Gold Series Team Championship: by: TheOneAboveU
2020 Fall Season
Brave Star Gaming have done it again! Scoring a big upset against Jin Air Green Wings in Week 3, they have once more proven that they are not to be underestimated, not even by former champions. This could prove to be a very important victory later down the line when deciding playoff seeding—it may very well be what pushes BSG one rung higher in the playoff gauntlet.
GTC 2020 Fall will be taking a break next week as DreamHack Masters Fall China is taking place. The tournament will resume with week 4 continues on the 7th and 8th of September with some top matches, as the iconic rivalry between DPG and KaiZi goes into the next round and Alpha X take on the giant-slayers from BSG to establish who's the 'best of the rest'.
Week 3 Recap
Points are awarded as follows:
- 3 points for a 'normal' victory in a series that does not require an ace match
- 2 points for a victory in a series that requires an ace-match
- 1 point for a loss in a series that requires an ace-match
- 0 points for a loss in a series that does not require an ace match
The second 6-0 of the season goes to KaiZi Gaming, who know a thing or two about blowing teams out in the regularly season. GP.Prince couldn't grab a point this week, but showed some interesting gameplay against KZ.Solar, playing a Void Ray opener on Deathaura. Using the single flyer for defensive purposes only, he transitioned into triple Robo and started massing Disruptors, while being relatively passive overall. Solar once again tried to make things happen with Speedling drops, but gained little more than scouting information. There were some close calls as the game went on, with Disruptor hits almost connecting to large chunks of Solar's army. But Solar was attentive with his Vipers, and managed to cancel the shots with the most devastating potential.. Subsequently, the swarm was able to overwhelm Prince's army after some tough battles and force the first 'gg'. On Eternal Empire, Prince went triple Stargate, but his Void Ray fleet unfortunately wasn't equipped to deal with the deadliest of Zerg anti-air weapons: the Queen. His offensive blunted, Prince was torn apart by Speedlings, Mutalisks and Corrupters.
There isn't much to say about the duel between KZ.INnoVation and GP.GogojOey, the Terran simply read his opponent correctly and did everything right. JOey was brave enough to try a macro game on Eternal Empire, but was overwhelmed by one of INnoVation's mid game pushes. Submarine saw him try an early Roach-Ravager attack, but INno knew exactly what was coming and held it easily. It was an easy day at the office for the Machine.
GP.Bomber's return to GTC started off exactly as inglorious as last season's campaign, with KZ.TIME defending his 2-Rax proxy Reapers due to superior unit control and positioning. On Ice and Chrome it actually looked like the old-school Korean had a chance to get something done against the rising Chinese star, as the game devolved into utter chaos with drops and Ravens doing damage on both sides of the map and third bases having to be evacuated. Ultimately, TIME turned things into his favor with a devastating Marine drop at Bomber's third base, destroying the Orbital Command there. Never setting his foot off the speed pedal afterwards, he reduced the Korean's worker count to half of his own and forced him into a desperate push, which he held off to secure the win.
Jin Air brought one of their best possible line-ups in Week 2, but even GSL champion JAGW.Rogue wasn't able to defeat to reigning GTC MVP BSG.Dream in his 'home field' arena. Rogue did manage to help produce the best game of the season so far, though. A 3-Rax proxy from Dream brought an early decision on Deathaura, already delivering a fantastic outcome for BSG even if the second map would have gone Rogue's way. As it turned out, though, it wouldn't. For a detailed recap of the match, check out the 'Game of the Week' section below. With his 2-0, Dream managed to give Brave Star Gaming a one-in-a-million opportunity to score a huge upset, since their player was the clear favorite in the next match.
BSG.Cyan delivered exactly what his team needed against JAGW.Rex. A ragtag army of two Immortals, some Sentries and three Oracles managed to cancel Rex' fourth base on Eternal Empire and kill 15 Drones to top it off before returning home, setting him up with a huge worker lead going into the next stage of the game. Rex once again took a page out of Rogue's ZvP book, opting for Swarm Hosts, but Cyan's lead was too great already and a Gateway-Immortal-Disruptor army overwhelmed the Zerg. Match point for BSG. Rex followed this up with a weird Speedling-Drone (yes, he sent his Drones) attack on Ever Dream, which utterly failed to get behind Cyan's wall. Cyan's Oracles killed eleven workers a bit later, Rex had no choice but to concede the upset.
