Is GSL an amateur league?

Yeah so after watching some of this GSL I am left scratching my head because I thought the GSL was supposed to be the pinnacle of sc2 skill or something like that. Frankly the above looks like masters 2 on the NA server. Is the GSL still the world’s hardest tournament? The quality of play looks like an amateur league, but he’s a top 8 contender. Is the GSL still a professional league? The quality of play seems to suggest otherwise.

Toss f2’s his whole army onto creep, oracles are flying around doing nothing when they could be doing stasis traps. The whole army is surrounded & banelings are able to walk right up to the toss’s army unimpeded. The banelings are supposed to blocked by archons, stasis traps, and focus-fire with colossi. Protoss is supposed to attack through chokes so you can’t get surrounds, and they are supposed to poke and prod, getting value with each prod from the colossus range, instead of just yoloing in. I see archons, so he can make templar, but I don’t see any storms to kill the banelings. So there’s a unit comp issue. What are the stalkers doing here? Silly protoss, don’t you know mass ling counters stalkers. Oh well. Anyway you get my point.

Charting gsl skill vs time be like:


EDIT: gonna hide the original post because people can’t take a joke anymore.


It’s a high pressure situation with a lot on the line, and players always make mistakes. Moving the army onto creep without enough vision, after crushing what was basically an all-in, and getting punished for it is a pretty easy one to make - it only takes one misjudged move to happen. Both players aimed for timings, and both were punished by the opponent having a response ready in time.

Protoss didn’t have vision of the Zerg army on the flank, and Dark’s army was too fast to escape.

Creator tried to stutter the colossus away to preserve them as long as possible and trade out as efficiently as he could (though he did mess up not microing the stalkers as well), but the Zerg army was faster and on creep.

Creator had just killed a Zerg army after an over-zealous attack on Dark’s part, and was trying to push to close the game out.
He couldn’t afford to wait for creep to recede before pushing if he wanted any chance of the push working, so went onto creep and positioned towards the 4th. He didn’t have time to get into a better army position before Dark pounced, nor was there any significantly better angles to push from.

A mistake? Yes, that push ultimately turned out poorly, and he should have played it safer and tried to secure more vision, then pulled back before the flank was ready. Luckily, for creator, that mistake was balanced out by Dark having already failed a timing attack, and most of the zerg army also died, so the game was basically equal after the fight, with Creator having the stronger eco because Dark had failed an earlier timing and committed to production with a drone count in the 60s, and Creator had traded exceptionally efficiently in the early game and continued to produce workers.

After all that was said and done, Dark didn’t keep track of what Creator was doing well enough and made the wrong transitions. He over-committed to Lurkers, then essentially went all-in with a nydus/lurker play, without adding a spire for corruptors while Creator was starting carriers. Dark didn’t trade out well enough with his attacks, to the point he just couldn’t contend with Creator’s far more technical army of carrier, colossus, immortal, archon, storm.

The oracles were out of energy, so no, they couldn’t. Creator had been on top of placing stasis traps for defense prior to the fight. It’s how he’d crushed the earlier push from Dark.

Storm wasn’t researched yet. There were no templar with the push, just archons, and he did drop down forcefields to zone out lings/banes from one side.


To be bluntly honest, I’m wondering what happened to korean protoss players. And to the protoss vs protoss matchups. I lose track of the game for a couple of years and protoss vs protoss becomes a battle of two drunken squirrels with knives strapped to their foreheads stuck in a closet.

“Wait, you guys have hands?” - creator. (lmao)

This kind of play has actually been in the qualifiers and/or the first round for years. But this is the first time, that I am aware of, that it’s common for this quality of play to make it to later stages. The guy who bungled an unlosable fight is a competitor for the championship. The favorite to win the tournament, based on balance favoring protoss and mmr level, is Hero, but Hero lost to Creator. There is a universe where creator is the next code s champion. By the way, I totally called Hero losing to Creator a month in advance:

Buffing protoss to Jupiter isn’t going to transform a protoss in to a champion because he will struggle in PvP while dominating PvT and PvZ. And PvP will create such a huge contrast against his PvT/PvZ performance that it highlights the extremity of the balance fiasco. That’s not a formula to create a Protoss champion. That’s a formula for disaster.

