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Code S RO16: Maru & Dream advance to RO8

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Maru marched one step closer to winning a fifth GSL Code S title, dispatching his round-of-sixteen opponents in Group B to advance in first place. After flexing his late-game TvZ prowess against Solar, Maru fought off a spirited challenge from Dream in the winners match to secure his first place finish.

While Maru taking first place was a largely expected outcome, the second place race delivered a surprise as Dream took two series off of Cure to secure a playoff berth. Proxy-Barracks shenanigans were rampant in the matches—Dream even managed to win his initial match against Cure in under seven minutes of total game time.

After the matches, TY appeared to give his final sign-off as the color commentator on the Korean stream. JYP is set to return to his old seat, having recently completed his military service (TY had originally joined the commentary desk as JYP’s replacement).

Code S will continue on Monday, Apr 12 9:30am GMT (GMT+00:00) with Group C of the round-of-sixteen, featuring Rogue, Zoun, INnoVation, and Dark.

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Match Recaps

Initial Match #1: Maru vs Solar

Game 1 – Deathaura: Maru opened with blue-flame Hellions from two Factories, successfully masking the build and nabbing a few Drone kills as a result. Maru followed-up by attacking with Hellbats, following up again with Drilling Claw Mine drops. While Maru was unable to do any game ending damage, he succeeded in keeping Solar pinned down on his side of the map. Meanwhile, Maru’s growth was almost completely unhindered, and the Team NV ace set himself up beautifully for his preferred, half-map-split style of play.

But instead of suffering a slow and painful death, Solar found a way to break through his opponent’s turtle stance. As Maru looked to secure his rich-Vespene expansion, Solar launched a beautiful enveloping maneuver with Lurker, Banelings, and Vipers. The attack took out two Terran expansions, and set Maru scrambling to reestablish his defensive lines. Solar didn’t give Maru the time he needed to recover, finding the weak spots in Maru’s stretched-out defense line and attacking with more waves of Zerg. Maru was unable to fully stabilize and eventually GG’d to Solar’s relentless attacks.

Game 2 – Romanticide: Despite sending out an Overlord to look specifically for proxies, Solar just barely missed discovering Maru’s 2-Rax cheese. Still, Solar managed to pull off a good initial defense, using his Drones to prevent a Bunker from going up and chasing off the Marines. However, Solar let his guard down too soon, and paid the price for cancelling a Spine Crawler when Maru launched an off-tempo attack with more Marines. Maru microed his way to a great trade against Solar’s Queens and Lings, putting himself ahead in the low-econ game.

Maru then applied more pressure with Hellbats and Banshees, keeping Solar on his toes and preventing him from droning up. When Maru finally brought Tanks and Stimmed Marines for a dedicated push, Solar simply didn’t have the army or economy to handle it and tapped out.

Game 3 – Pillars of Gold: Solar finally got off to a good start in the series, establishing a strong economy after shutting down Maru’s attempts to harass with Hellbats and Banshees. Predictably, Maru went into super-turtle mode (which he may have done anyway off a good start), leaving Solar to spread Creep and take expansions unopposed.

Perhaps due to the loss on Deathaura, Maru played his turtle-style even more patiently than usual, sticking to five bases for as long as possible before trying to extend his defensive line to take additional bases. This seemed to work out for the most part, with Solar’s Lurker-Viper-Baneling swarms unable to find the same kind of game-winning opening as on Deathaura.

Despite playing excruciatingly slowly and ceding map control to Solar for most of the game, Maru seemed to have his win condition firmly in mind: Don’t let Solar take any of the expansions on the Terran half of the map. Maru cautiously pressed forward when Solar tried to ‘steal’ expansions, and ultimately succeeded in maintaining the 50/50 balance of expansion control. Slowly but surely, this put Solar on a timer. As the resources on his side of the map were drying up, he couldn’t find a way to take any engagements that didn’t put him at a terrible resources-lost deficit. When Solar tech-swapped to Brood Lords and Infestors, Maru simply added Thors and Vikings to his composition to continue the standoff.

