The Code S Season 3 finals match-up has been set, and it features one of the most extreme contrasts we've ever seen on the GSL stage. RagnaroK will play in the first ever grand finals of his 10+ year career, facing off against Maru who looks to claim a record-setting fifth Code S championship.
RagnaroK was the first to book his ticket to the grand finals, taking a 3-2 win over GuMiho in the semifinals. The PSISTORM Gaming Terran had reached the final four by winning two reverse-sweep series in the previous round, and he very nearly cheated death once more after pulling back to 2-2 from an 0-2 start. However, RagnaroK had the perfect answer for GuMiho's trademark mech in the deciding game, starting with early Roach pressure and finishing him with a Swarm Host timing.
On the other hand, Maru had a much easier time dispatching herO, winning 3-1 to avenge his loss in the previous Season's Code S finals. Maru's early-game defense proved to be too sturdy for even herO to pierce, and his only loss ended up being the game where he went for an ill-advised cheese of his own.
The finals between RagnaroK and Maru will take place on Saturday, Oct 15 8:00am GMT (GMT+00:00) at the FreecUP studio.
Semifinal #1: RagnaroK [3 - 2] GuMiho
Game 1 - Waterfall (RagnaroK win): GuMiho opened with a fast Hellion drop, which was unfortunately hard countered by RagnaroK's decision to open with Roaches. RagnaroK's early Roach attack killed SCVs and forced a long lift-off on GuMiho's expansion Command Center, whereas the Hellion drop hardly did any damage in return. While it took RagnaroK a while to close things out, it was a pretty mundane clean-up job for him.
Game 2 - Inside and Out (RagnaroK win): Both players opened more conventionally this time, with RagnaroK going for the usual Queen-Speedling macro play while GuMiho went for Hellion-Banshee harassment.
GuMiho lost too many of his early game units trying to harass, which let RagnaroK expand and macro up very comfortably. This economic advantage snowballed into another win without any serious complications, as RagnaroK overran GuMiho's bio with Hydra-Ling-Bane.
Game 3 - Stargazers (GuMiho win): RagnaroK opened with an extreme Roach all-in off two bases, which initially seemed like it might get a free win against GuMiho's 3-CC build with Hellion-Banshee. However, thanks to his Banshee and good Hellion micro, GuMiho was able to hold off the attack and come out with a huge economic advantage (even with 24 SCV's lost, he was ahead against the 2-base Zerg).
RagnaroK tried to play Mutalisks off two bases to get back into the game, but he couldn't get nearly enough damage done to narrow the gap. GuMiho eventually massed an unstoppable bio army and collected the GG from RagnaroK.
Game 4 - Tropical Sacrifice (GuMiho win): RagnaroK opened with a Pool-before-Hatch build for some early Zergling harassment, but it didn't affect the game much as the two players headed into a fairly conventional macro game setup. GuMiho decided to go semi-'all-in,' increasing his Barracks count to try and kill RagnaroK with waves of Marine-Marauder-Mine in the mid-game.
At first, it seemed like RagnaroK wasn't in any danger at all, as he handled the Terran assaults without any trouble. However, GuMiho ruthlessly took advantage of a few bad trades from RagnaroK, and he laid the pressure on heavily with ground attacks and drops. RagnaroK wasn't ever able to stabilize from that point on, and he eventually had to surrender against the unending waves of infantry.
Later, RagnaroK singled this game out as the one he regretted blowing, even saying he slapped himself in the face to get his head in order.
Game 5 - Data-C (RagnaroK win): GuMiho played a CC-first build and then proceeded to try and play a BC-mech strategy. RagnaroK went for some light Roach pressure off three bases, which did a solid amount of damage despite the safety Banshee from GuMiho. Good Overlord scouting from RagnaroK meant he was completely aware of GuMiho's plan, and he was able to macro up without taking any meaningful damage from the BC's.
This great start from RagnaroK allowed him to hit very hard with a Corruptor-Swarm Host timing, attacking with a huge number of units before GuMiho was set on defense. It took just two Locust cycles to completely shatter GuMiho's army and force his final surrender.
Semifinal #2: Maru [3 - 1] herO
Game 1 - Inside and Out (Maru win): Maru started with a proxy-Barracks to get an early Reaper into herO's main, following-up with a Barracks-heavy build with a safety-Cyclone. Meanwhile, herO went for a Twilight Council and a proxy-Pylon, preparing for a very fast Blink-Stalker all-in without a Robo.
The Stalker attack at around 4:40 was almost enough to break through the Terran defenses, but Maru survived and ended up with a huge lead. Desperation DT's were quickly eliminated by Maru's saved up scans, leaving herO with no choice but to GG out.
Game 2 - Data-C (Maru win): Maru opened with a 3-Barracks build that included a very fast Engineering Bay, while herO proxied a Stargate for Oracles. herO traded against Marines with his Oracle-Adept harassment, but couldn't kill a significant number of SCV's or damage Maru in a meaningful way.
This put Maru in an incredible position at around the 7-minute mark with 1/1 infantry upgrades and Stim/Shield all finishing up around the same time. While herO managed to buy some time with Blink-Stalker backdoor attacks, Maru just played his advantage patiently and bided his time before striking. Eventually, he found the openings to play the usual Terran two-prong game with ground forces and drops, and battered herO into submission with continued attacks.
Game 3 - Waterfall (herO win): herO opened up with a Stargate for a single Phoenix, but quickly made a turn into Blink Stalkers. Meanwhile, Maru played what seemed like a typical 1/1/1 opener, but then went for a peculiar early game strike with 1 Tank-1 Medivac-1 Cyclone, a handful of Marines, and many SCVs to support. However, herO's combination of Stalkers and Phoenix were the perfect counter on defense, and Maru quickly GG'd out after the attack was crushed.
Game 4 - Stargazers (Maru win): Maru opened with a very fast triple-CC build after a Reactor, which herO responded to with a 4-Gate Blink-Stalker attack off two bases. While herO got a decent number of SCV kills with this attack, Maru still came out ahead due to his greedy opener.
Nonetheless, herO played solid defense in the mid-game to hold out against Maru's bio drops and attacks by land, and played himself back into a reasonable position. However, he decided to go back on the offensive a little too recklessly, going deep into Terran territory with Stalker-Colossus-Disruptor. Maru made the risky decision to go for a drop while defending at the same time, but it paid off in a huge way. Not only did he hold on defense, but his drop did big damage on the other end of the map. This move swung the game irrevocably in his favor, and herO was forced to surrender not long after.