The games were not the prettiest, nor the most well-played. Even so, MvP.DongRaeGu and MvP.Genius never failed to entertain as they took the GSL finals to six games, where DongRaeGu clinched the title by a score of 4 - 2. It would be DongRaeGu's first GSL championship in his career, coming almost three months after a painful game seven defeat in the Blizzard Cup finals.
The two players seemed to be in good spirits throughout the series, and DongRaeGu imitated some of Genius' celebration from the regular season by charging into his opponent's booth for some gloating. After winning the final game, DongRaeGu presented Genius with pieces of military apparel, jokingly suggesting Genius should consider fulfilling his mandatory military service.
The gathered live audience seemed to be one of the biggest ever for an in-Korea GSL event, and their loud cheers dotted the night's broadcast. However, it was groans that came from the mouths of many international fans watching from home, as the GomTV website toppled under the stress of the throng of viewers tuning in for the finals, making the stream inaccessible for most of game one. The problem was mostly resolved while GomTV played a long video package between game one and game two, but it was a sour point during an an otherwise successful event from GomTV.
Game One – Daybreak
Genius opened with a macro friendly strategy on a macro friendly map, going for a quick third base off just a stargate and four gateways. DongRaeGu had much success with heavy aggression against fast three base Protosses at the recent MLG Winter Arena, and looked to go on the offensive once more.
However, Genius played a great defensive game with his limited troops, keeping both his natural and third base safe and securing a strong economy. Genius then showed the patient, deliberate play that had been his hallmark throughout the tournament, and attacked once he had a death-ball DongRaeGu could not challenge. DongRaeGu attempted a backdoor attack to buy time, but Genius sniffed it out and thwarted it easily before moving on.
That left DongRaeGue stuck with just roaches and infestors as Genius advanced with colossi and blink-stalkers, and Genius cut a bloody path through the Zerg troops and expansions, collecting the GG.
Game Two – Antiga Shipyard
Genius brought a well prepared cheese in game two, going for a forge FE into a hidden, double proxy-stargate build. He waited for three void rays and three phoenixes to attack, and walked into a spore and two queens defending DongRaeGu's third base. Though it seemed like a completely winnable battle, Genius became skittish at that second, and backed off to look for a different location to hit.
It was a moment of fatal indecision, as it allowed DongRaeGu to complete even more spore crawlers and queens, rendering the attack useless. There was only one possible ending after Genius' failed attack left him with a weak army against DongRaeGu's powerhouse three-base economy. DongRaeGu sent waves of troops to finish Genius off, not wasting any time to move onto game three.
Game Three – ESV Cloud Kingdom
Unfazed by his failed cheese in game two, Genius reached into his bag of tricks for yet another. This time it was a low-sentry blink stalker all-in with +1 attack, and it turned out to be just the right thing against DongRaeGu's fast three base defended with primarily speedlings. Even though Genius didn't have force fields to use against the melee attackers, it only took an additional round of zealot warp-ins to remedy the speedling situation and crush through DongRaeGu's defenses.
Game Four – Entombed Valley
For the third straight game, Genius decided to throw a curveball DRG's way. After opening with two stargates after a fast expansion, he went for a fleet beacon and carriers. This turned out to be tantamount to suicide, as it left him almost nothing to defend against against the hydralisk and roach drops that came. The drops crippled Genius' economy, and allowed DongRaeGu to easily take his fourth base while switching to a corruptor-zerglings composition. Corruptors cut through the carriers with tremendous ease, and sealed the game for DongRaeGu.
Game Five – Metropolis
The fifth game ended up resembling the first, with both DongRaeGu and Genius getting three quick bases. Once more, DongRaeGu decided to try for an attack before Genius' economy kicked in, bringing queens, roaches, and zerglings on the warpath. At first, it looked like Genius would hold the fort without any trouble, but a few micro mistakes caused him to lose more troops than necessary on defense. More crucially, he was unable to keep a gap plugged at his natural while his third base was being attacked, allowing speedlings to pour in and tear down his main nexus.
Despite the loss of a Nexus, the situation ended up looking alright for Genius, as he had killed off a significant portion of DongRaeGu's army, leaving the two players at similar supply. Genius simply retook his main and decided to wait and play a longer game. In the meanwhile, DongRaeGu began to secure more bases while going for mutalisks, the key to his backdoor tactics to come.
As DongRaeGu poked at Genius' defenses, he managed to draw enough of the Protoss forces away from the third base for a force of roaches to focus-fire the nexus down. DongRaeGu lost a significant amount of roaches in the process, and it opened a window for a deadly counter-attack from Genius. DongRaeGu knew the only response was to go for a base trade, and sent his mutalisks and speedlings on their way.
With his powerful army, Genius seemed like he had a chance to win the base race. However, he was indecisive and ended up dawdling, with his army walking back and forth without a purpose. Each second bought DongRaeGu more time to collect resources and build more troops, while he destroyed Genius' income and infrastructure at the same time. Genius went for the all-out base trade eventually, but he had waited too long. By the time he destroyed DongRaeGu's main and natural his own income was entirely gone while DongRaeGu had two more mining bases elsewhere. Once DongRaeGu had enough mutalisks to fight Genius' main stalker force head on, the game was over.
Game Six – Crossfire
On the most cheese friendly map of the night, both players opted to play normally yet again. Genius patiently built a large force of colossi and stalkers from his two bases, while DongRaeGu went for roaches, hydralisks, and infestors on his end. There were large periods where the game was just a stand-off, but the situation rapidly broke down once Genius decided to start attacking.
DongRaeGu attempted to backdoor with a handful of his forces, and there was a great deal of indecision on Genius' side once more. Eventually he was able to bring his forces to bear on both DongRaeGu's splinter army and main force, and crush both with well positioned stalkers and good use of force fields.
With his ground army crushed, DongRaeGu immediately switched his plan to harassment and backstabbing at all costs, and put down an obscene amount of spine crawlers at his natural while he switched to mutalisks. He was forced to sacrifice his third base, however, and this put the two players in a strange two base vs two base situation. Inexplicably, a single burrowed zergling blocking his third base seemed to convince Genius that he had to finish the game at this two base vs two base phase, and he continued to mass more and more stalkers. On the other hand, DongRaeGu looked desperately for ways to secure his own third, using his mutalisks to harass while trying to sneak in the extra base.
There was a great deal of posturing, troop movement, and hastily initiated and quickly abandoned attacks on both sides, but eventually DongRaeGu managed to find a window to complete a hatchery at his third base, slowly crawl some spine crawlers over, and secure mining at that location. As for Genius, his natural mined out, and he was forced to go all-in with the stalkers he had remaining. The attack did much damage and thinned DongRaeGu's mutalisk flock considerably, but anything but a complete annihilation of the Zerg army meant a loss for the penniless Genius. After losing his force, he conceded defeat.
With the series won, DongRaeGu thanked his teammates, his family, and a hitherto unheard of girlfriend, which enticed some "Ooh"s from the crowd. Despite his earlier cheeriness, Genius seemed to be more somber in defeat, admitting the difficulty of reaching a final again. DongRaeGu didn't forget to include his customary Zerg pessimism during his interview, mentioning the hardships that had to be overcome as a Zerg player. With the ceremonies over, and an oversize check for 50,000,000 won received, DongRaeGu fulfilled his final obligation and gave his fans what they had waited on for a very long time: a shot of him kissing the GSL championship trophy.