Whether you thought it was a meme or reality, the streak of Protoss suffering is finally over. Trap defeated Stats 4-3 in the finals of Super Tournament 2, ending Protoss' unofficial winless streak in StarCraft II tournaments. While there is no official standard for what counts as a 'major' event, the SC2 community seemed to agree that it had been over a year since Protoss had won a meaningful title—the last being Stats' triumph at ASUS ROG 2019.
Trap also ended an unofficial streak of a more personal nature, finally lifting a championship trophy after six straight runner-up finishes in 'major' tournament finals. Though Trap had won MLG Anaheim back in 2014, and also won NeXT Winter earlier this month, he seemed to regard his Super Tournament win as a career first of sorts. In the post-match interview, Trap said "I became a progamer early on so I have a long career in progaming. But I was really disappointed that I couldn't win a championship. Even though there's not much time left, I'm happy I was able to win a championship. I can still do this for a few more years, so I want to win more in that time."
On paper, it seemed like the two Protoss players couldn't have asked for more daunting semifinals opponents: Rogue and TY, the two Code S champions of 2020, blocked their paths. Yet, they proved to be surprisingly easy opponents to overcome, with both Protosses scoring clean sweeps. TY's infamous early-game harassment didn't faze Trap at all, leaving Trap to smash TY fairly straight-forward macro games. On the other side of the bracket, Stats got to showcase his mighty late-game PvZ, dragging his games out and using Carriers to pay back Rogue for all the pain he inflicted upon Protoss in 2019.
After two semifinal sweeps, the grand finals also began with a 3-0 scoreline as Trap dominated Stats on the first three maps. However, Trap wouldn't be allowed to put his hands on the trophy so easily, with Stats surging back and tying the series at 3-3. It seemed that Stats, who was also no stranger to silver with nine second-place finishes in his career up to that point, was not eager to stomach a tenth. Ultimately, it was Trap who earned the sweet taste of victory, breaking through Stats' defenses with a powerful Zealot-Archon-Immortal force on Oxide to force the final GG of the night.
To close the broadcast, the the outline for the GSL's 2021 season was revealed, with the return of Code A, the contraction of Code S to sixteen players, and a reduction of total prize pool from $480,000 to $430,800 standing out as the key details. Specific information regarding scheduling, prize distribution, and other details will be revealed at a later date.
Grand Finals: Trap 4 - 3 Stats
Game 1 - Deathaura: After both players opened up with 2-Gate expansion builds, their strategies diverged. Stats quickly went for Twilight tech and hid a Dark Shrine out on the map, while Trap played it safe by cranking out more early Gateway units before teching up to Blink Stalkers and +1 attack.
Trap's diligent scouting allowed him to discover Stats' hidden Dark Shrine quite early, foiling Stats' DT plot and forcing him to try and catch-up in the Blink-Stalker arms race. Playing from behind, Stats made the bold decision to take a fast third base, while Trap continued to crank out Stalkers off two bases.
Unfortunately for Stats, his gambit didn't pay off. Once Trap's +1 attack upgrade was complete, he struck a decisive blow by Blinking into Stats' third base and taking out the Shield Batteries immediately. Trap smashed Stats' outnumbered army in the subsequent fight and received the first GG of the series.
Game 2 - Submarine: Once again, both players opened with 2-Gate expansions builds, with Trap taking a small early advantage through a fast 4-Stalker strike. Meanwhile, the two players followed different tech paths, with Stats going Robotics while Trap went for Blink.
Once Stats had a Warp Prism and Immortal, he went on the offensive and knocked on the door of Trap's natural. Trap was set up to defend with Blink Stalkers and Batteries, but made a daring forward-Blink to quickly shoot down the Warp Prism. The Immortal targeted immediately after, turning Stats' paltry support force of Gateway units into easy pickings for Trap's Stalkers. Stats surrendered a quick GG knowing he could not stop Trap's counter-attack.
Game 3 - Pillars of Gold: The game started off with the usual fast-expand/pylon-block shenanigans on Pillars of Gold. After a bit of early game skirmishing, both players looked to go up to three-bases and establish Robotics and Blink tech. However, small differences in each player's tech decisions ended up swinging the outcome of the game.
