I used to hate firebathero. I'm not sure why, because that's like hating Starcue; the proper response is to shake your head and laugh.
I just initially didn't think that he was worthy of his trash talk. Even discounting his bashing of Savior, he was always outrageous in his celebratory exhibitions, and I didn't see any in-game validation for it. But, I have to admit, the guy grew on me. At the end of the day, it was funny, and he came equipped a lot of energy. He brought more to the game than just wins and losses. He stood out among the crowd, and I could appreciate that.
Just recently, I was watching FireBatHero play and thought, "You know what? You're my last remaining hero."
After realizing what I'd just said and doing the obvious thing of slitting my wrists and being rescued at the last minute by Kenny Rogers, I realized that I have no heroes left. I wasn't sure what happened, but somewhere along the line, they all disappeared with no one stepping up to replace them.
I started a mental countdown.
Using new and inventive strategies in a time where - without replays - it was harder to analyze and prepare counters for them, Guillaume Patry was at the forefront of StarCraft gaming when he defeated H.O.T.-Forever in one of the most exciting finals I had ever seen. Guillaume retired and became a poker star.
Accompanied by the Norwegian documentary crew which would make him famous overnight, Fredrik Østervold travelled to Korea where he took first place in the 2nd KBK Masters tournament over the likes of Grrrr..., IntoTheRain, TheMarine, and SiR@SoNi, eventually beating I.Love_Star in the finals. He declined a pro contract and went back to school.
The grandmaster of Zealot micro, Kim Dong Soo defeated BoxeR in the SKY OnGameNet StarLeague finals in 2001, setting in motion a trek to acquire as many of his replays as I could find. He retired a few years later.
The man who originally made PvZ winnable, Kang Min invented more Protoss builds than anyone else in history. Over time, however, the most influential Protoss player ever became more and more inconsistent, eventually resorting to fast Carriers every other game before finally retiring and becoming a respected commentator.
Anytime, BoxeR, Reach, Bisu-- okay, you know what, what the fuck?! Where did everybody go?
Damn it all, even Bisu doesn't play right now, and he became famous for inventing a build created by someone else. I'd cheer for DaezanG, but... well... I like my heroes to win a game now and again. No offense.
Hello? Is anybody here?
I was going through them all in my head when I realized something all of my heroes had in common. And I realized that there was another player with the same commonality: FireBatHero. Because, like him, they all brought more to the game than just wins and losses.
They brought creativity and innovation. They brought hope to a dying race, or dominance over their peers. They brought the certitude of victory and the shock of defeat. They revolutionized matchups. With them all came an excitement to simply watch them play, and the fervent wish for them to succeed, the hope that this time their endless struggle would pay off. They brought tears of joy and tears of sadness.
If you saw the EVER '04 OSL finals which took place on my Goddamned birthday, you'll know what I'm talking about.
That's who my heroes were. And that's what I don't quite feel in Stork, in Jaedong, in Flash. Hell, with Flash there is even the certitude of victory, but all it does is make me long for his equal, and for an epic rivalry to last until the end of StarCraft as a professional sport.
I don't know who to back right now. I don't know who to really root for, even if they crash and burn and begin the arduous and painful struggle back to the top. I was there with Reach last time he dropped out of yet another round of 32. I was there with Nal_rA all the way up until his retirement. I was there, cheering for my favourite, always hoping against hope that he had one more StarLeague left in him, and always feeling his losses.
I won't be there for Jaedong, or Effort, or Stork or free or Flash. I won't be there if they pass their prime, fall from the top, and begin their long struggle to recapture some lost glory.
I won't be waking up at 4 AM to sit in the dark and cheer at my computer screen as they create some kind of magic just to valiantly make it to the round of 32.
I reserve that particular branch of insanity for my heroes.
Job opening: StarCraft Hero. Applicant should appropriately fill out this silhouette of Columbo.
I dunno. I'm sure there's someone out there I can really get behind, whose style I really enjoy and who is doing fairly well right now, but nothing's really clashing right now. There's this weird cacophony now as well, where the game-play is better than ever but I'm not getting into it as much.
How 'bout you guys? If you've read this far, who are your heroes, and why?
I could use a few ideas.
Confidential to Nal_rA: You are the Church to my Caboose. Let us sail around the world together and make beautiful, beautiful pylons.