Wednesday night was a triumphant moment for players returned from mandatory military service, as the duo of Dream and DongRaeGu advanced to the RO16 ahead of Dear and sOs. For Dream, it was marked his first time qualifying for the Code S RO16 since 2016—for DongRaeGu, he had last crossed that threshold back in 2014.
DongRaeGu quickly took two games off Dear to begin the night of matches. DongRaeGu came out with a speedling all-in at the bell, catching Dear completely off guard and taking an easy victory. Game two on Eternal Empire saw DRG play out a standard three base opener, while Dear went for Protoss' tried-and-true Glaive-Adept pressure. DRG defended against Dear's harassment with ease, and decided to follow-up by going for an aggressive move of his own by loading up on Roaches, Ravagers, and Speedlings for a huge counter-attack. Dear looked dead in the water when his roaming Adepts were caught out on the map by Speedlings, but his decision to go for late DT's let him survive an otherwise game-ending attack. Alas, it was only a temporary reprieve, as DongRaeGu's swarm ran over Dear once he added Overseers for support.
Artosis often says the cheesiest thing a cheesy player can do is NOT all-in, and that seemed to be sOs' approach in game one against Dream. He opened with defensive Blink Stalkers and went up to three bases, and proceeded to get in some decent harassment despite his economy-centric opener. sOs almost clinched the victory when Dream recklessly moved out on the map with just half his force, but couldn't quite jump on top of the Terran infantry before they scrambled back to the safety. Unfortunately for sOs, he couldn't capitalize on his strong start. Dream still had an ace up his sleeve in the form of an SCV-assisted 1/1 timing attack, which had too much firepower for sOs' army of gateway units + Colossi to repel.
sOs went to his bag of tricks in game two, going for fast DT's with a proxied Gateway to facilitate a close warp-in. However, Dream had opted to cheese as well, taking advantage of the terrain on Ever Dream to float a factory into sOs' main. Three Hellions managed to roast 8 Probes before the DT tech was finished, and also collected enough information for Dream to cautiously place a Turret at his natural (even though Dream never saw the actual Dark Shrine). sOs did his best to make up for his hugely disadvantageous start by researching Shadow Stride and focusing on harassment, but it wasn't enough to make a difference. Dream gathered his troops for another 1/1 upgrade attack with SCVs, which was enough to force sOs to concede a 0-2 loss.
One trick led right into another, as Dream opened up with a proxy FOUR Barracks strategy (skipping the usual Orbital Command) in his winners match against DRG. However, DRG managed hold the attack off quite easily with the help of Drones, aided by the fact that Dream had proxied his Barracks far away in order to hide them. Having failed with a super all-in version of a proxy-Barracks, Dream calmly GG'd out. Later, Dream jokingly blamed his Zerg practice partners Solar, Dark, and RagnaroK for recommending the build order, as they had convinced him with the fact that uThermal once used the build to take a map off Serral (one wonders if they neglected to tell him that the game happened over a year ago).
Luckily for Dream, his second trick opener worked out far better, as he turned a standard Hellion-Reaper opener into a deadly 1 Battlecruiser + mass Hellbats attack. DongRaeGu opted to cancel his morphing Baneling Nest and start a Roach Warren upon getting a clean overseer scout of Dream's main, but Dream hit just a bit too quickly for DRG to have any Roaches in defense. In hindsight, one has to wonder if staying on Baneling tech and making Banelings would have let DRG hold off the attack.
Game three on Golden Wall gave us the proper Ling-Bane-Muta vs Bio duel we all hope for in a TvZ, with Dream emerging victorious after a solid showing. Dream was able to play largely on the Zerg side of the map, keeping DRG's forces at bay as they set up for a half-map split. The turning point came when DRG went too deep into Terran territory in, only to have his Ling-Bane-Muta flanked and surrounded by Terran forces. From there on out, it was a non-stop game of catch-up from DRG, who had to GG out after being battered by a series of drops and ground attacks.
After the games, Dream was asked to appraise his own skills in the post-match interview. Dream said he cautiously placed himself as a top five Terran—behind TY, Maru, and Cure, and just barely behind INnoVation (saying he had considered placing himself above INnoVation). Dream also said he thought he was a round of eight level player at the moment, being aided by the current strong state of Terran.
sOs started his losers match against Dear on a disastrous note, losing 5 Probes to Dear's 2 Stalker pressure while going for a proxy-Stargate. While sOs did manage to get off a huge Stasis Ward in Dear's mineral line, any chance of him winning the game evaporated when he suicided his two Oracles in a questionable attempt to do more damage. After that, all Dear had to do was make Blink-Stalkers and attack to take the game.
Game two went just as poorly for Dear, as he left sOs' first two Adepts casually shade into his main while he was occupied microing his own Adepts on the other side of the map. This led to directly to 8 Probe and 4 Sentry losses for Dear, effectively ending the game right there (the actual finisher ended up being the fast DT's sOs had gone for). Game three was another tire fire of a match, this time ending in the favor of Dear. sOs committed to early harassment with an Oracle and 4 Adepts, sacrificing the Adepts to get a handful of Probe kills. However, he was not prepared for Dear to simply walk across the map and counter-attack with all his Stalkers (without even a Shield Battery in place), and was forced to meekly GG out.
The decider match between DRG and Dear played out as a reverse-order replay their initial series, with DRG once again coming out victorious. Dear opened up by going for heavy Glaive Adept pressure again, and DongRaeGu held off the attack easily yet again. And, as before, DRG loaded up on Roach-Ravager to finish Dear off. DRG then pulled out the exact same speedling all-in from their previous series in game two, and once again caught Dear with his pants down to take the 2-0 victory and earn his first RO16 berth in six years.
In his post-match interview, DRG said that he went for all-ins because his fellow AfreecaTV Zergs had advised him that he needed to play against his reputation as a macro player. DRG also joked that he would consider kicking Solar out of the Korean Zerg clique, having heard Dream name Solar as one of his practice partners in his previous interview.
Recommended Games: The final game between Dream and DRG was the best of the night, giving us a classic TvZ duel between Muta-Ling-Bane and bio. The PvP series between Dear and sOs might be worth a watch, if you're the type of person who slows down to gawk at a car wreck on the highway.
Coming up: GSL Code S will resume on Saturday, Jul 04 4:00am GMT (GMT+00:00) with Group F of the RO24, featuring Maru, Prince, Scarlett, and Armani.