The season of upsets claimed another title favorite to start the round-of-eight, with Cure forced to bow out of the competition in Group A. It was instead GuMiho who advanced in first place, getting mixed results with his signature mech, but still playing all-around great StarCraft to defeat both Solar and Cure by 2-1 scores.
Cure looked to be fast-tracking his way to the semifinals in his first three games, taking a convincing 2-0 over DongRaeGu and jumping ahead to a 1-0 lead against GuMiho in the winners' match. However, everything went wrong from there, as he gave up a comeback victory to GuMiho, and proceeded to narrowly lose 1-2 to Solar in the decider match.
Second place in the group went to Solar, who achieved a major 'upset' of a different sort by reaching the semifinals. Despite competing in GSL Code S/A for over ten years and across nearly thirty seasons, Solar had never reached the final four before. With a 2-1 victory over Cure in the decider match, Solar finally rid himself of that terrible curse, and gained a fantastic opportunity to win his first ever Code S title.
Code S will resume on Thursday, Oct 26 9:30am GMT (GMT+00:00) with Creator, Classic, Bunny, and Dark playing in Group B.
Initial Match #1: Cure [2-0] DongRaeGu
Game One - Alcyone (Cure win): Cure took advantage of Alcyone's terrain to go for a proxy 3-Barracks behind the mineral wall, using his proxying SCV's to mine out a path for his Marines. DRG was totally caught off guard by the strategy, and he was forced to give up his natural expansion and play Roach-Ravager off one base. Cure was perfectly fine with containing DRG while massing Marine-Marauder off of one base, and he crushed DRG once his Stim upgrade was complete.
Game Two - Site Delta (Cure win): Cure got off to a nice start by canceling DRG's third Hatchery with his 2-Barracks Reaper opener (making 4 Reapers), but DRG got a bit of payback by shutting down the follow-up Marine-Cyclone-Reaper harassment with his Speedlings. However, Cure had an even more dangerous attack coming soon after, with a squad of Marines and Hellbats hitting at the Stim-Shield timing. DRG had stayed on pure Queen-Ling defense for too long, and Cure inflicted quite a bit of damage to take the lead. Cure kept his foot on the gas, executing an old-school parade-push of Marine-Medivac-Marauder to force the GG out of the weakened DRG.
Initial Match #2: GuMiho [2-1] Solar
Game One - Alcyone (GuMiho win): In a bit of deja vu from the previous game, GuMiho opened with four Reapers and got an early cancel on Solar's third base. However, GuMiho wasn't especially aggressive afterward, and both players proceeded to macro up fairly passively. Solar assembled the standard force of Hydra-Ling-Bane, while GuMiho eschewed Factory units for a large Marine-Marauder-Hellbat force.
Things came to a head at near the 9 minute mark when GuMiho went for a full-on attack as both players were at about 170 supply. Solar got the big Baneling hits he needed to take a decisive victory on defense, putting him squarely in the driver's seat. GuMiho switched to a late-game oriented plan by adding Tanks and turtling up, while Solar was left to take the map at his leisure.
Solar soon attained an enormous bank advantage over GuMiho, and set about trying to bludgeon his opponent to death with his bag of money. However, GuMiho proved to be extremely hard to bring down, as he remained on his feet despite being shaken. Solar seemed to have a number of opportunities to crack open the defenses, but a combination of wasteful engagements and some untimely Larva shortages allowed GuMiho to fight his way back into the match.
The game concluded with a classic turtle Terran finale, with Solar GG'ing out after depleting most of the resources on his side of the map. It was a somewhat abrupt ending, with all of Solar's resources seeming to run out at once.
Game Two - Solaris (Solar win): Solar veered from standard play with a gas-pool build, while GuMiho also went for a slightly off-meta 1-Barracks expansion start. Solar picked off a few SCV's and went into macro play, while GuMiho quickly transitioned into Cyclone-Hellion mech. Solar stayed on top of his scouting with a speed-Overlord, and opted to rush up to Brood Lords while using Roach-Ravager-Infestor to buy time.
