Establishing the Eight

  • Blizzard Entertainment

To become a professional gamer . . .

Many make this decision lightly at first. For those who excel, however, it quickly becomes a life-altering path of personal and professional development. The quest to be one of, if not the greatest professional competitor in the world for any sport is a truly massive undertaking, and doing so for StarCraft II is one of the most arduous and rewarding achievements in esports.

Mastering StarCraft II requires a unique blend of persistence and resilience. The community surrounding StarCraft II often references their appreciation for the fact that, “in StarCraft II, the only person one has to blame for defeat is their self.” The road to become a StarCraft II pro, then, (let alone become a Champion!) is a truly incredible feat requiring an iron resolve where the most impactful improvements lie in internally challenging oneself.

Throughout 2017, eight competitors will show how they have worked to develop themselves into players who are faster, better, and strategically superior to all others in the world. These eight players will be discovered periodically at eight WCS Championships scattered throughout the year and around the world.

In recognition of their immense achievements, these eight WCS Champions will be awarded with a guaranteed seat at the WCS Global Finals, held at the end of the year. There, they will join another eight of the most highly-ranked players in the WCS Tournament Standings to battle for the greatest title of all: the StarCraft II Global Champion.

We are continuing to update this blog as these eight Champions are found, and are including short descriptions of the tales of their victories here as well. Below are their stories:

Champion #1 - IEM Katowice

Name: Jun “TY” Tae Yang

Race: Terran

On March 5, 2017, Jun ‘TY’ Tae Yang defeated Kim ‘Stats’ Dae Yeob in a narrow 4-3 victory to become the IEM Season XI World Champion, thereby securing the first guaranteed seat at the 2017 WCS Global Finals.

TY’s journey to become this year’s IEM World Champion was filled with resilience and unexpected surprises. After narrowly escaping his group, TY found himself matched against Koh ‘GuMiho’ Byung Jae, who had absolutely crushed the group stage. TY came out on top, but the series was taken all the way to a remarkably close fifth game.

TY then moved on to face Han ‘aLive’ Lee Seok, who was the only undefeated player left in the tournament. aLive was at the absolute top of his game throughout the event and seemed to be unstoppable as he headed into the semifinals. TY had also lost to aLive in the group stage of the tournament without taking a single game. In the end, TY prevailed with top-tier trades and counter-aggression in an intense fifth game.

TY arrived in the finals despite all the unfavorable matches he had to surmount. Stats was another player many assumed to be favored against TY, as he had also beaten him in the tournament’s earlier stages. However, TY’s strategic aptitude was brought full-force in the finals, and his aggressive strategies proved too much for Stats to overcome. For the last time, in the final ace match, TY overcame his opponent and earn the unexpected but entirely deserved title of IEM World Champion. 

Champion #2 - GSL Season 1

Name: Kim ‘Stats’ Dae Yeob

Race: Protoss

On March 26, 2017, Kim ‘Stats’ Dae Yeob defeated Eo ‘soO’ Yoon Su with a score of 4-2 to become the 2017 GSL Season 1 Code S Champion, thereby securing the second guaranteed seat at the 2017 WCS Global Finals.

Stats’ journey to become the GSL Season 1 Champion was one characterized by incredible perseverance. Throughout 2015 and 2016, Stats watched as those who defeated him moved on to victory in tournament after tournament. Maru, Dark, and Classic, eliminated Stats from SSL and became the champions; Neeb defeated him in the KeSPA cup (a monumental victory for foreigners); while ByuN took out Stats at the Global Finals. Going into the 2017 season, things continued as Stats was eliminated by INnoVation at IEM Gyeonggi, and then TY at IEM Katowice. What would have happened if Stats had eliminated any of these tournament champions to-be? Whatever the answer, there is little to question about a player’s skill when they are consistently defeated only by event champions.

In his match against soO, Stats brought these very skills to bear once again. This time however, he brought something new as well: a rehearsed determination to win. As the series against soO progressed, Stats unleashed a carefully practiced strategy involving a “one-two punch” of Oracle Stasis Ward harass, into timing attacks which capitalized on his opponent’s faltered economy.

While Stat’s skills may have carried him without this added surprise, soO was wholly unprepared for this totally unorthodox strategy. After several games, soO did acclimate to the harassment, but numerous games had passed, and Stats secured his 4:2 victory and his seat at BlizzCon via his newly earned title of GSL Code S Champion.