[ASL16] Ro4 Preview: Over The Edge

JyJ vs Soulkey

Last season, JyJ knocked Soulkey out of the Round of 8 in a very entertaining series. In the final game we were treated to the unusual spectacle of 2-port wraiths vs ensnare, so my hopes for this rematch were high. And the players did not disappoint!

Set 1 – Tempest

The series started conventionally enough. JyJ opens with a fairly aggressive 8-rax (near one of the centre bases), while SK plays standard: 12-hatch. The scouting drone finds the barracks, so SK has time to get ready. Half a dozen drones delay the marine attack slightly, yet the bunker at the Zerg natural finishes. For some reason one marine decides to die standing next to the bunker. Having perhaps made too many zerglings and losing three drones puts Soulkey on the backfoot. By the time his lings get across the map the first vulture is already assembled.

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Catch me if you can.

Just before the zerglings get picked off, Soulkey spots a starport under construction. He responds by building a sunken and a hydra den, and then teching to lair on two hatcheries. The swarm is ideally placed to fend off a vulture drop, but JyJ has other plans. The starport was fake and JyJ is actually building an armoury and a machine shop. I initially expected spider mines, but instead the factory starts mass-producing goliaths.

Probably wondering what happened to that drop, mutalisks start sharking around the outside of the Terran base. But because SK keeps his mutas away from the goliaths and turrets, he misses the four hidden barracks. This is some oov-level bluffing by JyJ. And cutting the wraiths really speeds up the timing of the first hybrid attack.

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David Copperfield only managed to hide the Statue of Liberty.

Suspecting some sneaky shenanigans, Soulkey invests in burrow and spots the mobilisation of the Terran army. The Zerg natural is quite well defended with sunkens, so JyJ conga-lines his way across to the third base. Mutalisks don’t do enough to slow down the pretty large Terran army, lurkers are still morphing and one sunken colony really doesn’t cut it.

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Oh, hi!

A small squad of marines stims ahead and gets in before the lurkers are ready, killing one before it can burrow. With next scan the combined army smashes through the meagre defenses. The rest of the game is a formality. Soulkey takes a new third, JyJ adds tanks and vessels. Two stop lurkers do a little bit of work. SK snipes two badly positioned tanks. JyJ scans the new third and takes his own. Lurkers kill a few careless marines and two more tanks get ambushed. But JyJ just has too much stuff and waltzes over the Zerg third again. GG.

Set 2 – Polypoid

12-hatch again from Soulkey, while JyJ tries a less aggressive depot first semi-wall. Both players get good scouts. JyJ adds builds a command center; Soulkey morphs his lair. Three marines, who clearly haven’t watched any Alien films, poke around the map and gun down a zergling. Soulkey starts a spire and his third hatchery in his main. JyJ builds three more barracks and some turrets.

The mutalisks are being annoying, but don’t do much damage. Meanwhile SK starts morphing a hatchery in the far corner from the Terran main. JyJ entertains himself and the audience by dancing the stim-shuffle out on the map with a small bio force. Soulkey decides to play oldschool and spawns rather a lot of lings. But just when he wants to gobble up the juicy bio ball, two hero marines pester his third. So the lings have to clean that up first. But the Terran forces don’t use this opportunity to get out…

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Old-school surround

The swarm completely overwhelms the infantry contingent, including the medics and reinforcements. After this one-sided exchange, supplies are almost even, Soukey is mining three geysers and his hive is morphing. JyJ knows he’s behind, so he decides on a mid-game powerplay by going up to six barracks.

The one thing Soulkey doesn’t have at this point is lurkers on the map. So he tries to pin Terran back with muta-ling, but takes a bad engagement wasting a lot of units. This allows JyJ to get back onto the map to apply pressure with his first two vessels out. Soulkey efficiently holds the ramp at his third with lurkers. The first nydus canal is ready too, so JyJ doesn’t manage to do any damage.

Meanwhile, Terran did take a third base and has units positioned at all the possible Zerg expansions. And the vessel cloud is growing ominously. I’m not quite sure how, but before Soulkey starts his fourth expansion, behind lurkers under swarm, JyJ is already producing… two battlecruisers!?

Science vessels keep irradiating lurkers, effectively locking Soulkey into two corners of the map. Incredibly, Terran starts his fifth command center while Zerg is still on three gas. The pressure on the Zerg bases is so intense that JyJ has complete map control. This allows the first two battlecruisers to maneuver into position to snipe the extractor at the Zerg natural. And to be even more annoying, JyJ also drops some bio behind the mineral line.

