The round of eight concluded with a highly entertaining night of games which featured dastardly cheeses, creative builds, and hectic basetrades.
Dark was the first player to escape the chaos, manhandling Bunny (2-0) and then surviving a close call against Classic (2-1). The most audacious build of the night was responsible for Dark's only map loss, as Classic's 2-Starport Tempest rush caught his former SKT teammate completely off guard and handed him a stinging defeat. Classic had a chance to close out the series with an Adept-Immortal timing in game two, but a critical micro error allowed Dark to survive and eventually win 2-1 (according to Classic, it was due to his headphones slipping off of his head at the wrong time).
Still, Classic made good on his second chance at earning a RO4 berth, defeating Creator 2-0 in the decider match. The second game on Equilibrium was one of the highlight games of the season, Classic narrowly winning at the end of a dramatic basetrade. Amusingly enough, this was only the second crazy basetrade game the two played on the night, with Classic having defeated Creator earlier in their opening match.
With Dark and Classic advancing on, the Code S semifinals bracket has been determined. GuMiho and Classic will face off in semifinal #1, while Dark and Solar will clash in semifinal #2. The Code S semifinals and grand finals will be played on Thursday, Nov 02 8:00am GMT (GMT+00:00).
Initial Match #1: Classic [2-1] Creator
Game One - Hecate (Creator win): The series started with both players opening 2-Gate into Oracle; neither player could secure a meaningful advantage before they advanced into the Blink-Stalker phase.
Creator opted to take a faster third Nexus while Classic stayed on two bases for a bit longer to try and apply some Stalker pressure. However, this backfired horribly on Classic as he Blinked straight into the Stasis Trap in Creator's main, costing him a big chunk of units and allowing Creator to Probe up with impunity. Creator played the macro snowball game cleanly from there, hitting a big Zealot-Stalker timing with +2 attack upgrades to finish Classic off.
Game Two - Alcyone (Classic win): Both players opted for 2-Gate openers once more, but Classic quickly added a hidden Robo for an Immortal all-in while Creator went for a fast Nexus before tier-2 tech.
Rather than strike at the front, Classic performed some Warp Prism harass with his first Immortal, and then committed to a big elevator attack into Creator's main once his second Immortal arrived. This allowed Classic to circumvent Battery Overcharge, and with the help of some good Prism micro, he busted through Creator's main base defenses to take the victory..
Game Three - Solaris (Classic win): Creator hit back with his own cheese in game three, going for a Cannon rush in Classic's ramp/main. Classic discovered the strategy fairly late, but still had a very effective response. He delayed the Cannons warping by his Nexus for as long as he could with Probes, all while warping in a new Nexus and proxy Stargate out on the map. This allowed Classic to seamlessly recall his Probes to his new 'main' when his original Nexus went down, and also let him send Void Rays to poke around the edges of Creator's main.
Ultimately, this led to an amusing 'reset' of the game, with both players playing off of one base with very similar supply and army counts. However, the tech advantage was in Classic's favor, as he had Void Rays and Immortals compared to Creator's nearly all-stalker force. Creator tried to work his way out of this scenario by taking a hidden expansion while also quietly building his own counter Void-Rays against the Immortal-heavy Classic.
This almost worked out for Creator, as his hidden base went undetected and his Void Ray count started to grow. However, Classic struck Creator's main before it was too late, tearing down the Nexus and depleting Creator's army. This left both players playing one base vs one base off of entirely new mains, but Classic still had a significantly bigger standing army. Once he discovered Creator's new main, he launched the game ending attack to win 2-1.
Initial Match #2: Dark [2-0] Bunny
Game One - Site Delta (Dark win): Bunny continued the trend of the night with a proxy 2-Barracks cheese, which went undetected until the first Marine was nearly complete. Dark's good Drone micro allowed him to thwart the cheese with three Drones lost, but the game remained playable for Bunny as he had gone for a less all-in version of the build.
Indeed, Bunny ended up putting together a fairly credible 3-base push that actually gave Dark some pause. However, a moment of inattentiveness saw him lose a huge group of Marines to Banelings, allowing Dark to tech up to Ultralisks and Vipers in peace. And, still, Bunny wasn't totally out of it, as he transitioned into the Terran turtle style with his maxed out army.
This was when Dark really turned the screws on Bunny, using Nyduses, drops, and ground troops to attack from all directions. Despite having a powerful army, Bunny simply didn't have the multitasking to keep up with Dark, and was utterly picked apart in a brutal, 2-minute ending sequence.
Game Two - Alcyone (Dark win): Bunny went into another macro game without the proxy tricks this time, while Dark also played macro again with his signature Roach-Ravager style. Bunny went for his first major push once he had two Tanks and Stim-Shield upgrades, but paid the price for moving too aggressively onto Creep as his force was enveloped and crushed by Dark's well-positioned units.
Dark seemed a bit indecisive about what he wanted to do with his advantage; he invested in Hydralisk upgrades but ended up on a Roach-Ravager-Ling army as he reassessed the threat of another push from Bunny. Ultimately, a little waffling from Dark didn't matter, as swarms of Ravager-Ling-Bane (with Viper support) were enough to mop up Bunny's forces. Once Bunny was effectively finished, Dark belatedly added Hydralisks to apply the coup de grace.
Winners' Match: Dark [2-1] Classic
Game One - Site Delta (Classic win): The night of zany builds continued as Classic pulled out a 2-Stargate Tempest rush to start the series. Classic managed to hide his strategy until the very last moment, and his six, Tectonic Destabilizer-upgraded Tempests managed to take out Dark's natural, third, Spire, and 10 Queens before recalling out against some belatedly hatched Corruptors. Classic was transitioning to mass Stalkers behind all this, and his next attack easily defeated the weakened Dark.