It only remained for JAGW.Trap to prevent a complete disaster and secure at least some map points for his team against BSG.Scarlett. On Ever Dream, both players exchanged severe blows to their economies, with Traps initial Immortal-Sentry push being deflected, but the follow-up Warp Prism harassment doing lots of damage, while Scarlett's counter attack cancelled the Protoss third base and breached the natural, destroying Probes there. While the BSG Zerg stayed safe from Trap's aggression, her Drone count stayed very low and was unable to recover under the constant pressure, enabling the Jin Air player to keep the economical lead. Rubbing salt in Scarlett's wounds, Trap's Warp Prism kept delaying her fourth Hatchery, with Zealots killing it once it was actually grown. Having more resources at his disposal, Trap forced Scarlett out of the game after a series of battles. Scarlett opted for Swarm Hosts on the second map, while Trap put his trust in Colossus-Blink Stalker, adding Disruptors later. The confidence in this composition was rewarded, as Scarlett's army didn't have the staying power to compete with it in open battle.
I thought the initial match-up might be a bit problematic for DPG.Firefly, but the handled LP.Jieshi very effectively—and not only in GTC. Only two days before their match, he won a Bo5 against the LP player 3-0, a result which hadn't been available yet when the Preview was written and may have changed my mind about the prediction of Jieshi being a slight favorite. The DPG player managed to turn the early game skirmishing on Deathaura into an outright Nexus kill, perfectly using the time before Jieshi's Blink kicked in and securing the win a bit later off the back of this economical advantage. Ever Dream (a very popular map choice this week) saw Firefly gain the advantage with an Adept run-by, while shutting down a similar move by Jieshi. Going for a massive Blink Stalker attack, Firefly showed the better micro and scored the second win.
With the duel between the two Chinese apprentices going decisively in DPG's favor, LP.Patience had to show up big in the duel between the Korean masters/shifus. DPG.PartinG had a word to say about that, however, wiping out Patience's entire economy with Oracles and taking the first map. Patience struck back with a hidden Stargate himself, perfectly countering PartinG's forward Robotics Facility by producing Phoenixes to lift his opponents' crucial Immortal during his push. The DPG Protoss followed this up with a hidden Dark Shrine and the attempt at a hidden base, but the latter was discovered and denied. With Patience taking no damage from the DTs, which he saw warped in from a proxy Pylon, there wasn't much PartinG could do but to tap out.
While Patience technically kept Team LP in the series with his 1-1 tie, the combined 1-3 score meant LP had no realistic chance of winning. As good as LP.Wanted was in the last couple matches, DPG.Cure was just not going to give up a 0-2. Killing 15 Drones with combined Hellion-Liberator harassment, the Terran followed up with a Marine-Tank push, which gathered enough steam to roll over his Zerg foe. One must again commend the Wanted for trying to play a macro game against his opponent, something the Chinese players have been doing more and more ever since last season, and which probably contributed to their slow and steady improvement. Pillars of Gold featured a similar picture in the early game, with Hellions and cloaked Banshees being Cure's chosen instruments this time. The Zerg weathered the storm a bit better this time, but an inefficient off-creep engagement set him back further. Cure's Marine-Tank push turned out to be lethal once again.
Alpha X rounded out the week with a solid victory over Invictus Gaming, giving them three expected points and some badly needed map wins. In the first match αX.Nice managed to beat historical precedent and did what he couldn't do the previous week against KZ.Solar. On Deathaura, Nice managed to win a macro game over iG.XiGua with a Gateway-Colossus composition, the Zerg lacking the necessary Tier 3 units to counter this army. The Protoss player's Oracle opener on Pillars of Gold caused good initial damage and paid dividends later on with even more worker kills. XiGua tried to take a page out of Solar's book, hoping to strike fear into Nice by orchestrating a Speedling drop, and actually managed to do some eco damage with the move. The Chinese Zerg tried to overcome Nice's Gateway-Robo army by dropping Roaches all over it, but the stratagem didn't turn out too effective, with Nice taking the second map.
The first map between iG.Coffee und αX.Zoun went pretty much as you'd expect it to, with the Korean Protoss gaining the economic advantage by keeping the Terran holed up on two bases with his Blink Stalkers and Warp Prism while expanding himself. The Chinese player tried his best to hurt his opponent somehow, but his Banshee play failed to have an impact. The expected Bio-Tank pushes took out good chunks of the Protoss player's army, but Coffee could never kill a critical mass and start a domino effect, which would have had Zoun's army crumble away. Coffee got creative on Ever Dream, building a proxy Factory and floating it into Zoun's main base, where it produced Hellions. A lucky Probe detected the trickery, though, allowing Zoun to avoid critical damage. The opponents went into the later stages of the game on much more even footing this time, but overall Zoun managed his late game composition better than the Terran, completing the win for Alpha X.
