Match 3 – Patience (Protoss) vs. soO (Zerg)
Things were looking up for soO going into this series. With a 66% win rate in his last nine games, and 75% percent verses Protoss, soO seems to be chasing the run of form that saw him place second in three consecutive Code S finals in 2014. Patience on the other hand was four wins and seven losses in his last eleven games, a less impressive showing. He has always been a strong player however, and has placed consistently well in international tournaments for the last several years. With one player looking to regain past glory and chase that elusive title, and another seeking to prove himself on a Korean stage, it would prove to be an intense matchup.
Game 1 – Ruins of Seras
The first game played on Ruins of Seras this evening, the players spawned at the bottom right and top left of the map respectively. soO went for an early 3rd base, and a lucky overlord scout meant he saw Patience’s Oracle opening a mile off, and had Spore Crawlers ready and waiting. The game proved to be fairly stable in the early stages, with soO managing to slightly delay Patience’s 3rd Nexus with ‘ling pressure. soO kept up this pressure, moving out onto the map with a large Zergling/ Hyrdalisk combo, forcing a cancel on the halfway completed 4th. Patience, perhaps predicting a Mutalik switch, opted to build a small Pheonix hit squad which did well to clear up some overlords. soO however opted to stay on the ground, focussing on Ravagers and Lurkers and pressuring Patience’s 3rd. Patience managed to hold on with skilful use of force fields and a number of Immortals, but good trades from soO and his clever holding of larva for a very fast remax crushed Patience in the end.
Game 2 – Dusk Towers
After a commanding win in the first game, soO opted for a tricky proxy hatch, blocking the Protoss’ front natural. Patience’s probe scout failed to spot this, and he opted to expand to his backdoor base. soO’s strategy was realised with two Spine Crawlers on the low ground backed up by an early swell of ‘lings. Though soO managed to break in, his run by of an astounding 44 zerglings was cleaned up by good positioning with a Zealot/Immortal/ Stalker composition. Still on one base soO valiantly kept up pressure, managing to snipe the back base with an Overlord drop. Patience’s Immortals eventually pushed down and cleared the proxy Hatchery. The Protoss opted for a sneaky Warp Prism, and managed to move it over to his opponents main, ending the ‘ling pressure. soO had put down two more hatcheries, but it was too late, as Patience’s push out, assisted by the Prism and several Sentries, managed to lodge itself between his main and natural, slaughtering any ‘lings the Zerg produced. soO called the game, evening up the series.
Game 3 – Ulrena
The deciding game started in a normal manner, with soO going for three hatcheries and an early Spawning Pool with ‘ling speed, and Patience opting for several early Gateways for a double Adept. His first couple of Adepts were denied access to soO’s mineral line, with one being killed, and when another two joined the survivor they were warded off by a number of Zerglings. With his pressure being shut down, Patience opted to transition into a Stalker / Sentry combination with a Forge for defence. soO attempted to deny the Protoss 3rd Nexus with a swell of ‘lings, but was ineffective. Patience added several Immortals, a unit he is known for using well, and starting moving up the map whilst Immortal dropping the Zerg 4th, pulling back the ball of Zerglings. He managed to make it over the central bridge and nearly up the ramp before finding resistance in the form of Ravagers, and managed a strategic withdrawal whilst using Disruptors to cover his retreat. soO attempted to pressure Patience’s bases again with a flock of eleven Mutalisks, but the huge ball of Blink Stalkers with +2 attack upgrade pressuring his front and Photon Overcharge meant they had to pull back. Patience’s blink micro was impeccable, and soO, pulling drones and looking shocked as he watched the tournament slip from his grasp, was forced to GG. Patience went through with a surprisingly strong win over a top contender.
Match 4 – Classic (Protoss) vs Soulkey (Zerg)
Classic (aka. Chiseltoss for his pronounced chin) is a truly fearsome opponent. Having placed 3-4th in two consecutive world finals, and as the only player to win both an SSL and Code S he ranks up there with Zest and herO as amongst the strongest and consistent Protoss to ever grace Starcraft 2. Soulkey, whilst having not reached the same heights, is a Zerg to be contended with, having previously won the Code S and World Cyber Games titles. Both players were on a run of form, with a 66% win rate in their previous nine games. Classic seemed to be struggling with Zerg recently though, with only 25% win rate to Soulkey’s staggering 71% win rate against Protoss. Perhaps Soulkey would be the one to end his goal of achieving a second SSL title.
