While INnoVation suffered a shock loss to Zoun in the winners match, he still clinched a RO16 spot by defeating soO in the group decider match. Unfortunately, that meant last night was soO's final GSL appearance before beginning military service (apparently for real this time), cutting short any hopes for a final blaze of glory.
Right after sending off one legend to the military, the GSL is set to welcome back another. ByuN will make his return to Code S on Wednesday, Sep 16 9:00pm GMT (GMT+00:00), having completed his military service and qualifying for Code S immediately after. It may be the most anticipated first round Code S group in years, and we'll be eager to see how he fares against PartinG, Patience, and Bunny.
Initial Match #1: INnoVation 2 - 1 Hurricane
Game 1 - Deathaura: We got to see the gap between these two players early on Deathaura, when INnoVation's Reaper slipped into Hurricane's main for a late scouting run and casually killed four Probes while eluding a slew of defending Adepts. With his +1 attack finishing up around the 6:40 mark, INnoVation started to batter Hurricane with non-stop waves of bio. Hurricane's decision to go double-Forge upgrade left him spread a little too thin on defense, and he eventually threw in the towel after taking a prolonged beating.
Game 2 - Ice and Chrome: Throwing in the towel may end a boxing match, but this being StarCraft, Hurricane had to immediately re-enter the ring for another bout with the machine. Again, INnoVation got some early Probe kills, and then looked to start pressuring his opponent once he got +1 attack. However, this time, Hurricane ended up being the one who administered the beatdown. Making just one Forge this time around, he got a faster Robo so he could execute a backdoor Zealot warp-in when INnoVation went for his first serious attack. Hurricane divided his troops well enough to both devastate INnoVation's economy with Zealots and also barely hang onto his third base back at home.Once Hurricane cleaned up the first push, he was left with a massive economic lead which he rode to victory.
Game 3 - Pillars of Gold: After two defensive Blink openers, Hurricane mixed things up by going for Oracles to start. While he killed off a small number of SCVs, the game once again boiled down to how well he could defend against INnoVation's +1 attack timing. While the Oracles' Stasis Traps allowed Hurricane to delay a little bit, he probably would have preferred to have had the faster Charge upgrade and Warp Prism from the previous game. The power of Battery Overcharge allowed Hurricane to resist briefly, but once that reprieve was over, he had no choice but to GG out.
Intial Match #2: Zoun 2 - 0 soO
Game 1 - Ever Dream: Zoun opened with one of the most peculiar builds of the season, opening with a fast Robo to rush for a 2-Disruptor drop. Some minor Disruptor drop harass was followed up by a 2-base all-in, featuring one Colossus, one Immortal, two Disruptors, and whatever Gateway units Zoun could scrounge together. With the Colossus burning up Zerglings and Disruptors getting decent hits on the other Zerg units, Zoun was able to blow through soO's defenses and get the GG.
Game 2 - Eternal Empire: The game got away from soO early on as he responded poorly to Zoun's Glaive-Adept harassment. soO sent his Zerglings to 'defend' against the Adepts way too far outside of his own territory, putting the Adepts in a position to slaughter the Lings with ease. That opened the window for Zoun to start the Adept touring circus inside of soO's base, killing enough Drones to take a commanding lead. It was Zoun's choice as to how he wanted to finish soO off, and in this case, he opted for Blink Stalkers supported by Disruptors and Colossi.
Winners' Match: Zoun 2 - 1 INnoVation
Game 1 - Submarine: Compared to his cavalier approach against Hurricane, INnoVation played cautiously like he knew something was up. And while INnoVation did scout Zoun's Stargate opener and the Void Rays being cranked out of it, he failed to uncover exactly what Zoun was going for. It ended up being an all-in with a handful of Void Rays and a slew of Glaive Adepts, hitting just before INnoVation's stim or combat shields completed. Given how fast his Marines melted, it probably wouldn't have mattered.
Game 2 - Ever Dream: Zoun opted to play a more standard game this time around, going up to three bases while looking to play around mass Gateway units in the early-mid game. Or, at least, that seemed to be the plan, as his forces seemed rather lacking once INnoVation came knocking with his +1 bio. INnoVation mowed through the Protoss defenders with ease, tying up the series.
Game 3 - Pillars of Gold: Zoun switched things up again in game three, playing a macro game but going for an unusual Phoenix-Colossus mix in the mid-game. He didn't go mass Phoenixes like in earlier eras of LotV, but made just enough to pick off units and help shut down the standard +1 timing attack INnoVation had favored in nearly every game. Things fell apart for INnoVation when he regrouped and tried to go for a second round of attacks. He split his forces up to try and act on two fronts, not knowing that the Protoss army was moving out in a single group toward his main. This triggered an abrupt basetrade scenario, where Zoun's consolidated force had a huge advantage, quickly slashing and burning its way through INnoVation's bases to cinch the 2-1 victory.
Losers' Match: soO 2 - 0 Hurricane
Game 1 - Ice and Chrome: Hurricane opened up with Stargate into a belated Glaive-Adept attack, where he sacrificed a number of Adepts to nab 20 Drone kills. After a counter-attack from soO, it all ended up evening out, and the two proceeded to transition into the mid-game. soO seized the advantage there, using his Hydra-Lurker to prevent Hurricane from taking his fourth base. He seemed to be in good position to slowly suffocate Hurricane to death, but he ended up taking a horrible engagement against Hurricane's Immortals and Archons to give his opponent a foothold in the game. Fortunately for soO, the situation didn't spiral out of control. He got over that one poor fight, and proceeded to overwhelm Hurricane with sheer force of numbers.
Game 2 - Ever Dream: After some more Glaive-Adept harassment from Hurricane to start, the two players once again transitioned into a macro game. And, again, we saw soO's Hydra-Lurker army go up against a powerful Protoss ground force of Immortal-Templar-Archon. Hurricane was the one going on the offensive initially, trying to break through soO's defensive line. However, Hurricane couldn't quite get through the field of Lurkers, and as he retreated, soO diverted a large portion of his forces to go for a counter-attack through a different path. That move caught Hurricane off-guard, forcing him into an impromptu basetrade. As is often the case, the initiator of the basetrade got the better of the exchange, and soO shredded Hurricane's expansions and armies to take the victory.
Decider Match: INnoVation 2 - 0 soO
Game 1 - Golden Wall: INnoVation opened with some Hellion-drop and Liberator harass, but soO parried those attacks without much trouble. The two players moved on to prepare for a macro-game on the north side of the map, with INnoVation playing passively and massing an army until his 2/2 bio upgrades completed. Befitting a battle between two of the finest mid-game macro players in SC2, INnoVation's first major push ended in a stalemate, with soO patiently giving ground until he had enough Banelings to swallow up INnoVation's army. However, soO needed to take a more decisive victory, as he couldn't launch a counter-attack or try to add Hive units to his composition. That meant soO was hard pressed to defend when INnoVation's marched again with 3/3 upgrades completed. This time around, soO's Banelings were wiped out before they could connect with the Marines, forcing soO to GG out.
Game 2 - Ice and Chrome: INnoVation went for Hellion-Raven play early to poke at soO and prevent Creep Spread, following up with some Marine pressure to set up his four-base economy. soO was content to play standard as well, and thus we headed into another macro game. Again, INnoVation held back until he had 2/2 bio upgrades, at which point he started to pile on the pressure. Instead of gathering his army for one big push like in the previous game, INnoVation split up his forces and pressed soO on multiple fronts. Ultimately, the game arrived at a similar conclusion as the last one—soO held out for a while, but was overwhelmed once 3/3 upgrades completed.