Our Crank saga continues! As GN’s rising star, we watched as Crank played back-to-back matches against Taeja and then HerO; his stamina was clearly draining as he continued to climb the ranks, and with only one major match away from killing Group A’s HerO, it was Crank’s game to lose.
This Extended Series started with HerO up by two wins already (2-0), making for a razor’s edge match; two wins from HerO would mean a match win, meanwhile, Crank would have to fight his way through the full series.
HerO and Crank have similar openings, with Crank making two Zealots while HerO skips early unit production to focus on accumulating more gas. Crank lays down the 2-gate pressure while simultaneously working on his Robo Facility, but HerO is at 3 gates already and holds it off with a superior Stalker count.
While Crank builds immortals, he adds a Nexus at his natural to secure the necessary resources for a heavier army composition; HerO adds blink to his Stalkers, using a Warp Prism and Sentries to get aggressive. The Stalker/Sentry combination works in HerO’s favor, allow him to trap Crank’s Immortals in the main while the rest of the army is in the natural. He then blinks in, kills the Immortals, and finishes off Crank.
This game starts off with two nearly-identical builds, except Crank gets a sentry and HerO opts for a Stalker. Crank transitions this into a Stargate and starts pumping out Phoenixes; HerO, on the other hand, goes 3-gate-robo-expand. Crank's Phoenixes harass Hero's probes and sentries temporarily, allowing Crank to get his own Robo and expansion down.
On HerO's end, he techs up to blink, adds a robo bay, and works on his Stalker count. Despite HerO's robo bay finishing earlier, the two players upgrade their range almost simultaneously. Both players sit back and grow their Colossi count while the game stagnates.
HerO goes for double-robo, but Crank opts to add Archons and takes a third. HerO also adds his third, but Crank's is faster and allows him to get ahead in supply. When maxed-out, Crank charges into HerO's naturally, making a huge push and utilizing his Archon saturation to force a GG from HerO.
Identical openings from the previous game lead into more strategic play from Crank, but HerO has unfortunately decided to go 4gate/warp prism. After HerO's warp prism goes down, Crank's patrolling Phoenixes manage to do some damage and harass a bit early-on. Both players move to secure expansions.
Crank expands into his own Robo facility and HerO starts researching blink; Crank immediately starts up a Robo Bay and is even able to sneak in some probe kills. HerO, meanwhile, blinks in and snipes a Colossi, then continues to blink/harass and use a sneaky warp prism to his advantage.
As Crank tries to stabilize, HerO blinks in and snipes two more Colossi; even so, though, HerO is still only barely catching up in tech and is still behind on Immortals. While HerO scrambles to gain on Crank (before his offensive edge is lost), Crank manages to finally stabilize and take a third; HerO gets aggressive with small groups of blink Stalkers, but Crank eventually brute-forces his way through the frontlines with superior supply.
Crank's opening is almost identical to his previous two games, because - as the casters stated - if it works and it's match-point, why fix it? HerO, on the other hand, goes for 4gate-blink-obs. HerO's initial blink-in is thwarted by Crank's hold, and his phoenixes are able to kill away HerO's probes back home.
HerO continues to play aggressively despite being in no position to confidently do so; he uses his small Stalker army to pressure Crank and begins playing mind games. These harasses work to some extent, as evidenced by HerO's ability to snipe Immortals and other units, although he does lose several Stalkers in the process.
Having held just fine, Crank expands and starts his own blink while he picks off a Phoenix. Crank's army finds itself out-of-position while he expands, giving HerO an opportune moment to blink into the main and kill off probes and pylons, one of which powers several tech structures. Crank awkwardly splits his army, allowing HerO to get more kills than he should have otherwise dished-out.
Crank's own blink finishes, allowing him to move toward HerO's main and initiate a blinking battle between the players; superior blink micro permits Crank to pull ahead with yet another victory.
Crank 3-3 HerO
Unfortunately, the first half of this match was presented to the audience in the form of a dead screen; technicians shuffle to fix the errors and eventually get things back online.
Although we missed the setup of the game, we did see the conclusion: Crank apparently went for a 3gate rush, but as he sent his units across the map, HerO is able to warp into Crank's main via a sneaky pylon; Crank GG's out almost immediately after seeing this.
HerO (match win) 4-3 Crank
- Steve Burke & Keegan Gallick.