TeamLiquid and Evil Geniuses are joining forces to enter KeSPA's Proleague
Since its beginning in 2003, Proleague has been the ultimate esports competition. Starcraft was inherently a single player game, yet Proleague turned it into something greater than the sum of individual players. There's a reason why many Starcraft fans stand by the team they follow, even after the player that led them there has long since been retired.
The OSL and MSL were worthy championships, to be sure, yet nothing held the incredible power of a Proleague finals. The thousands of fans. The thunder sticks and flags. The beach. The match-up strategy. The combined histories of the players and teams converging at a single moment.
From afar, we watched this spectacle unfold. We cheered as best we could for the players we'd never seen in the flesh, who barely knew of our existence. We Liquibet on the results and played Fantasy Proleague. Through TeamLiquid.net's formative years, we loved Proleague as best as we could, knowing full well that we would never become a part of it. The passion of the international scene would seep through in brief clips of a foreigner in the audience, but never would a foreign organization set foot onstage.
And yet... here we are.
Message from TeamLiquid owner Liquid`Nazgul
Two huge steps forward are taken today. Not only is Liquid going to be a part of the Proleague legacy, but we will do so with Evil Geniuses. Throughout the past year, our relationship with EG has consistently grown, and when they presented us with this opportunity, we were more than intrigued. We are all very excited about beginning this new challenge and are both ready to make history.
The Proleague has been a mainstay of our coverage since its creation. It is the longest running team league in esports and has played host to the largest crowd in esports history. Many veterans on this site have grown up with Proleague, eagerly waking up early to follow their favorite teams from season to season. And now, after following Proleague for what seems like an eternity, Liquid becomes part of its legacy alongside Evil Geniuses.
Teaming up with our old enemy Evil Geniuses to undertake this incredible challenge is a new and exciting development. There is no doubt that we still see EG as our biggest rivals, but maybe that is exactly what makes it so appealing; the two biggest adversaries coming together to take on an even larger enemy on their home turf. It's an opportunity that makes us all very excited.
Liquid has gained considerable experience in team leagues over the past few years and have posted strong results in international team leagues like IPL TAC, EGMC and NASTL. And EG, who earlier this year struggled in teamleagues, has recently performed very well, placing highly in IPTL and - by some miracle of god - managing to take a match from us in the process. Proleague is a different beast and poses a greater challenge than anything either of us have done before; but we are both ready to rise to the occasion. We are quietly confident that in joining with EG we have a genuine shot at the championship and will work as hard as we can to live up to the expectations of the community.
Liquid will be adding our players that are currently living in Korea to the roster. These will be Zenio, Sea, HerO, and TaeJa. As the tournament progresses we will be exploring our options with regard to bringing over additional players.
Outside of Proleague, nothing changes. As much we'll enjoy fighting alongside Evil Geniuses to tackle the Proleague, we'll still relish taking them on in all other competitions.
Message from Evil Geniuses CEO Alex Garfield
It could be argued that Evil Genuses/TeamLiquid is the most storied rivalry in the history of non-Korean StarCraft. Whether you're talking about IdrA vs. HuK from late 2010 to mid-2011, PuMa vs. HerO in late 2011, EG's controversial recruitment of HuK away from Liquid last year, or IdrA's never-ending battle with the TL forum moderators, the EG and Liquid names have together created some of the most compelling storylines our sport has ever seen. And while our rivalry has always been fierce - and will always be - it has also always been mutual respectful, and has not been bitter for quite some time.
Obviously, Liquid's roster is excellent, and from a pure competition perspective, the addition of their players provides tremendous value to our partnership. However, to me, this joint participation represents much more than a mutual desire to win. To me, on the part of both organizations and their leaders, it represents mutual respect, reciprocal admiration, and a shared vision for the future of StarCraft as a professional sport. If I had approached Victor with this idea a year ago, he would've questioned my sanity. If I had approached him six months ago, he would've politely declined. But when I approached him recently, he was open to it, and we mutually worked out the details necessary to make the idea a reality. To me, on a personal level, that is as significant an accomplishment as having Evil Geniuses in Korea's most prestigious league.
Liquid has always been - and will continue to be - our fiercest rival. But rivalries do not have to be bitter; they do not have to involve mutual hatred and disrespect. We will continue to do battle with Liquid in individual tournaments and other teamleagues, but together, at this moment in time, we undertake this new challenge together. And I could not be happier or prouder to be partnered with Victor and TeamLiquid for the pursuit of the common goal of a Proleague championship.
Be sure to watch EG-Liquid in action in the 2012-2013 SK Planet Proleague, beginning on December 8th!