Every Korean pro-gamer's career has an expiration date. And that is mandatory military service. Puma once called it a death sentence. A ticking clock. One that inevitably ends the career of all Korean pro-gamers. It is something that looms in the back of their minds. A constant plague, a sword that hangs above them ready to strike down at any moment. As the days, weeks, and months pass by the pressure to retire now and do military service grows as they realize that they are inevitably taking loans on their own future.
Winrate61% vs. Terran66% vs. Protoss63% vs. Zerg
Earnings$54,700 USD in 2014
They are as falling stars. They burn with a bright intensity as they burn their youth in search for the fulfillment of their dreams, ambitions and ideals. But once they crash, once the sword drops, once military service comes in, it is lights out. It is more than just 2 years of life; for many it is the end of youth. A hard reset of their lives knowing that all they have built up must be put on halt and the world marches on.
It is fitting then that M18M changed his name to StarDust upon the end of his BW career and the end of his tenure at Air Force ACE. His star had already burned out during his BW career. 4 years with little to no results. He had burned out and all that was left was Stardust.
For other players, military service is the end. For StarDust it was a rebirth. Near the end of his military service, KeSPA finally picked up SC2. And StarDust’s career hasn't been the same since.
The first time we saw StarDust was on opening day of SPL. It was Air Force ACE against Samsung Khan. And StarDust played RorO on Ohana. In that game, StarDust befuddled RorO as he went for a mass air army. Anything that could be made out of a Stargate was made. Phoenixes, void rays, carriers. It was a strange game in a strange time when all of protoss had given up on any other strategy beyond Soul Train and 3 base timing attacks. And while RorO’s inexperience contributed to StarDust’s win, I can’t help but think how symbolic this game was.
On the map most favorable for Soul Trains, in a meta that had given up on air-style protoss, in a match where his entire team had lost, StarDust won with a strategy of his own devising in a way unique to him. And that is the story of StarDust. A man who cut across the heavens to make a path all his own. Who’s very way of playing made you know StarDust was a man born to fly. From his debut against RorO, to his shocking finals against Jaedong, and his countless battles in WCS EU, you could see it in all his games. His burning passion for the game, his burning passion to win, to fly.
And StarDust did fly. First to America for a brief stint under team LighT. And then he joined mYi upon realizing how many more tournaments there were in the EU scene. Since then the fates of mYi and StarDust have been intrinsically linked. It was mYi’s biggest pick up to date and StarDust rewarded their faith as he immediately won his first ever Dreamhack in one of the great finals of HotS.
Both in and out of game, you can see StarDust’s passion and drive. He is constantly trying to improve his play. Since winning his first ever Dreamhack, Stardust has never hit a slump as he is constantly practicing and working on his play. Outside the game, he has become a paragon of what a pro-player should aspire to be. He interacts with his fans, learned English, even created his own talk show. Even spiteful names like CheeseDust were taken and twisted into an ironic epitaph. StarDust in his talk show once said that he was living his dream right now. That all he wanted to do was play the game and eventually work in eSports. And you can see that passion, that drive in him in everything he has done from the beginning of his career until now. Whether it be in Brood War, on LighT or on mYi, StarDust is a man who knows what he wants and does everything in his power to achieve it.
And this weekend he wants to win. In his SC2 career, he has achieved everything he has already set out for. When he left for America from Korea he wrote:
Where other players had given it up, StarDust had pushed on. When StarDust had left America for mYi, he wrote:
He has now won both. Upon losing in the ro16 for the first time in WCS EU he wrote:
Tomorrow has come today. Two years ago, StarDust left Korea for America and joined LighT to become a pro-gamer in SC2. One year ago, he left America for Europe and joined mYi to win his first Dreamhack and WCS EU. In November, he goes to Blizzcon to challenge the best in the word for a chance to win Blizzcon and memorialize his career forever.