19 Sep 2012

GSL Season 4 - Round of 16 - group A

SPOILERS BELOW - Recap incoming

So today was group A, and what most people understandably called the RO 16 group of death.

It consisted of the following super deadly nerds:

LiquidTaeJa: Probably the best Terran player over the last couple of months. Certainly the one with the best tournament results over the summer.

MVPDongRaeGu: One of the most respected and successful zerg players on the planet. And without a doubt the best Zerg in the world throughout the first couple of months of 2012.

TSLPolt: Has managed to stay one of the absolute most feared players, ever since his 1st place in the GSL Super tournament in June, 2011.

By.Rain: Of all the KeSpa players that has recently switched over to SC2, Rain is the one that has transitioned the fastest and he just seems to be improving with scary speed.

Even though all of them are very good, most people (including us) probably expected TaeJa and DRG to take the two first spots in the group, simply because of all their accomplishments in SC2.

However we were all in for a big surprise.

The first series was between Polt and DRG and even though DRG has always been a ZvT expert, Polt managed to take it in a very close series.
Polt took first set, a 25 minute game that ended when DRG lost his entire army after attacking up a ramp.
DRG won the second set which lasted 35 minutes, but he actually had to take out EVERY single unit of Polt putting him to zero supply before Polt GG'd.
In the third set Polt did a well planned 3-rax marauder all-in on Antiga Shipyard that DRG could not defend against.

Polt vs. DRG = 2-1

Second series was between TaeJa and Rain, and to everyone's surprise Rain managed to take a dominating win.
First set was on cloud kingdom and it was an epic 25 minute game that Rain won, partly due to good DT harass and great storms.
Second set was on Antiga Shipyard and Rain played a brilliant game that included fantastic warp prism play (deadly archon/zealot drops), and once again devastating storms.

Rain vs. TaeJa = 2-0

Third series was between the winners of the first two games, Polt and Rain. 1st set was on Whirlwind and Rain did the old classic 4 gate, and managed to get a pylon in Polt's main so Polt was doomed. The 2nd set was a really exciting 30 minute game that Polt won in great fashion, especially because of good drops, and great EMP's from his cloaked ghosts.
Third and deciding set was on daybreak and Rain played beautifully and won the game showing great general harassment including a nasty storm drop.
So Rain took the 1st place in a very hard group, almost making it look easy and showing that KeSpa players definitely can bring something new and exciting to Starcraft 2.

Rain vs. Polt = 2-1

Fourth series was between the two GSL beasts DRG and TaeJa who surprisingly was forced to battle to avoid elimination.
First set was on whirlwind. TaeJa went for Reactor'd Helions + banshees and was able to take out DRG's third with this combo just before DRG's mutas finished. Later TaeJa dropped DRG and pushed at the same time to win the set.
Second set was on Cloud kingdom and DRG managed to overwhelm TaeJa in a couple of engagements during the game in classic DRG style with a baneling/zergling/muta composition eventually giving him too big a lead for TaeJa to stop.

3rd and deciding set was on Antiga Shipyard and a pretty tense game for us since we love both players. It was of course even more tense for them since they obviously both feel, that they belong in the Round of 8.

TaeJa spawned in the bottom left and went for 1-rax expand.
DRG spawned in the top right and went for a pool first into expand and then 4 queens.
TaeJa went for Reactor'd hellions + cloaked banshees, but DRG scouted it and went up to 6 queens.
TaeJa took his third almost at the same time as DRG and then went to harass with his banshees in DRG's main.

DRG had prepared perfectly however, with one spore and two queens at each hatchery so the banshees didn't do much damage.
They both got their economies rolling with TaeJa going for a tank/marine/medivac composition and DRG for a big zergling/baneling/mutalisk force.
DRG took his fourth and fifth around the same time and TaeJa tried to deny DRG's fifth with a banshee but DRG's mutas took care of it.

TaeJa sieged up defensively outside his own natural and third while DRG started building up a big force of zergling/baneling in the middle of the map. DRG must have felt he was in the lead or at least in a very good spot cause he decided to try and break TaeJa with his entire ground force + mutas. 

This wasn't entirely successful but he did manage to take out most of TaeJa's tanks. But it wasn't exactly a cheap trade for DRG who was a bit behind in supply from this point on. 
He did have a decent 4-base economy though (TaeJa had managed to drop and take out his fifth), and so DRG went for broodlords. TaeJa realized this a bit late but when he did he instantly placed down three additional starports.

At the same time TaeJa went for a big push towards the top left where DRG had his fourth and a fifth building. TaeJa managed to siege up below the fifth and trap all of DRG's ground army in the top left corner. DRG then came in with some broodlords from the right to try and break the siege line. 

DRG did manage to get most of TaeJa's tanks to unsiege but he did not have enough Broodlords to do lots of damage. DRG still felt he had to use this chance to try and take out TaeJa's army so he engaged with his entire army. He was nowhere close to breaking TaeJa though, and he was forced to GG.

Taeja vs. DRG = 2-1

So this meant Taeja got a chance to play a series against Polt for a place in the Round of 16. Unfortunately it also meant that DongRaeGu did not advance as he ended up surprisingly finishing in fourth place.

The fifth and final series of the day between TaeJa and Polt was actually pretty one-sided and in our opinion the least exciting of the day.
It certainly showed that TaeJa's TvT is much better than Polt's.
Although TaeJa's play in no way looked as flawless as it has done over the summer, he still took the series 2-0 and therefore advanced to the round of 16 knocking Polt out.

TaeJa vs. Polt = 2-0

Congratulations to Rain and TaeJa who advances to the Round of 16.

So a day with a lot of fantastic games and some rather surprising results.
We recommend all the four first series, but if we have to choose one it would be Rain against TaeJa, since Rain's play practically blew our minds in that series.

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