Group A of the Code S RO16 has the potential to be a snooze, with the #1 seeds able to hand-pick their opponents and create a 'group of life.' While that was certainly the plan for TY headed into the group, the actual result was a complete disaster for the defending champion as he was eliminated in last place. Instead, two Code A underdogs kept their hot streaks alive, with Bunny advancing in first place while Hurricane seized the second playoff ticket (DongRaeGu was eliminated in third place).
In retrospect, perhaps Bunny's first place finish shouldn't have come as a huge surprise. Well planned all-ins helped him eliminate Stats in Code A, and his smart build order selection played a big role in his victories against TY and Hurricane. In his post-match interview, Bunny revealed the secret to his recent success was the same as many other players before him: a calmer mindset. Compared to the past when he was "swallowed up by desperation" in GSL matches, Bunny said that this season, he had enjoyed the process of preparing for his games.
Meanwhile, second place finisher Hurricane earned an unlikely quarterfinal berth on the back of his strong PvZ, taking two series off of DongRaeGu. After defeating SpeCial 3-0 in Code A, DRG had admitted how his ZvP was much weaker compared to his ZvT. Unfortunately, that proved to be a rather accurate self-assessment. DRG was able to take a convincing 2-0 victory over SpeCial's teacher in TY, but he looked rather hapless in his two losses to Hurricane.
Unfortunately for TY, his final Code S run before his mandatory military service has been cut disappointingly short. While TY's participation in the GSL as a competitor is over, he will still return to his duties as GSL commentator for the duration of the tournament.
Code S will continue on Thursday, Apr 08 9:30am GMT (GMT+00:00) with Group B of the round-of-sixteen, featuring Maru, Solar, Cure, and Dream.
Initial Match #1: TY vs Bunny
Game 1 - Deathaura: TY opened up with a single proxy-Barracks to pump out Marauders against Bunny's standard fast expansion. Bunny tried to defend this at first with SCVs + Reapers + Hellions, but was out-microed by TY's kiting Marauders. Eventually, Bunny had to cancel his low-ground Command Center after losing seven SCVs. Meanwhile, TY expanded back at home, completing it before Bunny could even start rebuilding his own. With such an enormous lead, victory was basically inevitable for TY, and he clinched it after holding off a desperation drop from Bunny.
Game 2 - Romanticide: Both players decided to go for proxy Reapers, but Bunny got the build order advantage by proxying two Barracks while TY only proxied one. While both players were able to slaughter the SCVs in each other's undefended mains, Bunny was also able to pick off the Hellions being produced from the factory in TY's main. Thus, when the SCV massacre was over, Bunny's remaining Reaper squad was much larger than TY's. Bunny won the final skirmish with ease to tie the series.
Game 3 - Oxide: TY opened up with his signature Hellion drop, but it ended up being a waste of minerals against Bunny's defensive Cyclone play. Bunny turned defense into offense quickly, counter-attacking with Cyclones at the front while dropping Marines in TY's main. Unlike TY, Bunny actually picked off several SCVs and made his Marine sacrifice more than worthwhile.
Down in economy, TY looked to counter-attack with a dangerous force based on Tanks, a couple of Liberators, and supporting Vikings. Meanwhile, Bunny had teched up to Ravens and had also built a very fast second Starport. Bunny's crisis management turned out to be perfect, stalling TY's frontal push while his Ravens went in for a backdoor Auto-Turret attack that further devastated TY's economy. Back at home, 2 Starport Viking production let Bunny quickly take back the skies. Bunny then used his air superiority to crush TY's push and extract the second GG.
Initial Match #2: DongRaeGu vs Hurricane
Game 1 - Nautilus: Four-player map Nautilus saw DRG spawn top-left while Hurricane started in the bottom-left. A lucky scout from Hurricane let him find DRG on his first try, allowing him to execute the 2-player map Probe block on the natural and forcing DRG to place his natural hatchery at his third base. Given the geography of Nautilus, that made the 'natural-to-natural' distance between the two players a mere 10~15 seconds, which may have triggered Hurricane's decision to go for a 2-base Immortal all-in. Ultimately, this short rush distance probably didn't matter as DRG over-droned severely and was completely overrun by Hurricane's all-in.
Game 2 - Jagannatha: Hurricane went for a macro-oriented Stargate opener, following up with a transition to mass Gateways for a Templar-tech based army. DongRaeGu looked to play a Roach-Ravager-Baneling army in the mid-game, but the mid-game didn't last that long as DongRaeGu took a series of awful fights with an out-of-position swarm against a storm-backed Protoss legion. Hurricane burned through DongRaeGu's forces with ease, seizing the second GG.
Winners' Match: Bunny vs Hurricane
Game 1 - Deathaura: Bunny went for an Engineering Bay block in Hurricane's natural while placing a proxy-Stargate in preparation of a Hellion drop. Meanwhile, Hurricane proxied his second Gateway out on the map, looking to apply some early pressure by foot. Hurricane saw the Hellions moving down Hurricane's ramp to the presumed proxy location, but ignored them to attack the wall-off at Bunny's ramp. Despite this advance warning, Hurricane lost the multi-tasking war decisively, losing a significant number of Probes to the Hellion drop while being unable to deal much damage to Bunny on the other end of the map. Bunny snowballed this economic advantage into an easy win.
Game 2 - Oxide: Hurricane looked to go for a Stargate opener, but switched course to a Dark Templar drop when a Reaper scouted the Stargate. This led to another situation where both players were attacking each other's poorly defended bases—Hurricane hacking away with Dark Templars while Bunny attacked with Marines and Cyclones. Again, Bunny was much better at handling this chaotic situation, preserving his SCV count while dealing crippling damage to Hurricane's economy. Playing from far behind, Hurricane had no choice but to bet everything on a Chargelot-Archon attack. However, Bunny had a strong defense set up back at home, and he crushed the Protoss force to book his spot in the Code S playoffs.