Maru stayed fully committed to his turtling approach, refusing to move out even after Solar had mined out all of the expansions on his half of the map. Eventually, Solar had no choice but to dive directly into the teeth of the Terran defense, something Maru had been waiting for all along. Superior spellcaster usage helped Maru take a decisive victory, sealing his 2-1 series win.

Initial Match #2: Cure vs Dream

Game 1 – Deathaura: Cure went for a full 1/1/1 proxy build while Dream built one Barracks in his main and a second one out on the map. Cure’s decision to go for a Reactor on his Barracks resulted in him getting completely destroyed in build order rock-paper-scissors, with Dream’s 2-Rax Reapers entering Cure’s completely undefended main to take a three minute win.

Game 2 – Lightshade: Both players sent out SCVs early to proxy again, which resulted in them meeting briefly in the middle of the map before going on to carry out their cheesy plans. Once again, Dream got the build order advantage of 2-Rax Reaper versus 1-Rax 1-Factory, netting him another free win.

Winners’ Match: Maru vs Dream

Game 1 – Pillars of Gold: A normal-ish TvT was finally played, with Maru going for Medivac-Tank harass while Dream played a defensive Cyclone build. Maru’s superior micro allowed him to win a skirmish at Dream’s ramp and place his Tank in a painful position for Dream, killing off a Reactor and forcing a Barracks float. Dream seemed to pay Maru back by sneaking a Raven into Maru’s territory, killing off a decent number of SCVs with autoturrets. However, it ended up being an unwise use of energy, as Maru would soon launch a frontal attack with a handful of Tanks and two of his own Ravens. Maru’s autoturrets ended up playing a crucial role in the fight, allowing him to crush Dream’s army and force the GG.

Game 2 – Jagannatha: Proxy Reaper tomfoolery resumed in game two, with both players building one Barracks in their mains while proxying their second Barracks out on the map. A mutual test of multi-tasking ensued, with both players trying to harass and defend against harassment at the same time. The skirmishing went surprisingly evenly early on, with neither player taking a meaningful advantage in army or worker count.

The game ended up being decided by the two players’ choice in follow-ups. Dream continued to crank out Reapers while looking to double expand behind it. On the other hand, Maru only made a single additional Command Center while looking to transition out of Reapers and go up to Starport tech. Dream’s superior squad of Reapers hit Maru when he was weakest, just as he started adding Hellions to his army. Dream took out a ton of SCVs before Hellions could clean up the Reapers, leaping ahead with an enormous advantage. Instead of trying to vainly play the game out, Maru cynically conceded defeat after scanning Dream and realizing how far ahead his opponent was.

Game 3 – Oxide: Both players went for Tank-Medivac openers, with the opposing Medivacs briefly meeting up in the middle of the map before continuing on their ways. Maru opted to drop his payload in Dream’s natural, forcing a float and halting SCV production for a while. On the other hand, Dream dropped Maru’s main, taking out a Reactor but not affecting Maru’s economy. This trade ultimately ended up working in Maru’s favor, as he took an economic lead. Maru jumped further ahead with his Banshee follow-up, sacrificing it to kill off a number of SCVs.

Feeling the need to get something done, Dream moved out with a force centered on 3 Tanks and 2 Ravens. However, Maru wasn’t lacking in Tanks or Ravens on his end and ended up crushing Dream’s troops with ease. Maru then counter-attacked to complete the 2-1 victory and stamp his playoff ticket.

Losers’ Match: Cure vs Solar

Game 1 – Romanticide: Cure went for a greedy double-expand build off a Reactor-Barracks, while Solar pulled off a successful blind counter with a 16 Pool before Hatchery. Solar’s initial six Zerglings arrived in a completely undefended Terran base, managing to kill a handful of SCVs and disrupt mining significantly. Seeing that Cure had gone for a risky double expand build, Solar followed up with a Roach-Ling all-in to get a quick victory.

