Here's a review of today's matches.
Round 10 Losers Bracket.
The first matchup of the day put Polt against Bomber in an exciting and highly anticipated Terran vs Terran matchup (the first one we've seen in a while). The first game saw these players take very different technology paths with Bomber going mech with Hellion/Tanks and Polt going for a deadly 'Bio-ball' with Marine/Medivacs. The game evolved into a standard match where both players, by quickly expanding, decided they were going to drag this match out into the late-game. There were large engagements all throughout the match where they were able to completely eliminate each other's army, forcing both players to almost start off from scratch. This gave Polt the upper hand. Since he’d gone for a 'Bio-ball', his army proved easier to replace than Bomber's. By mid game both had a substantial amount of Tanks (with Siege researched) but Bomber had the highest count with 22. By the last game, with a heavy investment from Polt into Battle Cruisers, it looked like Polt would come out on top, but Polt was lured into a false sense of security by Bomber. Polt felt confident enough with his Bio/Tank army to go for the base race, but in a strange turn of events, with 2 hidden bases, Bomber was able to come out on top with a superior Viking count. Bomber was able to dominate in the air and on the ground. By the 29 minute mark all of Polt's Command Centres had been lifted off, and Polt had stopped mining; causing his economy to become stagnant. It was at this point that Bomber was able to gain the advantage and take the first game.
In game two both players really changed up their play and went for a pseudo-mech build with Tanks and Marines. Despite some great and even exchanges between the two players, Polt held out against Bomber because he was able to macro him. Bomber was forced to play a defensive game; he was never really able to push back and go on the offensive. Bomber's only advantage, his Planetary Fortress, was taken out and it was at that point that Polt was able to come back, push into Bomber's base, and tie up the series 1-1.
Game three was an amalgamation of games one and two. Even though there was a little more harass from Polt with banshees, we saw Mech play from Bomber and a mix of Tanks, Marines, and Medivacs from Polt. From the onset of the aggression, Polt was able to come out swinging, eliminating most of Bomber's Sieged Tanks and putting Bomber far behind in supply. Polt's constant aggression and Bomber's inability to overcome his deficit resulted in Polt taking the series 2-1. Polt will go on to the losers bracket final.
Winners Bracket Final
The winners final brought us a best of 5 between the Zerg players Leenock and viOLet. In game one, Leenock used some great and effective early aggression with Zerglings transitioning into Roaches. Leenock gained the upper hand from the onset and increased his lead when he was able to take his third base. ViOLet made a valiant effort to hold off Leenock, but he could not recover from the early damage, and Leenock took game one. In game 2 Leenock 9-pooled, really committing to the early harass, in an attempt to keep up his pattern of early aggression. ViOLet was able to hold this initial push back and rendered the Banelings ineffective. In a lucky turn of events for viOLet, he was able to snipe Leenock's third, putting Leenock behind and preventing him from gaining map control, leaving Leenock blind to incoming attacks. ViOLet was able to win game 2 to tie it up 1-1. Game three saw Leenock in a bad position for most of the match. Leenock was leaving holes in his defense left and right, viOLets' Zerglings were easily able to push into Leenocks mineral line, harass and kill drones; rendering Leenock's economy crippled. Leenock, however, prevented viOLet from scouting and was able to build up a huge Infestor count which allowed him to consistently create Infested Terran armies. This allowed Leenock to win game 3. Game four saw more passive macro play from both players. Leenock proved to be the better macro player and was able to relentlessly assault viOLet and his base with Roaches and Banelings. ViOLet would not surrender, and facing elimination, he did his best to try to make a comeback in this match. ViOLet attempted to build a secret Spire to create Mutalisks to harass the ground only army Leenock had created. To viOLet's disappointment, Leenock spotted the Spire early and started to pump out an unreal amount of Queens, driving his Queen count up from 2 to 6, and finally to 9. Adding insult to injury, Leenock built a Nydus network, which he hid, and brought all of his Queens to viOLet's third. Upon seeing the Queen, Infestor and Zergling army, viOLet went all-in, throwing everything at Leenock. A good effort by viOLet would go unrewarded as he was unable to hold on and was forced to call GG. Leenock would take the series 3-1, knocking viOLet into the losers bracket final where he faced Polt.
The GSL World Championship continued today in round 2 with a King of the Hill style elimination. The same players faced off against each other in a maximum of 5 games. Unfortunately for NaNiwa and his team, NaNiwa's equipment was stolen in Vegas, and he had to be replaced by Spanish Zerg player Vortix.
