The Code S RO16 began with top seed TY advancing in first place from the group of his own creation, but it was no cake-walk as he barely defeated Zoun 2-1 in the winners' match.
First-time RO16 player Zoun had one more chance of advancing to the playoffs in the group decider match against Armani, with Zoun having already bested the Afreeca Freecs Zerg in an earlier clash in the group (featuring an incredible clown-fiesta on Deathaura). However, Armani managed to win when it mattered most, eking out a 2-1 win in the decider match to qualify for the first Code S playoffs of his career. All in all, it was night of tough, hard-fought games for Armani, who advanced with the rare .500 map score of 4-4. Dream, who had finished in the quarterfinals of the previous season, failed to repeat the feat and was eliminated in last place.
Recommended games: Armani vs Zoun on Deathaura achieved the rare "so bad it's good" status. Fans who want to see a more conventionally good game should check out TY vs Dream on Pillars of Gold.
Coming up: Code S will resume with Group B of the RO16 on Saturday, Sep 26 6:00pm GMT (GMT+00:00) with Cure, DongRaeGu, Solar, and Zest.
Initial Match #1: TY 2 - 0 Dream
Game 1 - Pillars of Gold: TY and Dream played out the 'good' kind of map-split macro game, arriving there after parrying each other's aggressive early/mid-game moves. Dream seemed to be in a good spot at first in this bio-vs-bio war, with more control of the map and a bigger bank. However, TY demonstrated his TvT prowess by taking back the lead with moves like dropping into the main, or catching unsieged tanks in transit. TY consolidated his advantage with a timely transition into Battlecruisers, taking out expansions and forcing Dream to scramble to get anti-air units. TY simply transitioned back into a more ground-centric army to seal his victory.
Game 2 - Eternal Empire: TY looked to apply some early pressure with 2-Barracks Reapers but was thwarted by Dream's calm defense. TY double-expanded in order to catch up in economy, but only opened himself up to a devastating Marine-Cyclone-Hellion counterattack from Dream. Having killed of several of TY's SCVs, Dream made a comfortable transition to mech while TY went bio with a severe resource disadvantage.
Dream looked like he might easily end the game with a strong mid-game push with mech units, but TY made the decisive move of sacrificing his third base while committing the majority of his forces to a doom drop in Dream's main. The maneuver paid off for TY (thanks to some sloppy defense from Dream), and he was able to camp the Factories and halt production. On the other end of the map, TY squeezed out just enough reinforcements to halt the mech push, forcing Dream to concede the 0-2 defeat.
Initial Match #2: Zoun 2 - 0 Armani
Game 1 - Deathaura: Zoun opened up with a disaster of a Cannon rush, losing his key Probe and failing to cancel a warping Cannon that was getting focused down by Drones. Yet, Armani's defense wasn't all that clean either, which let Zoun send another Probe to keep building Cannons and take down the natural Hatchery. Given how much money Zoun committed to the cannon rush, it wasn't exactly an advantageous situation for the Protoss. Once Armani cleared out the cannons and retook his natural, the game was strangely even.
A normal-ish game ensued until Zoun decided to commit to an ad-hoc timing attack with one Void Ray, one Immortal, and whatever Gateway units he could scrap together. Armani had Droned a little too hard in the meanwhile, and ended up taking what should have been game-ending Drone damage. However, Zoun proved to be absolutely awful at closing the game out, and despite leading in army supply, worker supply, and number of bases, he failed to actually kill Armani.
Once Armani got up to Lurker and Viper tech, it seemed like he had turned the corner and was actually favored to win. However, Armani blew all of his previous efforts toward a comeback by taking some disastrous fights, conveniently clumping up his army for Psionic Storm and Colossus beams to disintegrate. Zoun was finally able to close the game out, bringing an end to a hilariously weird game.
Game 2 - Ever Dream: Zoun opened with a Void Ray and looked to clear out as much Zerg scouting as possible, which made Armani very suspicious. Unfortunately for Armani, his scouting Zerglings just barely missed crossing paths with the 5:30 Chargelot all-in marching toward his base, and he once again took crippling economic damage. This time around, Zoun successfully finished Armani off without wasting 15 minutes by almost throwing the game.
Winners' Match: TY 2 - 1 Zoun
Game 1 - Submarine: TY went for 2-Barracks Reaper harassment early on, trying to get a Bunker down in Zoun's natural. Zoun pulled off a fairly clean defense with Adepts, and started making Void Rays from a Stargate in the meanwhile. However, TY's Reapers managed to scout out the Void Ray tech, which seemed to force Zoun to stop whatever his original plan was and transition to Colossus tech instead. In any case, TY transitioned into standard macro play, while also getting a ton of Probe kills with Widow Mines drops. Zoun simply didn't have much of an army when TY decided to get aggressive (and also had a handful of Void Rays which really didn't do anything), and GG'd out after losing straight up fights.
