Maru began the first series the same way he had most of his TvP matches—with a proxy. sOs, anticipating this, scouted after his first pylon and immediately sniffed out the danger. He put a pylon in Maru's wall, preventing the full building block and squeezing in his first adept and disrupting Maru's economy while defending the cyclones with two stalkers and a shield battery while teching to blink and a robotics facility on one base. Maru's widow mine drop was shot out of the sky and did no damage at all, before his liberator met the same fate moments later. A widow mine drop did then kill 12 probes, but not before sOs had gathered his forces and prepared to blink into Maru's main base. He killed the few cyclones and marines and began going to town on the SCVs, and Maru tapped out.
Lost and Found became even crazier as sOs opened with a cannon rush against Maru's proxy. The Terran was forced to abandon his main base, taking the fourth base instead. This allowed sOs to establish a gateway in the main base, on the high ground above Maru's new base. He used this to get aggressive with a 1-base 4gate, attacking the mineral line with stalkers while poking at the 'front' of Maru's base. The Terran was again forced to lift the command center, but tapped out before it ever landed again and sOs quickly found himself on match point.
The Protoss again scouted early on Dreamcatcher and again found Maru proxying. The same pylon in the wall allowed his first adept to kill 4 SCVs while sOs again got blink and a robotics facility at home and then took the gold base. Maru, having scouted the base, moved out to pressure it, but sOs read him like a book. With observers in position to help against Maru's banshees, the Protoss defended the gold base with the help of a probe pull, and as charge and additional gateways finished sOs stormed into Maru's natural, taking out his siege tanks and warping units directly into the main base. Maru had nothing left and conceded, sending sOs to the semifinals of yet another BlizzCon.
Stats and SpeCial met in the second quarterfinal. The Terran actually put his first barracks in his main base on Lost and Found, opening with a regular reaper expand, but then proxying a starport for banshees while Stats opted for blink, a robotics facility and quick third base followed by charge and double upgrades. SpeCial's banshee only found 2 probe kills, but his small army of marines, cyclones and tanks was able to snipe Stats' third base. The Protoss cleaned up the Terran army and double expanded, then moved out for a 2/2 timing attack. SpeCial defended the attack with a small SCV pull and found himself 30 supply ahead. He continued to find good trades, but Stats' economy went largely uncontested and eventually the Protoss got painful zealot harassment in to force the Terran back, allowing Stats to again set up an attacking position on SpeCial's fourth base with 3/3. The attack was defended again, but SpeCial this time found himself significantly down in workers on a Protoss on five bases. Realizing that big army engagements would now decide the game, Stats added disruptors to his army. Using a small fight near his third base to distract SpeCial, Stats' main army killed the Terran's fourth base and a short basetrade began. With dark templars, disruptors and defensive warpins, Stats was able to chip away at SpeCial's army before recalling right on top of it to win the basetrade and with it the game.
SpeCial proxied his barracks near his own base on Para Site, with Stats quickly identifying the proxy and responding with a proxy stargate. The oracle only killed three SCVs while Stats poked at the Terran's natural, scouting the lack of an expansion there. SpeCial finally moved out to destroy the stargate, but had a lot of his army caught by a stasis ward, while Stats' warped in stalkers took effective trades against the rest of his units. Despite the lack of tech at home, the constant little fights favored Stats who had expanded in the meantime, while SpeCial was forced to keep a lot of SCVs with his cyclones. Stats had to pull all his natural probes to hold SpeCial's eventual cyclone/SCV attack, but he did hold and found himself with complete freedom afterwards, which he used to add a third base, charge after blink, and two forges. He poked at the front with a handful of stalkers and an immortal and, as he saw only three defensive units, he jumped on top of them and what may have been just a little poke quickly turned into a game-winning push. As a warp prism arrived and SpeCial saw additional units warping in, he GG'd.
