Protoss avoided a round-of-16 wipeout in the GSL, with Classic advancing in second place from Group D. First place in the group went to Bunny, who was in dire need of a positive result following disappointing performances at IEM Katowice and Gamers Without Borders.
Despite not advancing, INnoVation was the pleasant surprise of the group by achieving a third place finish. Only a few months returned from military service, and allegedly playing with minimal practice, INnoVation showed his timeless talent by taking down Creator. Unfortunately for Creator, his erratic form after IEM Katowice persisted into the GSL, and he was eliminated in last place.
The Code S RO8 will begin on Tuesday, May 09 9:30am GMT (GMT+00:00). The groups have not been drawn at the time of writing.
The group opened with the upset of the night as INnoVation took a 2-0 win over Creator. INnoVation took the lead by winning the Mine-drop vs DT-drop exchange early on, which Creator responded to by teching up quickly to DT-Blink. While this move dealt a decent amount of damage, it didn't leave Creator with enough of a main army to defend INnoVation's frontal attack. Game two played out in more standard fashion in the early-mid/game, opening up when INnoVation tried a daring drop with his first major Infantry + Medivac force. Creator took care of the drop with a Tactical Recall, but didn't expect INnoVation to go for another drop when the Protoss army was moving across the map. This drop put a serious dent in Creator's economy, setting up INnovation to win with his signature parade push.
The other opening match was much closer, with Bunny taking down Classic 2-1. Classic opened Phoenix-Colossus in game one, which would be his favored TvP opener for the rest of the night. The game was eventually decided in a late-game basetrade, where Classic narrowly won the final showdown between surviving armies after the mains were razed.
Classic went for his only non-Phoenix opening in game two, going Blink-Stalkers into Colossus. Bunny revved up for a 2-base attack, and refused to let himself be delayed too much by Classic's backdoor Stalkers. This allowed him to deal solid damage before too many Colossus were out, leading to a snowball victory not long after.
Classic went back to Phoenix-Colossus for game three, while Bunny got aggressive with a typical 3-base infantry push on the ground. The two players got into a hectic tug of war, with a series of repeated attacks and counterattacks. Classic seemed to take the lead after destroying Bunny's third base, but one final counterattack from Bunny with the help of SCVs closed the series in his favor.
The unexpected winners' match between Bunny and INnoVation began with the two players closely mirroring each other to start, but Bunny opted to play defensive while INnoVation looked to get his troops out on the map. A backdoor Raven attack from Bunny caught INnoVation unprepared, forcing The Machine into a big drop to try and deal some damage back. Bunny was completely prepared for this, and crushed the drop to prompt the GG.
The two played out a more conventional Marine-Tank macro battle in game two, where INnoVation's production capabilities were on full display. INnoVation played an almost ByuN-esque style with pure Marine-Tank-Medivac, and his aggression seemed to shake Bunny at times. However, Bunny held firm and added Vikings and Liberators to his army mix, which gave him the advantage he needed to defeat INnoVation in the end.
The losers' match between Classic and Creator began with what looked to be a slow macro build-up, but Creator cut upgrades and tech to go for a mass Gateway unit all-in off of three bases. Classic was briefly in peril, but he held cleanly after his tech and upgrade advantage kicked in. Game two saw Creator go for a 2-Gate expansion, while Classic went for DT's into a slower expansion. Adept + DT harass gave Classic a big economic advantage, but he appeared to get a bit too greedy and expose himself to desperate all-in from Creator. However, Creator had the worst stroke of luck as his crucial Warp Prism was picked off by some roving Stalkers, taking the steam out of his attack and giving Classic the eventual basetrade win.
The decider match began with Classic sticking to Phoenix-Colossus, while INnoVation opted to play a bit greedy with a fast third CC. Classic found a window to attack with a handful of units while INnoVation's army count was still low, inflicting a fair bit of economic damage. He then adjusted his game plan to add in Disruptors alongside his Colossus, which let him hold off INnoVation's all-in counterattack and force the GG (Classic later said he seldom makes Disruptors, but made the adjustment after his series against Bunny).
INnoVation took advantage of his opponent's Phoenix opener in game two, baiting out Graviton Beams from Phoenixes with 2 Reaper harassment before executing a devastating Hellion runby. While Classic pulled back somewhat with his own harassment, he had definitely ceded the edge to INnoVation early on. Fortunately for Classic, INnoVation was as vulnerable as ever to an old weakness: Getting Zealot backdoored. INnoVation looked especially indecisive in this game, unwilling to commit to a frontal attack or pull his forces back as Zealots mangled his economy. The economic disparity soon spiraled out of control, and Classic clinched the 2-0 victory