The only worrying thing for Alpha X about this match was the performance of αX.RagnaroK. By all rights, this should have been a clean 6-0 for them, but their Korean Zerg ace seems to be continuing his run of spotty form. Of course, iG.XY heavily contributed to that, playing a very good couple of matches. The first game on Ever Dream turned out to be 35 minute affair, with XY's Mech proving a very tough nut for RagnaroK to crack—the latest in a series of late game struggles for the Zerg. All XY lacked to win was a way of dealing with his opponent's Infestor usage, but he could never get out Ghosts or enough Liberators with the range upgrade. His spirit not broken from the defeat, XY emulated KZ.INnoVation in holding off RagnaroK's Roach-Ravager attack on Submarine, transitioning into a regular Marine-Tank style. XY managed to register some hits with a sharp pre-Brood Lord timing attack, culling the pesky units' numbers. A follow-up up push with Vikings and Thors supporting the anti-air department broke the back of RagnaroK's Roach-Ravager-BL army and landed XY his first win of the season.
Weekly MVP & Best Game of the Week: BSG.DreamAll hail the reigning MVP! We're getting quite used to seeing Dream in the GTC Awards section by now, as he keeps putting in great performance after great performance. By defeating reigning GSL champion JAGW.Rogue (post-championship slump or not), he paved the way for his team's huge coup against Jin Air, which secured them three points they may not have counted on at the beginning of the season. A top four finish seems assured for BSG, and with some luck they might even aspire to an even higher seed in the playoffs.
A notable mention goes out to iG.XY this week, who played above expectations and secured a 1-1 tie against the fearsome RagnaroK.
Game of the Week: JAGW.Rogue vs. BSG.Dream
Game 2 between the reigning GSL champion and the GTC MVP on Ever Dream (an apt map for the Terran to triumph on) developed into a drawn out macro match, with Dream doing his utmost to pressure Rogue early on with Hellions and Liberators while building a strong economy himself. Earnest skirmishing began around the seven minute mark with the Terran taking excellent trades before his opponent could get his Mutas out. The flyers managed to turn things around for the Zerg, as the Mutas enabled him to clean up the BSG player's front outpost as well as to catch reinforcements. His Muta count growing, Rogue dominated the map for the next few minutes as Dream established his defenses.
Both players now began to mine the map with Widow Mines and burrowed Banelings—sometimes literally next to each other. When Dream finally felt confident enough to move out in force again, he did so on several fronts. His rapid attacks overwhelmed Rogue's defensive-multitasking, and netted himself a Hatchery kill. Rogue's own harassment was being deftly parried by Dream, with Baneling run-bys unable to get those juicy hits on any SCV lines. Another advantage of Widow Mines compared to Baneling mines showed itself a bit later with Dream marching two big Bio forces over burrowed Banes, which would've wiped the squads out entirely had they been triggered, but Rogue's attention was on one of his bases at that moment, which was ravaged by a Widow Mine drop. When he finally triggered one of his traps, it remained largely ineffective. With Ultras on the field, Rogue managed to pressure Dream's side of the map again, but once more paid with a Hatchery for some mere worker kills. Losing all his Mutas by flying over Widow Mines—another point for those things—Rogue switched his air force over to Corrupters.
The Terran took a fantastic fight against Rogue's Ultralisk army, quickly target firing down individual behemoths while kiting away from them. The Ultras had no healing available to them were quickly slaughtered, resulting in an incredibly wasteful battle for Rogue, who had high income, but had just invested his entire bank into those units. While his Corrupters did manage to cull Dream's Medivac count, the Bio steamrolled through several bases unopposed, killing over 30 Drones in the process. The Zerg tried to hinder reinforcements from reaching the Terran army, but Dream's mine field made this another costly venture. Rogue was now down 70 supply. He bravely tried to make a miracle happen and managed to set up a successful attack at one of Dream's bases with the last army he could scrape together, but in the meantime Widow Mines culled his Drone count further, killing over 30 specimen again. Dream finally forced a last battle and put Rogue out of his misery, ending the match after a bit more than 22 minutes at a brutal 193 to 36 supply count.
Credits and acknowledgements
Written by: TheOneAboveU
Stats: Aligulac.com & Liquipedia
Written by: TheOneAboveU
Stats: Aligulac.com & Liquipedia