Maru and Lambo opened the tournament on Blueshift. Both players chose standard openings. Maru used his hellions and banshees mostly to contain Lambo's creep spread while both players developed their armies and technology and home. When Maru's first push finally came, it caught Lambo out completely. Setting up a powerful tank position at Lambo's fourth base, Maru blew up Lambo's banelings and the Zerg was immediately forced to abandon the base. The game slowly went downhill for Lambo from there, as he kept looking for a decisive fight or runby to get back into the game, but never quite found enough. Maru, meanwhile, denied all of Lambo's attempts to replace the lost base and after a series of trades went in Maru's favor, Lambo finally ran out of steam and conceded the game.
Maru's 2rax proxy was defended by a big drone pull from Lambo. The game slowed down from there as both players expanded. Maru used that downtime to move around with a raven and a small group of marines and hellions, denying Lambo's creep spread while building up towards a powerful marine/tank push. That attack hit at an awkward timing for Lambo as baneling speed was barely not finished for him in time, forcing the Zerg to bleed off units and drones to buy time for it. But those losses were too much and once the upgrade finished, the damage had largely been done and Lambo's army was not enough to stop Maru from closing out the series.
TY opened the second series with a proxy starport for a quick hellion drop, but Neeb's defensive stargate opening shut down the drop quite easily. TY then attempted to cancel Neeb's quick third base with a liberator/tank/marine push, but this only meant that Neeb's oracles found an unprotected mineral line in TY's main base, killing 17 SCVs. Neeb even defended his third base without taking notable losses. A big warpin of glaive adepts in TY's natural killed another 22 workers as the Terran moved out, and Neeb shut down TY's attack again. This time the Terran conceded the game.
Down a game, TY gambled the series on an in-base proxy ghost rush—and it failed. However, having scouted that TY was proxying something, Neeb delayed his natural in favor of a stargate and, despite fending off the proxy easily, got little done with his phoenixes on the other side, resulting in a rather even game. The decisive move came when TY's cloak banshees found their way into Neeb's natural, killing 8 probes and drawing the Protoss army away while cyclones sniped the third base. With +2 armor and a charge zealot/archon army, Neeb moved across the map for an attack on TY's just established third base. That armor was quickly reduced by a big anti-armor missile from TY's raven and Neeb's army evaporated, prompting an immediate GG from the American.
TY tried to trick Neeb with a hidden barracks in his own natural on Blueshift, but Neeb figured it out quickly. TY pressured Neeb's natural heavily with a combination of cyclones and widow mines, but a clutch revelation from Neeb as his first immortal spawned allowed the Protoss to defend his expansion. His oracles found even more value by killing 8 SCVs across the map while Neeb took a third base and geared up for an attack with glaive adepts. The attack did very little at first glance as Neeb's adepts and warp prism were quickly killed in TY's main base and the main army had to be recalled. When the dust settled, though, Neeb came out over 20 workers ahead. A fresh prism kept TY pinned back while Neeb transitioned to disruptors. TY waited for a few ghosts before he attacked, but a clutch stasis ward and disruptor hit secured the game for Neeb as more of his adepts killed all the Terran reinforcements at the same time and TY was forced to concede the series.
With the Winners' Match of Group A decided, attention shifted to the opening game of Group B on Acid Plant between Zest and HeRoMaRinE. An aggressive cyber core before nexus build from Zest saw him trade quite effectively with HeRoMaRinE's initial units and delaying the command center while teching to blink and expanding to a third base, followed by two forges and charge. The two settled into a rather even game, with Zest interestingly skipping additional assimilators and technology in favor of a rapid fourth base. Their economies were still quite even, though, as HeRoMaRinE's mine drop found 12 probe kills. With 2/2 completing and HeRoMaRinE not asserting any pressure, Zest instead moved across the map for a committed timing attack. His initial assault was defended quite well by a defensive setup of tanks, mines, liberators and an increasingly powerful bio army. HeRoMaRinE, however, overestimated his strength and moved out to counterattack. Zest immediately pounced on the weakened Terran army with fresh warpins of better upgraded gateway units and wiped the Terran army from the map, prompting the GG.