Game 2 - Eternal Empire. TY played something reminiscent of a TvZ opener with Hellions into Cloaked Banshee into 3 CC, while Zoun just played a defensive stargate build. After a bit of a build-up, TY was the first player to get aggressive in a meaningful way, moving out with a big army of 2/2 bio. Zoun narrowly survived this attack, thanks to a huge Disruptor shot in the center of a pack of Marines.
TY kept up the pressure by comboing drops with ground attacks, but Zoun continued to hold the line and entered the late-game on his own terms. While TY did a decent job of picking off expansions here and there, and even got in some solid Nukes on Zoun's Prboes, he couldn't stop Zoun from assembling his ultimate deathball of Carriers, Colossi, and Disruptors. TY looked to counter with an army of bio + Thors in support, but was forced to GG out after being overpowered in the game-deciding fight.
Game 3 - Pillars of Gold: TY got off to a poor start, going for an Engineering Bay block in Zoun's natural but missing the cancel and losing 125 minerals. TY put himself in a worse position by also building a useless Bunker back at home (TY later said he thought Zoun was going for a proxy-Gate). Ty decided drastic measures were needed to pull himself out of this early game hole, so he decided to play a true, one-base 1/1/1 all-in.
While TY's initial Marine-Mine drop fared poorly against Zoun's defensive Stargate opener, his follow-up attack of Marines, Tanks, and Vikings had just barely enough firepower to beat the Protoss defenders and destroy the natural. While TY didn't have enough troops left over to push up the ramp and end the game outright, he had left Zoun worse for wear. TY backed off and took his own natural, while Zoun re-took his expansion. TY soon returned with even more troops to finish Zoun off, even using some cute Medivac-lift micro to nullify the defending Disruptors.
Losers' Match: Armani 2 - 1 Dream
Game 1 - Pillars of Gold: Dream opened up with a greedy 3 CC opener, and Armani seemed happy to follow him into a macro game. However, Armani was a bit slow in transitioning to army production, and was forced to give up his fourth base when Dream moved out with 1/1 Marines and Tanks. Dream never really let go of the reins from that point, slowly wearing Armani down with continued pressure and attacks.
Game 2 - Deathaura: Dream went for Battlecruisers into mech, which Armani responded to by going Swarm Host-Nydus alongside Roach-Ravager—the same composition he used to beat Cure's mech in the RO24. While Dream was going for battlemech in contrast to Cure's Thor-Tank, it didn't make much of a difference in the end. Cyclones never got to do their Cyclone-kitey things, as Armani just brute forced his way through the mech forces with his swarming army.
Game 3 - Golden Wall: Whether it was due to sheer luck or a brilliant read, Armani ended up hard-countering Dream's early Marine-Hellbat timing by opening with fast Roaches.
Dream played well to try and shore up this early deficit, getting several Drone kills with a combination of Hellion drops and Liberators. Dream continued to claw his way back into the game, pressuring with his bio and trying to keep the Zerg economy from getting out of control. After a few efficient trades against Muta-Ling-Bane, it seemed like Dream had fought his way all the way back to even. However, Armani's advantage ended up manifesting in how comfortably he was able to get Ultralisks, which ended up being the death knell for for Dream.
Decider Match: Armani 2 - 1 Zoun
Game 1 - Eternal Empire: Zoun opened up with the Glaive-Adepts into Disruptor-Drop build that Trap had used to defeat Reynor in the DH Summer Season finals. While Armani held off the Glaive Adepts reasonably well, he couldn't avoid the Disruptor shots well enough on the follow-up Stalker-Disruptor attack and had to GG out.
Game 2 - Ever Dream: The two players formed an unspoken pact to play out a macro game, leading into the Lurker-Viper versus Disruptor-Stalker scenario we've been seeing quite frequently these days. The situation went south for Zoun on his first major attack, where he made zero headway at getting through the defending line of Lurkers and Vipers, while Armani diverted some of his Hydras to destroy Zoun's fourth and kill off a ton of Probes. Armani proceeded to close the game out at his leisure, abducting Disruptors and smashing the Protoss army.
Game 3 - Deathaura: Zoun went for the same Cannon rush from the earlier series, but without the micro mistakes this time around. Even so, the amount of minerals committed to the Cannon rush meant that once Armani cleared it out with a Spine Crawler from the high ground, the two players were left in a roughly even situation. Yet again, Zoun tried to cobble together a motley array of units for a follow-up attack. This time around, Armani had not Droned up quite as hard, and parried the attack easily while also cancelling Zoun's third base with a speedling runby. This gave Armani a commanding lead in terms of economy, and he used Mutalisks to close the game out without any major complications.