TY's Code S title defense came to an end in the semifinals, as fellow AfreecaTV Freecs teammate Stats defeated him by a 4-2 scoreline. Stats had been stuck in an unusual Code S slump for the past few seasons, being stuck in the group stages even as he achieved podium finishes in other, 'weekender' events. Having returned to form in Code S, Stats is set play in the finals for the first time since the March of 2018. Overall, Stats is arguably playing his best StarCraft II since he beat Serral at ASUS ROG 2019—a revival he said was inspired by the approaching military service for players of his generation.
While Stats had to tip his hat to TY's build-crafting brilliance on some maps, he largely lived up to his reputation as "the Shield of Aiur." TY struggled to keep up with Stats' army movements in the late game, and it seemed like victory was impossible if he couldn't do damage to Stats in the early-game.
Stats will now face Rogue in the Code S finals. The two have already played once this season, with Stats prevailing 2-1 in the RO16 group stage. Stats showed some remarkable early-game defensive skills in that match, and that will surely be on Rogue's mind as he prepares for the finals. The GSL Code S finals will take place on Saturday, Aug 15 8:00am GMT (GMT+00:00).
Semifinal Match #2: Stats 4 - 2 TY
Game 1 - Pillars of Gold: TY's Pillars of Gold opener was similar to the one from his quarterfinal match against PartinG, starting with an Engineering Bay block at the Protoss natural while teching up on one base. While TY had followed up with Hellion tactics against PartinG, he decided to mind-game Stats here by going for a Marine-Mine drop strategy instead. However, we didn't get to see TY's plan play out 'normally,' as Stats went for his own aggressive strategy in the form of a proxy-Stargate. TY spotted the proxy with one of his scouting SCVs, and was able to send down his Marines to destroy the Pylon and depower the Stargate. Stats tried to send a handful of Gateway units and Probe to repower the Stargate, only to have it thwarted again with the arrival of TY's Widow Mine support.
This failure to proxy despite heavy early commitment left Stats in an awful position, and opened him up to a devastating Mine-Marine drop in his main. With some nifty micro, TY got a huge amount of damage done with a small number of troops, crippling Stats' economy. While Stats finally got his proxy-Oracle out on his third attempt, his Oracle barely did enough damage to make it worth it. After that, TY simply massed troops off one base and finished Stats off with a direct attack.
Game 2 - Eternal Empire: TY's second mind-game of the night was to open with one of his Reactor-Factory/Barracks builds (which he often follows with heavy early game aggression, as seen later in this series), only to go for a greedy, triple-Command Center strategy behind it. Stats had to respect the possibility of an early attack, and played conservatively until his Observer could confirm that TY was going for greedy opener. Stats played rather greedy himself in terms of catching up, getting a fourth base faster than TY and cranking upgrades out of two Forges.
This seemed like it might play into TY's hands, as TY had actually followed his 3-Orbital start into a "mid-game all-in" of sorts. He stayed on 60-ish SCVs while skimping on upgrades, giving him a massive army of nearly 140 supply at around his 1-0 upgrade timing. In contrast, Stats' army supply was in the 80's when TY moved out with his Bio, Tanks, and Vikings (even pulling SCVs for extra support). However, just about everything went perfectly for Stats on defense, while almost everything went wrong for TY on offense. TY tried to lockdown two Disruptors with interference matrix, but one still got off a huge shot (goodbye 10+ supply). He set up his Tanks in a position between two Protoss bases and sent his infantry off to destroy one of them, but this only ended up splitting his army. Stats opportunistically pounced on the undefended tanks (TY also committed the error of a-moving his Vikings alongside his infantry instead of having them cover the Tanks) and blew them up for free. Then, when the bio came back to fight the Protoss army, Stats' army managed to engage perfectly, with Zealots tanking at the front, Colossi melting light-armor units, and Stalkers getting in potshots safely. TY's army was crushed, and he had no choice but to GG out.
Game 3 - Golden Wall: TY invited suspicion by going for a very fast 1-Rax, 2-Supply wall at home, while SCV's went out to hide two proxy-Barracks on the map. Seeing the early wall, Stats shift-queued his scouting Probe all around the map—even ordering it to check TY's proxy spot! Unfortunately for Stats, maps are large and Probes are slow, and the proxy location was one of the last locations on the Probe's scouting list (so late that he just cancelled the order and brought his Probe back home later). In the meanwhile, TY had the discipline to stay put and mass quite a large number of Marines before springing his attack: 16 Marines and several supporting SCVs. This attack caught Stats completely off guard, overwhelming his standard fast expansion strategy and forcing a fast GG.
Game 4 - Deathaura: TY changed things up from his GSL norm by going for a Reaper expansion, following it up with a fast third Command Center behind it. Once again, Stats played a safe Blink-Robo opener, only catching up with a third and fourth base once his Observer confirmed that TY was going for an economy-centric build. Similar to the game on Eternal Empire, TY geared up for a massive mid-game attack with a 130 supply army—but this time, his execution was a lot better, and he had an eye to play a longer game behind it (getting an armory for further upgrades beyond 1/1). Not seeing an opportunity to fight, Stats simply let TY kill off his fourth base, after which TY was content to withdraw and play for a longer game. The loss of his fourth didn't seem to hinder Stats all that much, and he teched toward his perfect late-game comp of all-splash units.