Game 2 – Jagannatha: Cure opened up by going for Hellion-Banshee, getting a decent return of six Drone kills. Cure stayed on the offensive, attacking once he had a single Tank and a handful of Stim-upgraded Marines. This attack did a surprising amount of damage, with Cure’s Tank positioning and good micro allowing him to take a fantastic trade against Solar’s Zerglings and slow Banelings. Solar couldn’t replenish his defenses in time to handle the next wave of Terran invaders and GG’d out.

Game 3 – Pillars of Gold: Solar gambled on a 16 pool build again, this time against Cure’s Reaper expansion. Solar’s Zerglings managed to dodge the path of Cure’s first Reaper, and snuck into the Terran base to kill three SCVs and delay Cure’s expansion.

Cure decided to go for Hellion-Banshee play once more, but was unable to inflict any damage this time around. On the other hand, Solar went for a sneaky fast Spire, looking to catch Cure by surprise with Mutalisks. This tactic almost worked for Solar, but Cure’s Hellions just barely caught sight of Mutalisks flying across the map. This resulted in Solar barely doing any damage to Cure—an unenviable position for any Zerg who’s gone fast Mutas.

Once Cure had 1/1 infantry upgrades, he moved out with his Marines and Tanks to lay siege to Solar’s fourth base. Despite having later upgrades and a weaker army than he would have liked, Solar managed to survive and defend his fourth base against several waves of Terran attackers. However, Cure’s economy and production was continuing to grow unimpeded, while Solar was still left playing in catch-up mode. As is often the case in TvZ, the Zerg player just couldn’t survive the Terran’s inevitable 3/3 power spike, with Solar being overrun before his own 3/3 upgrades or Ultralisks could make an impact.

Decider Match: Cure vs Dream

Game 1 – Oxide: Dream continued the proxy wars, going for another 2-Rax proxy Reaper strategy. Even though Cure played a normal 1-Rax tech build this time around, Dream’s good Reaper micro managed to net him a decent number of unit and SCV kills. In any case, neither player gained a major advantage, leaving them to build up relatively passively for a while.

Dream decided to go on the offensive again once he had three Tanks and two Ravens, setting up a siege just outside of Cure’s base. Cure took the risk of splitting his forces up, going for a backdoor Marine drop while attempting to defend at home. This chaotic exchange ended up going in Dream’s favor, gaining an army lead at the cost of minor economic losses. While Dream couldn’t push into any of Cure’s bases, he was able to use his advantage to seize map control and place his Tanks in advanced positions on the map. And, more importantly, he was able to add Vikings to his army sooner and take control of the skies.

After some sporadic Marine skirmishes, Cure made a decisive move that would kick off the ending sequence of the game. Taking advantage of Dream’s forward position, he airlifted a large detachment of Marines behind enemy lines to attack some of Dream’s bases. This move caught Dream off guard, allowing Cure to kill off a large number of SCVs and take down some Command Centers. However, Dream wouldn’t give Cure any time to convert that economic advantage in an army advantage. Adding Liberators to his army, Dream finally set about ending the Tank standoff to push into Cure’s bases. Unfortunately for Cure, he couldn’t find an answer for Dream’s methodical Tank-Viking-LIberator advance. Eventually, he was forced to take a desperation fight into Dream’s entrenched army, after which he GG’d.

Game 2 – Pillars of Gold: Dream opened with 1-Tank 1-Medivac harassment while Cure opted for a fast Banshee instead. The two harassment tactics ended up being a wash, with both players able to kill six SCVs. Cure looked to get some further harassment done with his first Raven, but only really succeeded in wasting energy and giving Dream a window to push with his own Ravens and Tanks. However, Cure managed this difficult situation well, stalling Dream’s Tank push while sending a backdoor Marine drop to raze Dream’s third base. Then, after consolidating some defensive forces at home, Cure dislodged Dream’s encroaching tanks to take a solid lead.

Cure wasn’t in a position to finish Dream off, but managed to keep him semi-contained as both players looked to build up for the late-game. Cure’s initial advantage seemed to slip away as the arms race continued, with both players maxing out and building multiple Starports to make a late-game air transition. However, Dream’s decision to go to Battlecruisers ended up costing him against Cure’s choice of mass Ravens. When it came time to clash in a decisive battle, Cure’s superior Raven count allowed him to prevail and extract the GG from Dream.

