TY’s Within-Series and Cross-Series Planning

TY is known for his series planning, but his planning across multiple series is rarely mentioned. This article discusses how TY uses information the opponent has before a series to his advantage.

I’m going to focus on three TvP series TY played in GSL this year.

  • Vs. PartinG – 2020 GSL Season 1 semi-final
  • Vs. PartinG – 2020 GSL Season 2 quarter-final
  • Vs. Stats – 2020 GSL Season 2 semi-final

I will highlight how each series is linked to the next. Just to be clear, what I wrote is just my speculation, and I’ve no confirmation from TY.

Vs. PartinG – 2020 GSL Season 1 semi-final

This series illustrates TY’s good series planning by utilising games of other players and map sequence. TY used the same early wall off opening in both game 1 and 2. The purpose of the early wall off is to deny Protoss from scouting the main. Terran virtually can do anything, and there is no way for Protoss to know what it is without a later scout with tech units (e.g., Oracle or Sentry). Both INnoVation and Bunny used the same early wall off opening in Ro8 and Ro16 respectively, so these games provided the background information for PartinG. INnoVation used a 1-1-1 all-in and Bunny built a second Command Centre. In game 1, TY used a proxy second Barracks Marauders, and PartinG was caught off guard. When PartinG scouted the same early wall off opening in game 2, he had to consider these three possible builds he had seen. He reacted by getting more units and building multiple Shield Battery at the natural ramp. This makes sense, as this is good against proxy Marauder and 1-1-1 all-in. If TY were to expand, the inefficiency with lifting the Command Centre (because it would not built on location) would cancel out the deficit of the Shield Battery investment. However, in game 2, TY did a one base Hellion drop at the blind spot of PartinG’s main base. This does not just show TY considers map sequence in series planning, it also shows how he picks a build that best take advantage of what PartinG would expect.

Vs. PartinG – 2020 GSL Season 2 quarter-final

TY met PartinG again in season 2. PartinG had shown that he likes to be aggressive in his series against TY in season 1 and his games prior to this series. In the season 1 series, PartinG showed how deadly he was with the two base four Gateways Blink Stalkers. He also likes to use proxy Gateway (first or second Gateway) to deny Terran’s fast expansion. Notably, one day before this series, PartinG proxy his first Gateway at Maru’s natural in the War Chest Team League. Maru was forced to cancel his Command Centre. With this aggressive tendency in mind, TY used one base builds in all four games of the series. Proxy Gateway does not work well against one base builds, and PartinG’s famous two base four Gateways Blink build hits later than one base builds. This indirectly nullifies PartinG’s strength.

TY built an Engineering Bay at PartinG’s natural to prevent him from expanding in two games. This is a good move for one base builds for two reasons. First, Terran would bank up mineral if you just tech up 1-1-1 without expanding. If Terran is going for an all-in with as many units as possible, then a second Barracks is a good option (e.g., INnoVation’s one base 1-1-1 mentioned earlier). If not, the Engineering Bay is a good way to spend the mineral. Second, if Protoss does not want to delay his expansion (i.e., wait for Zealot to clear the Engineering Bay), he can build his Nexus at the third location. This then enlarges the area Protoss has to defend for the one base build. Anyway, TY specifically mentioned about this one base build style in his review video (see vod below – with subtitle). He said that:

“This Engineering Bay block is overpowered. This has no counter. You deny your opponent from taking a quick expansion… I think this concept is quite good. But essentially no one has been utilising it prior to today. I think such builds will be trending in the future.”

Vs. Stats – 2020 GSL Season 2 semi-final

Do you think Stats watch TY’s review video and know about his comment about the Engineering Bay block and one base build? I’m sure Stats studied TY’s games for his preparation, so I believe Stats was aware of this specific build. However, as I had mentioned earlier, the one base builds are good against PartinG, because PartinG loves aggressive builds. I don’t think one base builds would be as effective against Stats, who is known to be a defensive Protoss player. I would not have expected TY to go for the Engineering Bay block and one base build.

Contrary to my expectation, TY pulled out the Engineering Bay block in the first game and defeated Stats convincingly. In Stats’ mind, he might be convinced that TY truly believed this is the new way to play against Protoss, and it was not meant to take advantage of PartinG’s preference. In game 2, after painting a certain picture in Stats’ mind, TY then did the opposite by taking a fast third Command Centre.

In game 3, TY did the same early wall off opening in Golden Wall. It is worth noting that this is the map that TY tricked PartinG in the semi-final of season 1, whereby he dropped at PartinG’s main base instead of attacking from the front. In the actual game, TY built two proxy Barracks for a three Barracks Marine all-in. The key takeaway is that they are not just different builds, but these two builds require very different reactions from Protoss. Although TY lost the series, you can tell how he used games from his earlier series in his series planning.

I may be overthinking about the connections across different series, but I think the planning is brilliant.

Shout out to Dustin for the Code-S support on Patreon!

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