Form is temporary, Class is permanent.
It's been an incredible experience to watch the campaign from Classic, who at the twilight of his career has found it within himself to remind us what Champions are truly made of, this man has stood the test of time and passed with flying colors. Just like for Bisu and Jaedong before him, however, on the opposite side of the screen there would be an opponent unlike any other. Maru has already done the impossible with what he accomplished last year, when instead of just writing his name down next to the other Greats he ripped off an entire page for himself & his story looks to be nowhere near its end.
I feel like this particular analogy has been quite appropriate for a while now, regardless of the challenger – the only path to becoming King in Code S is to defeat the God standing in your way.
Still, the refined history between these two legends heading into this Final was incredibly enticing. Classic had only recently lost to this prodigy last year, when he happened to be in Maru's way to a second consecutive Code S trophy, whereas he had beaten him all those other times already. What was even better for the Protoss today is that on his way here the Terran King had to reveal seemingly everything in his playbook in order to take down worthy opponents in Dear and Trap while Classic wasn't forced to play a single PvT this season, meaning his secrets were safe and sound.
The trouble with those statistical and even mental advantages the Protoss could seemingly hold over the Terran's head was the fact Maru's level last year had been beyond anything he'd ever done before. You don't just become the first ever 3x Consecutive Code S Champion playing the same way you always have, do you?
In any case, the stage was now set for greatness to be witnessed either way: the build order genius – in a matchup most people consider to be clearly favored one way – going up against arguably the most mechanically skilled player in Starcraft II history looking to break every record, Classic vs Maru possibly one last time to decide who deserves to be the GSL Champion.
Warning: Spoilers Ahead, Obviously.
Classic | Why be a King, when you can be a God
"The one who stands above all others", how else would you describe Maru at this point? On the wrong side of the bracket, having to tackle the most hotly debated matchup and going up against the very best PvT players in the world – yet he didn't even flinch & did what no one else could once again. Game after game, match after match it became more and more clear the Terran God would not be denied, the mere mortals in his way – no matter how great themselves – simply could not stop him.
- M1 | New Repugnancy | Looking for a way in
Sticking to what brought him to the dance, Classic busted out another unpredictable build when he decided to proxy a Gateway in order to bring the pressure to Maru early. However as the Stalkers arrived to the Terran base they were met by a Bunker – built early and forward – to deny any chance the Protoss would have to cause serious harm. The gamble had failed. In what felt like a wonky Blink all in follow up that in direct contradiction didn't look committed enough, the game quickly snowballed out of Classic's control and Maru's army was more than strong enough to hold the aggression before retaliating viciously against the infinitely behind tech-wise Protoss forces to give the defending Champion the quick lead in the series.
- M2 | Port Alexander | Showing that even a God can bleed
Preparation is king, something Classic has reaffirmed this season. After getting smashed on the first map, the one thing that would make the least sense to go for would be a similar build, which is why when the Protoss did it again – and this time Maru had no Bunker to speak of – it caused what seemed to be the critical amount of damage Classic was looking for. The economy was severely slowed down for the Terran, his comeback attempt Mine drop got intercepted by Phoenixes as the Protoss tightened the contain and then even more SCVs got slain putting Maru in an almost unwinnable position. There were no other options for the Terran than to hunker down and ride out the Storm, however Classic had no intention of showing any hesitation. The position for Maru looked damn near unbreakable, yet the Protoss set up his attack brilliantly and smashed through the defenses anyway to sink the Terran fleet ahead of schedule & remind his opponent exactly who he was up against.
- M3 | Kairos Junction | No mistakes allowed
As expected, Classic immediately changed things up by not proxying anything. We got into a pretty normal game finally, with some early pressure from the Protoss still, but definitely nothing as crazy as before. Don't get me wrong, his Adepts and Phoenixes did some work in order to help him set up his third Nexus and buy time for the Colossi, but the Terran machine was largely uninterrupted. With his signature Raven leading the charge, Maru's army stealthily rushed across the map and set up in an incredible position, catching the Protoss completely off-guard. Classic made a positional mistake, followed by a crucial micro mistake, which resulted in his initial Colossus getting sniped for free while his second one was always doomed from the start when going up against the Raven. Swift, deadly, merciless – Maru tore him apart within moments to go up in the series again.
