TvT: Review of the 2020 GSL Season 3 Finals

The GSL final between TY and Maru last week was one of the best finals I have watched. This post discusses some noteworthy points of the series.

Two weeks before the final, I would bet TY to take it, because he is the best TvT player. But Maru’s convincing victory against Cure, INnoVation, and Clem before the GSL final got me to reconsider my stance.

Game 1: Eternal Empire

TY: 16 Barracks 16 Refinery Reaper fast expand

Maru: Proxy two Barracks Reapers

TY’s worker scouting path was interesting. Normally, you send your worker across the map to confirm opponent’s opening, so you could make some minor adjustments accordingly in the mirror match up. TY sent his worker to the common proxy locations first and scouted the proxy Barracks. While one could argue that this is an anti-Maru scouting choice, Maru in fact does not proxy Barracks nowadays as often as he used to. More importantly, TY’s choice suggests he was not planning to cut corners based on the opening match up, and he planned to be defensive in the opening phase anyway. TY’s 16 Barracks 16 Refinery fast expand opening would already require him to be defensive early on unless it is a mirror opening. The only reason he would diverge from his plan was to react to proxy openings, so this is in line with his scouting path. TY did the standard reaction by cancelling the Command Centre and build Bunkers.

Maru stopped Reaper production at four, as he knew TY had scouted the Barracks. Even though I know Maru is great with proxy Reapers, the amount of damage he did with the four Reapers still impressed me. The game proceeded normally with the proxy player behind in tech slightly. TY knew that there was a window for cloak Banshee to deal damage, as he was ahead in tech. The relative timing of the Starport is a key criteria in determining the attacker versus defender dynamic in TvT even before Legacy of the Void. TY did not commit to it as Maru had scouted it.

Both players added a second Factory after they had reached the 1-1-1 with three Command Centres convergent point. I disagree with the convenient conclusion that both players were going for mech. Maru was essentially using the double Factory Mag-Field Accelerator Cyclones build, which is quite popular on this map. Thus, Maru’s set up indeed suggested he was going for mech. In contrast, TY’s second Factory was not a transition to mech, but it was a lesser known build order sequence to increase Siege Tank numbers at the expense of later Stim research. This is something developed by TY and SpeCial for Thunderbird (see vod below). One common feature of Thunderbird and Eternal Empire is the ease of defending three bases, and this justifies this unorthodox 1-2-1 set up. Of course, one could argue that TY might in fact indeed planned to go for mech, but he only changed it up because Maru dropped a scan right after he put down the second Factory. Although this is plausible, I believe the Viking production and lack of Mag-Field Accelerator are consistent with my conjecture.

Maru’s bio switch was the highlight of this game. TY also reacted by building Reactors on his Barracks instead, because Marauders are bad in bio mirror. Since TY was using bio already, he was the attacker in the mid game by default. He did well by delaying Maru from securing more bases with his aggressive positioning. TY’s better economy allowed him to transition to Ravens for the late earlier than Maru, However, as explained in the last article, air control is a prerequisite of Raven transition. I would argue that TY’s Raven transition at this time was a key factor for his inability to hold Maru’s push, which ended the game eventually.

Game 2: Ice and Chrome

TY: 16 Barracks 16 Refinery 17 Refinery expand

Maru: Double Barracks in base

Maru’s opening choice seems strange. Double Barracks in base is good against proxy Barracks Reaper, and Time used this to blind counter Maru’s famous proxy Barracks in 2019 (see vod below; game 1, 3, 4, and 5). I think this opening is inferior against other mainstream openings, so I guess Maru might have expected TY to proxy on this map.

TY was using the new double Refinery expand opening (16-17 gas instead of 15-17 gas), and he knew Maru’s opening based on Maru’s Reaper count. His decision to go for cloak Banshee was spot on, because Maru’s tech was later than TY’s. Moreover, a two Barracks in base opening often goes straight into 2-1-1 Stim timing with two Medivac, and such transition would have a hard time dealing with cloak Banshee. This worked out well for TY.

TY had air control and managed to get his Siege Tanks at a good location to attack Maru’s fourth. This put TY in a better spot for a long time due to the resource gathering difference. For the rest of the game, the pressure was on Maru to break that, and TY piled up the pressure really well. The rest of the game was a battle for positioning and attacking opponent’s weakest places. This game demonstrated the power of Raven in high level Terran mirror matches.

