After two action packed days of round of 16 matches, we finally reached the quarterfinal stage of Intel Extreme Masters Katowice. Did the Terrans keep dominating on day three? Find out in our game by game recap!
Trap vs. FanTaSy: Can Trap the Villain take out another Broodwar legend?
There are many amongst us that expected the first match of the quarterfinals to be Rain vs. Flash, but Trap and FanTaSy proved everybody wrong. The former managed to edge out Flash in a thrilling 3-2 series while FanTaSy completely crushed Rain in a 3-0 sweep on day one.
Trap switched up his play style compared to yesterdays matches, delivering a beautiful macro game to start of the quarterfinals against FanTaSy. His perfectly timed stalker blink upgrade allowed him to squash the early medivac drops by FanTaSy. The Terran responded by trying to stretch out Trap’s forces, pincer attacking to Protoss’ bases, but it all came down to the big army engagements in the middle of the map. And it were Trap’s overwhelming high templar numbers that shined, dropping devastating psi storms on FanTaSy’s vikings, which were not able to put a dent into Trap’s colossi, forcing a gg call by the Terran after 23 minutes.
Known for his amazing air unit control, Trap managed to predict FanTaSy’s defensive widow mine placement in game two, sending in units to trigger the mines while incontestably taking down workers with his oracles. The Terran did eventually manage to break free of the aggression, sending considerable forces to take down Trap’s third nexus. But he payed for the forced cancellation with his entire attacking force, due to Trap’s phoenixes reigning supreme in the air, taking out all medivacs, allowing the Protoss to go on the coutner offensive. With four colossi in tow and no vikings ready to face him, Trap continued his stellar play, taking a commanding 2-0 lead in the series.
We saw a change of pace from both players in game three. Trap opted for a warp prism on two bases while FanTaSy managed to get a way earlier third, amassing a big supply advantage early on. And after taking out one of Trap’s oracles mid map, he simply pushed his advantage, taking out Trap’s single colossus with a few vikings and quickly netting his first win of the series. 1-2 against FanTaSy!
Trap resorted to his signature oracle harass again to start off the game, picking off 2 SCVs. But FanTaSy’s marines managed to push them back and lead a first stimpack attack on Trap’s base, revealing that the Protoss again went for two bases. This time around, Trap’s strategy revolved around archons and phoenixes, but just like in game three, FanTaSy’s economy outperformed Trap by far, allowing the Terran to easily deal with a desperate archon push by Protoss, tying up the series at 2-2.
Day one and two each saw a quick 3-0 series to start the day, but the first quarterfinal went straight to five games. And what an up and down game to end the series! FanTaSy definately got off to a better start, frying a few probes with his hellions and accruing a worker advantage over the Protoss. But Trap invested into dark templars to equal things out, taking down tons of SCVs over the course of the game. Nonetheless, FanTaSy’s managed to cancel Trap’s third nexus not only once, but twice and looked to have the game well in hand, up until he lost multiple medivacs to the desperate Protoss, which completely changes to the tides of battle. With a sudden army advantage, Trap utilized his perfectly positioned colossi to strike the killing blow to the stunned Terran and advances to the semi finals!
Maru vs. Dark: The clash of titans!
It’s hard to pick a favorite quarterfinal match in this stacked bracket, but Maru vs. Dark may have been the most hyped up match of the round. Find out who gets to face to Trap in the semis!
As Snute said on the analyst panel before the game, TvZ matchups take off incredibly quickly and gathering intel is key. Unfortunately for Maru, he wasn’t able to acquire any meaningful scouting information at the beginning of the game and remained completely oblivious to Dark setting up a nydus network. And after reaching a high queen count, Dark managed to infiltrate Maru’s main, completely unseen by the Terran, rushing waves and waves of roaches and queens into his base, while also interrupting his third, taking game one in style! The Zerg gets a quick 1-0 lead in the series.
Game two didn’t start off well for Maru either, uncharacteristically losing a reaper to a queen while harassing. After shutting down further scouting attempts by Maru, Dark went all in on his economy, knowing that queens were enough to defend his base while spreading creep all over the map. The Terran did manage to keep the creep spread in check eventually, while pressuring Dark’s fourth into submission. But Dark avoided the heads up engagements, sending a counter attacking zergling force into Maru’s base which wreaked havoc to the SCVs, forcing the Terran’s main force back. But not quickly enough, as a further mutalisk attack on the natural went off completely uncontested, doing insane amounts of economical damage to Maru. After also taking down Maru’s planetary, the Terran tried his hands on a last effort frontal attack, which was met by an overwhelming number of banelings. Dark convincingly pushes Maru to the brink of elimination!