Another interesting prediction I made, literally years ago at this point, is that the Zergling is zerg’s strongest unit & that top zergs will continue dominating premiers no matter how many nerfs happen to other zerg units. Top players win via multitasking and zergling runbies are the ultimate multitasking mechanic. Well zerg has been nerfed to the point of being a meme, and Dark beats Hero with mass Zergling in game 1 of the decider match:

I pointed this out earlier this year, for example, and everyone on the forum laughed at me:

It’s flipping hilarious that toss players can’t win a game even with the perfect army & balanced rigged in their favor because top zergs can counter skytoss with zerglings. It’s such an absurd statement but it’s reality. Top zergs outclass their protoss competitors to such an extreme degree that typical unit counters are inverted. This is also true for Maru by the way. Marauders kill a Protoss’ third while the carriers are distracted. So yes Maru beats skytoss with marauders. That’s how bad protoss are in the pro scene-- they are losing to zerglings while massing an army that hard counters zerglings.

This highlights an uncomfortable reality of SC2: no matter how insanely strong you buff Protoss to be, you can’t make Protoss players put their units in the right spots on the map. Are we going to buff Protoss so that they don’t have to worry about positioning now? Are we going to bring back nexus overcharge & give it 100 range? How far does this clown train go? :joy:

1 Like

The reality of it is pros aren’t as good as you think. They too, make really bad mistakes. Thing is they’re consistently decent to good with some very strong points in their play. What you do on a perfect day is what they do on a normal day.

They also have a borked meta of hard counters so what they use to get into tourneys might cost them games. It’s dumb and is why we need a barcode mode for ladder and a blind play system for tourneys.

This would be a reasonable stance except that the bar is set substantially lower for the protoss professionals. There are protoss in code s who have, reportedly, used only a single army hotkey. You couldn’t get gm on na with 1 army hotkey as zerg or terran, and we have code s protoss who, apparently, can win GSLs with that configuration.

The reason this is so shocking is because the variety of unit movements & formations that you can do, both attacking and defense, is drastically lower with a single hotkey. About the only thing you can do is F2+amove. Maybe you pre-split a bit that’s it. When I am doing mutalisk swarm host, I have 3 army hotkeys. Mutalisks clear out enemy overlords & apply pressure to get him out of position. They zone out roaches. The lings run in when he is out of position. Both the lings and mutas spot for the nydus, plus a variety of well placed overlords or overseers. I try to get the nydus as close as possible to a sensitive location, like a base or tech structure. It takes 3 army hotkeys to create dozens of attack formations, and because of this, he has no idea what will attack and where. That’s how it works. It would never work if he could be in position on time to defend the attacks.

Protoss is so powerful you can put your army on 1 hotkey and attack through a single vector and claim a win all the way to a code s victory. That is crazy. Some protoss are so confident they can win they actually forward-blink into the enemy army, and ironically throw an unlosable game in the process.

The difference here is that of a defender’s advantage. Mutalisk swarm host overcomes that challenge by getting him out of position. What is it that Protoss is doing to overcome the defender’s advantage? Nothing. He’s just head butting straight into it and winning.

1 Like

So what’s your justification for him f2+amoving them to their death for free.

“Oh the zerg is massing banelings, maybe I should trade out these useless stalkers, get storm, and then push.”

That’s a mistake on the protoss’ part.

He killed part of it. Dark positioned himself so that he could retreat, which is a big difference between his attack & creator’s attack.