Game 3: Submarine

TY: 16 Barracks 16 Refinery fast expand

Maru: 16 Barracks 16 Refinery 17 Refinery expand

I was surprised that TY did not worker scout with this opening. He would have lost the game if Maru proxy Barracks Reapers. His decision was particularly strange when you considered his scouting in game 1.

Maru did not go for a Medivac as the first Starport unit like he did in recent games. TY’s attack with Medivac triggered Maru to make a push. This is because Maru’s opening already put him ahead in tech slightly, and TY’s investment in Medivac suggested that TY did not have the tech units to deal with a push (e.g., Vikings and Ravens). How both players go back and forth with their pushes was a joy to watch. At 8:30, TY sort of threw away his Ravens needlessly, but Maru then made the mistake to send all his Vikings to chase that Raven to the bottom of the map. This allowed TY to get into a good position, and that was a killing blow. TY also had better building position in his main base than Maru.

Game 4: Deathaura

TY: 16 Barracks 16 Refinery fast expand

Maru: 16 Barracks 16 Refinery 17 Refinery expand

Using the same fast expand opening, TY scouted the proxy locations again. Maru did the Widow Mine with Medivac build that is discussed here. The game proceeded smoothly to mid game with the standard set up. I was surprised that both players didn’t go for the typical Ravens and Vikings, and instead opt for Medivacs. I don’t have an explanation for this.

TY added two more Starport to transition to Ravens earlier than Maru. One interesting difference is the Armory upgrade choice, whereby Maru went for the normal mech attack but TY went for mech/air armor. This later made sense, because TY cut Siege Tanks and went for Battlecruisers early. It is strange that TY only had +1 attack for air when he invested so much in Battlecruisers. This could be a mistake. Let me know in the comment if there is a good reason for this.

Both sides did so well with multitasking. TY’s decision to teleport all the Battlecruisers to Maru’s base at 23:15 was probably the mistake that tilted the balance of the game. This is such a nice game.

Game 5: Golden Wall

TY: 15 Refinery 16 Barracks fast tech

Maru: 16 Barracks 18 Refinery fast expand

Both used unorthodox openings, but they make sense on Golden Wall. It is a map where you don’t know whether the opponent expands or tech behind the wall off at the main ramp. On other maps, you know it is an expansion as the Command Centre would have to fly to the natural location. On this map, when you don’t see the Command Centre, you are not sure whether the opponent simply didn’t expand or just expand at the bottom.

Maru’s early push was not as strong as it looked, because the Siege Tanks could only do so much in that position. Maru did not expect TY’s Banshee, and the Banshees were the perfect counter to what Maru was doing. After the base trade, TY did not have a Factory but had more Barracks. It is difficult for either player to know where he stood after the mess. If Maru knew TY could only make Marines (and Starport units), he might decide to be defensive rather than loading up Marines and Siege Tanks to attack. Without the Siege Tanks at the right positions, Maru had no chance against the superior Marine count.

Game 6: Pillars of gold

TY: 16 Barracks 16 Refinery 17 Refinery expand

Maru: 16 Barracks 16 Refinery 17 Refinery expand

This is the only game that both players used the same opening. Maru went straight to Cyclone, while TY went for Widow Mine (then Medivac). Maru scouted the Medivac with his Reaper, and he reacted by getting a Viking before the standard Raven. Consequently, TY did not send his Medivac across. Maru made quite a number of mistakes that normally would not occur in games of this level. He scanned his mineral instead of dropping a Mule, and he also was supply blocked without being distracted.

Maru went for the standard build up with the third Command Centre, while TY switched things up to get the second Barracks for Stim. This suggested that Maru wanted to hit a timing like you normally do in the past with 3-1-1 before third Command Centre. This was scouted by Maru, and he correctly decided not to land his third Command Centre.

The turning point was Maru’s decision to attack with a big push at 8:30. The decision made sense, because Maru killed a group of TY’s army. However, Maru’s earlier macro mistakes and his later mining at the third (only mining four gas) resulted in him overestimating his army advantage. You normally don’t see Terran players do such push in a mirror, because you leave yourself vulnerable to drops. That was exactly what happened. TY hanged up to the lead until the game was over.

Shout out to Marc and Filemon for the repeated contribution! Thanks for the Patreon, Martin.


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2 thoughts on “TvT: Review of the 2020 GSL Season 3 Finals

  1. TY posted a video review for the games and in the mass BC game he said(according to a translator in the comments) that he had forgotten the air weapons upgrades and thought he already had them

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