GSL Code S finally crowned its first Zerg champion of Legacy of the Void, as Dark defeated Trap 4 to 2 in a grand finals match between a pair of first time Code S finalists. Though Dark had often played the role of an arrogant "heel" in his career, this time he emerged at the end as the hero—tearing up as the crowd chanted his name to celebrate the long overdue coronation of one of StarCraft II's best Zerg players. The victory marked Dark's first major championship since SSL Season 1 in 2016, after which he had recorded six runner-up finishes in major tournaments.
Much controversy surrounded Protoss headed into the series, as Protoss had won a disproportionate number of playoff spots in both GSL Code S and the Super Tournament. While other Zergs had struggled to overcome Protoss' Immortal all-ins and derivative timing attacks, Dark had fought his way through the season by striking at Protoss first with a variety of tactics including Nydus all-ins, fast Pools, and Overlord drops.
However, the series started in surprisingly 'standard' fashion, with both players content to sit back and build up their economies and armies on the expansive Thunderbird. Dark ended up taking the first point of the series, crushing a speculative mid-game attack by Trap with a massive army of Hydras and Ravagers.
From there on out, the tone of the series became significantly more cheesy, as both players began to pull out the specially prepared builds often seen in the GSL finals. Ironically, it became more a showcase for the two finalists' defensive skills than their offensive preparation. Trap took game two after comfortably shutting down Dark's proxy-Hatch into Roach-Ravager, while Dark took game three by holding out against Trap's Cannon-rush + proxy-Robo build with similar ease. Trap then tied the series up at 2-2 in game four, completely neutralizing Dark's Swarm Host-Nydus harassment (making notably good use of Stasis Wards) before overrunning him with a counter attack.
After three one-sided victories for the defender, Dark realized that game five had to be a turning point. In his post-match press conference, Dark said "The player using the prepared strategy was losing. So instead of using what I had prepared, I thought I should turn it into a fight of fundamentals/mechanics." Trap seemed to be of the same mind, and the two players returned to more normal, economy based openers in game five. Unfortunately for Trap, he found himself ever so slightly outmatched in that war of fundamentals. Maxing out on Roach-Ravager, Dark barreled head-on into Trap's third base mere seconds before Psionic Storm completed. While Trap kept things close with with Warp Prism micro (which Dark had praised in pre-match interview), he was eventually forced to GG out after two minutes of almost non-stop fighting.
Up 3-2 and one map away from the championship, Dark decided to throw another aggressive look at Trap: a slow-Overlord Speedling drop followed by a Nydus Worm off just 17 Drones. While defense had prevailed in earlier in the series, this time Trap was caught completely off-guard. "It's not something I prepared for this match. I've only practiced it once or twice before, but I decided to use it because it worked well. [He] didn't know about it at all." said Dark in the press-conference. After a desperate but futile effort on defense, Trap surrendered the final GG of the series to make Dark the Code S Season 2 champion.
Dark won 30,000,000 KRW for his first place finish, and joins soO, Maru, and Serral as a guaranteed seed at the WCS Global Finals. While Dark's mother was in attendance, Dark mentioned in his post-match interview that his father had declined to watch live, saying that his presence seemed to have jinxed his son in previous matches. "Hearing that, I think that made me work a little harder." said Dark. "My mom hasn't changed her KakaoTalk profile picture for three years," said Dark, likely referring to his championship moment at SSL Season 1 in 2016. "I'm so proud that she can change it up now."
"So many people helped me practice and worked hard to prepare, so I don't have any regrets. I think I can get here against next time, and I want to congratulate Dark" said Trap.
After showing his softer side in his on-stage interview, Dark reverted to his more brash persona in the post-match press conference, vowing to use his #1 seed to punish the likes of TY and Maru in the next season's Group Selections—payback for putting him in so many groups of death in the past. Dark also offered some surprising insight on his preparation for the finals, saying he had foregone looking for practice partners and had simply practiced against the AI.
GSL Code S will resume with Season 3, which is set to begin on Wednesday, Jul 03 9:30am GMT (GMT+00:00) with Group A of the round of 32 (groups TBA).