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Sanctions regime being enforced

JyJ is using his good multi-tasking very effectively, trying to overload Soukey’s attention. There is so much going on that Zerg nearly loses his fourth base, but gets a swarm down just in time. The constant attacks are starting to hurt as a lot of hatcheries have idle larvae. The end of this game is really something to behold. Terran is nearly maxed and churning out units like there’s no tomorrow. Another three battlecruisers go to work on another extractor and three dropships unload into the Zerg main. A small ling-lurker-swarm counter-attack is cleaned up efficiently. And just when Soulkey regains control of his main, the Zerg defenses at the fourth base crack. And still more Terran units are streaming across the map. GG!

Set 3 – Generic Zerg Map Invader

Soulkey looks surprisingly calm going into the third game, probably because he gets to play on Invader, a map perfectly calibrated to allow Zerg to win quickly in many different ways. (Sort of) Joking aside, JyJ decides that he’s not interested in a long game anyway and tries his hand at a proxy 7-rax. But this time Soulkey has his number. He opens 9-pool and gets a huge edge. Most of the first ling brood head across the map, but one finds the hiding marines.

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Too far away from home

Of course the marines die. Then the lings kill a bunch of SCV’s and the first vulture gets impaled by a sunken colony. GG.

Set 4 – Retro

Reflecting on game 3 during the break, both players realised that they prefer longer games after all. JyJ rax-expands and Soulkey starts a third hatchery on location before lair. JyJ scouts the third base, but can’t do anything about it for the time being. Lings and marines play tag for a bit. A spire and some sunkens start morphing, while construction begins on three more barracks.

Some Effort-esque lings maul a few SCV’s and marines as the first mutas take to the badlands skies. Soulkey’s micro isn’t that crisp and JyJ starts accumulating a scary bio force. But when the Terran army gets to the Zerg natural there are six sunkens and a few lurkers, so the attack pivots to the third base. But again sunkens on high ground behind a lurker egg are not exactly easy pickings for marines, so JyJ is forced to withdraw.

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Access denied

The game takes a little breather as both players gear up for the mid-game. The first vessels drop ships are on the way and the defiler mound finishes. Mutas pick off the SCV sent to build the third CC. Somehow Soulkey has sniffed out the dropships and he probably spotted the scan in his main, so he pulls his units in to defend, only for JyJ to change his mind and delay the attack.

Soulkey is an a decent position now. Strong three-base economy, late-game tech and most of his mutas are still alive, so he opts for a greater spire. Meanwhile, Terran starts up some tank production outside of his natural and roams the map with a lot of marines and vessels, aiming to prevent Zerg from expanding.

If you watched ASL15, then you know that guardians tend to backfire, so I got a little nervous when I saw seven being mophed at the same time. And sure enough three get irradiated instantly. But the four survivors provide good support to the Zerg ground forces. And then the game goes nuts.

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Are you not entertained?

The guardians help the hydra-lurker-defiler swarm get to the factories. The two dropships from earlier finally head into the Zerg main and magically miss the scourge. But JyJ gets too greedy and loses one on the way to the natural. A bunch of infantry get chewed up by hydra-guardian near the Terran rally point. A small squad of marines manage to flank a few lurkers, but the plagued vessels pop and both factories fall. A single marine kills a drone sent to the bottom left main. And then, finally, a clutch of lurkers gets into the natural and ends the game. GG!

Set 5 – La Campanella

The final game starts with cross-spawns. JyJ walls himself into his main, while Soulkey goes for 12-hatch into 12-pool. Small advantages can add up and the scouting drone survives with 3 HP. A factory finishes behind the wall and JyJ starts his natural CC. I’m assuming this build was supposed to be a mind-game, maybe suggesting 2-port. But a ling gets in and sees everything. And now JyJ is stuck with a fast vulture build that ends up doing zero damage.

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John McLaneing doing his thing.

Soulkey gets a third hatchery in front of his natural and a spire, JyJ a second factory. There’s a funny moment when the drones start returning gas to the new, much further away, hatchery, and nearly get sniped by the vultures that have been chilling there for a few minutes trying in vain to do any noticeable damage to the building right in front of them. This prompts Soulkey to send out his lings, which easily catch the vultures, putting JyJ further behind.

When the first mutas arrive, JyJ has four goliaths, one marine and no turrets. But Soulkey went light on mutas, so he can’t punish the messed up opening. Instead, he takes his third at the semi-island. Still channeling the soul of Effort, SK burrows his lings outside the Terran natural. And when the goliaths have walked away, they picks off a straggler. At this point JyJ only has turrets for detection, so the lings can just go underground when the army returns.