LucifroN stepped up first to face Life in a Terran vs Zerg, a mirror of yesterdays round one match up. LucifroN opened up with some Hellions and Banshees to try and take control of the map and do a bit of early harassing to try and get the advantage over his opponent. Unfortunately for LucifroN, his Hellions got caught in a bad position where they were taken out by a few Zerglings, putting LucifroN behind. Both players tried to secure the middle high ground of Antiga's Shipyard and as a result, there were a lot of small skirmishes that ensued. Because of this, Life was able to slowly increase his lead. LucifroN transitioned into Tanks with Marines/Medivacs, creating a good defense, but he could not stop Life from harassing the third base. To distract LucifroN and maintain his lead, Life threw down a Spire and pushed out a few Mutalisks to harass LucirfroN's defenses and his mineral lines while he threw down a fourth expansion. In an easy game, with Banelings/Infestors and Mutalisks, Life was able to easily break down LucifroN.
The long haul
Scarlett was next and faced Life. Whereas Vortix and LucifroN fell victim to early harass and were unable to recover, Scarlett put on a great show that gave us a long match (somewhere around 40 minutes). Scarlett came out very strong, she was able to hold off a lot of the bigger army pushes that Life would throw at her, but she had a hard time dealing with the harass from Life's Roaches. The match was very back and forth most of the game, but Scarlett's economy began to whither as she failed to deal with the mineral line harass. Unfortunately for Scarlett she was unable to deal with the Life's remaxed and was defeated.
Life continued on to face off against Vortix and after him, Nerchio. Both of these games played out in a very similar fashion: Life came out with some very early aggression, was able to damage the economy of his opponent and keep them from tech'ing up from the beginning, effectively knocking them out of the game by the 5 minute mark. With effective early Spawning Pools by Life, he moved on to defeat all his opponents except Stephano.
Our Only Hope
Stephano faced off against Life and was able to take him down and force another Korean player into the game. Despite a rocky start that included Stephano being supply blocked for a significant amount of time, Stephano was able to macro up and build an impressive army with some deadly upgrades. Life, in an attempt to try gain the upper hand in the game, started dropping Nydus' into Stephano's bases. Unfortunately for Life every Nydus was spotted and wiped out by Stephano. In the final engagement, realizing he was in over his head, Life simply typed “OMG” and with almost no opposition Stephano was able to take out Life winning the first match for his team.
The next match saw Stephano face off against MC, and this match did not disappoint. Stephano came out early with the Zergling harass which switched into Roach harass. The constant stream of Roches kept MC low on supply and drones, a deficit Stephano didn't allow MC to recover from. The match was quite entertaining and saw some great smack talk from both players and some great macro. Stephano effectively kept MC off of a third base while keeping his drone count low. Despite a drone advantage for MC, Stephano was able to win all the large engagements, keep MC on low supply and eventually wipe him out. Stephano said it right during the game stating: “The French have stopped running”, and indeed they have, Stephano will go on to continue cleaning up house.
Thank God, another PvZ
Stephano faced off against Seed next, who was also unable to defeat Stephano. Stephano continued with his early Spawning Pool tactics, as he tried to finish up this match quick. It seemed like a bad idea for Stephano to push in the state his army and his economy were in (having only a few drones), but that seemed to be ineffectual for Stephano as he pushed through and was able to finish Seed of. This gave Stephano his third victory of the day.
Game 4 would see Stephano go up against DongRaeGu in another Zerg vs Zerg matchup. DongRaeGu would come out hitting hard against Stephano with some early Baneling/Zergling harass. This early harass kept Stephano off his 3rd base for a very long time which made it seem like Stephano would lose this game. But in a surprising and impressive show from Stephano he was able to come at DongRaeGu with superior army numbers and force DongRaeGu out of the match. Stephano would somehow manage to go 4-0 and would have to face Team Korea’s final player, Squirtle.
The Final Stand
The last Korean player standing between Stephano and Foreign team victory was the Protoss player Squirtle. Stephano, again, went for the very early aggression and was able to keep Squirtle from expanding. This, however, was not enough to stop Squirtle from making a comeback. By the time Stephano was ready to attack with his mostly Roach/Hydra army, his 4th base had been taken out, and Squirtle's army was significantly bigger. Despite a valiant fight from Stephano, Squirtle would go on to win this match allowing Korea to win the GSL World Championship.
A recap of the IPL Loser's Bracket final, the Grand Final, and a quick recap of what we saw this weekend, will be coming in another article.