After becoming the first ever ex-military player to reach the Code S playoffs, DongRaeGu's miracle run continued in the quarterfinals as he won a shocking sweep over INnoVation to advance to the final four. INnoVation seemed to think he could overpower DongRaeGu in standard games, but it was instead the veteran Zerg DRG who out-macroed the machine Terran in impressive fashion. With his victory, DRG avenged his GSL quarterfinals defeat to INnoVation from nearly six years ago, which had been his last Code S playoff appearance before he began his military service.
With convincing victories over TY and INnoVation in successive weeks, there's no questioning that DongRaeGu is championship caliber in ZvT. But how about Zerg vs Zerg? That's the match-up DRG will have to prove himself in next as he faces Rogue in the semifinals. The Jin Air Zerg ace took a sweep of his own against Dream in the second quarterfinal match, in even more one-sided fashion than DRG. Dream, the second player to shed his military-service rust and reach the quarterfinals, was completely outmatched by a reinvigorated Rogue. Although Rogue has been notoriously inconsistent in the past, seeing Dark, Maru, and INnoVation already fall out of title contention seems to have put an extra spring in his step. While there's still plenty of StarCraft left to be played, Rogue looks to be in good position to win his second career Code S title.
The Code S RO8 will conclude on Saturday, Aug 01 4:00am GMT (GMT+00:00) with the remaining two quarterfinal matches: PartinG vs TY and Trap vs Stats.
Quarterfinal #1: DongRaeGu 3 - 0 INnoVation
Game one on Ever Dream started off feeling very familiar to the WoL games of DongRaeGu's prime, as Muta-Ling-Bane faced off against the classic combination of Marine-Medivac-Tank. While INnoVation has toppled many an opponent win his endless waves of bio, DongRaeGu proved to be no ordinary foe. Hydralisks never entered the battlefield, but there was still a Hydra-like quality to DRG's play as he would sacrifice one expansion only to have another one already regenerating at another location. All the while, his Zergling and Baneling runbys kept INnoVation in check, preventing his economy from getting out of control. Combined with some of the sick Muta-Ling-Ban engagements DRG was always famous for, we ended up with a shocking result: DRG straight-up overpowered INnoVation. Once DRG had broken the core of the Terran army a few times and seized control of the map, it was a simple task for him to finish the game with Ultralisks.
INnoVation decided to switch from bio to mech on Pillars of Gold, going for his favored Battlecruiser-into-mech opener. As far as predictable BC openers go, this one went reasonably well, with Hellions and BC's combining to scorch a few of DRG's Drones early on. While this gave INnoVation the breathing room to go up to four bases without fearing instant death, DongRaeGu was still in position to play whatever anti-mech macro game he wanted. He decided the right composition was mass Corruptor-Ravager, which he used deftly to take out INnoVation's fourth base when the mech army was out of position. DRG continued to use his Corruptor-Ravager to whittle away at the Terran army with calculated attacks, and kept INnoVation fearfully curled up in a defensive position. When INnoVation finally had enough Cyclone-Tank-Hellion that he felt comfortable moving out on the map, DongRaeGu surprised him with a nasty tech transition to mass-Mutas. This turned out to be the deathblow, as INnoVation took an irrecoverable amount of SCV and army damage as he scrambled to produce anti-air defenses.
INnoVation decided to give mech another shot on Deathaura, this time opening with blue-flame Hellions. While DongRaeGu held off the initial Hellions well, an off-tempo Medivac drop allowed the Hellions to slip by the defending queens and roast a ton of Drones in the Zerg main. This appeared to set INnOVation up to execute a deadly mech timing attack with Cyclones, Mines, Hellabts and Thors, which would certainly crush DongRaeGu's paltry force of Muta-Ling-Bane. Yet, facing a 30 supply deficit, DongRaeGu managed to pull off all the right moves to take an unlikely victory. His ling-bane managed to blow up the supporting units almost instantly, letting his Mutalisks spread out and fight the Thors. Then, his remaining troops headed instantly toward INnOVation's base, picking off three unguarded Thors for free as they were rallied to the front line. Having broken INnoVation's critical mass of Thors in an instant, DRG continued to press the assault straight into Terran territory, looking to fight Thors as they came fresh off the factory line. Things played out perfect for DRG, as INnoVation never managed to reassemble any critical mass of mech units, and the continued flood of Muta-Ling was able to seal the 3-0 sweep.
Quarterfinal #2: Rogue 3 - 0 Dream
Rogue vs Dream ended up being just as comprehensive a victory for the Zerg player, if not even more one-sided. Game one on Pillars of Gold gave us a rather honorable macro game, with Rogue playing a complex Muta-Ling-Bane-Ravager composition against Dream's traditional bio. Rogue was able to brilliantly balance counter-attacking with his Mutas while using his Roach-Ravager-Ling on defense, and ended up both holding off the Terran attacks while also dealing severe economic damage on the other end of the map. This gave him the advantage he needed to reach hive tech comfortably, and the combination of frontal Ultralisk attacks and continued Mutalisk backdoors eventually forced the GG out of Dream.
Dream decided it was time to mech on Deathaura, going for the typical 3 Battlecruiser into mech build. Rogue's response was to play extremely corruptor-heavy to start, keeping the BC's at bay and also tearing down Dream's unfortunately placed armories. Perhaps having a solid read on Dream's style, Rogue managed to mostly forgo ground troops and transitioned from mass Corruptors directly into mass Mutas, which caught Dream off guard just as he was beginning to add Thors into his army composition. While Dream eventually chased the Mutas off with units being produced from his factories, he had already taken severe damage to both his economy and army. From there on out, Rogue simply forced Dream to play the "air or ground?" guessing game, using switches between Mutalisks and Roach-Ravager to tear Dream apart.
Game three headed over to Golden Wall, a map where Rogue had shown an affinity for two base Swarm Host builds in ZvP. As it turns out, he's confident enough to use the strategy in ZvT as well, and even against an opponent going for bio instead of mech! While it seemed like bio production off 3 bases should have held off Locusts with ease (especially when the Marines caught the Locusts mid-flight), there seemed to be a bit of surprise-factor working in Rogue's favor. By combining Nydus-launched Locusts with Speedling attacks from the ground, Rogue managed to lure Dream's troops out of position and get the damage he needed to get done with his all-in build. As with most Nydus strategies, the first break in the defense started a deadly snowball effect, with Dream losing the race to put out fires Rogue was setting everywhere. While Dream managed to stabilize eventually, by that point Rogue was already well out of the all-in phase and had a healthy advantage which he used to close out the series.