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SlayerS is going up against ZeNEX, who just came off of a 5 game All-Kill thanks to ZeNEX_Life’s amazing Zerg skills. We saw what Life can do, but does ZeNEX have the depth to compete against SlayerS’s roster if Life can’t pull through?
Game 1: SlayerS_CoCa (Z) Vs. ZeNEX_Avenge (P)
The first game of the series starts off standard, with an FFE for Avenge and a pool first build from CoCa. With some good control Avenge is able to keep his probe alive long enough to scout CoCa’s third, and even sends a 2nd probe to double check that the 3rd wasn’t a fake. Avenge was also able to keep CoCa’s overlords from seeing his mid-game transition, throwing up a twilight council and some extra gates once he kills the ovies.
Thanks to good map awareness, Zerg is able to force Toss’s attempt at a 3rd by running by a squad of lings. Dark Templar tech done, Avenge sends out a group of 4 DTs to distract, and possible outright kill one of CoCa’s bases if he gets lucky enough. He wasn’t lucky, and an overseer placed at a choke leading into CoCa’s 3rd base (he scouted the Dark Shrine a few moments earlier) allows him to kill the 4 DTs with practically no losses. CoCa smells blood, and after dispatching the DTs immediately turns on the pressure and moves to punish Avenge’s risky DT maneuver. Catching a retreating Protoss army with a nice fungal, CoCa kills a key group of sentries, marches to Avenge’s base, and crushes him with his 90+ supply advantage. Game one goes to CoCa
Game 2: SlayerS_CoCa (z) Vs. ZeNEX_Life (Z) Series is at 1-0
Enter Life. The All-Killer from yesterdays series. ZvZ specialist capable of hitting amazing timings that completely catch his opponents off guard.
A couple things to note, this is Life’s best match-up. It’s also CoCa’s worst. In addition, ZeNEX made a nice strategic decision and decided to play this ZvZ on Entombed Valley, a known magical wonderland for Tosses facing Zergs. Knowing that Puzzle was going to be one of their biggest obstacles, ZeNEX takes away his preferred map option, setting up Life to have the best possible chance at beating him once they inevitably meet.
The openings are identical. Hatch first into pool. Both get two queens, and speed starts at the exact same time for each player. The divergence comes when Life gets his baneling nest before CoCa. At 6 minutes Life is getting his Lair. During this time, Life makes the decision to be the aggressor and sends a group of lings and banes into CoCa’s natural. With good control, Life is able to pick off a queen along with 4 workers. All the while, Life is getting a spire.
CoCa’s mid-game option, either something he elected for before going into the game or as a response to being behind after Life’s ling/bane attack, goes for a roach timing. It’s scarey looking. 20 roaches and a glowing blob of banes start their march towards Life’s base. The camera cuts between CoCa’s approaching horde and Life’s seemingly defenseless base. CoCa’s army arrives and the situation looks hopeless, Life looking to be crushed in the same way he had killed off his three previous ZvZ the night before. Hit a timing before the key tech can play a factor. Fortunately for Life, his control is sick. Mutas snipe a majority of the banes before they can even reach the drones. Amazing control keeps Life’s economy relatively unharmed, only losing 8 drones total (Wow…) Once he (barely) ends CoCa’s offensive, Life is in position to take back the game from his opponents hands.
Muta harass made all the more effective thanks to CoCa’s dedication to his early attack strangles and constricts his options. Life grabs a 3rd and transitions into roaches. Despite some attempts by CoCa to even up the economies with ling run-bys, Life’s constant muta harassment, along with the fact that CoCa has no chance to get a third assures victory for the ZeNEX player. Two failed Nydus Worm attempts later, and Life has killed his 4th Zerg, and now has a 6 game win streak for his team.
Game 3: SlayersS_Crank (P) Vs. ZeNEX_Life (Z) Series is at 1-1
Before the game starts the casters discuss whether SlayerS should send out the big guns to shutdown Life’s momentum before it can pick up again, or keep throwing pebbles at him. It’s an interesting discussion. Ultimately they go for another pebble, and field Crank hoping to pick off Life without exposing their top players.
