We always want our players to be perfect. They should be like the units on our screen: when we command our SCVs to ‘gather,’ they go and mine without error. In the same way, fans expect the players to be without error: whatever they attempt to do, they should accomplish with ease.
After all, don’t they practice for hours without sun or water?
Starcraft pros during practice.
We expect pros to have godly macro and devilish micro. We expect pros to have every build and counter build filed, sorted, and dewey-decimaled in their brain. We expect the pros to come up with brilliant strategies, and adapt to any in-game development.
Isn’t that what makes the difference between the pros and some B- in the pubbies? That’s why they get paid to play, while we stay up at night to watch them play, right?
Pros should be good vT, vZ, and vP. Pros should never lose their nerves. Pros should be masters at scouting, always having equal information as us, the observers.
But the same gods that gave us the SCV and its 60hp of perfection also gave us:
The Dragoon is Bill Roper's way of reminding us that to err is to be human.
Perfect is what robots are, what computers are. The last time a group of humans tried to be perfect, they practiced eugenics, killed everybody who was different, wore ugly pants, and tried to take over the world. And the next time in the future when everybody tries to be perfect, the machines will win the war and keep humans captive in a virtual reality while they use our energy to generate power. Humans, by nature, have flaws.
Perfect is not what people are, and I like it that way. We always laugh at players who perform ‘newb mistakes’: spilling units, leaving workers idle, skipping a round of macro. We shout at the screen, we laugh, we type “I could do better on Bnet kekeke” and then we go off to kill kittens. We expect a minimum amount of fundamentals.
But you know what? Boxer. Not perfect. Reach. Not perfect. Oov. Casy. Kingdom Nal_Ra. July. And Yellow... Yellow is heroically not perfect. His nonperfection is epic, the stuff of Homer and Shakespeare.
Of course, perfect does not equal “not slumping.” But even in their absolute primes, when they were in their best form, the above players had serious flaws in their games. And yet, they were stomping throats!
Boxer. Can’t beat any elite toss without all-in timing pushes. OSL champion.
Reach. Doesn’t understand modern PvZ. OSL Champion.
July. Fat. OSL Champion.
+ Show Spoiler +
(but seriously, July's true flaw is never getting the hang of Savior’s 3-hatch ZvT build. He just can’t. It goes against his nature of constant pressure and attack. It’s like trying to teach a bull to not charge and have the matador come to him instead.)
GoRush. Doesn’t Rush. MSL Champion.
Nal_Ra. Inconsistent. MSL and OSL Champion.
Kingdom. Even more inconsistent, with no macro to boot. OSL Champion.
Anytime. The champion of inconsistency. OSL Champion.
Oov. Attack+Click ground. MSL and OSL Champion.
Casy. Boxer’s strengths times two. Boxer’s weaknesses times three. OSL Champion.
How can you argue against such successful imperfection?
And if you ever needed any more proof that success has nothing to do with perfection:
Honestly, who in your mind has been the closest to perfect? I got three candidates:
First, Midas. His play is the closest to perfection: no weaknesses and strong in any matchup. He’s killer in TvZ, even better in TvP, and he’s also solid in the mirror match. But because of the successes of his play, Midas’ mental imperfections are even more pronounced. Many players have won the whole thing with much less skill than Midas. He has his flaws, but they're not gameplay-related; it's a dramatic combination of weak nerves and bad luck. As a player, it makes him exciting to watch and compelling as a storyline.
Second, Nada. Nada is something else. His gameplay is airtight, but Nada honestly can't belong in the 'perfect' category. Nada’s perfection has nothing to do with his game. He's too much of a stylist. Nada's game is full of weird quirks. He hates building turrets versus toss. He does funky builds that no one else can pull off. He never plays like a conventional Terran. Nada's perfect in the sense that you can't find an obvious flaw in his game. But at the same time, what he does well is so unique and impossible to emulate. Perfect? Maybe in his own way. Can others strive to achieve the same kind of perfection? Impossible.
That leaves us with this guy:
Savior Cuban Gangster. Perfect. Plays low-econ, high-econ, plays orthodox, plays funky, plays Mozart, plays Run-DMC. Micro, macro, strategy, management, fundamentals, and balls the size of Brazil. He plays Zerg the way the Xel'Naga intended - like a ball of mercury. Furthermore, he has the perfect demeanor - a cold-blooded assassin. I'm shocked - SHOCKED - when he loses. The way he carries himself, never smiling, I feel like it's simply natural for him to win. Birds fly, dogs die, people fuck, and Savior wins.
And you sit there, thinking, "How do I become PERFECT like Savior? What should I practice first?" And then you get your grubby paws on one of his replays and realize his APM is like 70.*
*not his real APM. But Savior's APM is unusually low for a pro.
Perfection is not the answer.
Many players are sexy precisely because they are so imperfect: Pusan is the captain of my Major Flaw All-Stars. The roster of non-champions is Midas (mentioned above), Light (falls behind in the beginning stages of EVERY game, always makes great comeback), Zergman (Has streaks of ZvT, ZvZ, and ZvP dominance, but never at the same time - only one good matchup per season.), Silver (Hydras and nothing else), Pusan (SPIRIT!) and IntoTheRainbow (He's like a magician with one good trick... but you watch that trick over and over again because he's so good and it always works.)
So, if perfection is not the answer, what is? The true reason for embracing our flaws is this: Our flaws can be overcome if we focus on our strengths. To illustrate:
Boxer. Understands the game like a stopwatch. Not a stopwatch you or I might own at home, but like one of those 0.00000 stopwatches that they use at the Olympics. OSL champion.
Reach. To play like Reach is to walk like John Wayne or squint like Clint Eastwood. OSL Champion.
July. Mastered low-econ Zerg it to the point where it's as sharp as a samurai sword. Attacks like a Piranha smelling blood. OSL Champion.
GoRush. The king of in-game management. MSL Champion.
Nal_Ra. Creative, innovative, and spectacular. Watching him play is like watching fireworks. MSL and OSL Champion.
Kingdom. Aggressive, in-your-face micro. Nobody, not even Casy, gets more mileage out of a single unit. OSL Champion.
Anytime. Innovative builds, macro for days, and balls of steel. Has a keen sense of how to make subtle but game-changing tweaks to build orders. OSL Champion.
Oov. A cheating gorilla. MSL and OSL Champion.
Casy. Makes any ranged unit seem imba. OSL Champion.
Sometimes we are judged by what we can't do. Sometimes we are judged by what we can. But a champion is always remembered by what he can do, because he has forced us to overlook his flaws.
In summary: To be flawed is to be human; to overcome our flaws by the virtue of our strengths is to be victorious.