There were tons of mistakes here. As soon as you see he’s wasted that much gas on banelings it’s clear where his gas went, meaning you know he’s stuck on low tech, and you know banelings aren’t efficient so if you just back off he has essentially wasted thousands of gas. You play defense. The first mistake was not noticing how committed dark was to a useless tech option. You back up, get storm, and it’s a free win. That’s a scouting issue, that’s a game state awareness issue. After those two mistakes, he proceeds to make the next mistake which was a litany of positioning mistakes. He’s on creep. He can be easily surrounded. He micros only the colossus which he stutter steps and that’s it. The archons aren’t blocking the banelings. The colossi aren’t shooting the banelings. Everything that could go wrong did. It’s the worst possible fight short of him accidentally move-clicking his entire army into the zerg.

Players make mistakes, it’s true, but this was the mistake of mistakes, and he still won the game, and that’s the difference. In no way could a zerg win a game after bungling a fight that hard. The moment dark realized he couldn’t win the fight he backed off & conserved his army. Creator threw away a whole army, shrugged it off like it was nothing, and won the game. In winning the game, he didn’t do anything that was all that impressive. He just a-moves through dark’s army and dark’s army folds like a cheap suit.

What I am getting at here is that Protoss army strength is bonkers. The peak power level of a maxed protoss army is drastically higher than anything zerg can make. I am betting Creator took that horrible fight because 99% of the time Protoss could amove that fight and win. This was the 1 in 100 were it didn’t work. The future fights showed this to be the case because the protoss did effortlessly amove the zerg.

It’s a symptom of the current PvZ balance fiasco. Protoss can be lazy, make big mistakes, and win, and that’s only the case because Protoss is very, very strong right now.

He didn’t see that happening at the time, since he didn’t have vision of the Zerg production. If Dark was going heavier on hydras, the push might have been able to work with the 4 colossus. The heavy baneling composition was able to overwhelm it, but stalker/archon/colossus is not exactly an ideal composition to be going mass baneling against, so while the trade was efficient, it wasn’t efficient enough for Dark to really capitalize on.

There’s no need for one; it’s a mistake on his part, because his attention was focused elsewhere. I didn’t say that creator didn’t make mistakes. There are mistakes in every game.

Yes, which I acknowledged.
I was pointing out that Dark had also made a lot of mistakes. It’s not like creator was the only one using F2 and over-committing his army into a bad location that game - Dark did it multiple times.


Please don’t talk to me. Thanks!

That’s what revelation is for.

That push is 100% guaranteed to work if the protoss doesn’t make literally every mistake under the sun. Even bungling the fight it probably would still work against every opponent except dark or serral.

It’s not a matter of attention, it’s the use of F2 instead of multiple army hotkeys.

Nowhere near the severity or numerosity.

That’s what a lack of prize pool does to a tournament. During the player interviews it was Byun that was more motivated than ever to win a GSL. Too bad he broke his wrists when terran was underpowered.

1 Like

I think this is the root cause. Asmongold did a video on this article and he made some interesting points but I don’t agree with everything he said. He analogized it to streaming in that there is a lot of stuff vying for your attention at all times, and he said this results in people not having the mental energy to focus on a strategy game (which requires heavy analytical thinking). I don’t think that’s right.

I think what’s actually going on is that video games were created by highly analytical thinkers, software engineers, for themselves. They made video games to be interesting to themselves. They realized other people would be interested, too, if they could figure out how to broaden their market. They realized the emphasis on strategy was something the typical person simply wasn’t interested in. In order to make money, they diversified by making games that are less strategical, and that is what is driving the trend. Interest in strategy hasn’t declined in the demographics that like strategy, the demographic of gamers has shifted to include people who don’t like strategy.

I came to that conclusion like 10 years ago when League started to outperform SC2. It’s the only logical explanation for why that would happen. There are two major differences between the genres (strategy, multitasking) and your typical average joe is going to be bad at both of those so a game that requires those will be less popular than a game that requires neither. That goes back into what Asmongold was saying in that, as a streamer, multitasking between the game & the stream is taxing on his mental energy. But this is only true for the new demographic of casual gamers that are just barely entering the gaming arena.

