TY defeated PartinG 4-2 in the first Code S semifinal, earning a return to the grand finals for his first time since the autumn of 2018. PartinG, despite having won a shocking 3-2 upset over Maru in the previous round, was unable to overcome TY's early-game gambits in what ended up being a relatively fast and one-sided series.
TY set the tone for the series with a Proxy-Barracks, Concussive Shells Marauder cheese in game one. Though PartinG cautiously Probe-scouted the landscape of Ever Dream for a proxy build, TY's clever (or lucky?) Barracks placement prevented it from being spotted. PartinG was caught completely off-guard, and the game was effectively over once the first two Marauders destroyed the first Stalker. Follow-up Marines and Marauders quickly forced the GG out of PartinG before the 3:30 mark.
Game two saw the battlefield move to Golden Wall, where TY looked to take advantage of the "please drop here" nook in the main base, just as he had against Dark in the previous round. By walling off his main and showing PartinG nothing but a handful of Marines, TY forced PartinG to prepare for an early frontal attack. That allowed TY's fast Hellion-drop to sneak into the Protoss main, where they were able to roast a crippling number of Probes (PartinG's poor Probe evacuation micro exacerbated the damage). TY easily fended off PartinG's desperation DT drop, and then rolled out with his main army for his second win.
TY changed up his opener yet again in game three on Simulacrum, this time proxying a single Barracks to apply some light Reaper pressure. PartinG chased the Reaper off with ease, and immediately sent a Zealot and Stalker to counter-attack TY. Perhaps not expecting his opponent to return fire so quickly, TY was caught with an in-construction Command Center on the low-ground and just a couple of Reapers in defense. PartinG forced TY to cancel the CC, giving him what seemed to be a commanding lead in the early game.
However, PartinG had erred by forgetting to start his Warp Gate research at the proper timing, and was suddenly left in the same position as TY had been: in possession of a low-ground expansion but with no units to defend it. TY's counter-counter-attack of six Hellions and his leftover Reapers gleefully ignored the defenders and massacred PartinG's Probes, prompting another quick GG.
TY looked to close the series out in a 4-0 sweep on Eternal Empire, bringing yet another aggressive opener to the table. This time, he cranked Marines out of a Reactor-Barracks, using the Marines as a distraction for the Hellion drop behind it. The Hellions found their mark yet again, roasting twelve Probes before evacuating.
However, unlike the game on Golden Wall, PartinG had gone for 4-Gate Blink instead of DT drop, and thus finally got a chance to use his signature build. TY found himself in a Maru-like predicament—he had done Probe damage, and he knew that he just had to defend against the incoming Blink-Stalker pressure to win. But, just like Maru, simply knowing what was coming wasn't enough to save TY. PartinG showed off his one-of-a-kind Blink-Stalker micro, surgically picking off Marines, punishing mispositioned Tanks, and preserving his red-HP units. Each round of Stalker warp-ins saw the Terran forces grow weaker while the Protoss snowball rolled out of control, forcing TY to concede and give PartinG his first win of the series.
PartinG looked to build more momentum toward a comeback in game five on Zen, opening with a Proxy 2-Gate against a hidden-Barracks Reaper opener from TY. While it looked as though PartinG had a chance to do some early damage, TY was able to hold off a Stalker and Zealot with ease. On the other end of the map, PartinG finally defended one of TY's drops without taking severe damage (a Mine drop this time around), making it seem like the two players would actually be headed to their first 'normal' game of the series.
Instead, the game took an unusual mid-game twist. As it neared time to take his third base, TY's Marines and Marauders moved out far too recklessly against PartinG's containment force of Blink-Stalkers. Against PartinG's Blink-micro, this ended up being a one-sided army donation. When PartinG picked off a Medivac full of Marines soon after, he sniffed out an opportunity to end the game. With his Psionic Storm upgrade complete, PartinG rallied his forces for an attack on TY's third. This turned out to be the exact window of opportunity PartinG was looking for, as he crushed the weakened Terran army to force a second GG out of TY.
Had losing two consecutive games gotten to TY's head? He made a major change to his strategic doctrine in game six, going for his first first flat-out, defense-only, macro build on Nightshade. PartinG tried to poke around with Blink Stalkers, but couldn't get much done against the dedicated defenses. He followed TY into the mid-game, gearing up to attack at a later window.
That attack came at around the ten minute mark, with PartinG having assembled a large force of Zealots and Stalkers supported by a handful of Colossi and Archons. Unfortunately for PartinG, he botched his two-sided attack into TY's third base, with the two halves of his army attacking and being defeated separately. This gave TY some precious breathing room as he continued to roll out his defensive game-plan. Instead of the standard mech composition he had shown in previous rounds, he went for a "bio-mech" comp with a large number of Tanks to support a Marine-Marauder-Ghost army. The mindset, though, was very mech-like: he was going to be passive, expand slowly, and make the Protoss come to him.
On PartinG's end, he responded by taking eight bases, increasing his production facilities, and going for heavy harassment with Zealots and Blink-Dark Templars. However, TY was more than ready for PartinG to test his defenses, and deployed his forces accordingly. Thanks to his liberally placed Sensor Towers and Planetary Fortresses, as well as his ability to quickly reposition on defense, TY was able to sit back and let PartinG impale himself on the entrenched Terran lines (this error from PartinG was particularly brutal). While it became very apparent that PartinG was bleeding himself dry with wasteful attacks, TY was in no particular hurry to end the game. He continued to drop Nukes in Protoss territory, entice PartinG into suicidal attacks, and slowly take more bases. Only when victory seemed 100% assured did TY march across the halfway mark on the map, forcing the final GG out of PartinG and clinching a 4-2 victory.
Code S will continue on Saturday, May 30 4:00am GMT (GMT+00:00) with INnoVation vs Cure in the second semifinal match.