Blueshift saw a reaper proxy from SpeCial, combined with an engineering bay block in Stats' natural. The Protoss responded with another proxy stargate, but this time the reaper scouted the proxy early on, allowing SpeCial to ward off the oracle with no damage taken. The Terran built up towards an attack with cyclones, landed vikings, widow mines and SCVs. Even though Stats was able to stall the push he couldn't hold on to his natural and, as SpeCial was still mining enough at home despite losing 15 SCVs to oracles, tapped out shortly after.
The Terran again chose a proxy on Acid Plant, this time including a factory for cyclones. Stats again responded with a proxy stargate but SpeCial had anticipated this with an engineering bay and missile turret in his mineral line. SpeCial's cyclones then took out the stargate while Stats chased away the factory. SpeCial, in the meantime, hid a starport for banshees in the top right before a stalker found it. SpeCial instead got a raven and left with the starport while Stats expanded and added a quick robotics bay for disruptors and denied the Terran natural for a long time. Both players settled into a slower game after SpeCial claimed his natural, and the Terran pulled ahead economically as Stats first added to his tech and army before expanding again. Both players fell back on harassment and positional pokes while they rounded out their army compositions. A small trade went in favor of SpeCial who sniped Stats' fourth base and natural while Stats only forced the Terran third to lift off. But with 3/3 upgrades and splash damage through storms and disruptors, Stats became increasingly confident in his army and began posturing more and more aggressively. He split his army in two, with the left flank pressuring the third base while the other threatened SpeCial's fourth. He found good trades for a few minutes, allowing him to re-establish his economy in the background. SpeCial felt the grip tightening and moved out to attack Stats' fourth base again, but Stats immediately seized the opportunity to charge into two of SpeCial's bases at the same time, destroying the third and fourth and eliminating 35 SCVs. Stats quickly found himself at nearly double the supply of SpeCial and cut the Terran off from his main base. Eventually SpeCial was forced to try and break the siege, but ran into storms and disruptors, forcing him to concede the game and the series.
Both players opted for economic openings to start the third series, with TY even choosing a fast third command center. Rogue made the first strategic decision of the game, pumping out roaches and ravagers for a maxed out midgame attack with double upgrades. As the attack began, TY had a double drop hitting Rogue’s main and both players found themselves equal in supply when the dust settled. TY, having defended his third base and continued his upgrades, found himself a good bit ahead and closed the game out with his maxed out bio/tank army shortly after.
Dreamcatcher saw the openings completely flipped. TY chose a proxy 2rax, Rogue threw down a pool first. Identifying the proxy early on, Rogue immediately responded with a roach warren and allowed TY to complete his bunkers and destroy his natural hatchery, but killed all of TY’s units for it. This allowed Rogue to simply walk across the map and finish TY off with his counterattack.
Despite the loss on Dreamcatcher, TY again attempted the double proxy—only to run into the same pool first opening from Rogue. This time Rogue’s hatchery stayed alive easily as zerglings and drones never even let marines enter the bunker. TY’s marines were then caught on the map by Rogue’s zerglings, but a hellion was built at home in time to ward Rogue’s units off. With both players settling into the midgame, Rogue found himself on a safe third base and 12 workers ahead. He turned that economic lead into a roach/queen attack that TY could not stop.
Lost and Found saw another proxy from TY, this time ‘just’ a reaper, followed by an expansion and even another quick third command center. Rogue, though, had opened with a very early third base of his own and quickly found himself 20 workers ahead. This time he chose melee upgrades, a baneling nest, and put down a spire. TY hit the fourth base just as mutalisks came out and was able to take it down with his bio units and tanks. Another push from TY took out Rogue’s fifth base as the Terran added multiple command centers at home and cemented his economic lead. A bloodbath of a game ensued as TY constantly shut down Rogue’s outlying expansions, but the Zerg hung on with brood lords and vipers at home and hit back at TY with his mutalisk flock and consistent runbys with zerglings and banelings. TY finally transitioned to his own lategame army of ghosts, liberators and vikings. Rogue finally pulled the trigger and attacked into his army, taking a good fight and pushing forward towards TY’s production. Meanwhile, though, a triple drop from TY destroyed most of Rogue’s remaining bases at home, putting the Zerg all-in. With the help of a raven and liberators, TY finally cleaned up Rogue’s air army and won the game.
