The final day of Code A concluded with Bunny scoring his third straight upset against Stats in 2021, while Dark overcame PartinG's Cannon-rush artistry to advance to Code S.
The eight Code A winners join four players from the qualifiers, as well as four seeded players from Super Tournament 1 to complete the sixteen-player Code S Season 1 roster. These sixteen contestants participated in the group draft ceremony immediately after Code A, determining the groups for the upcoming season.
#1 seed TY went with the 'standard' strategy of assembling himself an easy group, looking for easy passage to the playoffs in his final Code S season before military service. Compared to previous seasons, none of the other three groups particularly stood out as a group of death, with strong players distributed evenly throughout.
Code S will begin on Monday, Apr 05 9:30am GMT (GMT+00:00) with Group A of the round-of-sixteen, with TY taking on his hand-picked opponents.
Poll: Group of Death?
Stats vs Bunny
Game 1 - Romanticide: Bunny opened up with a clever map-specific cheese, walling off his main with a Barracks while hiding two more Barracks at his rich-gas expansion. Bunny then dropped a mule to clear the mineral wall at the rich-gas expansion, opening up a fast and unexpected pathway to the Protoss base. Stats was caught completely off guard by the ensuing Marine-SCV all-in and GG'd out before the three minute mark.
Game 2 - Oxide: Both players went for some early harassment, as Bunny opened with a fast Widow Mine drop while Stats went for Dark Templars. Stats got the better of the exchange, losing only a few Probes while killing numerous SCVs in return. Stats continued to harass with Archons while building up a strong economy and teching up to Storm. Bunny was too behind to apply any pressure to Stats during his build up phase, and tapped out after getting crushed by the Psi-Storm powered Protoss army.
Game 3 - Deathaura: Bunny went for another Mine-drop variant this time, while Stats opted for defensive Phoenixes. A well-placed Pylon alerted Stat to the drop, allowing him to pull off a perfect defense with no losses. The Phoenixes went to Bunny's side of the map to further snowball Stats' lead, picking off the crucial Raven that could have allowed Bunny to attempt a desperation push. Once again, Stats easily snowballed his early lead by expanding and building up his army, and crushed Bunny in straight up fights.
Game 4 - Jagannatha: Bunny changed things up by going for an expansion into 3-Barracks strategy, while Stats went for a Blink-Robo start. Stats could have found out Bunny's plan had his first Observer delved deeper into the Terran main, but he was content to let it sit outside the Terran natural. This led to Stats blindly blinking some Stalkers up into Bunny's main, where he came to the horrible realization that Bunny had a lot of Marines and Tanks. Stats lost a number of Stalkers before they could get away, further weakening his standing army. Bunny sent his Tanks, Marines, and SCVs to counter-attack, and Stats GG'd out quickly against the overwhelming battalion.
Game 5 - Lightshade: Stats went for a Proxy Stargate and Oracle, while Bunny teched up quickly for an Armory-assisted Widow Mine drop. This time, Bunny got the advantage in the early game exchange, taking no damage from the Oracle while killing off 6 Probes. However, that wasn't the end of Bunny's aggression: He comboed by pulling his SCVs for an unorthodox Thor-Marine all-in (Bunny later said he found the inspiration for this strategy over a beer). Stats simply didn't have the firepower to hold off this deadly attack and conceded the Code S spot to Bunny.
PartinG vs Dark
Game 1 - Romanticide: PartinG brought out his first Cannon rush of the night, going for a Gate-Forge variation. Dark made a blind read and expanded to his third base first, while keeping an Overlord at his natural to check for any devious Probes. PartinG didn't care that there was no Hatchery at the natural to attack—he started setting up a proxy-Gateway and fortress of Shield Batteries anyway.
As it turned out, simply being able to drive a wedge between the two Zerg bases was a victory condition for PartinG. While Dark made Roaches and Ravagers to defend, he couldn't join them up into one consolidated army. This let PartinG use his growing force of Stalkers to pick at either half of Dark's army, retreating back to the batteries when hurt. PartinG rinsed and repeated until he wore Dark down and forced a desperation attack into the blockade. PartinG held easily and collected the first GG.
In the post-match interview, Dark said he had expected a cannon rush on Romanticide and prepared for it specifically, and suggested that the strategy might be unstoppable on the map.
