October 1, 2019

GSL Season 3 Finals: A Nydus affair

This weekend StarCraft 2’s final 2019 GSL Code S season concluded with a best-of-seven between Lee “Rogue” Byung Ryul and Cho “Trap” Sung Ho.

Teammates on Jin Air Green Wings, both players have been professionally involved with the game since its early days. They’ve tasted different degrees of success throughout their careers, however, Rogue is the game’s fourth-highest prize money earner.

Image result for StarCraft GSL: Rogue

Image via Helen Kristiansson | Blizzard Entertainment

The Zerg players’ won a Super Tournament, 2 IEMs and even a BlizzCon. Yet that one trophy—the crown of GSL Code S—had always eluded him. He’s made it into the tourney’s Round eight of nine times but never managed to cross that final finish line.

Trap has had a humbler story. A pro gamer of 11 years, he’s won an MLG and reached a final or two, but it wasn’t until 2019 that he would start proliferating himself as a top Protoss in Korea. In the first Code S of the year, he made it into the Round of 4.

Image result for Cho "Trap" Sung Ho

Image via Liquidpedia.net

In the second, he reached the finals, only to lose to Park “Dark” Ryung Woo. Now he stood in the final round for a third time, reaching it by defeating teammate and tournament-favorite Cho “Maru” Seong Ju. Would he be able to one-up another teammate and finally take it all?

The man with the plan

With StarCraft 2’s balance as it is, it was expected that Trap would come with a plan. Zerg late game is feared for a reason and with Rogue being one of its top proponents, it seemed like a good idea not to let him get there.

Trap agreed, starting the series on Cyber Forest with a creative build to throw off his opponent. Feigning Stargate tech, he followed with a Robotics Bay and then went double Stargate anyway. It was a sneaky play and it would have worked if it weren’t for Rogue’s pesky Overlords.

Image result for Starcraft: Trap vs rogue

Image via youtube.com

Stating beforehand that if he could win this game, he’d take the series, Rogue left nothing to coincidence and stayed on top of his scouting. He saw Trap’s plan unfold and immediately reacted with a Queen-Zergling laden Nydus Worm before the Protoss could say “Phoenix”.

A game behind, but with plenty of strategies to go, Trap tried a DT/Archon drop on Cobalt next. Sadly for him, this played out to a similar tune. Rogue saw, Rogue held, Rogue dropped another Nydus inside the Protoss main. At this point we were about 15 minutes into gameplay (after 3 times that in introduction videos) and it was starting to look like this would be a very short finals indeed.

Nydusses everywhere

Fortunately, things turned around in the next game on King’s Cove, at least in terms of duration. In this game, Trap ignored conventional wisdom and took Rogue to the late game. And initially, he fared quite well. At one point it even looked like he might best the Zerg player.

But after another strong hold by Rogue, Trap looked behind him and saw smoke where his base had been. Swarm Hosts and Infestors had been visiting it through another Nydus each time there was a lull at the front, making increasingly large patches of it disappear.

On Match Point, the Protoss reverted back to his timing strategies. Proxying a Twilight Council and Robotics Bay in the bottom left corner of Triton, Trap opted for an Adept/Immortal all-in. Again Rogue held and it would be him, not Trap, who’d be bringing the trophy to the Jin Air team house—and probably getting the Nydus Worm nerfed next patch.

Incidentally, in an interview after his win Rogue stated that he feels Trap prepared hard and only lost because balance favors Zerg. Whether this was meant to cheer up his teammate or conveys his true feelings we don’t know, but it will surely be a hot topic leading up to BlizzCon.

One more WCS event to go

The StarCraft 2 year in South Korea is not entirely done yet. We still have the second GSL Super Tournament taking place Oct 3-6. Prize money aside, this event will determine the last 3 Korean delegates for the WCS Global Finals.

Blizzard has revealed that their Round of 16 matches will actually take place in AfreecaTV’s studio in Seoul. The games will be played across four days, from Oct. 24 to Oct. 27. Everything from Round 8 onward will take place at BlizzCon proper on Nov. 1.

The seedings of the already qualified competitors can be found here.

Written by Xander Teunissen

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