There is one player, who has managed to surpass the number of runner-ups that Yellow has. If having numerous runner-ups is part of Yellow’s legacy, this player has so much more runner-ups that it is impossible for other players to catch up. That is why he is called the “Legendary Runner-up”.
By now, everyone should know who we are talking about. Today’s protagonist is soO, who has just gotten yet another Runner-up at the 2017 Blizzcon. The prize money that he has won from all his runner-ups has already surpassed other champions’ prize winnings. He is also one of the most talked about players in the current SC2 scene.
His optimistic and positive attitude influences people around him. He does not see his runner-ups as setbacks, but a new challenge, a new start, a new journey. Maybe this is why he is still one of the top players in SC2.
Nowadays he has learnt to let go, and he even has a new nickname: Buddha. Even though the SC2 scene in Korea has become much smaller, he pays no attention to it and remains positive in what he is doing. Now let us hear what he has to say.
The Most Regretful Runner-up
If a player says that he is happy with being runner-up, nobody would possibly believe it. Because the champion walks away with the fame and fortune, the runner-up will always be seen as the pitiful loser.
soO is the same. Even though he will put up a brave front and say that: “It’s ok, I will win next time” to people who console him, nobody else will ever able to understand the regret he feels.
Even though every runner-up feels bad, the one that left the deepest hole, the one that was the most devastating, was blizzcon. soO went up against Rogue in the finals and lost 2:4. He was runner-up yet again.
“Actually before i went to Blizzcon, i thought I would be satisfied just getting to the finals. Even if i get another runner-up, the prize money is comparable to other championship winnings. If i kept thinking about becoming champion, it would have affected my performance. So the target i set for myself was just to reach the finals.
However, once i reached the stage for the finals, the difference in prize and prestige was so huge between Champion and Runner-up. Furthermore it was a match-up i was confident at: ZvZ, i started having hopes of becoming Champion. I had no idea whether it was because i was expecting to win, but my hands became less nimble.”
Although the previous failures had not kept soO down, to fall at the last hurdle again at a tournament like Blizzcon, left a long lasting impact on soO. He was utterly disappointed in himself.
"I tried to tell myself that it was ok. But all of a sudden, i was overwhelmed by sadness. I tried to calm myself down. But out of nowhere, a wave of disappointment hit me. In the past, this phase would not last. This time round, it continued for a long while.
Maybe because i knew i could have won it, and i was confident of it, yet i lost again, and in my heart i know what is the problem. To be honest, even till now I have not been able to put this to rest."
Secret to his Perseverance: Hard work and the will to win.
soO’s record of Runner-ups is amazing. But what is more surprising is his persistence. From 2014 onwards, he has repeatedly gotten to various finals and kept himself in the top tier of SC2 players. Because of SC2’s characteristics, it is almost impossible for anyone to consistently remain at the top. Even so, soO has managed to reach 6, SIX GSL finals. That in itself is already an amazing record.
Because of how often we see a smile on soO’s face, it is hard to link him with the word “ferocious”. However when asked how was he able to maintain such good results, he said that his secret was his ferocious thirst to win. He also stated that other players were constantly triggering him and that was how he managed to reach where he is today.
“Seeing other players doing well became my motivation. Especially when i saw other Zerg players becoming champions, I will think to myself, if this player can do it, there is no reason why i cannot. That would be all the catalyst that i need”
No matter how much you desire to win, if you do not build a strong foundation with hard work, you will never reach the top.
“When it comes to SC2, I am without doubt, one of the players that put in the most effort. I am definitely a down to earth, hardworking type of player. In fact, after 2 runner-ups in GSL 2017, i was out of gas. But feeling down is just a waste of time, so i immediately picked myself up, stopped thinking about anything else and just focused on preparing for Blizzcon.
As I put in more effort than anybody, I was confident in saying that I wanted to reach the finals. If I had stayed dejected and depressed after the 2 GSL runner-ups, i would never have been able stand on the stage of the Blizzcon Finals would I?”
2018, A last burst of fire.
This year, soO is already 26 (nominal age) , and next year he will be 27. Until now, not many players have been able to stay relevant past 27. Many fine players reach a bottleneck when they hit 27. So even soO admits that he is afraid of what 2018 will bring.
“I might not have many championships to my name, but i have reached more finals than anyone else and my results have been consistently good. I am still concerned that my performance will start to go downhill next year. Next year might be my last year as a professional player, so i really want to do my best.”
Yes, the word “Last” has come out from his mouth. From a realistic perspective, soO believes that 2018 might be his last year playing SC2 professionally as he needs to settle his military service commitments.
“Even though I have always been prepared that this might be my last hurrah, 2018 really could be the last year of my Professional Career. Because of that, i am more driven than ever to win that Championship. I want to unleash a last burst of fire and make 2018 a better year than 2017.
I hope the fans will remember me even after i retire.”
It is depressing to hear the word “last”, no matter when. However to soO, the word does not represent misery. It embodies his determination to put forth his greatest effort. In 2018, he will strive to work even harder.
“The support of my fans is a big reason why I am still here today. Actually after SKT was disbanded, i silently went and find a job. It was all due to my fans’ support that I came back to playing and reach where i am today. The interactions I had with my fans while i stream really invigorated my life and kept me playing so i am really grateful to all my fans.”
After leaving SKT, soO was better able to feel the love and support of his fans. soO has expressed his intent on exiting the stage with a last burst of fire. What type of performance will he show his fans?
Let’s hope that the “Legendary Runner-up”, “ Legend of eSports” soO will be able to fulfill his dreams.
My own thoughts:
To be very honest, I was one of those who had a good laugh at all those runner-ups that soO had gotten. His own written piece before Blizzcon really changed the way I looked at him and I was really rooting for him at Blizzcon.
When I realise he was going to lose to Rogue, I turned off the stream before the gg could come and went to sleep. I don’t think i could have bear watching the ceremony.
If indeed 2018 is going to be his last year, soO will be the one and only player i will be rooting for next year. And i hope everyone else thinks the same way. Come on man, there can’t be anymore heartless bastards out there right?
soO fighting !!
I end my translation with this comment from the chinese website i got the interview from.
“Many years down the road, people will no longer remember who were the various champions in SC2, but they will remember the resolute and unwavering Runner-up that is soO.”