the series to a fifth and final game.
Alas, the dramatic backdrop of a game five was wasted on a one-sided game. Trap took a surprising amount of Probe damage from an early Hellion-Reaper poke from INnoVation, which was compounded by a massive twelve-Probe loss when he failed to react to a Widow Mine drop. It was simple impossible for Trap to come back after giving up such an early economic lead to a macro monster like INnoVation (though he fished for miracle storms and Disruptor shots), and he GG'd out to send his ex-teammate to the semifinals.
The Code S semifinals (best of seven) will begin with TY vs PartinG on Wednesday, May 27 9:30am GMT (GMT+00:00).