Creator kept his dream season going for one more round, fighting his way through the newly created Code S round-of-6 to secure a spot in the semifinals. It was a tense night of games for Creator, and things got off to a poor start as he lost 1-3 in his 'upper bracket' series to Rogue. A victory would have sent Creator directly to the semis, but the three-time Code S champion Zerg easily swatted down the upstart Protoss to advance ahead of him.
That sent Creator down to the lower side of the modified double-elimination elimination bracket, awaiting the victor of the match between fellow underdogs RagnaroK and DongRaeGu. The duel between the two Zergs ended in a 3-1 victory for RagnaroK, setting up one final match between RagnaroK and Creator for the last RO4 spot.
While RagnaroK had relied heavily on tricky strategies and all-ins for his success in previous rounds, this time around he brought a fairly typical Roach-into-Muta style of macro Zerg. Creator had all the answers he needed to answer this way of playing, and took down RagnaroK with a combination of incisive pre-Spire attacks and late-game play to come out with the victory. After nearly a decade of failing to even make it past the first round of Code S, Creator is now enjoying the best GSL run of his career. Could it continue for another round?
Code S will resume on Thursday, Apr 28 9:30am GMT (GMT+00:00) with the semifinals: Trap vs Creator and Dark vs Rogue.
#2 Seed Match: Rogue [3 - 1] Creator
Game 1 - Berlingrad: Creator started off the series with Disruptor drop harassment, while Rogue tried to play a defensive macro game with a later Spire transition. While Creator took a third base behind his Disruptor drop, he wasn't thinking about a longer-macro game—he halted Probe production and went in for the kill with a couple of Disruptors, a Colossus, and all the Blink Stalkers he could squeeze out of his Gateways.
This deadly attack could have succeeded if not for Creator's painful mistake of allowing his two Disruptors to get picked off before he could rescue them with a Prism. With the Disruptors gone, Rogue found it much easier to hold the attack off with Roach-Ravager, and eventually he smashed the Blink Stalkers completely in a rout. Creator had no answer for the Zerg counterattack and GG'd out.
Game 2 - Roughneck: Creator brought out a rarely seen build in the form of a 6-Gate Blink-Stalker attack off two bases. Unfortunately for Creator, it didn't work out that well at all, as Rogue sensed the danger and played it safe. A wasteful backward Blink was jumped upon by Rogue, forcing Creator to recall and effectively end his offensive. Creator wasn't totally dead as he had preserved his units and forced Rogue to keep a low Drone count, but he was definitely playing from behind.
Rogue used Roach-Ling-Ravager to pin Creator down on his side of the map while teching up to Mutalisks. However, Rogue ended up being a little too hasty in making his tech switch to Mutalisks, as he hadn't really dented the large Blink-Stalker core of Creator's army. The Mutalisks ended up coming out at an awkward timing where Creator was approaching with a big Stalker force supported by a handful of Colossus and Archons. Rogue engaged in a bit of semi-base trade with his Mutalisks before being forced to return them home to try and defend against the Protoss army that was ripping through his bases. Rogue did manage to clean the Protoss army up, but not before he took significant damage himself.
This all resulted in a soft reset of the game, but now with Creator slightly ahead in terms of both econ and tech. Both players built up again from there, with Creator able to assemble a very high-value army with a lot of Archons and Colossus supporting Stalkers. Rogue tried to make do with Corruptor-Ravager-Baneling until he could finish teching up to Brood Lords, but Creator wouldn't give him enough time. The powerful Protoss army broke through the Zerg defensive line, forcing Rogue to GG out.
Game 3 - Blackburn: Creator changed up his opener yet again, opening with Oracle harassment into a macro build. While the Oracles didn't do much damage, Rogue was oddly bad at dealing with random Adept runbys and ended up in a poor situation after taking a lot of Drone losses.