GuMiho's big Cyclone-Tank push looked very threatening at first, but Solar was able to get his Brood Lords out safely after sacrificing a few of his outermost expansions. GuMiho still had some time to get a few Thors out in response, especially with his Cyclone movements tying up Solar. However, GuMiho committed a huge movement error with a big chunk of his harassing Cyclones, running them straight into a group of Roach-Ravager. This gave Solar just the edge he needed to launch a timely Brood Lord-Viper-Roach-Ravager attack that ended the game.
Game Three - Hecate (GuMiho win): GuMiho changed up his build orders yet again, going for a greedy CC-first build. Solar went back to a normal Hatch-first expansion, setting the two players up for a big macro duel. GuMiho decided to go for bio this time, while Solar again went for Roach-Ravager-Infestor into a quick Hive transition.
Lurkers were Solar's Hive tech of choice, but GuMiho struck before their numbers could reach critical mass. A simple, but cleanly executed two-prong maneuver with drops and a ground force destroyed both a critical Zerg expansion as well as the Hive in the main. That proved to be irrecoverable damage for Solar, and he GG'd out after a few doomed, last-ditch fights.
Winners' Match: GuMiho [2-1] Cure
Game One - Alcyone (Cure win): The two Terrans went for very different openers, with GuMiho going Rax-CC into fast Concussive Shell Marauders while Cure opened Rax-Fact-CC into Reactored Cyclones. This turned out to be a great read and counter from GuMiho, as he shut down the Cure's Cyclone poke with Marauders and got away with his faster expansion.
Despite his good start, GuMiho's attempts to snowball his lead went awry as he threw away a decent chunk of his units with wasteful drop harass. Also, while GuMiho still maintained an economic lead, his decision to skip Ravens and go straight into Vikings opened up a window of vulnerability against Cure's two Ravens. Indeed, Cure read the situation correctly and hit at the perfect time, shutting down GuMiho's tanks with Ravens and pushing into the enemy third.
GuMiho was able to form a new defensive line at his natural and get back to even in terms of supply, but he remained far behind in terms of positioning and initiative. Cure took advantage of his main army's 'push-or-drop' dual threat position to launch a devastating drop into GuMiho's main, to which GuMiho responded with a desperation base trade. However, Cure's first strike advantage in the basetrade was far too great, and GuMiho had to surrender.
Game Two - Hard Lead (GuMiho win): Both players matched each other initially with Rax-Fact-CC builds, but then diverged with Cure cranking out Cyclones while GuMiho went for a 1-Tank 1-Medivac opener. Cure completely dismissed the possibility of a drop and placed his Cyclones in the middle of the map, letting GuMiho land in a mostly empty main and deal significant SCV damage. Cure tried to counterattack with the Cyclones and Marines he had out on the map, but they were denied by GuMiho's waiting Tank and Marines at home.
GuMiho went for the quick kill with continued attacks, but Cure survived by the skin of his teeth. Still, GuMiho had the game well in hand, and snowballed his early advantage to an easy win.
Game Three - Oceanborn (GuMiho win): GuMiho opened Rax-Factory expansion once more, while Cure opened 2-Rax Reapers (one Barracks proxied). GuMiho got advance notice thanks to great scouting, and a micro mistake from Cure saw the Reaper harassment go up in smoke.
The proxy cheesing was far from over, however, as GuMiho went for a proxy-Starport Battlecruiser on Cure's side of the map. This led to a bizarre BC-Cyclone-Hellion push that very nearly brought Cure to his knees, with Vikings popping out barely in time to save him. Still, between Hellion runbys and random Yamato snipes, GuMiho dealt quite a lot of damage, and he went into the mid-game with an enormous advantage.
The game should have been another routine clean-up job for GuMiho, but a costly blunder made the game much more dramatic. GuMiho executed an extremely disjointed two-prong attack, which only succeeded at turning a significant portion of his own ground forces into scrap metal. Cure launched a counterattack with Tanks and assault-mode Vikings that pushed deep into GuMiho's territory and very nearly camped his production. However, Cure had to sacrifice nearly all of his assault-mode Vikings as meat shields for his Tanks, which allowed GuMiho's BC's to swoop in and save the day. Having retaken the lead, GuMiho did not err this time around, and finished Cure off with his mech.
