2021 GSL Code A Season 3 - Day 2by GhostForGood
Day 2 of Code A is set to be a blast, boasting a diverse set of matches, rematches, and match-ups. Fans should get ready for some pulsating fights to come as players vye for those coveted Code S spots.
sOs vs RagnaroKStart time: Thursday, Aug 19 9:30am GMT (GMT+00:00)
At first glance, sOs looks like the obvious favorite here, whether you go by career resume or results this year. The Protoss veteran looked to be in strong form against the Zerg faction earlier in 2021, picking up solid victories versus Rogue and Dark in Super Tournament #1 and Code Season 1 respectively. Granted, as the year moved on, sOs fell to Solar in Code S Season 2, but he recovered with a 3-0 decimation of DongRaeGu in the Korean play-in matches for the DH Masters Fall Finals. And, of course, while RagnaroK has struggled to make a real signature run in a major tournament, sOs has three world championship-tier trophies to his name (2x BlizzCon, 1x IEM). While he’s fallen off from his peak, sOs has still been a regular fixture in nearly every Code S event. All things considered, one would think drawing a Zerg of RagnaroK’s caliber came as comforting news to sOs’s fanbase.
However, sOs also showed serious signs of weakness against Zerg in this season’s GSL qualifier. For fans of sOs, it would surely have come as a shocking blow to open Liquipedia and see that their favorite Protoss failed to qualify directly into Code S after suffering a rather surprising 1-2 defeat to the recently returned Leenock. Yet, there was even more pain ahead for sOs, as he stumbled against another Zerg—Armani this time—losing by an even more disappointing score line of 0-2. And although sOs would ultimately book his ticket into Code A on the second day of qualifiers, his run still ended in yet another PvZ loss as he fell 1-2 to RagnaroK in the seeding match [Editor’s note: One has to wonder how well the seeding system is constructed if the two players are facing off against].
As rocky as Season 3 qualification was for sOs, one can find a silver lining in his qualifier match versus RagnaroK (VOD (02:45:00)). Although RagnaroK was dominant overall—displaying some really strong macro as well as aggressive play—sOs remained strong and resolute at times in the PvZ. In Game 1, for example, when RagnaroK opted for a Roach/Ravenger timing attack, sOs managed to successfully defend the onslaught (despite having a seemingly smaller army in comparison), defeating much of the Zerg’s forward army. sOs’s defensive abilities also shone through in the following game, as RagnaroK’s ultra-aggressive push (a combo of mass Queens, Roaches and Lings in support) was warded off by sOs’s impressive survival skills.
Whether RagnaroK can replicate his prior success against sOs in their fight for Code S qualification, though, remains to be seen. In terms of previous head-to-head results, despite RagnaroK winning their only match-up this year, sOs is still just ahead overall with a 6-4 win-loss record in matches. Out of their four contests in 2020, RagnaroK would only find success in one of them, and so if results are to give us any indication, sOs still looks like the favorite here for me.
Prediction: sOs wins
ByuN vs PercivalFor TvT lovers who were deeply engrossed by ByuN and Percival’s group stage spectacle last season (VOD), this rematch is set to be a must-watch. Although ByuN is the likely candidate to move on, having won all three head-to-heads to date, one cannot neglect how close Percival came to upsetting the Terran legend in their last duel. Having only played the game competitively for roughly 4 years (less than probably most of us on TL.net!), Percival almost pulled off the unthinkable, nearly taking ByuN down with some sublime play that just shouldn’t be possible for a first-time Code S player. Surely then, this 19-year-old hot-shot is capable of one day causing some massive upsets against the best of players—perhaps even against ByuN on Thursday night!
There are some interesting statistics to look at headed into this match. While Percival has been pretty solid in his TvT battles in 2021, winning two thirds of his matches, ByuN has been far worse with a 46% series win-rate. Still, much of this gap can be explained by the difference in the caliber of their opponents, and there’s still a massive chasm in their Aligulac.com TvT ratings with ByuN standing at 2705 while Percival trails at 2210.
Still, it’s hard to shake the memory of ByuN’s disheartening TvT’s in the last Code S Season. Against Bunny, he made numerous, sloppy mistakes (such as misclicking with a fully loaded medivac into a group of Bunny’s Vikings), and went for aggressive attacks that paid very few dividends. It almost seemed that ByuN lacked patience, and to be completely honest, he never really seemed to have a foothold in the fight from the get-go.
Following that, ByuN got off to a poor start in his next match against Percival. Percival seemed to dominate on all fronts on map one, benefitting slightly with an early push-out, as well as some nice harassment here and there throughout the game. With ByuN behind in economy and supply, it was only a matter of time before Percival overpowered his opponent. Game two was almost the end for ByuN, who only managed to keep himself in the series by mounting a spectacular comeback after taking severe damage early on. ByuN threw everything and the kitchen sink at Percival from all angles, forcing a resignation from the flustered newcomer. In all fairness to ByuN, he managed to step up in the final game, outplaying his opponent with flawless early game aggression, ultimately allowing him to save face in the contest.
Despite Percival being mightily impressive in Season 2 against ByuN, and despite ByuN having a poor TvT record as of late, one can’t deny that ByuN is a better and more accomplished player on the whole. Percival might be able to put ByuN on the ropes again, but ByuN has shown he’s capable of pulling off incredible comebacks. ByuN should manage to qualify into Code S, but I am very much hoping for a repeat from Season 2: a close, nail-biting TvT that keeps us on the edges of our seats!
Prediction: ByuN wins
Solar vs GuMihoSolar looks to be a heavy favorite in the final Code A match-up of Day 2 as he goes up against fan-favorite GuMiho. With the towel Terran having only just returned from his mandatory military service in late June, it’s hard to predict what kind of fight he’ll be able to put up. Solar’s 68% ZvT win-rate this year actually understates his abilities, as he’s largely gone up against elite Korean Terrans—according to Aligulac.com’s ratings, he’s the #4 ranked ZvT player at the moment. Not surprisingly, Solar won a recent match against GuMiho in the Alpha X Series (VOD), prevailing 3-0. In addition, Solar had racked up quite the win-streak against GuMiho even before he went to military service, though their overall head-to-head record favors GuMiho 36-33.
It must be said that GuMiho’s performance was far from inspiring against Solar in the aforementioned Alpha X exhibition. While GuMiho’s unorthodox plays were key to his success in the past, they didn’t achieve much against Solar (such as the strange bunker rush at Solar’s third in their first game that did little more than simply damage the hatchery). He was also slow to react to Solar’s swarming attacks—this was especially notable in the second game where Banelings connected with way too many stationary Terran forces. In the third game, GuMiho seemed to have a read on Solar’s mech-busting Roach-Swarm Host attack, but still couldn’t get his troops into a strong defensive position. Overall, GuMiho seemed largely unaware as to when and where Solar would attack. As with Classic vs Zest on Monday, it was indicative of just how hard it is to reacclimate to the speed of the pro-tier StarCraft II after a prolonged hiatus.
And yet, Classic’s match showed that championship class is something that persists even through military service, as he came agonizingly close to earning a stunning upset. GuMiho is a Code S champion who has fought many close battles with Solar in the past, and we shouldn’t discount the possibility that he’ll play at a much higher level in the AfreecaTV studio.
Forcing three GG's out of Solar, however, seems like a tall order to ask of Gumiho. Based on GuMiho’s last display against Solar, I can’t personally see such a successful outcome happening against a very strong looking Solar. Whether or not I shall be proved wrong, we shall just have to wait and see!
Prediction: Solar wins