It seemed like Creator might be able to look for a window to go for a game-ending attack on the ground, but instead he chose to play the game out very slowly, taking his gold base and continuing to tech up. He made a great blind read that Rogue was teching up to Mutalisks, and accordingly added Stargates to produce Phoenixes as well (though arguably the even bigger brain read would have been to notice he was up 30 supply and just try to kill Rogue before Mutas).
Unfortunately for Creator, good preparation means nothing without good execution. Creator's defensive multitasking proved to be no match for Rogue as Muta-Ling harassment began on multiple fronts, and he constantly lost units and buildings wherever he wasn't looking. The game spiraled out of control alarmingly quickly due to Creator's inability to preserve his Phoenixes, and he was soon forced into a desperation base trade. Rogue was well prepared with Spines on the defense and took another map victory.
Game 4 - Glittering Ashes: Creator brought his fourth unique opener of the night, going for a pretty mundane 2-Stargate Void Ray opener. It was a build that Rogue seemed to have a ready-made answer for, as he went for an all-in with Lings and Ravagers supported by an 8-Queen drop. Creator had his units out patrolling for Nydus Worms, but he didn't expect this kind of direct attack at all. His Disruptors came out far too late to stem the tide of incoming Zerg units, forcing him to concede his third and final GG.
#3 Seed Match: RagnaroK [3 - 1] DongRaeGu
Game 1 - Hardwire: Both players opened with the usual ZvZ 3-Hatch builds to start, but RagnaroK soon pivoted to a more aggressive build by cutting Drones at 26 for a fast Roach-Bane-Ling attack. While DRG scouted the Roach Warren with a Zergling that slipped into RagnaroK's main, he still bungled his defense due to poor Ling-Bane micro. RagnaroK was able to tear down DRG's third base Hatchery AND get some very cost effective trades against DRG's troops—all while Droning up heavily back at home.
The outcome was an enormous economic lead for RagnaroK, and he was able to simply overrun DRG with mass Roaches a few minutes later.
Game 2 - Golden Wall: DRG opened with very fast Gas-Pool opener for a one-base Ling-Bane all-in, while RagnaroK almost seemed to read DRG's mind by going for a counter build in a Drone-heavy Pool-first build. Even with some Zergling micro mistakes, RagnaroK was able to hold off DRG's all-in while securing his own expansion at the same time, giving him a significant lead in early game economy.
DRG belatedly took his natural to try and catch up, and decided to turtle up and try to hold out until Mutalisks. On the other hand, RagnaroK saw an opportunity to just end the game and went for a Queen-Nydus-Roach attack off two bases. He was unable to find a Nydus location inside DRG's main, so he settled for making the Nydus outside for a frontal attack. However, going up the narrow ramp into DRG's Spine crawler defense was far more painful than RagnaroK anticipated, and he was forced to retreat having effectively blown his entire lead.
The game might have gone on for a lot longer, but RagnaroK was somewhat lax about properly placing his Queens and Spores to cover all his bases against Mutas. DongRaeGu's Mutalisk flock mercilessly struck where the defenses were weakest, and RagnaroK GG'd out without waiting for a final battle.
Game 3 - Glittering Ashes: The two players returned to ordinary 3-Hatch starts, but RagnaroK once again went for the 26-Drone Roach-Ling-Bane strike from game one. DRG's Ling-Bane micro on defense was much better this time around, and he managed to hold off RagnaroK's attack. RagnaroK still ended up on fairly even terms in terms of Drones and tech, and the two players called a temporary truce to build up on their respective sides of the map.
It seemed like both players were aiming for Roaches into Mutalisks, with DongRaeGu even getting a second Spire. However, the second Spire was likely a mistake, as DongRaeGu didn't get a single air upgrade or Mutalisk—he committed hard to mass Roaches while RagnaroK started to crank Mutas out.
The plan seemed to be an all-or-nothing mass Roach attack that ignored the Mutalisks firing down from above, but it turned out to be a massive failure as DRG didn't do nearly enough damage to justify the loss of his entire army. From there, it was all too easy for RagnaroK to keep massing Mutas and win the game.
