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GSL Code A Season 1 – Day 2 Preview (2021)

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by Poopi

While the results from day one of Code A were pretty predictable, day two promises to deliver more fierce competition. First, DongRaeGu will fight SpeCial yet another time in GSL since his return from military service, this time in a BO5. Then, Cure and ByuN will face off in the match of death from day two. And finally, RagnaroK will play the role of Code S gatekeeper versus Hurricane.

Match #1: DongRaeGu vs SpeCial

The first match of day two features DongRaeGu and SpeCial, who have frequently played competitive matches against each other since DongRaeGu came back from his military service in 2019 (despite their old school backgrounds, they did not face each other much before LotV).

On paper (Aligulac.com is digital but the English idioms haven’t catched up yet), one would think that SpeCial doesn’t really stand a chance. Since his return, DongRaeGu has defeated SpeCial in 8 matches and only lost 4 times for a combined map score of 18-11. In addition, DRG’s present best match-up seems to be ZvT, with his 2808 rating on Aligulac.com making him the fourth best ZvT player in Korea. In contrast SpeCial has a 2396 rating in TvZ—Aligulac ratings don’t tell the whole story, but such wide point gaps (especially between players in the same region) are a strong indicator of relative skill.

However, after further inspection, one can make a more qualitative case that there’s some hope for SpeCial. Out of these twelve prior encounters, four matches were substantially more important than the others: Code S Season 3 2019, Code S Season 1 2020, Code S Season 2 2020, and IEM Katowice 2020. In these matches, SpeCial went 2-2 in matches with a map score of 5-5: a perfect tie. We might interpret this to reaffirm what we already know about SpeCial: he can rise to the occasion in big events. SpeCial may have been overshadowed by other non-Korean players lately, but it was considered an incredible feat when he reached the BlizzCon semifinals in 2017 (defeating TY and Stats in the group stage), and beat Classic to reach the quarterfinals of BlizzCon 2018.

While there is hope for SpeCial, those BlizzCons are far in the past, and his recent TvZ form is not that great. A little bit of that clutch SpeCial showed up in the Super Tournament qualifiers two months ago, when he defeated Rogue to claim a main event spot. On the other hand, he recently dropped a BO3 series to Latin American player Erik, albeit in a small online cup.

Another close examination of the stats that gives SpeCial some hope is that DongRaeGu built up his high ZvT rating in the latter part of 2020. In 2021, DRG had more trouble in the match-up. His recent StayAt HomeStory Cup 3 performance was a mixed bag: he lost twice to souL, but he did sweep ByuN in a clean 3-0. On a more positive note, he narrowly beat TY—who is a big inspiration for SpeCial as well as his practice partner—by a 6-5 score.

DRG is clearly the favorite versus SpeCial, but the Mexican Terran is often able to be clutch in prestigious tournaments and he is a proven virtuoso of preparation. The opening match could end up being quite exciting.

Prediction: DongRaeGu 3 – 2 SpeCial

Match #2: Cure vs ByuN

This battle probably takes the cake as the most anticipated match of the night. Cure has quietly been destroying Terrans left and right in 2021, sporting a whopping 85%+ match win rate (23-4) with a similarly impressive 74% map win rate (62-22). Surprisingly, he actually attained his highest ever Aligulac rating in early March, peaking higher than in early 2020 when he was hailed as the next big thing after leaving Jin Air and flying solo—and that run ‘only’ ended in a second place Code S finish. Some 200 Aligulac rating points separate Cure and ByuN in TvT—hardly an insurmountable gap, but nothing to look past either.

After reading Cure’s bit, you might be a bit worried for our Terran Horseman ByuN. But, as with SpeCial and DRG, some of the detailed history between the two players reveals another side of the story. Let’s get back to Cure’s match history to learn a bit more about the only four TvT matches he lost in 2021. The only Terrans that managed to beat him this year were Clem, INnoVation, and ByuN—twice. “Beat” is quite an understatement in the case of ByuN, since he destroyed Cure 4-0 in ITaX Trovo Series #7 and 4-1 in OlimoLeague 2021 January Monthly Finals—though Cure got him back with a 2-0 win in a more recent ITaX event.. Let’s also look even further into the past, when ByuN had just returned from military service. He surpassed all expectations and beat Cure 2-0 the Code S Season 3 qualifier to earn an immediate return to the GSL, which eventually helped him qualify for IEM Katowice. Overall, ByuN is 8-4 in matches against Cure since his return from the military, and has won all their meetings in ‘major’ events.