In the midst of the build up, TY tried to send out 4 Medivacs full of troops, only to get caught by an Observer. While TY basically ended up giving these troops away for free, the game had already entered the the super-late phase where losing 30 supply didn't really matter, as no major battle was imminent. The build-up and taking of expansions continued largely unabated, with both players claiming their respective halves of the map. TY managed to get a successful drop into Stats' main and took out a Fleet Beacon and some Stargates, but it didn't seem to matter as Stats wasn't going Carriers anyway (Stats had the luxury of getting Stargates and air upgrades just in case he needed them later, which tells you what kind of extreme late-game state they had entered).
As slow and static as this build-up was, the game hurtled toward its conclusion like a runaway boulder once the action got started. The spark was TY trying move across the halfway line on the map, in order to take expansion away from Stats. To do this, he had to move a substantial chunk of his Bio-Tank army toward his outermost expansions, far away from his core expansions closer to his base. Stats went from turtle-mode to cheetah-mode, instantly mobilizing his army for a multi-directional attack on several of TY's under-defended bases. Shadow Stride-upgraded DT's—a recent PvT innovation from Zest—came especially in handy here, hacking down Planetary Fortresses and SCV's in the blink of an eye.
TY seemed to be completely flustered by Stats' move, and was put in the terrible position of being forced into a base-trade scenario against his will. He far slower in mobilizing his own army, which let Stats wipe out four bases and dozens of SCV's in the same time as TY killed off two Nexuses which Stats could well afford to give up. TY then made the decision to return some of his troops to try and defend his main, but it only exacerbated his bad situation as he struggled to control his army on two fronts. Stats easily cleaned up whatever troops TY had left behind on offense, while he continued to burn a path of destruction through TY's territory as well. TY's troops that returned to help defend were easily dispatched of, forcing TY to surrender the map.
Game 5 - Submarine: Stats' fast Probe scout uncovered a gas-first opener from TY, which should have automatically put him on guard. Yet, simply knowing that TY is up to something isn't good enough to stop him, or else he wouldn't be a Code S champion. This time, time TY decided to test Stats' defenses with Reactor-Hellions followed by Concussive Shell-upgraded Marauders (a variation on his play against PartinG from the quarterfinals). Despite a solid defensive effort from Stats, TY basically forced his way past Stats' defenses with multitasking and micro, eventually ending up netting 17 Probe kills.
However, TY had to sacrifice quite a number of units to do so, and once intruders were finally stamped out, Stats' went to counter-attack with his Blink Stalkers. While Stats didn't quite have PartinG-tier micro, he was still able to take advantage of his army advantage and deal a considerable amount of damage to TY. In the end, Stats ended up being the player who dealt the heavier blow, and ended up sitting pretty on three bases with a solid worker advantage. TY had no choice but to go into a standard game from a disadvantageous position, which must have delighted Stats after he had been forced to play so many conservative openers against TY's greedy starts. When TY tried to take his third base, Stats already had a big enough army to go for a kill-move, diving straight in with Archons, Chargelots, and Colossi. While TY held off the first wave of attackers, he was forced to GG out against the Stats' continued attacks.
Game 6 - Ever Dream: While TY went for another Reaper-into-3 CC opener, Stats changed things up from his conservative Blink/Robo openers by going for a DT-drop with a hidden Dark Shrine instead. However, the gig was up as soon as TY's Reaper scout saw a Twilight Council not researching anything, and he went for a fast Raven in preparation (or maybe he was just going Raven for general safety). Seeing the Raven, Stats went for a PvZ-esque transition by trying to harass with two Archons, but this ended up backfiring spectacularly as he lost his Prism and both Archons when he got too greedy for SCV kills. While there was no way TY could make Stats pay immediately, but it did put TY in a position to very comfortably power up on three bases.
However, playing another macro game against TY from a disadvantage didn't seem to faze Stats much. After some building up on both sides, TY had the far superior mid-game army and used it to kill off Stats' fourth base. Yet, TY was unable to kill Stats outright, which would end up being his undoing yet again. Stats once again turtled his way to roughly 50/50 late-game state, at which point TY once again started to come undone. While TY's fall wasn't as abrupt as in the game on Deathaura, TY seemed discombobulated and clumsy as he tried to keep up with Stats' army as it attacked under-defended bases. In additional, a constant Dark Templar harassment was a thorn in TY's side as well, with TY's slow reactions causing him to take severe SCV damage over time. After chipping away at TY for a while, Stats eventually forced TY into another disadvantageous base trade, where he wiped out TY's expansions while defending against the Terran army with ease on his own side of the map. Having been comprehensively outplayed by Stats in another macro game, TY gave up the final GG of the series.