StarCraft II's most remarkable winning streak lives on!
Rogue defeated Maru 4-1 in the grand finals of Code S Season 1, improving his record in major tournament finals to 8-0. Both statistical formulas and fan opinion had deemed Maru to be the favorite headed into the finals, but Rogue upended expectations by crushing his former teammate in a series of one-sided games. Mass Roach-Ravager played a crucial part in Rogue's victories, as he took the first three games by bludgeoning Maru to death with sheer strength of numbers. While Maru was able to avert a clean sweep by holding off a Roach all-in in game four, Rogue easily closed the series out with the classic Muta-Ling-Bane composition in game five.
In spite of public opinion, Rogue didn't seem to consider his victory an upset. His pre-match interview turned out to be quite prescient, saying "...I've prepared well. I'll show Maru that the initiative doesn't belong to Terran, but to Zerg" in response to Maru's suggestion that Terran dictates the terms of the match-up. Rogue even predicted that even a 4-0 would be possible, as long as he took the first map. In the end, the only thing Rogue was wrong about was his expectation of being able to "play fun games."—although, technically, the games were probably quite fun for him.
With his victory, Rogue tied Nestea as the only Zerg player with three Code S/GSL Open titles. He also checked off the 'ZvT' box in his grand finals to-do list, having only defeated Zerg and Protoss players in his previous seven title runs. After lifting the trophy, Rogue was rather self-conscious about his propensity to flop in tournaments immediately after winning a championship, and vowed not to repeat the pattern. In the post-match interview, he said "I'm very inconsistent, so a lot of my fans were worried about me. I worked hard so I was able to win a championship. Next season I won't get eliminated early. I want to win a fourth championship. Thanks to my fans for cheering for me."
Game 1 - 2000 Atmospheres: Maru started the finals with a Reaper expansion, followed-up by a fast third Command Center. Rogue also went for a macro-oriented opener, taking three bases with Queens and Speedlings on defense.
While Rogue's slow Overlord scout managed to spot Maru's fast third CC, he didn't see the unusual follow-up: Maru delayed his upgrades to get a fast second factory, supplementing his infantry with both Tanks and drilling claw-upgraded Mines. As for Rogue, he opted for a mass Roach-Ravager composition, while getting two Evolution Chambers for both range attack and carapace upgrades.
Once Rogue hit 1/1 upgrades, he decided to go for a big frontal attack on Maru with around 120 supply worth of Roach-Ravager. This attack coincided with Widow Mine drops from Maru, which dealt severe Drone damage due to Rogue's focus on managing his frontal attack. However, Rogue got more than enough damage done with his main attack to cover for his losses, taking out a huge chunk of Maru's army and workers before being repelled.
Rogue was left in a much better position to rebuild from, and was soon maxed out with 60+ Drones while Maru was only at around 130 supply. The beleaguered Maru tried to hold out against Rogue's waves of Roach-Ravager, but was inevitably forced to surrender.
Game 2 - Oxide: Maru changed up his openers in game two, following his fast expansion by teching to a quick Marine drop. Good Overlord placement from Rogue meant the Marine-Medivac combo couldn't get much done, but the real threat from Maru was the Marine-Tank 'timing' he was looking to hit off two bases (going up to four Barracks). As for Rogue, he took the same approach as in game one, establishing three bases and going for mass Roach-Ravager with double Evolution Chambers.
Maru pushed out once he had two Tanks, and briefly set up a siege at Rogue's third base. However, upon seeing the Queens and Roaches gathering to defend it, Maru opted to just pull back to secure his own third base and play for a longer game. As expected of the Roach-Ravager player, Rogue maxed out rather quickly, but declined to attack immediately due to Maru having a strong standing army. Instead, Rogue stayed put for a couple of minutes on four bases, defending against Maru's harassment while building up a bank of resources.
Once Rogue had 2/1 upgrades, however, he decided it was time to try and test the defenses at Maru's third. Rogue's attack managed to net him a handful of SCV kills, but it was ultimately thwarted due to Maru's Tank and Maurader heavy composition.
It seemed like Maru just needed a little bit more time to take a definitive lead, but he got ahead of himself by sending his infantry out on the map to clear Creep and harass. Rogue had spent his bank to hatch one more big Roach-Ravager swarm, which cleverly eluded the Terran infantry to launch another attack. The portion of Maru's army that had been left behind on defense (mostly Tanks) was easily dispatched, and Zerg troops started flooding into Maru's natural and third. This move forced Maru to go for a very disadvantageous basetrade with his 'harassment' force, which didn't have nearly as much firepower as the main Zerg swarm. Rogue eventually hatched enough Roaches to take care of Maru's infantry—while his main army swept through the Terran main—forcing Maru to give up his second GG of the night.