Who would have thought Maru, the potentially best Terran in the world, would be at the edge of getting eliminated 0-3 by Dark, the last Zerg hope of the tournament! With all the pressure on the Terran, he got off to a better start in game three, scouting out Dark’s roach warren, forcing the Zerg to adjust his initial strategy. While he had to change strategies early on, his creep spread was on point yet again, putting him a great position. And his investments into banelings and corruptors completely countered everything Maru threw at him, allowed him to go for a counter attack with huge numbers. But Maru was not done just. He not only pulled off an unlikely defense once, but also repelled an overwhelming ultralisk army shortly after. Even though he survived the onslaught, he called gg seconds after, knowing there was no way for him to come back into the game. Dark sweeps Maru 3-0!
herO vs. BByong: The king of Intel Extreme Masters takes on his teammate!
Both quarterfinal contestants are represented by CJ Entus and know each other really well. And even though herO has been the more successful in recent times, BByong did not look to back down from his teammate turned rival!
Educated. Blind. Counter. Even though herO denied BByong any scouting, the Terran was able to completely predict herO’s game plan, preparing for the inevitable dark templars without getting any intel on herO’s base. The fact that herO played four games versus Cure’s Terran in the round of 16 gave BByong all the information he needed, allowing him to take out herO’s third nexus twice and delivering the killing blow to his colossi shortly after. Game one goes to BByong!
After getting completely countered in game one, herO switched up his style for the rematch, sticking to a single base and rushing out blink stalkers. BByong did manage to catch wind of herO’s strategy thanks to great scouting, but took huge economic damage nonetheless. HerO’s blink stalkers went on to kill huge amounts of SCVs and after a short standoff also got rid of BByong marauders. With his last line of defense gone, BByong had to call gg. 1-1!
What a quick match three! No more smiling for herO, as BByong took the game right to him, setting up a bunker on the Protoss’ ramp, utterly undetected. Step by step, the Terran moved his bunkers closer and closer into herO’s base, who had no means to stop the incredibly early aggression. In the shortest game of the tournament, BByong blitzes herO within minutes and had the chance to eliminate the king himself from Intel Extreme Masters Katowice!
With herO on the ropes, BByong would not let up the pressure and force the Protoss into further mistakes in game four. A fairly straight forward marine and marauder push resulted in herO losing multiple sentries and his only defending stalker. Being on the back foot from the start, things went from bad to worse for herO who proceeded to lose a colossus during BByong’s following stimpack push. herO’s oracle accross the map did delay BByong’s third and the Protoss put up a great fight, repelling a huge drop by the Terran. But when both played decided to go for the game ending attack at the same time, BByong managed to take care of herO’s undefended base almost immediately, while the San Jose champion struggled to destroy BByong’s base and ultimately conceded in the face of adversity.
herO is eliminated from the Intel Extreme Masters World Championship and BByong goes on to the semi finals!
Zest vs. INoVation: Is Zest truly the best?
Our last quarterfinal match of the day saw Zest face in-form INoVation. Check out how the series panned out.
Zest was all over INoVation’s scouting attempts in game one, shutting down all reaver attempts and leaving the Terran completely in the dark about his own dark templar production. The templar would prove to be very effective, disrupting the economy in INoVation second base and containing the Terran to his side of the map. When he finally managed to venture out against Zest, the Protoss already had three colossi lined up. Even INoVation’s triple drop on all bases proved useless and Zest’s counter attack was unstoppable for the Terran, who took game one for himself!
Momentum on his side, Zest tried to keep INoVation on his toes in game two, choosing a one base blink strategy while getting great damage in INoVation’s base with the mothership core. But the Terran defended well against the stalker rush, taking down a big part Zest’s attacking force from the high ground. Feeling the pressure, Zests aggressively blinked into INoVation’s base, going after the workers, doing good economic damage, but his overall stalker losses were too great to recover from, bringing INoVation back into the series. 1-1!
Switching his approach again, Zest opted for a rare colossus drop which destroyed a lot of workers at INoVation’s second base, who was not ready for anything of the like. After both players lashed out against each others bases it was Zest who came out ahead, thanks to 13 worker kills over INoVation’s zero. The latter didn’t get the chance to go for a third and had no vikings to deal with the colossi. After the Terran’s all out attack failed, Zest’s swift counter attack brought the series back in favor of the Protoss!
Game four didn’t even last six minutes. Zest tried a proxy stargate stalker rush, which INoVation easily countered with missile turrets and a bunch of marines. All the while, INoVation’s reaper wreaked havoc against Zest’s probes, leading to an early gg!
INoVation brought the pressure in the all important game five, not giving Zest any chance to scout the map. Things looked grim for the Protoss, whose three colossi faced an overwhelming nine vikings. But to everyone’s and most notably INoVation’s surprise, Zest not only managed to survive the death ball by the Terran, but he managed to clear out the vikings completely while keeping enough of his own force alive in base. INoVation didn’t even wait for the counter attack and straight up bowed out of game five, sending Zest to the semi finals against BByong!
The VODs for all quarterfinal matches can be found on our Youtube playlist, which will be consistently updated throughout the day.
While the quarterfinals were a blast to watch, don’t forget that the semi finals are going live right now! Tune into the broadcast right here and find out who we’ll see the grand final tomorrow!