This game starts out interestingly. Life decides to turn the tables on his Toss opponent, and plants down a hatchery in Cranks natural, forcing him to build two cannons in order to take out the hatch. Crank returns the favor, and pylon blocks the natural and 3rd of Life. Once the various obstacles are taken out, play returns to normal. Life gets Lair, spire, and +1 +1 for his roaches. Crank gets +1 +1 immortals, sentries and stalkers.
Life gets aggressive with his army positioning and takes a 4th while keeping Crank back. Mutas pop, and 6 start their flight to the Protoss base. They get into the main and are able pick off a handful of workers before Crank’s forces can get into the base to defend. This really is the beginning of the end for Crank. Life controls his army beautifully during the final moments of the match. Sending mutas into the main, he is able to constantly bait Crank into his main, while at the same time hitting his natural and 3rd bases when they are defenseless.
Over the course of this offensive, Life kills 37 workers, putting him 30 workers over Crank. Eventually wave after wave of Zerg production break Crank, and today’s match is looking very deja vu.
Game 4: SlayerS_MMA (T) Vs. ZeNEX_Life (Z) Series is at 1-2
Life goes for hatchery first, and MMA goes for two fast gas after his orbital finishes. Following up with a CC and a factory, MMA gets a group of hellions while heading onto banshee tech. In the meantime, Life sends out a large group of lings, and thanks to some miss-micro, is able to get into MMA’s base and get 6 worker kills before his attack is stopped. With a spire, baneling nest, roach warren and +1 +1 for Life and double armory (signaling mech play) for MMA, we move into the mid-game.
Life gets 4 queens and an overseer out before MMA’s banshee arrives to harass the 3rd. It’s deflected after 2 worker kills, making it largely ineffective. The players trade blows, MMA getting 7 worker kills and a queen with hellions, while Life gets 11 kills with 6 mutas that get there before thors can get into a good position. Pushing back the mutas, MMA takes his 3rd.
Life starts attacking, sending an initial group of roaches and banes. Unfortunately the banes don’t get very many good hits, and MMA is able to hold. Life continues to send troops into MMA’s natural, initially unaware of the 3rd sitting directly below him (Antiga Shipyard.) It almost looks as if Life is going to overextend, but soon finds the 3rd, forces it to lift, and secures a 4th. Superior production and economy (although he is only 0-1 to MMA’s 2-2 mech) eventually overwhelm MMA and Life takes his 8th win in a row.
Game 5: SlayerS_Puzzle (P) Vs. ZeNEX_Life (Z) Series is at 1-3
8 games in a row. Let me just make sure you’re aware of that. Oh and he is 15 years old. Sick.
Threatened with an All-Kill, SlayerS decide to start sending out their trump cards. Puzzle is a well seasoned player. Life isn’t in Code S. He isn’t even in Code A.
The game starts with nexus first for Puzzle, hatch first for Life. Zerg gets a lair at 5 minutes. Very fast. Grabs a 3rd and gets infestor pit once lair finishes. Meanwhile, Puzzle uses his stargate opening to harass Puzzle, killing 2 queens while only losing a single phoenix to fungals. Down 2 queens, Life’s production is temporarily cut, but that won’t matter in a few minutes.
Simply put, I think nerves got to Life. He cracked. The weight of being one of his teams best chances at winning, along with the pressure of keeping up his streak, and the fact he was going up against Puzzle caused him to go for gimmicks.
He goes for a burrowed infestor attack on the front. It could’ve worked, except for the fact that it was spotted by an observer before it even left his base. Puzzle gets into position, baits the burrowed assault onto his ramp, and crushes it in seconds. Life immediately GGs and ends his 8 game streak in anti-climatic fashion.
Game 6: SlayerS_Puzzle (P) Vs. ZeNEX_Harrier (T) Series is at 2-3
With the hype and excitement of Life’s second All-Kill evaporating as quickly as his game against Puzzle, ZeNEX sounds out Harrier.
Puzzle opens 1gate core followed by a nexus. Harrier gets 1rax CC followed by 2 more rax. Puzzle follows up with a ultrasafe robo and observer, ensuring that he’ll be aware of whatever sort of play Harrier decides to go with. Puzzle moves into position, and harasses Harrier’s front, threatening an attack and catching loose units with forcefields. Behind this Puzzle gets storm tech.
