Dark(Z) wins Season One of Starcraft Star League (SSL) 2016

By: Punknight

Bane drops for days gives Dark(Z) the win over Stats(P) for season one of SSL 2016.

Dark has completely shifted the meta in ZvP by making Ling-Bane a viable strategy at all stages of the game (early, mid, and late). Late-game Ling-Bane is so fun to watch because it’s what makes Zerg … well Zerg. The unending swarm swallows Immortals, Zealots, and Stalkers alike.


The first three games were so quick. It’s hard to really give much analysis to what happened. Dark quickly won the first two games with early aggression using Ling-Bane and the occasional Baneling or Queen drops. He seemed a shoe-in to win the tournament. Then in the third game, Stats quickly won when Dark went roach/ravager.


The true fight didn’t start until games four and five, which were the same style games but with different outcomes. Normally, when discussing Bane drops, you think of early-game drops that grant a slight economic advantage, and then some sort of massive push in the mid-game to destroy the weakened opponent. Occasionally games end even earlier with these drops because of a lucky shot with 12+ probes dead. These are professionals though; Stats was never caught sleeping at the helm. He pulled his Probes before the early Bane shots could cause too much damage. Thus, Dark’s strategy should have lost muster as Stats gained more and more Phoenix to kill off stray Ovis that could possibly evolve to perform the economic crushing drops.


In game four, Dark didn’t care that Ovis were dying here and there. He didn’t care that some Bane hits were dealing no damage. He just kept on building Banelings to hold his opponent at bay while he expanded and pushed to Hive tech. This is counter intuitive. The endgame Skytoss/Deathball of Protoss is normally a terrifying force indeed, but not for Dark. Dark had been sitting on 5 to 6 bases for most of the game. He had a huge bank and was ready to re-max. He sent in a large force of Overseers and Corruptors, let them all die, and then re-maxed spending everything. The last battle seemed almost trivial. 28 corruptors against 6-8 void rays and a Mothership. Stats didn’t stand a chance.


Stats got wise to this tactic in game five. He kept his Pheonix searching for stray Overlords. Exposed bases were quickly taken out with a Warp Prism and some warped in Zealots. It seemed like Stats had figured it out. The Bane drops just couldn’t do the significant damage that was needed to be cost effective. The Banelings were continually blowing up against the heavy shields of Immortals and Archons. Dark lost too many “expendable” units and did not have the economy to keep going.  The last fight was inevitable. There was no money to re-max, so the game was over for Dark. So now the stage is set. We have seen Ling-Bane with quick wins in games 1 and 2. Then we saw Ling-Bane into Hive tech in games 4 and 5 with varying results.


In game six, Dark(Z) still had a one game lead over Stats(P), but Stats was super psyched because he had this whole “Ling-Bane” strategy figured out. Stats can finally be aggressive. He went into an early three Gate, Adept harass. Then Stats made a Stargate to start pumping out those Pheonix to pick up any stray Ovis that would inevitably come. It seemed like everything was going as planned. A couple of Bane drops went poorly for Dark, and the Protoss army was trading quite well against stray Zerglings. Stats could probably push in at any moment and end the game. But wait. What?!  A Nydus Worm is in Stats base with 17+ speedy Roaches, and the game is over. After being lulled into a false sense that Dark only had one strategy, Stats lost to a Nydus Worm/Roach army tech switch that no one really saw coming. The Nydus Worm strategy to win the tournament was an “Art of War” tactic in Starcraft form.


Before we go, let’s recap the current format of WCS tournaments, summarized here, so you guys can get psyched about some of the upcoming tournaments. Tournaments in the World Championship Series (WCS) are part of either the WCS Circuit, WCS Korea, or a combination of the two. The WCS circuit comprises Non-Korean tournaments sanctioned by WCS, like IEM Katowice and Gold Series International. WCS Korea tournaments are the seasonal finals of two Starcraft leagues in Korea: Global Starcraft league (GSL) and the Starcraft Star League (SSL). We just finished reviewing the first final of SSL 2016, which has two seasons. The first final of GSL 2016 is coming up this week on May 2, 2016.  Be sure to watch, and let us know if you enjoyed any parts of the first season of SSL or GSL in the comments. Otherwise, see you next week!

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