While Aligulac only gives ByuN around a 30% chance to win, this Code A match will probably end up being a fierce battle between two Code S-worthy Terrans. This is could be a case where mathematical formulas don’t tell the whole tale—TL.net Liquibetters are favoring ByuN thus far (some inside info from the editor). Even though ByuN runs the risk of having his wrist issues flare up once more in the GSL studio, I believe in his ability to get past this challenge and reach Code S.

Prediction: ByuN 3 – 1 Cure

Match #3: RagnaroK vs Hurricane

ZvP has been a volatile match-up since the rise of Void Rays as a standard opener. Some players and fans swore that Protoss would dominate the competition at iEM Katowice with the perfected Skytoss composition, but instead Reynor managed to take out the top Protosses with carefully crafted Queen busts. A month later, Stats proved that Protoss late-game was still quite formidable, winning StayAt HomeStory Cup #3 by beating Reynor, Rogue, and Serral with the help of Carriers. We don’t have much information about Skytoss’s effectiveness at the lower end of GSL, which makes Hurricane’s BO5 against RagnaroK an intriguing match. Neither player was able to go further than the RO16 of Code S. RagnaroK was a bit more successful in that regard, qualifying for Code S in all 3 seasons, with a top 16 finish in Season 1. Hurricane was eliminated in the RO24 in Code S Seasons 1 and 3, and did not manage to qualify in Season 2, losing to Bomber and then Bunny in the qualifiers.

RagnaroK is a strong favorite according to Aligulac.com with an over 80% chance to win. This is largely in part due to his impressive PvZ rating (2689), which is seventh place in the world—much higher than you might expect compared to RagnaroK’s tournament results. On the other hand, Hurricane’s rating of PvZ 2220 is around where one might expect, placing him at 27th in the world. RagnaroK has played a lot of ZvP in 2021, with a solid 61% match win rate (19-2 losses) for a combined map score of 44-33 losses (57% win rate). He’s won several times against top Protosses such as Zest, Trap and Neeb, though mixed in are losses to weaker players like Nice and Creator.

Among RagnaroK’s many games, I thought his 3-0 victory against MaxPax in WardiTV 2021 Main Event (VOD) was instructive of how he’s a strong player in the Skytoss-centric ZvP meta, and how he should be able to respond to any trickery Hurricane tries to employ. Sure, Maxpax isn’t yet at RagnaroK level in spite of his great potential, but he is very often a tricky player to face and very fond of aerial protoss units. In game one, RagnaroK won against an army consisting of mostly Void Rays, Sentries and Disruptors with a very sharp Hydra-Bane-Queen timing attack at around the 9:30 mark. In game two, he busted through a Void Ray opener with a much earlier timing at around the six minutes, going for mass Queens and Ravagers. RagnaroK didn’t win straight up, but he proved that he could use a big economic advantage to overpower a Carrier-Templar force. In the third and final game, RagnaroK saw past Maxpax’s Void Ray into Glaive-Adept mind game, surviving a potentially dangerous timing attack to take a win.

On the other hand, Hurricane hasn’t played that much PvZ in 2021, and has a poor match record of 4-8 (33% win-rate) for a combined map score of 10-17 losses (37% winrate). Even going back as far as January of 2020 to gather more long-term data, Hurricane still has a worrying sub-50% win rate in the match-up. The one bright point is that Hurricane has a slightly positive all-time record against RagnaroK, though mostly off the back of matches played in 2019 and earlier when he was arguably the better player. Another sliver of hope is that Hurricane recently beat RagnaroK in a best-of-one during the 2021 BJ Destruction Matches. However, best of five is a whole other world, so I’m going to follow Aligulac’s very one-sided prediction for this match.

Prediction: RagnaroK 3 – 0 Hurricane


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Source: https://tl.net/forum/starcraft-2/571058-gsl-code-a-season-1-day-2-preview-2021

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Registration goes live for cs_summit 8 qualifiers

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Beyond the Summit has opened registration for the open qualifiers for cs_summit 8 Online, the first Regional Major Ranking (RMR) event in North America. The tournament will run from May 14-30 and award points towards the RMR leaderboard, which will be used to determine the teams attending the PGL Major Stockholm in October.

Two teams will advance from each open qualifier, scheduled for May 1-2 and May 8-9, and will meet invited teams in closed stage, set to run from May 14-18 as part of the broadcast’s “main event”.

