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As part of BlizzCon, the StarCraft II WCS Global Finals are underway, with the quarterfinals bringing plenty of action all by themselves. Let’s start by talking about Joona “Serral” Sotala versus Eo “soO” Yoon Soo and Riccardo “Reynor” Romiti versus Cho “Trap” Sung Ho.
StarCraft II WCS Global Quarterfinals: Serral vs. soO
Serral is the reigning WCS global champion and the first ever non-Korean to win it. He was the favored player in this match, with a record of 39-4 in his Zerg vs. Zerg matches, but soO is a dangerous opponent. He is the IEM Katowice 2019 champion and the only Korean Zerg to beat the Finnish Zerg in the 2018-2019 season.
Map 1 – Disco Bloodbath
The first match of the quarterfinals was scrappy. It began with soO going for Mutalisks. Unfortunately for him, Serral scouted them too soon and went Vipers in response. soO tried to keep his Mutalisks in play despite losing the element of surprise, using them to attempt to keep the map dark and hide his Lurker den from Serral, but the Finnish Zerg managed to scout that too.
This left Serral ahead in production, but he still had to survive that first Lurker push. However, SoO overextended his push and Serral took immediate advantage of his mistake and pushed him back.
As the game continued, soO moved into a Nydus network rather than settling into the long game, looking to dump his Roaches and Lurkers into Serral’s base. Serral denied both the first and second Nydus attempts though and continued to push back with his own Nydus worms, burrowing his Lurkers in soO’s base, pushing in with his Roaches and Ravagers, and generally coming out on top of a series of messy fights.
Nevertheless, soO was starting to look better, right up until he overextended again on one of his pushes; Serral immediately punished him for it by knocking him back and coming out of one of their final fights with a stronger army. It was this, along with some excellent blinding clouds, which finally allowed Serral to win game one.
Map 2 – Acropolis
Map 2 was much more straightforward. Nine minutes into the match, Serral had a 50 supply lead and had been in absolute control the entire time. He was able to stop all of soO’s pushes this round and had solid map control. SoO attempted to bank Mutalisks, relying on a lack of intel as a last-ditch play, but Serral’s Hydralisks were able to pick away at soO’s air army despite his best efforts. And by 15 minutes into the match Serral had a solid lead with 5 bases to 4, taking the match after finally managing to get his army into soO’s base.
Map 3 – Ephemeron
soO took Serral into the long game in map 3, which was Ephemeron. This match came down to two large, long-range armies supplied by many bases, and efficiency became key. Serral is a master of cost-efficient harassment, but soO played an excellent game, probably the best game so far. Both players had massive amounts of Hydralisks moving around the map, skirmishing and harassing one another. But after 25 minutes of fighting, soO’s army began to lean too heavily toward Hydras, with some Vipers but almost no Lurkers. Serral’s army composition, on the other hand, maintained a much higher number of Lurkers and a lot of Vipers. Although soO brought a truly world-class level of play, it wasn’t enough to defeat the world champion. Serral won the third match, taking the quarterfinal victory 3-0 and securing his place in the semifinals.
StarCraft II WCS Global Quarterfinals: Reynor vs. Trap
The second quarterfinals match at WCS was Reynor versus Trap. Trap is the GSL 2019 runner-up in code S for seasons 2 and 3 and one of only two remaining Protoss players in the top 8. Reynor is the youngest player at the global finals. He won WCS Winter: Europe and WCS Summer. He also nearly qualified for the 2018 global finals, coming into the season late due to the age restriction and still missing out by only one map.
Map 1 – Thunderbird
This map is known for its longer games, since it’s easy to go to three bases, but this match wasn’t too long or wild. It was a fairly standard Zerg vs. Protoss match, with Reynor building Zerglings, Banelings, and Ravagers, and using his Overlord speed to great advantage in order to stay dominant through game one. There were only a few moments where Trap had the opportunity to take the lead, but they slipped past, and Reynor took the match.
Map 2 – Acropolis
Trap’s Oracle and Phoenix opening didn’t do much damage. Reynor was on more bases and was out-mining Trap, so he didn’t even need to win every skirmish; he just needed to defend against the Protoss player and keep building up his army in order to secure himself a win.
Despite the fact that Trap began playing much better around the 11-minute mark, it’s hard to recover from such a one-sided beginning. Trap made some rather risky plays, pushing onto Creep while trying to gain an advantage and looking for any weakness in Reynor’s defenses. Unfortunately for him, he ended up doing the opposite, allowing Reynor to sneak in some great connections with his Banelings in Trap’s production line while the Protoss player was distracted.
Trap continued to buy time, making some great plays around the 16-minute mark. The best moment of the match was probably the offensive recall by Trap’s mothership, leading to an absolute mess of a fight where even Trap couldn’t tell if he’d made the right call, and neither could anyone else — right up until Reynor swept in with his Zerglings after the fight ended and wiped up the remaining, scattered Protoss army. Reynor took the round.
Map 3 – Disco Bloodbath
Trap won map 3, Disco Bloodbath, fairly quickly. Reynor was too greedy early on, and Trap took advantage of that, catching him out and winning his first victory of their quarterfinals match, bringing the score to 2-1.
Map 4 – Winter’s Gate
Map 4, played on Winter’s Gate, was a game of Banelings and Ravagers versus Archons and Immortals. Trap played incredibly well, defending against Baneling rush after Baneling rush. Although he sometimes had very few units left after these pushes, his Immortals put in a lot of work, and Trap was able to take game 4 as well.
Map 5 – World of Sleepers
The momentum was on the Protoss player’s side now, but Reynor didn’t let that stop him from playing a superb game, using a Swarm Host / Nydus Worm combination to attack Trap’s base, backed up by Roaches and Ravagers.
Ultimately Reynor won the map, and the quarterfinals against Trap with a close final score of 3-2, meaning he moved on to play Serral in the semifinals.
Check out part two of our coverage of the StarCraft II WCS Global quarterfinals, and check out our semifinals and finals coverage as well!