How Maru upset the odds to win DreamHack SC2 Masters Winter 2021

After a final match between two South Korean players, the DreamHack SC2 Masters Winter ended with Maru winning his first championship in the ESL Pro Tour 2021/22. The top two favourites for the championship, who were actually considered better than Maru, Serral and Trap were eliminated in the quarter-finals and Maru did not miss the chance to climb to the top this time.

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With 6 players participating, South Korea sent the most representatives of any region to the tournament. Luckbox pre-tournament odds suggested that three of the top contenders for the title were South Koreans. After winning the first two global events of the ESL Pro Tour 2021/22, South Korean representatives lost the last two events in the finals and this victory must come as a relief to Korean fans.

So, what happened in the tournament and the final? Let's take a look at how it unfolded.

Road to finals

The tournament began with a group stage played in a dual tournament format. In Group A, Canadian Zerg player Scarlett, who had a massive odds of 96.00 at the start of the tournament, managed to beat Cure and Trap, and defeated two South Koreans in a row. By doing so, he secured the elimination of at least one of them. Trap defeated Cure 2-1 in the last match, leading one of the favourites of the tournament, eliminated.

After Scarlett's defeat, Clem finished the group stage in the first place ahead of Zest, Dark and Rogue stomped their weak opponents, as Serral and Maru did the same in Group D. It is fair to say that the South Korean players did not disappoint their fans in the group stage, with 6 out of 7 players making it to the knockout phase.

In the quarter-finals, again there were surprising twists and turns. The first and second line contenders for the DreamHack SC2 Masters Winter according to Luckbox odds were eliminated. Trap lost to Clem on one side of the bracket, then Serral lost too. Scarlett's incredible run continued as he defeated Zest, another player considered far above his level.

You can find our pre-tournament article on Luckbox’s news page here if you would like to find out more about DreamHack SC2 Masters Winter.

However, there was no chaos in the semi-finals. The South Korean players did well, even though Rogue lost 2 games to Scarlett and played a complete best-of-five match. The results meant that the news was huge: The final of DreamHack SC2 Masters Winter would be a rematch of the Global StarCraft 2 League Season 1 final between Rogue and Maru. Neither had been able to win a tournament after that final, which made this rematch even more exciting. Round 2, Fight!

Maru vs Rogue: Belated reckoning

What we knew before the series was that it would be hard-fought and a joy to watch, and Maru vs Rogue offered just that. It was not a complete best of seven, but the 6 games we saw were incredibly satisfying.

After Rogue's good start with a win over 2000 Atmospheres LE, Maru knew he had to stop his opponent before he could use that win to build confidence. We know this because in the next three maps Maru gave Rogue no chance. Curious Minds LE, Berlingrad LE and Hardwire LE were dominated by him.

Rogue did try to make a comeback by winning Blackburn LE, but it was not enough. After his win on Glittering Ashes LE, Maru negated the need for a seventh map and won the DreamHack StarCraft 2 Masters Winter 2021. Maru took home $10,000 and secured a spot in the Main Stage of IEM Katowice.

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