The brooms came out on the first day of the Code S quarterfinals, with Bunny and Trap both prevailing in one-sided 3-0 sweeps.
Bunny had been on the receiving end of 0-3 beatdowns in his two previous Code S quarterfinals appearances, but he was very much in control against his Team NV teammate and ZvT specialist DongRaeGu. Bunny seized advantages in the early game with good build order choices (including a cheeky proxy-Barracks smack in the middle of a 'normal' Overlord scouting path) before finishing his opponent off with solid macro play. After recording top eight finishes in several major events in 2021, Bunny has finally broken through to the next level. In his interviews, Bunny didn't give any special reason to his recent hot streak, simply crediting it to hard work and practice.
Going into his match against old Jin Air teammate sOs, Trap said he'd have to look out for his opponent's "anger-inducing plays." Given the one-sided nature of the match, one can assume that Trap was able to stay very calm indeed. While sOs actually put himself into decent position with his openers in some of the games, his micro and execution just weren't up to the task against a clinical Trap. The third game on Nautilus saw sOs' trademark trickery backfire on him, as his two attempts to take a hidden expansion were scouted and thwarted. As one would expect, such failed gambits led to his demise.
The Code S quarterfinals will resume on Thursday, Jul 15 9:30am GMT (GMT+00:00) with the Rogue vs Dark and Zoun vs PartinG.
Quarterfinal #1 - Bunny vs DongRaeGu
Game 1 - Lightshade: Bunny got away with a CC-first opener, which he followed up with a Hellbat-Marauder attack. DongRaeGu's diligent Overlord scouting let him sniff out and deflect the attack with Queens, but Bunny was able to proceed into a normal macro game as he had not committed overly hard to the strategy.
It seemed like the two players were headed toward a normal macro game, but it ended abruptly when Bunny moved out with what seemed like a mundane force of Marines and 3 Tanks. DongRaeGu was trying to play Queen-Ling-Bane, but in this case, without the Banelings. Caught hopelessly off guard, DongRaeGu had no choice but to GG out after his meager defenses fell.
Game 2 - Romanticide: After a greedy opener in game one, Bunny switched things up with a proxy 2-Barracks build in game two. In a risky but successful mind-game, Bunny opted to 'hide' his Barracks on the Overlord path directly between mains. DongRaeGu ended up sending his Overlords towards the sides of the map to search for proxies at their normal hiding spots, which meant he didn't discover the cheese until Marines were already upon him. DRG's Drone defense went extremely poorly, and he ended up losing 9 workers.
DongRaeGu was forced to chase Bunny into a macro game from this awful start, but did a fairly good job of evening things up. Going Muta-Ling-Bane this time around, he survived several dangerous looking Marine-Tank pushes in the mid-game. However, Bunny seemed to be able to replace any army with an even bigger one, and eventually goaded DongRaeGu into biting on a disastrous semi-basetrade. The Terran forces ravaged the Zerg economy while the Zerg swarm couldn't deal much damage in return, sealing the game for Bunny.
Game 3 - Oxide: After going for two extreme openers, Bunny switched his approach once more by playing a more standard Reaper expand into a macro game. DongRaeGu also switched strategies, looking to play double-evo Ling-Bane early on while looking for a later transition into Lurkers.
While the two players engaged in a decent amount of early-mid game skirmishing, neither one of them was able to take a decisive advantage. However, things went rapidly downhill for DongRaeGu in the middle of his Lurker transition, as he was unable to properly split his forces to defend expansions on opposite sides of the map. Not only did DRG take damage to Bunny's multi-prong Bio attacks, but he gave Bunny the breathing room to swallow up the expansions on his side of the map and fortify his defense lines.
Rather than play patiently, DongRaeGu decided to make an aggressive move and brought most of his Lurkers to the front line for an attack. Bunny was perfectly content to temporarily lift off one base, while doing vastly more damage with his continued counter-attacks. DongRaeGu simply couldn't find a way to consolidate his complex Hive army for a favorable battle, and after bleeding away more troops in bad trades, he decided to GG out of the series.
Quarterfinal #2 - sOs vs Trap
Game 1 - Oblivion: Game one featured an action-packed early phase, with sOs going for a 1-Gate Stargate expansion while Trap tried to pressure him with early Gateway units followed by Blink Stalkers. As is often the case in high level matches, when the final balance sheet of damages was settled, the players still ended up in a surprisingly even place—mining on two bases and assembling Stalker + Immortal armies.
Even so, Trap's faster Blink tech allowed him to take map control while sOs caught up in tech, allowing him to establish a third base more quickly. Ultimately, Trap was able to assemble his Stalker-Immortal-Chargelot composition just a little bit more quickly than sOs, and strike at an opportune timing. Trap charged into sOs' natural, first baiting out the Battery Overcharge and then using Force Fields to split up the enemy forces to crush them in the deciding battle.
Game 2 - 2000 Atmospheres: Trap opened up with the standard 2-gate opener, while sOs opened with 1 Gate to try and confuse his opponent with the possibility of various proxies or underhanded tactics. sOs' actual plan was just to go for Twilight Council in his main to go for one base Blink-Stalkers—meanwhile, Trap also stayed on one base and went up to 3-Gate Stalkers with a Robotics. Trap tried to use his higher Stalker count to damage sOs before Blink was complete, but he couldn't get much done. Once Blink was complete, the initiative swung back to sOs, with Trap forced to retreat and make Immortals on defense.
sOs seemed to pull ahead at this point, taking a faster expansion and getting a significantly higher Probe count. Playing from behind in economy, Trap recognized he would have a narrow window to attack once his own Blink research completed, but before sOs caught up in Immortal count. Trap struck as soon as Blink was complete, heading in with a 3 to 2 Immortal advantage. That Immortal advantage—combined with Trap's precise Prism-juggling and focus fire, allowed him to smash through sOs' defending army and take the second game.
Game 3 - Nautilus: The two players spawned diagonally on Nautilus, and opted to go for normal 2-Gate expansions to start. sOs then tried to go for a fast third base at one of the other mains, but was forced to cancel it after getting discovered by Trap's Stalker scout. Somehow, Trap also predicted that sOs would then try to take a hidden base at the OTHER main, forcing another cancel after scouting it with a Hallucinated Phoenix. Ultimately sOs had to take his normal third base, lagging far behind Trap after wasting time and money on two failed hidden expansions.
Not surprisingly, sOs fell behind in the mid-game arms race of Chargelot-Immortal-Archon. In fact, he didn't even have Immortals at all in the game-deciding battle, and was significantly outnumbered in Archons as well. Trap crushed sOs once more to book his ticket to the semifinals.