Harrier spots Puzzle getting a 3rd, and once the contain is called off, Harrier makes a move to the middle of the map. Puzzle’s positioning is off, and Harrier pulls an amazing maneuver. In one swoop, Harrier causes Puzzle to cancel his 3rd, and immediately lifts his marine/marauder/medivac force and swings into the main. Puzzle’s army was in the middle of the map, and it takes him ages to get back to base. Harrier picks off the main nexus along with a bunch of probes, and simply flies away once Puzzle gets back to defend.
With +2 +2 started as Puzzle starts +1, Harrier looks really good. The two exchange blows, sniping and feedbacking each other when they can, but no one commits to an attack. Puzzle gets his main and 3rd back up. Harrier muscles his way into a good position, approaching the 3rd from the south-east. Catching Puzzle on the ramp he EMPs everything, and the game looks like it could be ending for Puzzle. Unfortunately, Harrier hasn’t prepared for the colossus, and thanks to some good micro, Puzzle pushes him back. Forced to retreat, Harrier eventually gets stuck in a bad position and GGs, feeling he had run out of steam.
Game 7: SlayerS_Puzzle (P) Vs. ZeNEX_SuHoSin AKA Line (Z) Series is at 3-3
Forge first for Puzzle, pool for SuHoSin. Puzzle decides to go for a 2 stargate play, while SuHoSin gets infestors and roaches. The airforce of Puzzle takes out 4 queens and kills all of the creep tumors. Before the infestor pop out, more queens are killed, and Puzzle starts the game off with a nice advantage, heading for a colossus transition.
SoHoSin gets together a nice force, and splits his forces, one attacking the 3rd being built by Puzzle, the other force slipping into the main do to a leak at the natural wall. While Puzzle cleans up, zerg starts producing 15 mutas. They hit just in time to stop blink from finishing, and the game is pretty much over from here. It’s 70 to 26 workers in zergs favor. Puzzle GGs.
Game 8: (EG)SlayerS_JYP (P) Vs. ZeNEX_SuHoSin AKA Line (Z) Series is at 3-4
It’s looking desperate again for SlayerS. Not as bad as when Life was threatening another sweep, but JYP has to win two games in a row to take it for his team.
JYP goes for nexus first, SuHoSin gets his pool. JYP uses a stargate opening, and zerg sticks with his guns and gets roaches and infestors. Now heres the exciting part. JYP uses his airforce to kill all the out of position overlords that he can, while at the same time driving the remaining ones into SuHoSin main and natural. Zergs map vision is severely limited. He can’t see anything beyond his starting position.
The follow-up? A warp prism, filled with 4 sentries. In an beautiful play, JYP lures SuHoSin out of his base with air harassment, and then lands his sentries into the main. Using forcefields, JYP locks zerg out while he completely destroys the main. This looked like a game ending blow, but SuHoSin was able to keep his tech structures (they were in the natural) and after the attack is taken care of. The game stabilizes.
Zerg gets a 4th and reestablishes his main, and toss gets his 3rd. The end of the game is pretty straightforward considering what had happened moments earlier. JYP marches out with a stalker and colossus ball, and with some great blink micro, he’s able to clean up SuHoSin, who is unable to muster a force large enough to save his main and natural.
Game 9: (EG)SlayerS_JYP (P) Vs. ZeNEX_Treme (P) Series is at 4-4
What a great series. Life went on an 8 game tear, taking ZeNEX to a 1-3 lead over SlayerS, and now we’re at a final game to decide the victor.
Unfortunately for ZeNEX, the game doesn’t go well from the very beginning. JYP goes stargate, a potentially risky (and rare) build in a PvP. However, Treme goes robo, which could almost be considered a build order loss. It could’ve been even worse if Treme had finished his robo support-bay, but he sees the air units and cancels it.
Phoenix harassment gets a few probe kills for JYP. In addition, JYP picks off a strangling group of Treme’s units in the middle of the map. After this, JYP assaults Treme’s natural, using phoenix to lift immortals, tilting the engagement into JYP’s favor. Moments later, SlayerS wins the game, coming back from grim looking 3 straight loss.
May 31 will see Team Liquid facing off against NSH! Go to GOMTV.net to watch the series or check out my links on twitter @MLockey for updates!