Trap got his Robotics Facility faster, while Stats opted to go Forge and +1 before his Robo. Also, Trap opted to skip making an Observer and focused on Immortal production after making a Prism. Finally, Stats let his Robotics idle for some time after getting a Prism and an Observer. Ultimately, this led to Trap being able to attack with Stalkers and two Immortals while Stats only had one Immortal in production, allowing Trap to bring an abrupt end to the game.
Game 4 - Lightshade: Both Stats and Trap opened with 2-Gate expansions, and both players opted for Adepts as their initial units. A little bit of patience from Stats let him hide his Adepts from Trap, which subsequently let them sneak into Trap's main and inflict some early Probe damage (Trap's blocking Probe couldn't react in time). However, Trap was able to pay Stats back by committing to continued Adept production and sacrificing them to get Probe kills of his owns (with the help of a Prism).
All the while, Stats was transitioning to a Blink-Stalker based army, while Trap had focused on cranking out Immortals. Neither player saw an opening to attack, and they both took their third bases. The peace didn't last for long, with Stats able to cancel Trap's third base with his Stalkers, while Trap caught Stats off guard with a surprise DT drop. Trap then followed-up with an attack into Stats' natural with his main army of Stalkers backed by four Immortals. While Trap's force was a strong counter to Stats' Stalkers, he was not equipped to handle the Chargelots that Stats had added to his Gateway unit-centric army. Stats crushed Trap's force with a Zealot flank, forcing him to surrender.
Game 5 - Romanticide: Game five brought us the most uneventful build-up of the series so far, with both players going up to four bases without too much action of note. They engaged in a quiet but deadly arms race, assembling massive armies of Zealot-Stalker-Immortal-Sentry.
Trap's +2 attack upgrade completed sooner, giving him the means to break the deadlock. Stats seemed undaunted in the face of this attack, sending a Prism over to the enemy side of the map while preparing to defend. Stats' confidence proved to be well-founded, as Battery Overcharge and well-placed Force Fields let him a crushing victory over the invading army. Meanwhile, Stats' Zealots were hacking Probes apart on the other side of the map. Having taken an insurmountable lead, it didn't take long for Stats to close the game out.
Game 6 - Jagannatha: Trap's 1-Gate went up against Stats 2-Gate to start, prompting some building-block tricks from Stats. This led to Stats actually getting his expansion slightly faster, but ultimately the two players ended up on reasonably even terms, making Blink-Stalker + Immortal armies and looking to take their third bases.
Trap decided to go on the offensive first, marching to his Stalkers and two Immortals to Stats' third base as it finished warping. A pitched battle between two similar sized armies ensued, ending with Trap backing off after getting the worst of the fighting. Still, Trap ended up ahead in economy due to his constant Probe production during the battle, achieving full saturation on all of his bases.
While Trap teched up to Templar tech and planned for a longer game, Stats looked for an opening to end the game. He opted not to take the gasses at his third base, and instead aimed to strike with a massive army of Zealots and Stalkers once he hit +2 weapon upgrades. Stats threaded the window for this timing attack beautifully, having just enough of an army advantage to overpower Trap's first two Archons and take the game.
Game 7 - Oxide: Both players opened with the 1-Gate Pylon-block tricks, expanding and going up to Twilight tech after. Both players went up to three bases again, going for the standard Stalker-Immortal armies.Trap's nervousness could be seen in the form of an accidentally warped second Forge—thankfully for him, not the most wasteful expenditure.
The three-base standoff turned into a four-base standoff, and it seemed like the two could be headed into a rather long game. Trap tried to introduce an unexpected variable by building a Dark Shrine, but Stats' scouting prevented any nasty surprises. Still, the Dark Shrine came in handy for Trap, as it allowed him to warp in a couple of Archons earlier than Stats and bolster his +2 weapons timing attack.
While Stats was equal to Trap in upgrades and close to him in army size, a lapse in concentration saw him briefly lose track of Trap's army position as it crossed the map. Stats' troops were still defending his own fourth base when Trap's forces arrived at the third. This allowed Trap to take the superior position in the fight, and he inflicted heavy casualties on Stats' disadvantaged troops. While Stats was able to push back the first wave of attackers, the second wave of Trap's forces was too much to overcome, and Stats had no choice but to surrender the final GG.