Game 1 – Dusk Towers
The game began fairly innocently, with no indication of the rush that was to come. Both players opened two bases, with Soulkey’s on the front natural. An early probe scout picked out the Spawning Pool, and Classic built a wall at the main with a Zealot. Soulkey’s reputation for early ‘ling aggression is well known, even on four player maps, and when he started producing eight at around 2:30 we all knew we were in for a treat. He continued Zergling production, with a hidden Baneling nest that was not scouted. With eight lings having snuck across the map to wait in Classics bottom natural and a further sixteen on the way Classic’s MSC just failed to spot them below the mineral line. With five Banelings popping out as soon as the Nest completed the Baneling Bust was on. Classics Sentry was able to hold the horde back for a few seconds, buying enough time to warp in a Gateway and create a hard wall. It was not enough however, and a swarm of Banelings popped at the top of the ramp, killing the Zealot and crippling the incomplete Gateway. With a couple of ‘lings to finish it off the Zerg streamed into Classic’s base, but a couple of well positioned Sentries were able to kill off the last of the ‘lings. His all-in crushed, Soulkey knew he had no chance of coming back, and tapped out.
Game 2 – Lerilak Crest
The next game would prove to be a very different affair, with Soulkey spawning in the top right and Classic in the bottom left. Classic opted for an interesting Sim City, aligning his buildings from the bottom of his natural ramp to the top, creating a wall that would make a run by difficult. In true Soulkey style the pool and Zergling production began early. Six of them managed to get past the incomplete wall and into the main, where they met an Adept and the MSC. Classic’s response was efficient; opting for more Gateways to continue Adept production, and good micro to chase the ‘lings away from his mining. By the time a further bunch of ‘lings arrived at Classics natural a hard wall was in place, and Photon Overcharged Pylon. Soulkey managed to snipe a Pylon, but Classic was able to build another one behind in, ensuring a tight wall remained. With Soulkey forced back the Protoss pursued him with a force of five adepts, successfully using their Psionic Transfer ability to keep Soulkey guessing and contained in his base. The five adepts were soon twelve, with a Nexus expansion behind them, managing to sneak into the Zerg base and trading efficiently with the ‘ling/ Roach defenders. Several DT’s and a Warp Prism would continue this pressure, pulling Soulkey apart and claiming a whopping seventeen Drones. Classic opted for a Phoenix squad, running circles around his opponent has the Zerg opted for Lurkers. Whilst Soulkey was chasing him around Classic built up a scary number of Immortals and High Templar. However Classic was not expanding, and soon Soulkey had five bases, one hidden, to his two. With this economy Soulkey was easily able to replace units, and amassed a large Hydra / Lurker ball. Classic tried to push out and fight, but his force was slowly whittled away, and without the minerals or gas to rebuild it he fell to a slow Lurker siege. The last game of the evening would be a nail biting tie-breaker!
Game 3 – Ulrena.
The third game began with another fast scout to the North from Classic, perhaps looking for the signs of more early Zergling play. He was not to be disappointed, but a strong wall at his natural ramp and an assassin Adept forced the two scouting ‘lings away. An early Stargate for a quick Phoenix proved to be the answer to Classic’s problems, cleaning up an overlord and snagging a couple of drones in the Zerg main, and forcing seven Queens. Pushing at the front Classic managed to Transfer his Adepts in the mineral line, denying mining as his Phoenix engaged the Queens. With a fear of being contained Soulkey pushed back hard, spreading his creep extremely quickly through the centre of the map, having broken the rocks to give access. Moving out with the Queens a handful of Ravagers he sought to hit back at Classic. Classics defence held true however, using Disruptors to great effect , sending forth the Purification Nova through the wall to hit the clumped up Queens whilst his Phoenix squadron picked off targets on the side. Though Soulkey tried to transfuse his Queens out of trouble it was just too much, with the rapid warp-ins to reinforce his wall giving Classic a clear defender’s advantage. Before long Soulkey’s army was gone, and with it the last of his hopes. A GG gave Classic a deserved victory in the series.
When he's not in front of a screen he enjoys RPG's, Frisbee and four legged furry friends.
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