Zest tried the same early pressure on Dreamcatcher, delaying the command center again. HeRoMaRinE avoided any more trades with clutch repair on a widow mine, denying Zest further access to his natural. The game moved in a similar direction from here, with Zest again opting for double upgrades, charge, and another fast fourth base. This time, however, his economy remained uninterrupted. HeRoMaRinE tried a committed 2-base bio/tank push, but Zest did well to stall the attack long enough for additional warpins and immortals to join his army. Zest immediately jumped HeRoMaRinE's army as it tried to set up a siege position on Zest's third base. Losing all his tanks, the Terran was forced to retreat, but with no third base to fall back on and Zest building up on four bases, there was little choice for HeRoMaRinE but to bring his SCVs and all-in. But even with a decent initial engagement, Zest's reinforcements of 3/2 Protoss units were comfortably enough to defend the attack in the end and take the series.
Foreign hope Serral finally joined the action against sOs. Their series began, of course, with a cannon rush. Immediately scouted by Serral's overlord and quickly reacted to with drones pulled from the main, sOs' cannons did no damage at all. Serral immediately expanded to a third as sOs' natural nexus only just began. sOs attempted a desperate chargelot all-in from there but Serral's overseer saw it coming a mile away and the attack was met by roaches and queens. sOs conceded immediately.
Game 2 on Blueshift saw another odd opening from sOs, this time opening with a robotics facility and warp prism for light adept harassment, followed by immortal production. However, spotting Serral's growing forces and limited third base saturation, sOs decided against the soul train, instead adding a forge, charge and templar archives, and very late third base. This only led to a delayed all-in, but the attack was thoroughly destroyed by Serral and sOs tapped out with nothing left.
Maru and Neeb met in the Winners' Match of Group A. Maru immediately reached into his bag of tricks and pulled out a proxy reaper build, but following up with a factory at home. Neeb, in response, proxied a stargate. Maru's reaper spotted the proxy and the oracles found only minimal damage. Maru then walked across the map with a handful of widow mines, cyclones, marines and SCVs, laying siege to Neeb's natural. Even two huge stasis wards couldn't save Neeb's natural and, with it, the game.
Blueshift saw another proxy, but this time Maru didn't stop at just the reaper. As he saw Neeb's expansion, Maru added a proxied factory after the barracks while also researching concussive shells. An extremely tight fight ensued over Neeb's natural nexus. What initially looked grim for Neeb as Maru's bunker finished was salvaged by him barely holding on to the nexus with the help of his immortals. Looking to drive Maru away from the damaged natural, though, Neeb lost his immortal to reinforcing units and lost his expansion after all. Behind the action, Neeb had built up to three gateways while Maru started a command center in his main base and teched to cloak and banshees. Losing the natural forced Neeb to all-in with the three gateways and a prism, but banshees at home and in Neeb's base did enough to win the game for Maru. With that victory, Maru became the first player to advance to BlizzCon, doing so without dropping a map.
Zest and Serral then met to decide the winner of Group B in the final series of the day. Zest opened with a standard stargate into archon drop build and, despite losing one of his oracles, looked good in the early game as he found two big stasis wards on Serral's drone lines and scouted the finishing spire. Serral, though, never made any air units, instead adding a hydralisk den. Zest was completely caught off guard, having prepared heavily for mutalisks by adding a second stargate and cannons in all his bases. Serral's hydralisks and lurkers sieged Zest's third base. The fight began with big storms on Serral's army, allowing Zest to barely hold on to his base at the expense of nearly his entire army. Zest did well to survive Serral's continued pressure but had his fourth base denied multiple times. When he finally established it, his third was already thinning out while Serral was on an uninterrupted 5 base economy and had brood lords ready to attack the third base again. Zest continued to hold on with a mothership and Tempests, but not without slowly bleeding off important units. A final remax with hydras, corruptors, brood lords and roaches was enough to overwhelm the depleted Protoss army and take the game for Serral.
Zest again got off to a good start on the second map, pooling a few phoenixes and then finding a good number of overlords, drones and even a queen. Serral, having been caught off guard by the phoenix build, decided to put his faith in a mass roach/queen all-in that Zest failed to identify. His charge zealots and phoenixes could do nothing to save his third base and Serral took the series, advancing to BlizzCon unbeaten.
The WCS Global Finals continue on Saturday, featuring Stats, Has, Dark and ShoWTimE in Group C, and Classic, Nerchio, Rogue and SpeCial in Group D. Both groups will decide their winners, before all groups decide the remaining spots at BlizzCon on Sunday.