Losers' Match: Solar [2-1] DongRaeGu
Game One - Solaris (DongRaeGu win): Solar opened 12 pool to go for a Zergling cheese + a single Drone for an offensive Sunken, but tipped his hand by letting his Drone get seen a bit early. DRG executed a solid defense from his Hatch-first start, losing 2 Drones in total. Solar had expanded behind all this, and was left playing from moderately behind as the two players went into a macro game.
DRG's advantage was invested mostly in tech and upgrades, so he opted to stay on just 49 Drones and hit a 2/1 upgrade timing with mass Roach-Ravager. This was a winning move for DRG as he hit while Solar was only on 1/0, and he won decisively in the head-on Roach battle to take the game.
Game Two - Hecate (Solar win): Both players opened conventionally to start, going up to three bases and into Ling-Bane. Solar took advantage of DRG's slightly faster Roach Warren to take an advantage in the Ling-Bane skirmishes, giving himself the breathing room to edge out a seven Drone lead. This snowballed rather quickly into a major army advantage for Solar, who launched a frontal attack to win in under seven minutes.
Game Three - Site Delta (Solar win): Once again, the two players got off to 3 Hatch starts, but then diverged with DRG going Ling-Bane while Solar went directly from Speedlings into Roaches. However, despite DRG having two defensive Banelings out, his slight mispositioning and slow reactions allowed Solar to slip Speedlings in and tear down DRG's third Hatchery (to Solar's credit, he had chipped away at its HP constantly throughout the first few minutes). Solar effectively ended the game with that move as he proceeded to ride his 3-to-2 base advantage to victory.
Decider Match: Solar [2-1] Cure
Game One - Site Delta (Solar win): Cure brought back his 4-Reaper opener from his initial series with DRG, but Solar predicted such a move and delayed taking his third Hatchery until he had Zergling speed. From there, Solar played a conventional Ling-Bane into Hive style, while Cure opted for a mass Marine-Tank-Liberator 'all-in' off of three bases.
Intense fighting ensued in the mid-game, with Cure attacking from all directions and taking down several Hatcheries. Cure even got Solar down to three bases at one point, but Solar managed to just barely stay alive while continuously retaking his bases. The arrival of Vipers finally relieved the pressure as Solar abducted the Tanks that had tormented him all game. Ultralisks arrived not long after that, and they helped Solar rip through Cure's Marine-heavy forces and stampede to victory.
Game Two - Alcyone (Cure win): The early and middle phases of game two played out almost exactly like game one, with Solar trying to hold out with Ling-Bane against heavy Marine-Tank pressure from Cure. However, Cure made some major adjustments this time, preemptively switching out of a Marine-Tank composition and into Marine-Marauder-Mine before Solar's Hive tech came online. This army composition change—combined with some inefficient Ling-Bane backdoors from Solar—meant that Cure could keep his offensive going even after Solar had Hive units on the field. This time around, Cure broke through the Zerg defenses with his constant attacks, and he extracted the tying GG from Solar.
Game Three - Solaris (Solar win): Cure changed his opener for the deciding duel, going for a classic Hellion-Banshee into 3CC strategy. Ultimately, it led him back to the same scenario as the previous two games, pressuring Solar's Ling-Bane defense with his Marine-Tank forces. However, perhaps due to the different map and opener, his attacks were much less potent. Solar cleaned up early/mid-game attacks without much trouble, and found more than enough breathing room to go into mass Hydra-Ling-Bane production.
Cure was far from out of it, taking his fourth base with a longer game in mind. He settled on a highly mobile Marine-Marauder comp, attacking on multiple fronts and trying to find holes in Solar's defense. However, Cure couldn't make much headway at all, and Solar eventually reversed the situation by going on the counteroffensive once he added Vipers to his force. These retaliatory strikes put a big dent in Cure's economy, pinning him down on four rapidly depleting bases.
Cure had to take perfect fights with his maxed out army to have a chance at making a comeback, but instead he took a series of devastating Baneling hits in combat. Without the resources to replenish his forces, Cure conceded to the incoming Zerg swarm.