Game 2 - Oxide: PartinG appeared to go for a more normal opener at first, opening with the usual 1-Stargate Void Ray. However, he gave things a twist by adding a quick Fleet Beacon and another Stargate to go for fast Carriers. Despite not scouting this strategy out, Dark's decision to go for Queen-Ling-Bane ended up 'countering' PartinG anyway. As PartinG was moving his first two Carriers across the map to surprise Dark, he was actually the one who got defenseless by some Lings and Banes probing into this third base. This forced a quick recall on the Carriers, which still failed to prevent the lings from tearing the base down.
Dark started consolidating his lead by securing expansions and teching up, while PartinG decided to pivot by stopping Carrier production and switching to a Blink-Stalker based army. It didn't do much good for PartinG, as he couldn't find any angles to attack Dark and his huge army of Ravager-Ling-Bane. PartinG eventually tried to force an attack with a near-max army, which was completely shut down by Dark's standby army while Zerglings and Banelings ran over undefended expansions. PartinG surrendered to tie the series at 1-1.
Game 3 - Deathaura: Parting unleashed his second cannon-rush of the night, this time striking even faster with a Forge-first build. Dark allowed PartinG to kill off the Hatchery at his natural, all the while building Spines in his main while sending a Drone across the map to build an offensive Hatchery at PartinG's natural. Meanwhile, PartinG looked to follow-up with proxy-Stargate Void Rays from Dark's natural, supported by an array of batteries.
Once Dark had four Spine Crawlers and some Zerglings, he moved down his ramp to try and clear out the containment at his natural. While he managed to kill off a bunch of Cannons and Batteries, he couldn't kill the Stargate before Void Rays melted the Spine Crawlers. Dark started adding Spores and Queens, but they could only hold for so long against the growing number of Void Rays. Dark had one decisive move left in him: a Baneling bust from the offensive Hatchery at PartinG's natural. However, PartinG had the wherewithal to send one Void Ray back on defense, and despite losing 10 Probes, he still held off the attack. On the other end of the map, Dark couldn't find any answer to PartinG's unkillable Void Rays and GG'd out.
Game 4 - Lightshade: We got to see yet another mind-game off 1 Stargate Void Ray, with PartinG quietly going up to three Void Rays while massing Adepts (non-Glaive) off of two Gateways. This off-tempo attack seemed to catch Dark off guard, but he managed to survive without taking much Drone damage (he did have to make many Queens and Zerglings).
PartinG went for a peculiar follow-up, going all around the tech tree to add more Void Rays, Colossi, and Archons. This composition ended up being rather non-threatening against Dark's Queen-Ravager-Baneling, and allowed Dark to gobble up his side of the map while PartinG made a belated transition into Carriers. A passive build-up ensued, with PartinG making Carriers and Tempests while Dark added Infestors and Ultralisks to his army.
As the players maxed out, they looked to make mobility-based plays. PartinG's backdoor Mothership recall didn't work so well, with the Zerg defenders forcing a quick recall back out. On the other hand, Dark's tactic of "A-move Ultralisks into undefended bases" was far more effective, putting PartinG in an economic hole.
PartinG had more success when he forced some direct fights, with his mixed Protoss army trading rather well against a Swarm that relied mostly on Infestor-Queen for anti-air. However, Dark's resource advantage still carried the day—once the Ultralisks took care of the supporting Archons and Templars, it was all too easy for Corruptors to clean up the Carriers and Tempests to force the GG.
Game 5 - Nautilus: PartinG went for the increasingly common Void Ray into Glaive Adepts strategy, which Dark sensed and stopped without much trouble. PartinG still had another blow prepared, adding a large number of Blink Stalkers and Sentries for a powerful mid-game attack. Dark, as usual, looked to defend with his favored Roach-Ravager-Ling-Bane composition.
PartinG displayed masterful use of Force Fields, walling and re-walling to keep his units protected from the Banelings. Unfortunately, even after all the Banelings were dealt with, there were a frightening number of Queens and Ravagers left to deal with. PartinG was forced to retreat, losing all his Sentries in the process. That left PartinG with just one more chance to end the game, this time reloading on almost entirely Blink Stalkers. Despite PartinG's Blink micro, this attack didn't go much better, with Dark holding easily while also sending Ling-Bane around to backdoor attack PartinG's bases. With the game clearly out of his grasp, PartinG conceded defeat.