Both open qualifiers will utilise single-elimination best-of-one brackets leading up to the quarter-finals, with the top-eight and top-four match-ups using a best-of-three format to decide the two teams that advance.

The dates for the cs_summit 8 qualifiers are as follows:

Open Qualifier #1: 1-2 May – Signup
Open Qualifier #2: 8-9 May – Signup

Closed Qualifier: 14-18 May

The RMR standings for North America, taking into account lineup changes from the previous season and their resulting point deductions, are as follows:

1-2. Brazil FURIA – 480 points
1-2. Oceania EXTREMUM – 480 points
3. North America Evil Geniuses – 360 points
4. United States Liquid – 240 points

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Source: https://www.hltv.org/news/31592/registration-goes-live-for-cs-summit-8-qualifiers

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Call of Duty League alters Control settings ahead of Stage 3

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Control will play a little differently in Stage Three of the Call of Duty League.

The league announced today it would adopt the game mode’s altered settings that were introduced into public matches and League Play during Stage Two. Under these new rules, the team with more objectives—not kills—will receive defense in the case of overtime. Additionally, if a team captures a “tick” of the point, they will not receive more time in the round.

Previously, the team with more combined kills over the first four rounds would defend in round five. Now, teams will have to prioritize capturing points or at least ticks of the point as to not have to be on the offensive in the final round.

In its tweet, the CDL said it came to this decision “based on the collective feedback of #CDL2021 pros and Challenger players.”

The third stage of the CDL will begin on Thursday, April 22.

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Source: https://dotesports.com/call-of-duty/news/call-of-duty-league-alters-control-settings-ahead-of-stage-3

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Structure Deck R: Lost Sanctuary to release this August for Yu-Gi-Oh! OCG

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Konami has revealed a new product in the Structure Deck R series, which remakes older Structure Decks with new takes on classic cards that make them more competitive.

This will obviously pull from the Lost Sanctuary deck that was released in 2011, and will be dropping for the OCG on Aug. 7. 

Structure Deck R: Lost Sanctuary will play on the Fairy-Type theme and likely include new support for Master Hyperion and The Agent series of monsters, along with some variant of The Sanctuary in the Sky Field Spell. There could be another retrain of Airknight Parshath coming, although no information has been announced.

This will come with the standard 40-card Main Deck, but this one will also feature several Extra Deck Monsters. The OCG release will include a Power-Up Pack with additional cards surrounding the Fairy-theme, though that rarely carries over to any eventual TCG releases.

Within this Structure Deck R series, players have already gotten builds like Rise of the True Dragons, Dinosmaher’s Fury, and a few others that have had an impact on making several competitive decks somewhat affordable and easy to build. 

More information on Structure Deck R: Lost Sanctuary will be shared in both V Jump and Weekly Shonen Jump magazines in the coming months.

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Source: https://dotesports.com/yu-gi-oh/news/structure-deck-r-lost-sanctuary-to-release-this-august-for-yu-gi-oh-ocg

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Apex Legends removes Killing Time and Auto Banners from Apex’s War Games rotation due to issues

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Apex Legends’ War Games event is facing trouble for the second time. Developers removed two takeovers from the rotation, including today’s Auto Banners mode, due to “some issues affecting Apex.

Both Killing Time and Auto Banners will sit out of the War Games event, according to a tweet, although Respawn will save Killing Time for “a later date.” The removal of the takeovers leave only two modes in stock for the event: Ultra Zones and Armor Regen.

The updated schedule leaves Ultra Zones as the only takeover until the reset on Wednesday, April 21. Armor Regen will take its place until the event ends the following Tuesday, on April 27.

The War Games event was slated to cover five different takeovers spread out across two weeks but encountered difficulties from the beginning. The first mode, Second Chance, met a series of progression issues that caused challenges and experience earnings to disappear and stopped players from progressing through the Battle Pass. Developers switched it out for the Armor Regen mode on the same day.

Ultra Zones had a clean stint in the map rotation until earlier today, when it gave way to the Auto Banners takeover. Players reported a series of issues, particularly with servers, and Respawn removed both Auto Banners and its successor, Killing Time. The two modes on rotation until the event ends are tried and true, and both had fairly stable launches.

Players who are looking forward to Killing Time might see it at a future event. Respawn would save the event “for a later date,” although the company hasn’t specified a clear timeline yet.

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Source: https://dotesports.com/apex-legends/news/apex-legends-removes-killing-time-and-auto-banners-from-apexs-war-games-rotation-due-to-issues

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