Game 3 – Nautilus: Game three saw Dream take an advantage in terms of both build order and starting position luck. While Cure went for a Factory-before-CC build, Dream opened up with a Reaper expansion that gave him a slight economic edge. Furthermore, Dream spawned bottom-left while Cure started top-left, meaning Cure’s base was exposed to all sorts of harassment by air. Dream quickly capitalized on this, going for a Hellion drop and killing off a few SCVs. On the other hand, Cure couldn’t get anything done with his fast tech, with his Tank-Raven push getting stopped by a timely Bunker from Dream.

While Dream was in position to slowly snowball his lead, the game took a chaotic turn when the two Terran armies clashed in a mid-game fight. Cure’s Interference Matrixes made a much bigger impact than Dream’s turrets, allowing Cure to edge ahead in Tank count despite being behind in army supply overall. This was further exacerbated as Dream went for a big drop in Cure’s main, which ended up being another dubious exchange of Tanks for Marines.

With a considerable Tank advantage, Cure pushed forward to try and lay siege to Dream’s bases. Dream made the daring decision to respond by launching yet another big drop into Cure’s exposed main base. Caught in an awkward position between two bases, Cure decided to push on ahead and start a basetrade. Unfortunately for Cure, that race started with his Barracks being immediately camped by Dream’s Marines, while his own forces still had significant ground to cover before they could affect Dream’s production. Dream had more than enough troops to defend his main by the time Cure arrived, forcing the production-less Cure to GG out.

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Source: https://tl.net/forum/starcraft-2/571759-code-s-ro16-maru-and-dream-advance-to-ro8

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Zain wins Slippi Champions League S2 week four, first players qualify for Smash Summit 11

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The second season of the Slippi Champions League came to a close today, setting the stage for a return to offline Super Smash Bros. Melee competition at Smash Summit 11 in July. 

Zain Naghmi continued his dominant run from SCL Season One, winning two of the four weeks over the likes of Wizzrobe, Mang0, and iBDW, including the final week with a 3-0 bracket reset win over Mang0. 

Over four weeks, there were three different winners for SCL Season Two, with Mang0 winning week one, Wizzrobe took his first SCL division one win during week three, and Zain cleaned things up in weeks two and four. In the context of Smash Summit 11, only week four’s results were taken into account, with the top six players earning a spot at what could be the first big Melee LAN event in over a year. 

In order of placement from SCL season two week four, here are all six players that made the cut for the next Summit.

  • Zain
  • Mang0
  • SFAT
  • iBDW
  • Plup
  • moky

Zain, Mang0, and iBDW were the top three finishers from Smash Summit 10, so it is fitting that they are three of the first to earn a spot in the event. 

Additionally, both Leffen and aMSA received direct invites to Smash Summit 11 as the top players from their respective regions. This will be the first time either player has competed in a major Melee event outside of Europe and Japan respectively since Smash Summit Nine in early 2020. 

The remaining eight players attending the event will be decided in typical Summit fashion, with two qualifying through other events and six invited based on a crowdfunding campaign. 

More details about the crowdfunding contest will be shared soon, but the qualifier spots will be given to the winners of Rollback Rumble: The Big One and the player with the most points from the SAME Circuit, which is an EU event. 

Smash Summit 11 will run from July 15 to 18 at the Beyond The Summit studios in Los Angeles and is currently slated to be an offline competition, though that is still subject to change if anything unexpected happens. The event will be themed after the Olympics and more information will be released in the near future.

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Source: https://dotesports.com/fgc/news/zain-wins-slippi-champions-league-s2-week-four-first-players-qualify-for-smash-summit-11

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Triumph, TeamOne secure final cs_summit 8 closed qualifier spots

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Triumph and TeamOne have claimed victory in the second cs_summit 8 open qualifier, besting Third Impact and Imperial, respectively, to earn the final spots in the closed stage which will run from May-14-18 and offer four spots in the North American Regional Major Ranking (RMR) event.

