History was made at the AfreecaTV Studios last weekend. Cho "Maru" Seong Ju is the first player in StarCraft II history to win four straight GSL Code S Championships. This is a feat unprecedented in the game’s history. No other player has come close to this achievement — not even Jung "Mvp" Jong Hyun, who’s won 4 GSL Code S Championships himself, but not in the same fashion as Maru.
2018 was the year of Maru in South Korea. He won all GSL seasons, WESG 2017, and the 2018 Asian Games. Unfortunately, for Maru, when it came to the WCS Global Finals, he was unable to translate his success from South Korea.
Coming into 2019, the question is if Maru can match the success he had last year. Nonetheless, he was able to shut all his doubters up — he was back for his 4th straight GSL Code S final.
In the 2019 GSL Season 1, Maru rolled through the group and playoff stages, only losing maps to Lee “Bunny” Jae-seon and Baek "Dear" Dong Jun. In the semifinals, he had a speedrun against Cho "Trap" Sung Ho, winning the game in about 42 minutes.
Maru heads into the GSL S1 Finals against Kim "Classic" Doh Woo, who often places in the top 4 in GSL. Additionally, Classic is also a previous GSL champion, winning in 2014 GSL S2 and 2018 GSL Super Tournament, and is looking to win his final GSL Code S championship before heading to mandatory military service. Unlike Maru’s previous matches, he and Classic fought back and forth. Maru, known for his proxy builds last year, did not utilize any proxy builds in this match. Classic, however, used the proxy strat against Maru to success, taking Game 2. In Game 3, Maru adapted to Classic’s proxy strat to win.
Classic had to rethink his strategy heading into Game 4; therefore, he went with a strategy that took Maru by surprise — a Tempest rush build. That build won Game 4 for Classic, but that was the last time Maru would be outsmarted.
Maru fended off Classic’s Tempest rush build in Game 5 to win. He needed one more win to be the first player to win 4 straight GSL Code S Championships.
Game 6 was now or never for Classic. Desperate for any advantage, he went for the classic Dark Templar (DT) rush. Maru’s curiosity peaked when he saw Classic’s Twilight Council but nothing to follow up with it — meaning Classic reserved all his gas resources for a gas heavy unit. Maru, unable to detect what is going on due to the Dark Shrine being built outside Classic’s bases, had to answer quickly. Upon seeing the first DT, Maru immediately answered with a Raven to detect DTs, plus countered with Medivac/Widow Mines to Classic’s main base. Classic was thrown off balance and unable to recuperate. Maru took advantage of this opportunity to defeat Classic and win his 4th straight GSL Code S Championship.
This GSL Code S Championship ties Maru for most of all-time with Mvp, who many fans consider one of the best SC2 players of all-time. Fans across social media outlets are gossiping whether Maru is the "bonjwa" of StarCraft II — a term used to describe a player who dominates the StarCraft scene for a long period of time, according to Liquipedia.
Maru is going for the elusive 5th GSL Code S Championship, an achievement Mvp was close to winning in 2012 until Lee "Life" Seung Hyun derailed those plans. Time will tell if any challengers can step up to the plate. In two weeks, we will find out an answer as the GSL Code S Season 2 begins.
Writer @InvenGlobal | Freelanced at @overwatchscore @vpesports @GinxTV @Upcomer | Former CLICKON Media and Echo Fox.