Love of my Life
Part 2 is now out! http://www.teamliquid.net/blogs/viewblog.php?id=393317
2012 has been an interesting year for Starcraft 2. We've had times where we can all smile together and times, where we all cried together. But one of the things people will definitely remember 2012 for is it's breakouts. We had Rain, who was an up and coming player for SKT in BW come onto the scene and begin his reign (pun intended) over the Protoss race. How could we forget Scarlett, the unknown Zerg who showed that she was no walkover by winning WCS NA.
The breakout player all of us will remember though, is without a doubt Lee Seung Hyun StarTale's Life. His ridiculous multitasking and aggressive play combined with some of the most incredible comebacks made for awesome games, that people will without a doubt keep in their mind for a long time.
Life first started making a name for himself when he joined ZeNEX in March 2011, because he was the youngest professional player on a Korean Starcraft 2 team at the time. While his first televised match was not played until November of that year, he participated in online cups and began making a name for himself. His first victory in an online cup was the iCCup Korean Weekly #6, where he barely clinched a 4-3 victory over jjakji. Unfortunately, he wasn't even able to get past the quarterfinals of the newly named ESV Korean Weekly, always falling to Code S level opponents in the early rounds.
Arena of Legends - Team Ace Invitational was Life's first major tournament. Along with SuHoSin (at the time named Line), he was chosen to represent ZeNEX. However, he lost to MarineKing and Nestea, and was unable to make it to the main bracket out of his group. It was on the 10th of December that Life first appeared in a team league. It was the first KSL Daily - Team League and ZeNEX were facing Prime. Life took a win against MarineKing, before losing to B4. Life began regularly competing in KSL Dailies and getting good results, placing second twice and winning one of them.
Life's GSL debut was in 2012 GSL Season 1 Code A, after he defeated Sage in the preliminaries. Despite his youth, in interviews he explained that he had gotten used to the pressure of the competition, which explained the huge amount of confidence he showed. Life first played on GOMTV's stage against oGsTL, as the coach called him up as the ace against SuperNova. The scores were tied 3:3, and despite Life putting up a good fight he ended up losing the game, which knocked ZeNEX down to the lower bracket.
Life's first match in Code A ended in defeat, after he lost to JYP in the Ro48. Life was not to be disuaded though, as the very next day he all killed ReIGN in the IPLTAC 2. Life tried to regain his Code A spot in March, though he lost to relatively unknown player Skit and would have to wait until next season to try again.
Life was a huge asset to ZeNEX in team leagues, a place where ZeNEX was without a doubt failing. He ended up going 9-2 in GSTL Season 2, all killing Team Liquid in the process. Life attempted to qualify for OSL Season 1 and reached the finals, defeating skilled Terran players such as Heart and MMA along the way, but in an upset lost to San in the last match, which barred him from qualifcation. It was not all bad though, as a week later Life crushed VINES 2-0 in the Ro48 Code A match, in one of the shortest series in GSL history.
On July 12th, Life qualified for the TSL 4, getting a spot because he was the best ranked Korean player on the server. Sadly, the next day it was announced ZeNEX would merge with StarTale due to financial and managerial issues within the team. A week after this news was announced Life played his Code A Ro32 match, against who would come to be his biggest rival, Leenock. Leenock, the much more seasoned tournament player, decimated Life 2-0, and in a post match interview Life stated he had been overconfident and not prepared for the match as much as he should have done.
When the TSL came around, Life gave a glimpse of what was to come. He came back from 2-0 down against elfi to win 3-2 and in the next round showed the European veteran, Kas no mercy, destroying him 3-0. In the quarterfinals he played against new team mate, Curious, which was a close back and forth match which Life eventually won 4-3. Life had to play in the GSL Season 4 Up&Down matches just a day before his semifinals match again KeeN, whom he said he regarded as a 'threatening opponent'. In the Up&Downs themselves, despite Life losing his first match to Ryung, Life grabbed victories over Oz and TheStC giving him one of the Code S spots. I an interview he stated that thanks to the StarTale practice regime, he was confident he could win the entire league.
In the TSL 4 semifinals, Life destroyed KeeN in a one sided slaughter, 4-1, which put him through to his first finals in a premier tournament ever. Life would face the Protoss player, Creator, who had just come off the back of winning WCS Korea. Life started well, his early aggression and strong macro giving him a 2-1 lead, but Creator would not give up and after playing some excellent mind games and employing very strong strategies, clawed back the next 3 games to win 4-2. Life settled for $7,000 runner up prize, which was far and away the most money he had ever won at the time.
Just days later, in the 2012 GSL Season 4 Code S, Life absolutely and totally dominated his group, finishing top, with victories over the legend himself, NesTea as well as PvZ maestro JYP without dropping a single map, something no one in the other groups could do. Once again, in the Round of 16 he topped his group, crushing Happy and Seed.
Life faced Marineking on October 4th, in the GSL Round of 8. Marineking had been in multiple GSL's at this point and had stated if he did not reach the Round of 8 he would retire. This was Life's first GSL and he had the potential to be the first royal roader (player to win an OSL or GSL on his first attempt) in Starcraft 2's history. Marineking was far and away the favourite, though the dedicated Life fans, the one that had followed him and realised his skill, predicted the result. Marineking was annihalated 3-1, in all the matches he lost he looked outplayed in every signle facet. Marineking's GSL hopes were crushed, while Life's royal roader hopes most certainly were not.
Life's next opponent was TaeJa. If people had Marineking as the favourite in the round before, they certainly would not lose faith in TaeJa who was without a doubt the best Terran in the world at the time and pegged to win the entire thing. Life did not care in the slightest, defeating TaeJa without even dropping a single map and advancing himself to the final to face the Game Genie Terran himself, 4 time GSL winner and one of the players who has earnt the most prize money in Starcraft 2 to date, Incredible Miracle's Mvp.
It was a match, of simply epic proportions.The storyline was incredible to say the least. Mvp, the injured veteran, battling against all the odds to get to the final where he could win his 5th GSL and cement himself as the greatest player Starcraft 2 has ever seen. Life, the 15 year old royal roader, who has showed incredible confidence in interviews and can back it up with the micro and the sheer skill displayed in his games. It was shaping up to be the series of the year. Would it deliver?
I dont' want to be cheesy and say say find out in part 2, but I kind of have to as this getting quite long ^^