After easing through the early stages of the bracket, Alan “⁠Shakezullah⁠” Hardeman‘s side faced strong contention from SKDC in the first best-of-three round, managing to narrowly secure a victory in two maps to meet Imperial for a spot in the closed stage.

The Brazilian roster had fallen early on in the previous qualifier, and despite mustering a better run this time around, they were unable to prevail over Triumph, who opened the series strong with a Mirage win before bouncing back from losing their map pick by edging out a 16-13 win on Nuke to advance.

Cooper was the highest-rated player for Triumph against Imperial

TeamOne, who suffered a similar fate to their countrymen in their last qualifier bid, were able to claim redemption for themselves as they fought past Party Astronauts in a three-map series, and wasted little time in securing their closed qualifier spot by trouncing Third Impact 16-5 on Inferno and Nuke in the ensuing round.

Four spots at cs_summit 8 will be up for grabs through the closed qualifier, which will also mark the return of Extra Salt and paiN to North America, as well as GODSENT‘s first appearance in the region after playing in Europe for the first portion of the year.

The complete team list for the closed qualifier consists of:

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Source: https://www.hltv.org/news/31723/triumph-teamone-secure-final-cs-summit-8-closed-qualifier-spots

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What does Rook’s armor do in Rainbow Six Siege?

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Rainbow Six Siege features a diverse cast of operators with different abilities and tools to help their team. Some are tedious and tough to master, while others provide excellent support and are easy to use. Rook, one of the original operators in Siege, is a perfect example of the latter. 

Rook’s armor plates provide an excellent boost to teammates that can make a difference in gunfights. But a lot of players aren’t familiar with what the plates actually do.

Rook can place a bag full of armor plates each round that he and his teammates can pick up. Players can only pick up one armor plate at a time and can grab a plate at any point during a round. 

The plates provide a 20-percent armor boost to the user without penalty, which is an incredible boost for a team. The plates also guarantee players will enter the down-but-not-out stage when damaged instead of instantly dying. But a headshot will still instantly kill a player even if they are wearing Rook’s armor. 

If a player is picked up by a teammate, they will lose the armor plate. But they can pick up another plate if there are plates available. Rook’s Armor Pack can be destroyed by enemies, so avoid waiting long to pick it up. Also, avoid shooting it, since friendly fire can also destroy the pack. 

Rook is an excellent choice for new players because he is available by default and his ability is easy to use. Just ping the armor pack to let your teammates know it is available, and they will have a slight advantage for the rest of the round.

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Source: https://dotesports.com/rainbow-6/news/what-does-rooks-armor-do-in-rainbow-six-siege

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TOTW 33 Predictions FIFA 21: Who’s Getting in?

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FIFA

FC Bayern Muenchen v Borussia Moenchengladbach - Bundesliga
FC Bayern Muenchen v Borussia Moenchengladbach – Bundesliga | Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

TOTW 33 predictions for FIFA 21 are coming in as fans prepare for yet another Wednesday content drop in Ultimate Team.

Team of the Week cards are more or less irrelevant at this point in the year for actual gameplay. Yes, they’re still required in Squad Building Challenges here and there, but fans are more concerned with what those particular SBCs are and which Team of the Season cards they’re working into their teams. Especially considering TOTS cards replaced TOTW items in FUT Champions rewards at the start of the promotion.

Still, expect EA Sports to eventually release a repeatable TOTW upgrade SBC at some point in the rest of the FUT cycle. Perhaps they’ll even make it 84+ overall.

Here are some favorites for TOTW 33 in FIFA 21:

Expect there to be a decent amount of Premier League players in this TOTW considering the PL TOTS squad just left packs. The headliner of the group should more than likely be Robert Lewandowski. Although, if the Bundesliga TOTS squad is next, he will miss out considering he’ll be featured in that promotion and there cannot be two special versions of him in packs at the same time. Same goes for Sancho.

TOTW 33 will be announced and released May 12 at 1 p.m. ET.

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Source: https://www.dbltap.com/posts/totw-33-predictions-fifa-21-who-s-getting-in-01f59j3fm19f?utm_source=RSS

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