TL:FE Guest Writer
Its 4:30 am.
My alarm went off 15 minutes ago, and I dragged myself out of bed and downstairs. I'm bleary-eyed, grumpy, and cold. My bed is calling me from upstairs, but I tune out its siren song. The sun comes up early in July, the first light peeking through my window already.
I'm awake at this time because ProGaming has no consideration for the sleep cycle of a Canadian fan. To many fans, these aren't even important games. Its OGN StarChallenge, the race for the fourth seed. Normally, these are games I could sleep through. Not tonight though, because tonight, Sea[Shield] is playing. Yom Bo Sung. L'Enfant Terrible, the KTF Killer. I've watched every game he's played live for over half a year. Tonight he's facing Lee JaeDong, so I stumbled out of bed, and here I am.
Everything about this young phenom captivates me. His personality, his style, his trials and tribulations as a ProGamer. From his catapult blast to the Shinhan 1 OSL 4th seed, I've watched his games, and grown progressively more attached. Not just Sea[Shield] the player, but Yom Bo Sung the person as well. During those 4th seed matches he obliterated Nal_rA, ChoJJa, and Yellow, KTF's premiere trio. It shocked me that this young player could show such depth and such steadfast nerves against players of this calibre. He followed up with a strong 3-0 of his OSL group, before running into a scorching-hot Yellow[ArnC] in the round of 8. He fell 1-2, marking the beginning of what would seem to be a recurrent stumbling block.
Sea's wins are the single most entertaining events in StarCraft for me. Watching him take seemingly any situation he finds himself in early game, and turning it into a massive, unsurpassable advantage by lategame is dazzling. His unparalleled mechanics allow him to be aggressive to a point that would be perilous for other players to approach. It seems, at times, that he doesn't just defeat his opponent, he utterly outclasses them in every aspect of gameplay. He denies counters, he defends all-ins, he takes the very best that a ProGamer can throw at him and grins as he knocks the blow aside. He will rock you, he will roll you, he will run over your best defenses as if his units have double their hit points. If you build a wall, he will tunnel under it and lay dynamite and your men will cower as he strikes poses to a backdrop of raining fire and stone.
Sometimes Sea loses, and when he does, its the single most frustrating event in StarCraft for me. He's competed in three major leagues so far, and each time he's been denied passage to the SemiFinal by his achilles heel, the lair-centric management style zerg. Once to Yellow[ArnC], twice to GoRush. Sea's terrifying TvT and TvP are balanced by his TvZ, in which he shows an uncharacteristically large window of weakness. Attack timing varies heavily throughout the Zerg ProGamer ranks, and Sea seems to succumb to a specific group of these players. GoRush and Jaedong are probably the best examples, both are players that use very fast Lair timing to put the hurt on their opponent, and you better believe it hurts.
A large part of why I like Sea so much is that I can see my own emotions reflected on his face. When Sea wins in ProLeague, he calmly and confidently struts out of his booth with a sly grin. He walks around like he owns the place. He's a giant, ten feet tall, and nobody can stop him. There's nothing shy or meek about Yom Bo Sung, which is refreshing in a profession that has a general air of humility and good grace. His wins speak for themselves, and when he high-fives his teammates he absolutely fills the room he is in. He seems just that much more aware than other players that he is in the eye of the ProGaming world, and he is completely comfortable there. I get genuinely excited and delighted when Sea smashes his opponents, and its a great feeling.
"This is MY house, and you're in it."
When Sea loses, I get frustrated and grumpy. My mood turns foul, and I find myself somewhat disliking the guy he lost to, regardless of who it is. Of course, that feeling passes, but it always comes. When Sea loses I can see his anger. He's outwardly expressive, even yawning and making faces at the screen during a stand-off TvT that he was bored with. You can see his face darken, his lips tighten, his brow drop when he loses. Sea is a player of emotion more than anything else. When July left MBC Hero, Sea made a public statement asking him, "Hyung, please come back." His ProLeague performance that day was abysmal, losing two harsh games. Despite his destructive power, he doesn't have the professional demeanour that a guy like Savior has. However, his frustrations are short-lived, and after every loss he comes back with an even more impressive win. Always.
It's 5:30 am now, and despite mutilating Jaedong in the first game, Sea lost the series. Jaedong's Mutalisk timing on Python at close positions, and his deadly control, turned a huge advantage into a pile of rubble and dead marines. Sea won't be winning the fourth seed for the next OSL, but you can be damn sure that after this loss he'll be itching to get at his ODT opponents' throats. I'm tired, and I'm grumpy. If you watched the games, you've seen Sea's face after he lost, and thats what my face looks like too. However, just as Sea's will to win is unfaltering, so is my faith that he'll decimate whatever competition he happens across in the future. Watching Sea play is a roller coaster with far more ups than downs, and I'm strapped in until the rails end. It's a matter of time before this kid starts cruising to consecutive league finals, and the top spot on the KeSPA rankings is in his future. Boxer called it, I believe it, and when it happens no one will deny it. Yom Bo Sung, Sea[Shield], the next wave of Terran domination. Hell of a ride.