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“We’re going deeper underground.” – Jamiroqueen

Soulkey sends his mutas through the whole Terran base, so he knows exactly what’s going on. JyJ, ehm, makes a few more goliaths, because, well there isn’t anything else to do. SCV’s try to get out onto the map to build something somewhere, but get caught by the mutas. Soulkey takes a fourth and fifth base at the same time, preying on the low mobility of mech armies. A control group of hydras hatches and we see the first queens before 11:00.

With three tanks ready, JyJ wants to move out, but the mutalisks keep threatening his natural. And in a mirror of game 2, they even destroy the refinery, thereby starving JyJ of gas he desperately needs. At 11:20, JyJ is playing full mech, while mining from only one geyser. One might say that this is not exactly ideal. Terran probably doesn’t even have enough income to sustain output from four factories at this point.

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Now the shoe is on the other claw.

One consequence of the reverse oil embargo is that JyJ never builds a single science vessel, even though they would’ve probably been incredibly useful. Through the whole mid-game I kept thinking that surely JyJ has to move out to force some units or snipe a hatchery or something, anything really! But he just hangs back in his little corner, on three bases against five and slowly falls further behind. The first queens have enough energy to spawn broodlings now.

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This doesn’t seem like the right mix of workers and bosses.

Meanwhile, Soulkey plays a fascinating game, with a very slow hive, but large economy and a spectacular number of queens. Despite JyJ’s precarious position, he still manages to get near maxed on goliaths, with a few rounds of tanks. And his army movement is also strong, as he manages to use the goliaths’ superior range to screen his tanks from the queens. This forces Soulkey to start broodlinging (is that a word?) goliaths. But he can afford it.

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Hellfire and brimstone

Surprisingly, the Terran army actually wins the first big fight. Goliaths shoot down enough queens to preserve some tanks. And the tanks in turn make a lot of hydra-mince. As a result, JyJ can siege Soulkey’s third base and even expand to the middle.

But the supplies and resources tell a different story. Unlike, say Fighting Spirit or Heartbreak Ridge, La Campanella has no gas in the centre of the map. Being chronically low on the vital green vapours, JyJ can’t replenish his army quickly enough. At 18:00, with three quarters of the map’s resources being exploited, Terran is still on six factories, with three machine shops, and a single starport that is sitting idle. Soulkey on the other hand is running out of larvae for his 10+ hatcheries. JyJ tries to take the bottom semi-island, but mutas don’t let him. Then he tries to sneak the top right, but…

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Probably too late to call pest control now…

Finally, the reigning champion secures 6 o’clock with turrets, but Soulkey responds with a drop that tears down the Terran third. From here on, JyJ’s supplies never fully recover. And as the mineral cross in the centre starts to fade, so too does JyJ’s hope of defending his title. One final tank push is shut down hard by the sheer inexhaustible number of queens. And the hydras do the rest.

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“Why do all good things come to an end?” – Nelly “Brooding” Furtado


Stacking The High Wall

Believe it or not, as far as ASL goes, this is actually a Fresh matchup, (Z)Soulkey and (T)Rush have only faced off against each other once in an offline setting way back in 2011 in a CJ vs Woongjin Stars proleague match.

Of course they have hundreds of recorded games played against each other online and historically its been in the favour of Soulkey.

While I did predict Rush to win against hero, I did not expect a full on manhandling. Rush pretty much crushed him and threw him into the wind like an aluminium foil ball, pretty much invoking the fans to bring up the classic Redeye clip.

Soulkey however had to deal with very stiff competition from the defending champion JyJ as you may have seen in the recap Simplistik shared above.

The exact head to head online, at least since the start of ASL in August, puts Soulkey the firm favourite at 7-2 vs Rush.

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There are no map bans, since all the maps are in play and I said it before and I’ll say it again, this just is one of those seasons where you can pretty much tell well in advance who picks what map.

In that 7-2 online history, the 2 wins that Rush attained were in the season’s standard map of (Wiki)Polypoid, making it a no-brainer for Rush’s first pick.

For Soulkey’s no-brainer pick its (Wiki)Invader, a map that zerg is yet to lose on this season.

(Wiki)Apocalypse is usually the #2 map for terran, its the most played on because it was the opener for the Ro24, the general rule has been that the more a map is figured out the more Terrans tend to do better on them.

