Group B ended with the expected end result of (Wiki)ByuN and (Wiki)herO advancing, but the path there was anything but predictable. Underdog (Wiki)NightMare managed to upset herO 2-0 in their initial series, and then almost defeated him again in the group’s decider match. In that contest, herO very nearly committed a throw for the ages, but managed to compose himself just in time to earn a RO8 spot.

First place finisher ByuN looked sharp on the day, going 5-1 in maps with no wrist issues to interrupt his matches. He was also sporting some new gear, wearing thick wristbands on GuMiho’s recommendation. While ByuN couldn’t speak definitely about their effectiveness, he did say they at least put him mentally at ease.

Unfortunately, NightMare’s strong showing meant (Wiki)RagnaroK finished last place in the group, as he was unable to survive the tough one-two combo of ByuN and herO.

Code S will continue on Tuesday, Jul 11 9:30am GMT (GMT+00:00), with Dark, Creator, GuMiho, and SpeCial playing in Group C.

Match Recaps

Initial Match #1: NightMare [2-0] herO

Game One – Royal Blood (NightMare win): NightMare opened with a standard 2 Gate while herO went for a single Gateway at his natural wall. The two players engaged in some mind games, with herO getting a fast Robo (instead of expanding) while NightMare built a third, proxied Gateway out on the map. Things got even more convoluted after herO scouted the proxy, with NightMare opting to take his natural behind some light pressure while herO remained on one base to go for a 2 Immortal timing. A great Stalker backdoor from NightMare proved to be key, as he was able to snipe herO’s Warp Prism and really slow down herO’s attack. This allowed NightMare to just barely defend the delayed attack and thus win the game.

Game Two – Ancient Cistern (NightMare win): Both players opened 2 Gate this time around, with NightMare taking a quicker natural while herO delayed his Nexus to perform some light Adept harass. While NightMare played things out more conventionally with Oracle into Twilight tech, herO soon cut Probe production to go for a Blink Stalker all-in. However, his first big Blink into the enemy main was entrapped by a well placed Stasis Ward, slowing him down significantly. This let NightMare narrowly defend at home while a DT went across the map to put the hurt on herO’s economy. This gave NightMare a substantial lead and herO soon surrendered after realizing his situation.

Initial Match #2: ByuN [2-1] RagnaroK

Game One – Babylon (ByuN win): ByuN opened with his currently favored 2-rax Reaper opener, this time using a variant that quickly techs up into a macro game (rather than the ones that go for a mass Barracks follow-up). RagnaroK played it a bit unorthodox as well, going for 2 base Lair and fast Roach speed, but ultimately this led to the two playing out a fairly conventional Roach-Ravager-Bane vs Bio-Tank game.

Unfortunately for RagnaroK, he seemed to misjudge when ByuN would launch his first major push, and got caught with Baneling speed not quite finished and with several Baneling eggs morphing out on the map. This cost RagnaroK his pivotal fourth base and started the snowball rolling toward a ByuN victory. While RagnaroK did get up to Hive and add Vipers to his force, he just couldn’t stand up against the runaway economy and upgrades of Terran, and he eventually had to GG out.

Game Two – Royal Blood (RagnaroK win): ByuN opened 2-Rax again, and perhaps due to ByuN spawning on the bottom side, RagnaroK blind-countered with some early Ling-Ravager pressure. This managed to kill both of ByuN’s exposed add-on buildings and inflict a bit of damage, but ByuN still came out slightly ahead due to RagnaroK’s very low-econ start.

The two played passive as they built up for the mid-game, with RagnaroK going Hydra-Ling-Bane while ByuN decided to omit Tanks for an almost entirely Marine-Marauder-Medivac army (he had a few token Mines). While we’ve seen this composition do well against Hydra-Bane in the past, it just didn’t work out for ByuN this time around as RagnaroK swarmed over the first big Terran army to step on Creep. Combined with some good Baneling backdoors, RagnaroK eventually left ByuN with no choice but to surrender.

Game Three – Gresvan (ByuN win): ByuN did another tech/macro version of his 2-Barracks build, while RagnaroK went for the usual Zerg defensive macro play in the match-up. ByuN got very aggressive as soon as he had Medivacs and stim, putting constant pressure on RagnaroK’s forwardmost base. RagnaroK was solid on defense for a while, using Ling-Bane to keep ByuN at arm’s length while teching up to Hydras. However, one bad defensive battle started the downward spiral for RagnaroK, as he lost too many Banelings to Tanks tucked away in corners. As usual, ByuN was great at methodically closing out from this position, and slowly squeezed another GG out of RagnaroK.

Winners’ Match: ByuN [2-0] NightMare

Game One – Royal Blood (ByuN win): Both players took a relatively passive approach to start, with ByuN building up on two bases while NightMare looked to go three-base fast Storm. ByuN picked up the pace once he had Stim and drops, and combined with good Raven use, he managed to put a moderate dent in NightMare’s economy.