Losers' Match: TY vs DongRaeGu
Game 1 - Lightshade: TY opened up with Hellions and Cloaked Banshees—the former achieving very little, but the latter doing a decent amount of damage. Once TY had Medivacs and Stim-Marines out on the map, he was able to further pressure DongRaeGu, keeping his economy in check and limiting his expansions. It seemed like TY was sitting pretty headed into the mid-game, with his strong four-base economy allowing him to max-out before DRG.
However, TY made a couple of sloppy moves with his bio forces, sending them deep into Zerg territory to harass but losing them for virtually no gain. That gave DRG some much needed breathing room, allowing him to expand and tech up to Hive units without fear. DRG found a golden window to attack just as TY was looking to go into turtle mode. With a Reynor-esque double-Nydus providing a distraction in TY's main, DRG launched a frontal attack with Hydra-Bane-Viper to knock out one of TY's expansions.
DRG barely gave TY any time to recover, continuing to pile on the pressure with Nydus Worms while attacking with Lurkers and Vipers on the ground. As in his game vs SpeCial, DRG was able to outmaneuver TY and strike where the Tank-Ghost defenses were the weakest. These relentless yet clinical attacks tore TY apart, leaving the reigning Code S champ no choice but to surrender.
Game 2 - Romanticide: TY opened with a greedier 3 CC build with a later tech this time around. Meanwhile, DongRaeGu went for another macro build, this time looking to set up his iconic Muta-Ling-Bane play. TY tried to apply some pressure to DRG's morphing fourth base once he had Medivacs and Stim, but DRG seized the momentum by swatting down the attack with ease.
DongRaeGu proved just how good his ZvT can be, turning that mid-game lead into a powerful 90-Drone economy with seemingly unlimited Muta-Ling-Bane production. DRG battered TY with wave after wave of Muta-Ling-Bane, ramming Banelings into Command Centers with reckless abandon. TY did his best to survive, but he could only hold out for so long against Ultralisks that reached 3/3 upgrades even faster than the Terran forces.
Decider Match: DongRaeGu vs Hurricane
Game 1 - Romanticide: Hurricane went for a Void Ray-Oracle start, follows up with an off-beat 4 Gate Adept attack (no Glaives). It was mostly a wasted effort, with DRG having produced Banelings in anticipation of such an attack. However, DongRaeGu gave the lead right back to Hurricane by cranking out a swarm of Speedlings to go for a counter-attack, which ended up being even more wasteful on DRG's end (he was reminded that Battery Overcharge is QUITE good against melee units). Hurricane ended up in a good spot, on almost equal economy with Zerg while teching up to a much stronger army.
Perhaps afraid of playing late-game ZvP, DRG opted to try and bust the Protoss fourth with a maxed out force of Roach-Ravager-Bane. However, Hurricane already had enough Templars to make defending the attack a piece of cake. He mopped the Zerg blood off the floor, and then sent a counter-attacking force out to finish DRG off.
Game 2 - Jagannatha: After favoring Stargate openers in his previous Code A/S games, Hurricane changed things up with a plain old-fashioned Glaive Adept opener. DRG had no trouble reading this strategy and fending the initial Adepts off. But Hurricane had a twist prepared, as he aimed to follow-up with Trap-style Disruptor drops.
Unfortunately for Hurricane, we didn't get to see what his drops might have done as DRG went for a Roach-Ravager all-in. Hurricane didn't even notice the Zerg swarm moving out, which meant his Adepts and Disruptors were terribly out of position when DRG struck. Hurricane just didn't have enough firepower to deal with the attack and was forced to GG (he later said he would have won if he had scouted the move out).
Game 3 - Oxide: Hurricane went for Void Ray-Oracle into late Glaive Adepts. As for DongRaeGu, he prepared a Queen-walk timing supported by Roach-Ravager-Ling. The shaded-Adepts and the Zerg Swarm noticed each other as they crossed the middle of the map, and a game of chicken ensued in terms of who would keep marching on, and who would retreat and defend. Ultimately, Hurricane sacrificed his third base to DRG's swarm, while his Adept counter-attack achieved very little on the other end of the map.
This put DongRaeGu in a good position, establishing a four base economy while Hurricane belatedly retook his third. DRG built a Spire for a potential Muta switch, but switched back to making more Roach-Ravager when he got scouted by Hurricane's Warp Prism. DongRaeGu sent his army to try and bust Hurricane's third base yet again, but his charge into a narrow choke resulted in heavy losses against Hurricane's Stalker-Colossus army. Still, DongRaeGu had built up a significant gas bank, and he converted that into a belated Mutalisk switch. This sent Hurricane scrambling to add range-upgraded Phoenixes to his army, while further delaying his attempts to take a fourth base.
Despite having successfully bottled Hurricane up, DRG didn't seem to have much of a transition in mind. Instead, upon seeing Phoenixes, he committed even harder to air, adding Corruptors into the mix. Knowing that his Stalker-Archon-Colossus-Phoenix force was too strong for DRG to take in a straight-up fight, Hurricane invited a basetrade by moving out with the ground portion of his army. Even though a basetrade was probably a better move than fighting the Protoss force head-on, it still went terribly for DongRaeGu. The Phoenixes did a great job at delaying and chipping away at the Muta-Corruptor flock, while the Protoss ground force was almost completely unopposed as it burned a path of destruction through Zerg territory. Once Hurricane's ground forces returned to help on defense, DRG was forced to bow out of the match.