2021 GSL Code A Season 2 - Day 2 Previewby GhostForGood
The second day of Code A is a particularly brutal one, with only three out of six Code S caliber players surviving to play in GSL's marquee event. While day one was mostly dominated by Terrans, fans can look forward to a more variety on day two.
Match #1: sOs vs HurricaneStart time: Thursday, Jun 17 9:30am GMT (GMT+00:00)
Kicking off day two is a PvP brawl between sOs and Hurricane. sOs fans may have had a brief moment of anxiety after seeing their favorite Protoss drawn against Hurricane, as the currently teamless Protoss player won their last head-to-head meeting back in the group stages of IEM Katowice 2020.
However, any sense of worry from sOs’s fanbase will, I believe, be fleeting. The recent Super Tournament 2 semifinalist looks to be the favorite on many fronts. Not only did he perform better than Hurricane in the preliminaries—sOs qualified for Code A on Day 1, whereas Hurricane was forced to battle his way through Day 2—sOs has the edge over Hurricane in both head-to-head record and overall PvP form. According to Aligulac.com, Hurricane sits on a rather measly 46% PvP map win-rate in 2021 (albeit over a very small sample size), while sOs has been performing much better at around 67%. Also, sOs has won seven of their ten head-to-head career contests, which makes it seem like he's really the favorite heading into this Bo5.
That being said, PvP has been a bit of a problem for sOs in the GSL. In Code S Season 1, he failed to make it through his RO16 group after being eliminated rather comfortably by both Trap and Zest, while Zoun was responsible for his RO4 exit from Super Tournament 2. Granted, Hurricane is a weaker Protoss than any of those players, but it may point to some underlying issue with sOs' series preparation in GSL-style matches. With all being said, this will be the first contest between the two in 2021, and so we will just have to see whether Hurricane can overcome the odds that currently face him as he goes up against a seemingly in-form sOs.
Prediction: sOs 3 – 1 Hurricane
Match #2: Dark vs ArmaniGenerally speaking, Dark is the obvious favorite heading into this ZvZ. Dark’s resume as a world-leading Zerg stands up to the likes of Serral and Rogue, while a player like Armani can't hope to even get into the conversation with a single Code S semifinal appearance on his resume (back in Code S Season 3 of 2020). In so far as reputation and career achievements go, Armani looks way out of his depth as he fights for a Code S spot.
While Dark failed to directly qualify into Code S, losing to INnoVation 1-2, his double victory against the now Code S qualified DRG is a good indicator for Dark's current ZvZ form. In contrast, Armani’s pathway to GSL S2 was a little less impressive. After losing to Zoun and Cure in day one of the qualifiers, he suffered a disappointing loss at the hands of ForGG to begin day two. Although Armani would eventually fight his way into Code A with wins over NightMare and Patience, his qualifier performance wasn't very encouraging.
However, while things may look bleak for Armani in terms of his path to Code A, he's actually surprisingly closely matched with Dark in terms of career head-to-head contests. Armani trails Dark by just one match at 3-4, with a 7-10 map score disadvantage. Armani was victorious in both of their 2021 battles, which, funnily enough, came in last season's GSL qualifiers. Also, in terms of 2021 ZvZ win-rates, Armani and Dark are basically even at around 66% in maps.
Despite this, I would still hesitate to predict an upset for Armani, in what will be the only ZvZ of Code A. Although Dark is still yet to find top-tier silverware this year, he has largely outperformed Armani in 2021, and I really can’t see Armani knocking-out one of the world’s best Zergs. That being said, I have an inkling that this ZvZ could be tight, and so here is my prediction:
Prediction: Dark 3 – 2 Armani
Match #3: Cure vs RagnaroKFor the final match-up of the day, we have Cure versus RagnaroK, and I think it’s safe to say that Cure is the massive favorite in this TvZ. Out of the four battles between the two this year, RagnaroK has failed to win even one. Perhaps the most memorable match between the two came from their Group D battle at IEM Katowice 2021. In game one of the series, RagnaroK pulled out the ‘German Taxi’ Queen drop + Roach-Ravager all-in, which wiped out over 40 of Cure’s SCVs. Although Cure managed to hold the attack, the result was a severe supply deficit for the Terran. Yet, the unthinkable happened when RagnaroK tapped out after a seemingly successful all-in. Replay review suggested that it may have been a classic case of deceptive supply count in TvZ, where three Orbitals, Stimpak, and Medivacs said much more about the Terran's strength than their supply. In any case, momentum was on Cure’s side, and he continued to overpower RagnaroK in a more conventional macro game. While that match occurred some time ago, it might point to a potentially turbulent, albeit Terran dominated, TvZ to come.
Furthermore, while Cure’s TvZ has looked pretty solid so far this year, boasting a strong 67% map win-rate, RagnaroK’s play against the Terran faction has been far from satisfactory, winning just around 46% of his games since January. Also, RagnaroK's qualification into Code A wasn’t exactly convincing—after falling short to ByuN 0-2 and Cham 1-2 in Day 1, RagnaroK found his way in after beating kiwian and ViViD. As for Cure, while Zoun prevented him from qualifying directly into Code S, a 2-1 victory against Armani allowed him to enter Code A without having to fight for day two's ‘final chance’ tickets.
Certainly though, there is the usual argument of Cure’s GSL ‘curse’ that has plagued him for most of his career. Excluding a 2020 Season 1 performance which is looking more and more like an outlier, Cure really hasn’t had much luck at all over the past year in all Code S events, failing to advance from the group stages even once. In fact (once again, excluding last year’s Season 1), one has to rewind the clock 5 years to see any real Code S success from the Terran, when he reached the semifinals back in Season 1 of 2016. Granted, Cure’s recent draws against the likes of Maru and the well-performing Dream haven’t exactly helped, but it really does seem that Cure struggles to unleash his inner-beast in GSL competitions. Despite this apparent GSL ‘curse’ though, it would, however, be very unlike Cure not to qualify into Code S from Code A. This is even more especially so against a Zerg that, at least on paper, he really should beat. Therefore, I am predicting that Cure will take this match-up with relative ease, adding yet another world-class Terran to the list of already qualified Code S competitors.
Prediction: Cure 3 – 0 RagnaroK