Game Two - Solaris (Dark win): Classic went for a more conventional 4-Gate Adept opener in game two, which Dark quickly scouted with a sacrifice Overlord scout (he seemed to have learned a lesson from the previous game). Yet, despite having this information in hand, Dark took quite a bit of damage from the Adept harass, setting up a very dangerous Immortal-Adept follow-up from Classic.
It looked like Classic's forces packed just enough of a punch to overpower Dark in a frontal engagement, but Dark got an absolutely critical pickoff on the reinforcing Warp Prism (Classic later said his headphones started slipping off his head around this time, breaking his concentration. A review of the player camera shows Classic fiddling with his headphones before and after the fight, though you can't conclusively say that's why he lost his Prism.). This let Dark hold off the attack with the help of freshly hatched Roach-Ravager, and then immediately counterattack the Immortal-less Classic to take the win.
Game Three - Alcyone (Dark win): Classic went for his most macro-oriented build of the series by opening Stargate into 3-base while Dark decided to get aggressive with a Roach-Ravager + Queen-drop timing off of 54 Drones. A 2-minute-long defensive sequence ensued, with Classic coming out in good shape thanks to newly produced Disruptors.
Classic consolidated his lead by taking his fourth base and building up to a maxed-out army of Stalker-Colossus-Disruptor. Realizing the difficult situation he was in, Dark positioned his troops to immediately launch a basetrade once he knew Classic was committed to attacking. When Classic's main army crossed the halfway point on the map, he flooded his troops in from the fog of war to ravage all three of Classic's mining bases. The speed and decisiveness of Dark's response seemed to disorient Classic, who made the poor decision to retreat and defend after only razing a single Zerg base. However, Dark had already gutted Classic's economy and infrastructure, while also buying time to complete his Lurker upgrades.
Dark rinsed and repeated when Classic gathered his forces for another attack, stalling with Lurker-Viper at home while finishing off the remnants of Classic's base with Ravager-Ling.
Losers' Match: Creator [2-0] Bunny
Game One - Oceanborn (Creator win): Bunny kept the build order circus going in game one, opening with a Marine-Tank push + fast Battlecruiser build. Meanwhile, Creator opened with defensive Phoenixes into Colossus.
The theory of Bunny's build was to use a BC to tie up a significant number of Creator's forces in the Protoss main while his Marines and Tanks set up freely at the third. This worked out partially, as Creator was indeed forced to give up his third base to the entrenched Tanks. However, things went horribly wrong for Bunny when Creator decided to basetrade with the motley assortment of units he had put together. Creator was able to deal damage way faster than Bunny (due to the fragility and low firepower of non-stim Marines), and he completely devastated Bunny's economy by the time a BC teleported back to defend.
A better economy quickly turned into a better army for Creator, and he mopped up the remnants of Bunny's forces with Colossus-Void Ray to take the win.
Game Two - Hecate (Creator win): Creator opened up with Blink-Robo while Bunny tried to take advantage of the new patch by applying Reactor-Cyclone pressure while going up to three Command Centers. However, Bunny didn't get a whole lot done with his Cyclones, and actually opened himself to Stalker harassment due to his late Tank production. Creator quickly picked off Bunny's poorly placed first Tank, starting Blink-Stalker torture cycle Terrans detest.
Creator lost his Prism due to a bit of mismicro, which meant he had to settle for dealing severe damage instead of game-ending damage. In any case, Bunny had no choice but to pull his SCVs and go all-in to try and get out of his terrible predicament, but Creator had Storms ready in time to end Bunny's GSL run.
Decider Match: Classic [2-0] Creator
Game One - Hecate (Classic win): Both players went for proxies in game one, with Creator hiding a Stargate for Oracles while Classic made a forward-Robo for another Immortal all-in.
Classic slipped his first two Adepts into Creator's main to nab a few Probes, all while minimizing the Oracle damage taken back at home with a well-placed Shield Battery. That made it a very tough hold for Creator against Classic's Immortal attack, and ultimately he couldn't overcome Classic's Prism advantage and GG'd out.
Game Two - Equilibrium (Classic win): Classic opened with a 1-Gate fast expansion while Creator went for a fast 3-Gate attack off of one base (one Gateway proxied). Classic did his best MaxPax impression and held off Creator's Stalker attack with Void Rays and Shield Batteries, forcing Creator to give up his attack and belatedly expand himself.
Creator gambled on a fast third Nexus at the rich resource base to get himself back in the game, and this time, luck was on his side. Classic was content to play his perceived lead rather passively, and somehow his hallucinated-Phoenix scouts were sent on paths that specifically avoided the hidden base. By the time Classic got wise to the situation, the game was already even.
After some a bit of build-up, the two players engaged in a series of bloody battles on either side of the map. First, Creator tried to push the issue with a huge frontal attack, but was narrowly defeated by Classic's better-upgraded and more high-tech army. Then, Classic tried to counterattack with a mostly Zealot force supported by Archons and Immortals, only to get devastated by unexpected Disruptor shots. Creator then used his Disruptor advantage to counter-counterattack, and this time it looked like the attacker would finally break through. Seeing the situation go south, Classic pivoted to full-on basetrade mode, warping in hosts of Dark Templars and Zealots into Creator's main.
With a bigger standing army and plenty of Observers, Creator probably should have been able to handle the situation. However, he went for a disastrous tactical recall, sending a significant part of his forces back to defend. This was a wild underestimation of Classic's basetrading force, which ripped apart the recalled portion of Creator's army with ease. This blunder swung the situation in Classic's favor—the army supplies were similar, but he had the production advantage due to starting the base trade in Creator's main and strategically hacking down all the Pylons. Classic squeezed out a few more rounds of units before the two surviving armies collided for the final fight, which he won handily to take the series.