Anyone will agree that the best players as of now are SK Telecom T1’s Bisu and Hwaseung Oz’s Jaedong. Incidentally, both players finished the round 4 of the Shinhan Proleague 08-09 with a total tally of 44 wins which makes them the joint leaders of the Proleague player ranking. Their individual league triumphs also tally up to three. The question of “who is closer to bonjwahood” is always a hot issue in Starcraft communities.
Despite sharing their place at the top, the two players are famous for not being too close to each other. Although they keep mentioning that they would like to know each other better in individual league group selection stages or interviews, they have yet to get close to one another due to their timid personality. So one could say that that makes this interview all the more historic.
Awkward First Encounter
The location for the interview, Seu-Rae-Ma-Eul, is where the Hwaseung OZ’s living quarters is situated. Bisu first took his place in the café and waited for a bit, then Jaedong showed up. They exchange greetings, but then an awkward silence filled the air. When asked whether they even say hello to each other, they mentioned that naturally it is common courtesy to do so. Of course the conversation never gets deeper than that as is expected between two individuals who are not close to one another.
The reporter of the interview doesn’t expect things to ease up any time soon. He keeps pestering the two to do something about the situation. It seems that with organization of separate professional Starcraft teams, players from different teams have trouble getting to know each other better. “We usually get close by practicing games. It’s hard to do so by any other measures. It is only after getting to know one another better under certain circumstances such as this interview do we become close.”
Did they practice with each other before then? They never requested practice games personally, but a practice session between the two had been arranged by the team staff before. This happened when Bisu just transferred to SK Telecom T1, so it was over a year ago. Even the number of games they played is only a couple.
As of now, Jaedong is slightly ahead on head to head score. When we asked if things were any different during practice, “I lost all the games” Bisu remarked stiffly. Jaedong laughed awkwardly and mentioned that he thinks he may have lost some of them. It seems Bisu remembers the encounter during practice more clearly.
The most memorable match between the two is the match they had in the Proleague. Bisu won the match on Andromeda with reaver-carriers. It was a bitter defeat for Jaedong. “I thought I had the upper hand after I sniped the first shuttle but I ended up losing. Even my teammates scorned me for losing that way,” Jaedong reminisced. Bisu added “I think he was unaware of my carrier transition,” and Jaedong nodded confirmation.
Unlike the fans who desperate wants more clashes between the two, the players themselves were less keen on the issue. They were ready for any future encounters, but were not anticipating heavily. “I don’t really pay much attention to my opponents. Of course I do enjoy the attention I receive in highly anticipated show downs,” Jaedong remarked rather distantly.
Practice Junkies, As Acknowledged By All
Bisu and Jaedong are notorious for practicing more than it seems possible. When we requested the players to ask one another for anything they were curious about, Bisu was first to draw the sword by asking Jaedong how much they practiced. With Hwaseung Oz’s reputation for Spartan-style practice sessions, it seems Bisu was interested in whether the reputations were all true.
“Back in the days when I practiced a lot, that’s all I did. I got straight back to practicing after I was finished eating, and slept for about 7 hours (calculations show that Jaedong must have practiced for about 15 to 16 hours a day). That’s how things were until I won both individual leagues,” Jaedong recalled. It goes to show how Jaedong’s triumph in both individual leagues didn’t happen by some dumb luck.
Being human, they admitted that they had difficulties maintaining such a schedule. “I physically couldn’t do it anymore (laughs). I tired easily, so I practice around 11 hours a day now,” Jaedong remarked. Bisu, who entered the world of progaming half a year earlier than Jaedong, agreed on the stamina issue. “I can feel my stamina getting weaker by the day. If I feel under the weather on a certain day, I catch the cold the very next. I have to manage my health better,” Bisu pledged.
Jaedong’s question was similar to Bisu’s. He asked Bisu on how he managed to get such good results recently, although it seemed he knew the answer to it already. “Is there anything else? I practiced a lot,” Bisu answered. He added that he thinks he is behind Jaedong in terms of pure practice amounts, and that he had lady luck on his side recently. There is no doubting that the secret behind the two players’ success is their insane practice schedules to complement their ability.
Versus Zerg Specialists
Although they play different races, these two players are famous for their versus zerg match ups. Jaedong was known for his excellent zerg versus zerg since his debut, and Bisu made his mark in history by obliterating the “Plague of Protoss” – Savior - three to zero.
“The beauty of zerg versus zerg comes from the fact that the tiniest things decide the outcome of the game, and the unseen mind games between the players. It is the match up I am most confident in, and have most fun with. It’s fun because I win, and I win because it’s fun. The cycle repeats itself,” Jaedong mentioned on his match up he has been the best in the scene at for several years. Jaedong’s zerg versus zerg ability basically is impregnable, we concluded.