NightMare looked to get some payback with a frontal attack, but ByuN wisely played the situation very conservatively by turtling up in his natural until he had Ghosts (despite having built a third CC). That left Nightmare in a terrible spot, unwilling to charge into the teeth of the Terran defense but also continuing to lose Probes back at home due to the absence of his army. Once Ghosts were out in number, ByuN marched forward and collected the GG from the flagging Protoss.

Game Two – Altitude (ByuN win): ByuN went for a greedy fast 3-CC opener while NightMare looked to play out a more conventional Phoenix-Colossus game. Unfortunately for NightMare, ByuN’s fast 3-Barracks infantry timing hit before he had a Colossus, inflicting heavy damage at his third base. ByuN refused to give his opponent time to recover, and a subsequent drop + frontal attack combo ended the game in just over eight minutes.

Losers’ Match: herO [2-1] RagnaroK

Game One – Dragon Scales (herO win): The early phases featured a very typical herO PvZ demonstration, as he put unrelenting pressure on RagnaroK starting with his first Adept. The game followed the usual herO flowchart for a bit, with Oracles and then Blink Stalkers joining the assault. However, instead of a full on transition to mass Gateway units in the mid-game, herO made a sneaky pivot to fast Carriers.

Having already taken damage from herO’s initial harassment, RagnaroK was in no position to deal with the Carriers when they came out. After one last ditch attack, RagnaroK GG’d out.

Game Two – Gresvan (RagnaroK win): herO went all out on offense in game two, proxying a second Gateway and Stargate near his opponent’s base. However, the keen RagnaroK scouted the proxy and quickly shut it down.

Put at a big disadvantage, herO was forced into an awkward Zealot-Archon-Disruptor composition. This worked out reasonably well for herO on the ground, as he was able to take some decent trades against RagnaroK’s Roach-Ling forces. However, he was ill-equipped to handle an incoming tech switch to mass Mutalisks, which RagnaroK used to pick apart the ground-bound Protoss.

Game Three – Altitude (herO win): herO went for his trusty Oracle-Stalker style on the final map, while RagnaroK looked to play mass Roach-Ling-Bane off of 60 Drones. A line in the sand was drawn at RagnaroK’s third, with the Protoss offense taking on Zerg defense. The efficiency of Blink Stalkers won out after a fierce micro battle and RagnaroK was forced to concede out of the tournament.

Decider Match: herO [2-1] NightMare

Game One – Gresvan (NightMare win): Neither side was able to take a clear advantage during the early phases, leaving both players to head into the mid-game on three bases with similar Immortal-Stalker compositions.

herO chose the aggressive route, cutting Probes to commit hard to a Zealot-Stalker-Immortal attack. Meanwhile, NightMare continued to Probe up and took a fourth base. While NightMare looked vulnerable at first, his defense proved to be quite resilient as he weathered several waves of Gateway units. After one final, decisive hold from NightMare (aided by Probes), herO realized it was a lost cause and GG’d out.

Game Two – Royal Blood (herO win): Both players opted for 2-Gate expansion builds, with NightMare going straight into Blink while herO took a detour at Oracles. This proved to be a great decision for herO, as he used his great Oracle micro to pick off Probes and take the lead in economy.

This led to a bit of roll reversal from game one, with herO continuing to build up and play for a longer game (even taking a hidden gold base), while NightMare decided to cut Probes and go for a big three-base Gateway unit attack. Unfortunately for NightMare, he couldn’t quite find a good angle of attack at herO’s third, and herO defended relatively easily. herO used his superior army to build an unstoppable counterattacking force, prompting the GG from NightMare.

Game Three – Altitude (herO win): The two Protosses changed strategies according to the map, both taking fast expansions after a bit of Nexus denial micro + Pylon blocking. Instead of going into a Phoenix war, both players were intent on ground-based follow-ups (though herO did go Oracles for harassment and scouting). This time around, neither player chose the three-base all-in option, and we headed into a proper late-game with mass Gateway unit armies facing off.

herO was the first to go on the offensive, leveraging his faster +2 attack upgrade to try and assault NightMare’s fourth. The first few Disruptors were out at this point, and herO swung the battle thanks to his superior Purification Novas and upgrades. herO razed the enemy fourth and killed a ton of Probes with it, giving himself a commanding lead.

However, herO got painfully wasteful when he was up over 50 supply, forcing continued attacks into a growing Disruptor count. Even as herO held a massive two expansion advantage over NightMare, his supply lead diminished drastically as he took continued Novas to the face. Eventually, NightMare found himself in position to go for a last ditch attack with mass Stalker and Disruptor, with enough firepower to credibly end the game.

This desperation attack very nearly worked, with NightMare advancing deep into herO’s territory and vaporizing several waves of freshly warped-in defenders. However, he just didn’t have quite enough in the tank to get into herO’s base and start taking down gateways (with the benefit of hindsight, he may have been better off targeting herO’s expansions and evening the game out, rather than going for the killshot). Eventually, herO’s economy kicked in, and he survived a huge elimination scare to reach the RO8.