Game 3 - Blackburn: Greedy openers were back on the table for Maru in game three, as he went for a fast third CC after Factory. But instead of the two Factory gimmick from game one, Maru went for a more orthodox follow-up, making two Engineering Bays while looking to play out a normal macro game. On the opposite end of the map, Rogue tweaked his strategy slightly by skipping Speedlings and going straight into Roaches for early defense. Ultimately, Rogue still had the same overall gameplan: max out on double-upgraded Roach-Ravager. Rogue did add a map-specific twist, placing his fourth hatchery at Blackburn's gold base for some added income.
Rogue hit 1/1 upgrades at around 180 supply, and dove into Maru's third base with his Roach-Ravager swarm. It seemed like Rogue might have busted Maru's defenses on his first attack, but his loss of high-ground vision (with his Overseer flying headlong into Marines) allowed Maru's high-ground Tanks to barely hold off the attack. Rogue sent another two waves of Roach-Ravager to try and finish Maru off, but again, Maru managed to survive (while needing to lift and relocate his third base).
After teetering on the verge of breaking, Maru seemed like he might have finally turned the corner after he held off the third wave of Zerg invaders. He also found the breathing room to send a single Medivac's worth of infantry to harass Rogue, forcing him to pull back some troops back on defense and divide his attention. However, Rogue refused to give Maru the time to truly stabilize, adding Nydus Worms to help assist his forces. A Nydus into the Terran main forced Maru to split up his forces at the worst possible moment, allowing Rogue to launch a decisive frontal assault that put the game out of reach for Maru. Previously, Maru had been able to defend while maintaining an acceptable SCV count—this time, Maru's economy was devastated. No longer able to match Rogue's production, Maru was eventually battered into submission by unrelenting Zerg attacks.
Game 4 - Nautilus: Rogue spawned on the top-left starting position of Nautilus, while Maru started below him at bottom-left. Neither player bothered to worker scout, with Rogue getting extremely unlucky by sending his Overlord to scout clockwise. On the other hand, Maru's Reaper scout, while somewhat late at finding the correct starting position, still managed to slip into Rogue's base to discover an unusually fast Lair and Roach Warren alongside it.
Having gone for a fast 3-CC opener again, Maru set about preparing himself for whatever attack Rogue had planned. A Viking was able to kill off an Overlord that was sneaking in to provide vision for a Nydus Worm, forcing Rogue to go for plan B in the form of a frontal attack with mass Roaches (without Ravagers). However, Maru had prepared well on that end as well, having a full wall, a Bunker, and several Tanks in position to defend. The attack failed miserably, as did the desperate follow-up attack that came after.
Rogue had done all of this off a low Drone count, which left him miserably behind against Maru's 3 CC opener. It didn't take long for Maru to amass a superior army and march into Zerg territory, forcing Rogue to concede his only GG of the series.
Game 5 - Jagannatha: Rogue returned to Speedlings as his early game units, while otherwise going for a normal 3-base macro start. Maru switched up his own opener once more, eschewing an early third CC for faster tech. This paid off for Maru as his Cloaked Banshee was able to nab six Drone kills (despite an Overlord seeing it leave the Terran main), while a later two-prong attack with Banshees and Hellions nabbed nine more Drone kills.
However, Rogue was able to return the favor, as he caught Maru off guard by eschewing Roach-Ravager for Mutalisks instead (somehow the Spire went unscouted despite continued Banshee harassment). The Mutalisks killed a decent number of SCV's, while also forcing Maru into a defensive posture as Rogue secured expansions and upped his Drone count. With Rogue going up to over twenty Mutalisks, Maru opted for passive mid-game play, looking to add Thors to his bio army while securing his fourth base.
Unfortunately for Maru, his inattentiveness ruined his plan to play out a longer macro game. Despite Rogue committing the error of forgetting Baneling speed, he was still able to distract Maru with his Mutalisks and execute a deadly Baneling crawl-by. 22 of Maru's SCVs at his third base were reduced to wreckage, putting Maru severely behind in economy while Rogue went up to 90+ Drones.
Not even Maru's famed turtling skills would avail him from that situation—in fact, he didn't survive for that long at all. Rogue battered Maru with wave after wave of Muta-Line-Bane, forcing Maru to concede his the fourth and final GG of the night.