On the final map, Acid Plant, TY went back to the proxy 2rax that had already failed him twice. He did kill the natural hatchery, but Rogue responded with an early third base that TY only scouted as zerglings cleared out the natural. The Zerg found himself ahead in workers again, even after TY’s hellions found 9 drone kills. TY, putting his tournament life on the line, pulled most of his SCVs with a bio/tank attack. The attack killed a base, but at too high a cost. Down to only 22 SCVs against Rogue’s 54, and with his army shattered, TY’s only option was to rebuild slowly, but this also allowed Rogue time to do the same much more quickly. And even though TY found good harassment with his drops, he could not hold on against Rogue’s maxed out roach/ravager attack with 2/2 upgrades. Rogue collapsed on the Terran army to take the series and advance to the semifinals.
Serral, unbeaten in the tournament so far, met Dark in the final series of the day. On Lost and Found, the Korean Zerg opened with triply hatchery before spawning pool, giving him a very slight economic edge, but it was Serral who called the shots from there. Scouting Dark's base with zerglings early on, Serral could comfortably tech up to a spire. Dark, who proxied his own spire, was forced into corruptors as a response. Serral's melee upgrades allowed him to dart into mineral lines with zerglings and mutalisks, even sniping the third base of Dark. This prompted a counterattack of corruptors and roaches, but Serral's mutalisks were able to overwhelm Dark's air army and eventually chased down all the roaches as well. The two players came out with equal worker supply, but Serral's mutalisk tech still posed a significant problem for Dark whose only choice was to rebuild his corruptor count. Serral simply engaged the corruptors with his mutalisks, chased them away and then sniped roaches on the ground, allowing his zerglings to ravage Dark's economy again. Eventually the Korean ran out of steam as his roaches couldn't find the damage necessary to slow Serral down anymore and the mutalisks finally eliminated the remaining corruptors. Dark tapped out as his roaches ran into Serral's defenses and were met with death.
Both Zergs chose standard hatchery first openings on Cerulean Fall, but Dark skipped zergling speed, instead rushing up to a lair and roach warren, then putting down a nydus worm. Serral, on three bases, handled the nydus worm easily. Pulling drones in his natural and sniping the nydus worm with zerglings, he cleaned up Dark's army. The Korean threw down a spire, but Serral was already getting overlord speed to pull his overlords back while he built up his queen count at home. The mutalisks at least allowed Dark to catch up in the game by keeping Serral pinned back, but the Finn was already transitioning to lurkers. Dark maxed out on a roach/ravager army, but his attack was repelled by Serral's stronger army of roaches, hydralisks and lurkers. A long positional battle ensued, with both players' armies looking increasingly similar as Dark added his own lurkers and hydralisks. Serral was the one who finally found the right position, cutting Dark off from his fifth base, destroying the hatchery and even pushing in to snipe the fourth too. This maneuver carved out a 40 supply lead for Serral who, from there, built up a bank while Dark struggled to hang on. After a few small skirmishes with vipers abducting vipers, Serral finally pulled the trigger and pushed into Dark who couldn't hold on any longer.
Acid Plant saw standard openings from both players. Serral came out of small ling skirmishes 10 drones ahead, but both players settled into a calmer game from there. Dark chose a spire as his midgame tech, while Serral added double upgrades and a hydralisk den. Dark's mutalisks found very little damage, and a followup roach/ravager attack from Dark was met by Serral's defensive lurkers. It was the Finn who controlled the game from here, constantly harassing Dark's mineral lines with burrowed roaches and lurkers while his main army poked the front and kept trading with Dark's. Serral's constant aggression wore Dark down and as Serral dove into Dark's fourth base with roaches, hydralisks and lurkers, Dark was almost 100 supply down and had to admit defeat, sending Serral to the semifinals.
The Global Finals will conclude on Saturday, with one of sOs, Stats, Rogue, or Serral ultimately crowned the 2018 WCS World Champion.