Liquid Taeja vs Woongjin Stars Soulkey
Game 1 – Whirlwind: Both Soulkey and Taeja opened up with standard fast expansions on the huge Whirlwind map. Taeja opened up with Banshee/Hellion against Soulkey’s Roach timing. Soulkey looked like he’d gain a small lead with his Roach attack, but Taeja was able to scout it early and completely shutdown the attack, giving him a small lead. Taeja then went for some bio drops and was able to do a significant amount of damage, building on his lead. Taeja was able to drop and kill off multiple Soulkey expansions throughout the game and eventually was able to defend Soulkey’s last desperate attack to take the win. Taeja leads 1-0.
Game 2 – Icarus: Icarus is a map known that’s quickly becoming known for the amount of all-ins we see on it. However, this game wouldn’t produce another one. Soulkey did go for a Roach timing, something we’ve seen a lot of Zergs do on this map, but he also expanded behind it. Taeja was able to defend the Roach attack quite easily with his bio army then was able to do a decent amount of damage in a counter-attack. Both players fell back and macro’d up a bit; Taeja going into a mostly bio army with a few Siege Tanks thrown in and Soulkey getting up to Brood Lord/Infestor/Zerglings. After some awkward army movements, both players ended up going into a base trade where Taeja’s Viking count was too high, allowing him to decimate Soulkey’s army. Taeja leads the series 2-0.
Game 3 – Cloud Kingdom: Taeja went for a 12/14 double Barracks opening, but Soulkey was able to shut it down pretty quickly and gained a small lead. Soulkey went for a very fast 2 base Mutalisk, which perfectly countered Taeja’s Banshee/Hellion opening. The game transitioned into the mid-game where Taeja started to push forward and take down Soulkey’s bases with his bio/tank army. However, during one of these attacks, Soulkey was able to get his Mutalisks into Taeja’s base killing over 30 workers and forcing Taeja into a really bad position. Taeja tried to bounce back but Soulkey soon overwhelmed him to take game 3. Taeja leads 2-1.
Game 4 – Bel’shir Vestige: Both Taeja and Soulkey opened up with pretty standard builds, but Taeja quickly started transitioning into a double Factory Blue Flame Hellion build. He was able to keep it hidden from Soulkey until right before the attack where Soulkey was a bit unprepared. Taeja was able to kill off 15 drones but Soulkey fought back with a transition into Mutalisks and some great harassment. For the second game in a row Soulkey was able to draw Taeja out of position and then do a good amount of damage with his Mutalisks giving him a large lead. Taeja tried to setup a defensive position but Soulkey was able to use his Baneling/Mutalisk/Zergling army to crush through him and take the win. Soulkey ties it up 2-2.
Game 5 – Daybreak: Taeja decided to open with a safe high ground Command Center first on Daybreak, while Soulkey went for a standard 14 Hatchery 17 Spawning Pool opening. Soulkey transitioned into a 6 Queen 3 base mid-game, focusing on his creep spread while Taeja went for a quick third base followed by some Hellion/Banshee harassment. Soulkey went the Mutalisk route again but this time Taeja was able to shut it down. Taeja pushed forward with his Bio/Tank army and was able to pressure Soulkey constantly, wearing down Soulkey’s army. Soulkey was able to get one good engagement though and hit Taeja’s 4th with Banelings, but Taeja’s Planetary Fortress barely stayed alive with only a few hit points left. Taeja would counter-attack and his army was just too much for Soulkey. Taeja advances to the semi-finals with a 3-2 victory over Soulkey.
Final thoughts: Taeja saves the GSL from an all Zerg semi-finals, although it was a very close call. Taeja came into this match boasting the strongest TvZ in the world and while it looked shaky in a few games there, he was able to pull it off. Soulkey secured his spot in next season’s Heart of the Swarm GSL, but this is another missed opportunity for him. He was in this same spot last season where he lost to Innovation, but this one probably hurts a little bit more as he was 1 mistake away from his first GSL semi-finals.
SK MC vs Samsung KHAN RorO
Game 1 – Bel’shir Vestige: Both players opened pretty safely in game 1, Spawning Pool first for RorO and Forge first for MC. RorO showed off a heavy Zergling army to MC in the early game which forced a lot of Zealots, Sentries, and Collosi while RorO transitioned into a Mass Mutalisk build. This looked very similar to builds Curious showed off against Parting in the other round-of-8 matches. Once RorO’s Mutalisks did enough damage, MC was forced to go into a base trade. MC looked to have a very strong army, maybe even stronger than RorO’s, but MC forgot to bring a Probe in the base trade and lost all his buildings forcing the loss. RorO leads 1-0.
Game 2 – Cloud Kingdom: Game 2 saw MC open with a standard Forge fast expand against RorO’s standard quick expansion. MC tech’d up into Collosus, but only built one before switching into Archon tech. This forced RorO to overbuild Corruptors, but it didn’t matter as his Roach/Infestor/Spine Crawler defense was just too much for MC’s timing attack. RorO gained a large lead after this and turned all those Corruptors into Brood Lords, then attacked forcing the GG. RorO leads 2-0.
Game 3 – Icarus: At first it looked like we’d see another all-in on Icarus, but MC was able to scout RorO’s quick gas so RorO abandoned his plans. MC tech’d up into Stargate while RorO went for a Hydralisk/Nydus Worm rush at MC’s back door. MC was able to hold it off quite easily and decided to go for a 2 base Collosi timing attack. RorO had Mutalisks and Hydras out and decided to just go for a base trade, but this time MC got his probes out with his army and was able to take the win. RorO leads 2-1.
Game 4 – Akilon Flats: Both players opened standard once again, MC with a Forge fast expand and RorO with a quick 3 bases. MC was able to take his third relatively quickly and then decided to go for a Blink Stalker timing attack. RorO was able to hold it off by killing the Probe before it could get a Pylon down and then pushing MC’s heavy Stalker army back with Hydralisks. MC fell back and turtled up on 3 bases while leaving RorO free to tech up and build up his defenses and army. MC moved out for another attack and hit RorO seconds before his Brood Lords are done. MC was able to blink under them with all of his Stalker and was barely able to take the win. MC ties up the series 2-2.
Game 5 – Neo Planet S: The odds were against MC on this heavily favored Zerg map. They both opened standard, MC with his FFE and RorO with a safe expansion. MC transitioned into Stargate tech and cleared out all the Overlords, then decided to go for a 2 base Immortal/Sentry/Phoenix all-in, but RorO with Infestors and Spine Crawlers out was well prepared. RorO crushed MC’s army forcing the GG. RorO advances to the semi-finals with a 3-2 victory over MC.
Final Thoughts: The last Protoss in the last Wings of Liberty GSL Code S has been eliminated. RorO absolutely dominated MC in his wins. He looked more prepared and one step ahead in every game, even the two he lost. MC has always been up and down, sometimes showing amazing play and sometimes showing duds, so its not too surprising to see him lose here, but I’m not sure many people expected RorO in the semi-finals.
Semi-finals day 2 preview – Taeja vs RorO
Next Friday we get night 2 of the last Wings of Liberty GSL Code S Semifinals. Our two winners from today’s group, Taeja and RorO, will face off to determine who will advance to the Code S finals. Taeja looked very solid tonight, but for someone with the best TvZ in the world he did struggle a little against against Soulkey. Now he’ll have to go up against the last KeSPA player in the tournament RorO who is a much stronger ZvT player than Soulkey was. RorO is 12-4 this season and looked great against Terrans in the round of 32. He will definitely be able to give Taeja as many problems as Soulkey did, and more. Will the fan favorite Taeja be able to save us from a ZvZ GSL Finals?