(Wiki)Tempest (Map) is a pretty middle of the road map, Online its shown itself to be a map much like Invader to be that zerg favourite but in the ASL season so far its been quite the opposite, even Soulkey himself lost to JyJ on it, so its a interesting pick to stick to for Soulkey.

(Wiki)La Campenella is a map that seems to be doing wonders for Rush at the moment and no reason not to pick it again after how he handled hero on it.

(Wiki)Neo Dark Origin, now provided Soulkey doesn’t attempt an ill fated 4 pool he should be able to ride its general wave of being one of the best zerg maps this season.

(Wiki)Retro is the neutral picked final map as far as offline stats goes its pretty neck and neck for results only slightly favouring zerg in results.

We don’t know how many chances either player gets anymore, for soulkey he has never broken the Ro4 wall in the ASL but its not like he has at least held championship gold in the now discontinued KSL, but I’m sure the ASL gold still tantalises him quite a bit.

Rush is looking to make his 3rd finals appearance and soulkey might be his hardest opponent in the those ASL tournament runs that he’s done, we all know the ASLCHAMPRUSH meme at this point, its a particularly sad one because he’s been that close before, but despite all that and even the potential to truly establish a new kong line, he simply moves forward.

Soulkey has the advantage, Rush has the heart.

Going with Soulkey on this one.

(Z)Soulkey to Advance to the Grand Finals 4-2!

Into The Fire

The K-league boss vs the M-league regular.

The ASL maps this season overall look even enough for ZvP that I will disregard them, as this is a Bo7 and thus all maps will be included anyway. Below you can judge for yourself:

What we wanna gauge is how well is each player doing in the match-up. How will this unfold?
(Z)EffOrt’s best match up, as with all most Zergs is his PvZ. No big surprise there. For (P)Mini, as statistics go, PvZ should then be his worst match up. That’s actually true. However this info is fairly useless though as it derives from data including a ton of Bo1s. I’d like to argue the same is true for EffOrt and Mini’s most recent 3 encounters in daily proleague, in which EffOrt won all.

This match is about high stakes. A series. Anyone can win a bo1, but can you be the first to win 4 games? EffOrt’s strength for sure lies in high stakes, however, not per se in Bo7. Bo7 doesn’t happen that often, especially back when Effort made a name for himself. You could say EffOrt’s legacy is built on winning Bo5s, in particular vs the goat even reverse sweeping him (talk about high stakes). Meanwhile Mini’s first gold was via a Bo7. And if we look at ASL’s history I’d say pervert toss loves preparing these.

ASL11 Mini vs Queen is still in our minds, right? That Bo7 that shook the scene? That 4-1 domination? No? For those, like myself, that didn’t catch the revolutionist slay the one who can’t be named live, that match was a taste of how that must have felt like. It felt like Mini had done what Bisu had done before. Perhaps a bit of an exaggeration and insult to Bisu’s accomplishment. But defeating Queen, Zero, one of the Woongjin zerg brothers.The Zergs all Protoss – but Bisu – feared during the golden days… …alright, I’m straying off again. What happened after the bo7 between Mini and Queen? Well Larva was to be Mini’s next zerg victim in his conquest for his first gold, but Larva had something to say and beat him 4-3 in the finals, making the previous Bo7 hold little value historically. I still believe that the Bo7 vs Queen changed the match up considerably though, at least Mini’s confidence in preparing a PvZ series.

The first encounter between these 2 was all the way back in ASL7 where Mini beat Effort 3-2. That’s already over 4 years ago. How relevant is that still? Well it’s those high stakes matches one tends to remember. It still holds value. That said the same ASL Effort redeemed himself by sweeping Rain 3-0 for a 3rd place. Like Larva, Effort seemed to have learned from the previous PvZ series. What’s interesting this season, like in last season where we had Best and Action duke it out. There has not been a previous nameworthy PvZ series this ASL season yet. There is nothing to pull data or inspiration from. Neither player has shown his hand yet.

High pressure makes EffOrt perform better. For Mini high pressure can go both ways. Mini’s real challenge is always about controlling his emotions. If it’s about a series, Mini’s favorite match up has to be PvZ. For Effort on the other hand? I reckon it must be ZvT. Given their stats sort of contradict their series achievements. This should be a good one. Once again I managed to get hyped enough for both players that I just cannot predict the outcome.

Holding Mini vs Queen dear, and EffOrt having little experience with Bo7. I vote:

(P)Mini Advances To The Grand Finals!

Source: https://tl.net/forum/brood-war/616945-asl16-ro4-preview-over-the-edge

Source: https://webfulnet.com/

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