Game 4 - Berlingrad: RagnaroK opened with a 14-Pool expansion build while DongRaeGu went for a normal Hatch-first start. RagnaroK got some nice value out of his first round of Zerglings, picking off a Queen and a handful of Zerglings that spawned from DRG's expansion hatchery.
While DRG proceeded to try and play out a regular macro game, RagnaroK stayed on two bases and aimed for a big Roach-Nydus attack to end the game. This worked perfectly as DongRaeGu wasn't expecting such an attack at all, and he tapped out to the invading Roaches.
Decider Match: Creator [3 - 1] RagnaroK
Game 1 - Hardwire: RagnaroK opened with an offensive Hatchery in Creator's natural as an early annoyance, going macro behind it while forcing Creator to go 2-Gate before expansion. The game proceeded in a pretty mundane modern PvZ pattern from there, with Creator going Oracle harass into Blink Stalkers while RagnaroK went for Roaches into Spire tech.
RagnaroK's first few Mutalisks did their job well, picking off a few Probes and forcing Creator to recall some adventurous Stalkers back to defend. However, RagnaroK didn't commit to Mutalisks beyond his initial batch, switching into Roach-Ravager-Baneling for a head on attack.
Creator was trying to play it slow and safe while establishing his fourth base, but was pretty far behind on getting higher tech units. His army of Stalkers, Immortals, and Sentries just didn't have the firepower to stop the marauding Zerg swarm and he was forced to GG out.
Game 2 - Glittering Ashes: Creator went retro in game two, opening with fast DT's into Archon drop harass. RagnaroK didn't take much damage from this harassment and tried to work his way up to Spire once more.
However, Creator had a different approach from game one, looking to strike with Blink Stalkers, his 2 Archons, and a couple of Immortals at RagnaroK's window of vulnerability right before Spire completion. Everything went according to plan for Creator, with his army blasting through the hastily mustered Roach-Ravager and seizing the GG.
Game 3 - Berlingrad: RagnaroK went for a 16-pool to change things up, but ultimately he went back to his previous pattern of playing defensively with Roaches while aiming for a Mutalisk tech switch later. As for Creator, he opened with some Oracle harass into a fast third base, but this time skipped Blink to go for a slightly faster Gateway unit-oriented attack.
A strike force of Gateway units supported by 3 Oracles, a Void Ray, and an Immortal proved to be extremely deadly at the seven minute-mark, obliterating the Zerg defenses and giving Creator his second win.
Game 4 - Blackburn: Creator went for the DT/Archon drop harass opener again, but rather than use it to set-up a mid-game attack, he just used it as the basis to play out a more passive macro game. RagnaroK didn't change his general plan from the previous games, going for Roaches into Mutalisk tech.
Things played out somewhat like game one on Hardwire, with RagnaroK making only a handful of Mutalisks for harassment before switching into a Roach-Ravager-Baneling composition to try and bust Creator head on. However, Creator had assembled a much better ground army composition in this game, with less Stalkers and far more Immortals and Archons. He was able to hold off RagnaroK's initial attack, and then launch a counterattack into Zerg territory. While Creator was leery of walking onto Creep, he was at least able to shoot down RagnaroK's gold base from behind the Mineral line and consolidate his lead. Only RagnaroK's commitment to backdoor Baneling attacks kept the economies relatively even.
After a few minutes of poking around the edges of RagnaroK's Creep, Creator decided to pull the trigger on what would be a disastrous deep push. RagnaroK's Roach-Ravager-Bane were able to engage on good terms, and RagnaroK was able to push Creator back into a defensive posture. RagnaroK looked for another opportunity to end Creator with his ground army, but not seeing an opening, he teched up to Hive and Brood Lords. Meanwhile, Creator sat back and assembled the strongest ground base army he could, going up to 12 Archons as the core.
The climactic fight of the game saw Creator engage RagnaroK's BL-Roach-Ravager-Bane army in an almost perfect semi-circle formation, flanking it on all sides. This fantastic positioning let Creator's army rip the Zerg swarm to shreds, forcing the final GG out of RagnaroK.