Jaedong actually believed that his zerg versus zerg was not that great in the beginning. We remembered that his first Proleague 5th set deciding match defeat came from a zerg. He actually lost a lot of zerg versus zerg matches during practice, but oddly enough hardly lost on television. “I gained a lot of confidence from that, and started to win a lot during practice also. After that, it’s always been like it is now,” Jaedong mentioned on his incredible mirror match up.
Recently, Bisu has been “unstoppable” in his mirror match up also. However, Bisu will always be known for his zerg killing ability. It is the match up he enjoys the most. “I also was not too confident against zerg when I was a rookie. It’s only after I learned the art of combining different units did I start to enjoy playing against zerg. Actually, I don’t mind which match up I play as long as there are no siege tanks involved (laughs),” Bisu noted.
Being so talented in a certain match up must involve some kind of a secret know-how. When we asked the players if they had any, they both shook their heads.
“I learned this from psychotherapy lessons: none of us knows our trade secrets that well, because it is ingrained within ourselves. We just do it, and it’s hard to explain in words,” Bisu mentioned, with references to SK Telecome T1 arranged psychotherapy lessons he’d been receiving.
Jaedong’s answer was simpler. “I don’t think it’s like that for me. I really don’t have any,” he remarked. Was practice the key once again?
Being Enlisted To The Army and Starcraft 2 – Issues That Need A Lot Of Thought
Every progamer in the scene has at one time or another given some thought about when to attend to their military duties to their country and whether they should switch to playing Starcraft 2 when it comes out. Bisu and Jaedong are no exception.
Bisu, in particular, seemed to given the topic a lot of thought what with his friend Ruby recently being enlisted to the army. “I was envious of Ruby performing his military duties so early. I’ve heard that it gets harder the later you enlist. I’m concerned already,” he expressed his worries. Bisu has been given a grade 2 on his physical examination, and has been deemed fit enough to perform his military duties in full terms. He actually got a warrant to join the army in November, but like everybody else, he is planning on delaying the date.
Jaedong, being born in January 1990, hasn’t even been given a physical examination. However, with his friends his age already performing their military services, he is worried about the topic also. “Almost all my friends are already in the army. I am the only one left behind, and I worry about it constantly. I haven’t planned on exactly when to join yet though,” Jaedong remarked.
Bisu, being a year older than Jaedong (not really though), had a lot more to say on the issue of Starcraft 2. “The market is too small to concentrate only on Brood War. When Starcraft 2 comes out, it will hit the entire world by storm, and Korea will be forced to join in. I think I’ll be playing it also. For e-Sports, I think Brood War is more suitable, but the world trend will be hard to buck,” Bisu mused. Jaedong, on the other hand, didn’t know to think exactly since he felt that Starcraft 2 was a completely different game from Brood War.
These two players have yet to face one another on a major stage, but whether it’s for the race for getting most number of victories in the Proleague or getting the title of “bonjwa” first – whether they want to title or not – they’re locked in a tight competition against each other, so they can be called rivals. They even are battling for the top spot in the Kespa rankings.
“I personally feel some rivalry between us. People keep comparing the two of us and we have similar rankings,” Jaedong, the more buttoned up of the two replied shortly. Bisu, however, thought differently. “I think Stork matches the title of my rival better. For me at least, Jaedong is more of a rival with Flash,” he concluded. With the two players both performing as well as each other for the first time, it seems the title of rivals seems a little awkward to be put in use as of now.
However, it cannot be denied that Hwaseung Oz and SK Telecom T1 are rivals. Hwaseung Oz is currently at the top, with SK Telecom T1 closely behind. When asked what their goals were for the remaining part of this season, Bisu stated without any hesitation “being first placed in the Proleague”, while Jaedong added “whoever plays better will finish first” and mentioned that it will be a race to the finish. It was the first time in this interview that the rivalry between the two really fired up. When asked about the new map “Shadow Of Twilight”, they both answered “we don’t know exactly” and laughed awkwardly.
We then focused on their goals for the upcoming individual leagues. They both answered rather disappointingly that they haven’t given it a lot of thought since it hadn’t begun yet. Perhaps they were reluctant to state their desire to win since they were right in front of each other.
An hour had passed already. We decided to start wrapping up the interview what with both players having such tight schedules. Bisu seemed a little surprised that it was over already. Although it was too short a time to get to know each other fully, this interview had done its job as starting off what could be a lifelong friendship between the two; the rest is in their hands now.
Bisu concluded the interview by saying that he wishes the best of luck for Jaedong and himself. It seemed that he wanted to meet Jaedong in the most important of stages. Jaedong replied by saying they should get to know each other better by practicing more with each other. With a showdown between the two in the finals of some competition becoming more and more inevitable, we end the interview hoping these two players are closer now than before.