- M4 | Cyber Forest |
What do you do when you need to win desperately? You pull out an Ace and go for the throat. Using a very cool squad of Adepts to distract Maru, Classic set up the two base Tempest Rush marvelously and reached his artificial outpost in time to set up an incredible position and start sniping units & structures left and right. There was some cheeky improvising by the Terran in the moment, but it was clear the Protoss had prepared and practiced this build more than enough to make sure by that point it was far too late. The camera shot of Maru as soon as the game ended says it better than I ever could. Tied up with potentially three maps to go, Classic could make believers out of us yet.
- M5 | King's Cove | Fool me once, shame on you; Fool me twice, shame on me
Balls of steel were required to proxy another Gateway literally pixels away from Maru's vision – virtually on top of where his expansion would be – yet Classic did it anyway. The only reason it didn't kill the Terran outright was his star sense & the fact the Bunker wasn't skipped this time unlike on the second map. Interestingly enough, the Protoss transitioned very quickly out of his shenanigans and before we knew it the game had stabilized and neither player seemed interested in ending it early. The perception generally speaking is that PvT in the lategame favors the player who didn't lock in Terran, but today Maru showed how far he would go to change reality itself if he needed to. Bringing all his knowledge and mechanical prowess to the table, the Terran used incredible guerrilla tactics to relieve pressure on his bases – most notably when he managed to snipe a Nexus with a very small force while he was being sieged by Tempests/Templar and also turned off the lights temporarily for both Stargates – until he reached the point of having enough Ghosts, Vikings and eventually a giant fleet of Battlecruisers (honorable mention to two mvp candidate Mines in the middle of the map as well) which he used brilliantly to smash Classic in the lategame, up more than 100 supply at one point, by using marvelous tactical play.
- M6 | Year Zero | There can only be One
With his back against the wall, behind in the series, the Protoss dropped down a Dark Shrine and hoped against hope the Terran would fall into his trap like many had before him. Maru went for a faster third CC than seemed necessary, but when it came to his scans he was very conservative and completely ready for the attack from the shadows. Without missing a beat, the Terran handily dealt with the steady drip of DTs – taking a completely insignificant amount of damage – which caused Classic to go into a frenzy, trying desperately to find a way out of this situation. Maybe that's why when Maru caught him not looking and killed a ton of workers with his vintage Mine drop harassment, the writing was on the wall. The signature Raven came out with a parade push across the map, the anti-armor missile was on point and although Classic cleared the initial wave as well as he could have, the supply told the real story. The Macro God would not be denied, the endless pressure continued, the army difference got more and more insurmountable, the gg was inevitable. Almost a good 100 supply down, Classic tapped out meaning Maru had now earned his 4th Consecutive GSL Code S Championship.
- "Map" of the Night – I would be doing this series an injustice if I just went with one. Personally, my jaw dropped when Classic pulled out his "Ace" on Cyber Forest, so I feel compelled to go with that map – but in the grand scheme of things, what Maru did on King's Cove was much more important, I can't believe how well he played in the lategame TvP scenario. I think those two were the best maps from each player, so if you don't have the time or desire to watch anything else definitely catch those two, but I also recommend Port Alexander – another amazing Classic performance – and Kairos Junction, where regardless of the Protoss player's mistakes it still took an incredibly decisive and deadly decision from the Terran to pounce in order to win that game.
Keep in mind these were just my observations, if you caught something I missed / think differently, feel free to express yourself as well in the comments below.
I've had a tremendous time doing this and I hope to continue in one way or another moving forward.
Thank you for the support and feedback & see you when I see you.
P.S. Here are the links to every other Quick Recap I've done for 2019's S1 of GSL Code S. It was one hell of a journey.
Group A | Group B | Group C | Group D | Group E | Group F | Group G | Group H
Group A | Group B | Group C | Group D
Day 1 | Day 2
Classic vs Dark | Maru vs Trap
Source: Original link
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