Basically to multitask you have to have a mastery of the thing you are doing so that your brain can automate it to where you don’t have to actively think about what you are doing. If the thing you are doing is simple, like driving, then most people don’t have to actively focus on it. That’s why people talk on the phone while driving. But for complicated things like a strategy game, being able to master it to the point you don’t have to think about it is very hard. There was a talented chess pro who went to Kasparov’s house, after Kasparov retired, and played 3 games of chess. He said that Kasparov effortlessly destroyed him, taking almost no time to think about his moves, while he, the aspiring chess pro, had to sit and think about each move. Even taking time to think about each move, it wasn’t clear to him how he was falling behind. So he couldn’t even identify where the problem was. Kasparov had a mastery of chess that allowed him to effortlessly win & this would allow his brain to do other things while playing, meaning he’d probably be a very good multitasker.

Simply put, RTS games are a nexus-point of 2 features that gamers hate. They are complicated which makes mastery hard, and they require multitasking which requires actively thinking about what you are doing but that’s impossible when you have to constantly shift your attention between multiple things. Each time you shift your attention, your brain is programmed to reset your memory. It’s called the " Doorway effect". Basically your brain is programmed to forget about the previous room & fully absorb your new surroundings. So think of a cave man leaving his cave. He doesn’t need to know what’s behind him, he needs to absorb the scenery of the outside so he isn’t attacked by a bear or whatever.

So people who are good at RTS are definitely neuro-atypical. Their brains operate differently on a very fundamental level. Not only are they good at mastering complex strategical games, they also process information differently because they don’t suffer from the doorway effect. If they did, they’d forget what they were doing the moment they shifted their attention in the game, which is equivalent to forgetting to build an overlord or forgetting to start upgrades etc. So what’s fascinating about this is that video games are crystalizing around different neural traits. And that’s fascinating. It’s crystalizing in a way that is similar to how politics are crystalizing around male/female traits. Women heavily tilt towards the Democrats & men heavily tilt Republican. It’s identical to an annealing process where traits flip flop randomly until they find a stable state. It’s literally entropy in but in the social world instead of the physical world.

1 Like

How often did the caveman come back from being attacked from a bear and then relax by juggling his stones for another 8 hours? That’s the obvious reason. People want to relax with games and any extra complexity is counter productive.

They were just as severe and just as or more numerous… You just don’t notice them because you tunnel-vision looking for Protoss mistakes.

His first LBH attack, the Nydus lurker play, etc… Those were heavy over-commitments that resulted in entire armies dying when he could have just not done them. One big attack where the Protoss mis-positions an army and gets punished vs multiple of the Zerg doing so with faster armies that could have disengaged before things went south.

Yes, lets magically have oracles with enough energy to cast any spell anywhere and everywhere at the same time. Revelation has a short range and oracles are expensive. Dark has Queens, spores, and Hydras around, so flying the obs/oracles in for vision carries some risk - not to say he shouldn’t have done so, but it’s understandable why he might not when he wants to keep his attention on something else (such as the army to react quickly to things, and macro).
It’s not like Protoss can just drop a changeling down and move it anywhere to spot until the opponent notices and kills it, or scan globally. While oracles can be kept alive, it requires a lot of attention on the Protoss player’s part.

It only takes 1 mistake for that push to fall apart - the army being in the wrong position at the wrong time. Moving in without enough vision led to that happening, but even if he didn’t Dark would have been able to mass enough to deflect the push shortly after with lurker/viper tech on the way.

1 Like

Assuming juggling stones is hard for the cave man. Perhaps juggling stones is relaxing. Perhaps it comes as naturally as breathing. The mental stamina theory is the same theory as the one I mentioned, just less robust. If it takes effort to do something then it’s less likely to happen when they are tired, true. But for someone who is skilled in that domain it doesn’t require effort & they will be OK doing it even if they are tired. It’s a more robust theory because it explains why some people play strategy games even though they also work a full time job. The stamina issue doesn’t affect them. If stamina is the only descriptor, then how do we describe the Polt’s of the world who dominated foreign tournaments while going to school at the same time. Dividing your attention between 2 things is hard only if both items require active thinking. If you have a deep mastery of sc2, there is no active thinking required to play it. Playing it is as natural and easy as talking.