Splyce's Kim "Stats" Dae Yeob took down True eSport's Kim "Ryung" Dong Won, 4-2, in the second semifinal of the 2017 Global StarCraft II League (GSL) Season 1: Code S on Saturday in Seoul, South Korea. With the semifinals finished, the grand finals are set between Stats and Eo "soO" Yoon Su on March 26 at 3 a.m. ET.
Stats (Protoss) entered the matchup against Ryung (Terran) as arguably the favorite to take down the tournament among the remaining field. He was the player with the most momentum in terms of notable victories, including a win over the best player in StarCraft II Lee "INnoVation" Shin Hyung to make it to the GSL semifinals, and the most well-rounded. For Ryung, this was another major spotlight for the rising player to prove his worth. He's been the talk of competitive StarCraft II for the majority of 2017 so far, and a matchup against Stats was the perfect platform, and opponent, to really legitimize his claim to the elite echelon of StarCraft II pros.
The set was back-and-forth between Stats and Ryung, but Stats seemed on a slightly different level from Ryung in each game, even when he lost. Whenever Ryung took advantage of any early-game misstep from Stats, he could not snowball the lead because of the constant pressure from the Protoss player. Stats' defensive abilities were outshined by his skill in splitting his offensive pressure -- it was a beauty to watch him prolong games that he had zero business winning. The best example was the first game; Stats' early miscues and aggression were punished and defended by Ryung for an overwhelming map control lead. Unfortunately, Ryung could not build a fast enough army to counter-attack because of the constant air harassment and hit-and-run tactics from Stats. Stats defended the Ryung timing attack with pincer movements and, despite the defensive position, took the better trades and overwhelmed Ryung's defenses with his army supply.
Stats' resilience, adaptability in army composition and creative defensive strategy made it impossible for Ryung to string together consecutive wins. In his current form, Stats should be the easy tournament favorite in his matchup against soO, and he may very well be the next GSL champion.