Today when I arrived home from school I instantly saw the "Marine King switching to lol" threads on both /r/starcraft and here on TL.net. And every time I see a pro going away from Starcraft II my hearth sinks a bit. I admire and love the professional SC2 scene so much that it truly saddens me every time people leave it. I remember seeing Jinro, Sea, Bisu, JangBi, Stephano and everyone else imaginable retire, and I never blame them, and as selfish as it is, I really wish they would stay. Today however, I did not get quite that feeling when I saw the posts about MKP. Which is strange, because everyone of my friends know the deep burning passion I have for Marine King, he is most likely the reason I still watch professional SC2. I guess it's always been looming over me, the fact that MKP never will win that GSL trophy, and the fact that he never will return to dominate the top tier again have been so obvious that I guess I got used to the fact that he would leave soon.
However, Marine King deserves a greater goodbye, everyone who have been around for a while should know about Marine King, he is a big name to Starcraft 2, and always will be, but why is that? It's easy to remember MKP, but hard to remember why we should remember him, and as a person who have religiously followed him since his early days I think I'm allowed to give you the reasons why Marine King had such influence on SC2.
Since the second season of GSL in 2010 all the way to MLG in 2012 Lee Jung Hoon have been a important figure to the professional scene of Starcraft 2, he was one of the first players to truly understand the strength's and weaknesses of the Terran race, and how to exploit them to maximum potential. Many of you may know of his journey from Boxer, to Foxer to Marine King.Prime aka MKP and during that journey we can find what the big influential moments are, and why they have such importance.
So Let's start from the beginning, the year is 2010, and in e-sports years that's like ancient Greek mythology, and the man we know today as MKP, was known as
Lee Jung Hoon always had a talent for bringing fame to himself, he is by far one of the most colorful personas you can find in Korean SC2, and he provides that color by intense emotions before but most importantly after a game, and with his exotic play style you really could tell what type of person he was, without ever hearing him speak. And choosing the ingame ID "Boxer" during this time, was nothing other than a ballsy move, he got criticized tremendously for it by some, and loved by others. The funny thing is, during the 2010 Sony Ericsson StarCraft II Open Season II, Marine King's big breakout tournament, Lim Yo Hwan "SlayerSBoxeR" the man, the myth, the legend himself played. If not Lim Jae Duk or by the school of Artosis, also known as "The Creator of the Universe" NesTea had slaughtered Slayer's Boxer, we would have seen a Boxer vs Boxer final. Even tough that did not happen, it was during this GSL where it all began for MKP.
Part I: Where It All Began
First off, MKP was 16 at the time of this GSL. A talented kid going deep in a tournament will always be healthy for anyone's career. But it was here he planted the seed of what would later grow and become his famous ID, where he showed us, that the most broken unit in the game could be even more broken in the hands of a king.
And in the quarterfinals he played a BO3 against the Zerg player Han Joon "Kyrix" and for a long period of time this BO3 was regarded as one of the greatest series of all time. And to some it still is.
If you wish to see the other games go over to GOMTV.net and buy a ticket for that season.
That aside this was the first time we had seen unit control on such a level in SC2. All of you who managed to survive the meteor that wiped out the dinosaurs and still remember Brood War, you will also know what unit control looked like back then. An army could go from one level of efficiency to almost 3-4 times as efficient if used correctly. Marine splitting is the closest we've gotten to that difference in efficiency and micro skill ceiling in SC2 to date. Marine King perfected and used it before anyone else. Just like Jaedong basically won tournaments with his mutalisk control MKP almost won tournaments with his bio/medivac control. First off, it was really cool as a observer to watch. When watching pro SC2 as an amateur, when you see someone control an army like that, you instantly see and understand why they are a professional and you are not. Secondly, marine splitting and bio control are the stepping stones of what TvZ is today. Even tough we have luxuries such as widow mine's and hellbats, you can't play bio TvZ without dodging banelings.
The way he split and kited was unlike anything before him and truly defined how Terran were meant to optimally engage the Zerg army. His unit control always were a trademark of his play.
With this he laid the foundation of how TvZ is played, while giving great pleasure to the spectators.
Part II: The King Rises.
Let's fast forward to the year 2012, our hero is no longer "Boxer" or "Fake Boxer" or "Foxer", he is established and known as.
And by being one of the most consistent Code-S players, while still remaining cheerful, fashionable and exciting to watch, he brought on a great fan base. All this combined made him one of the most popular SC2 players there was, even tough everyone knew he was really good at the game, he had never gotten a first place finish and was established as the first "Kong" in SC2. However the year 2012, later became the best year in his career. MarineKing showcased his greatest strength, he was never afraid to prove to everyone how big the skill cap would be between the players that mastered army movement/control, and the one who did not. He showed us all once again how volatile the Terran bio army could be, going tank-less TvZ and TvT to great success, and prioritizing Medivacs over Vikings in TvP to deal with colossus. It was mind-blowing and fantastic to watch him do so.
And finally the moment we all had been waiting for Lee Jung Hoon got his first Major win in a tournament, and not only did he win the MLG 2012 winter arena, he also won the MLG winter championship where we got to experience a fantastic rivalry between him and DRG. And during that period of time it looked very similar to what Flash and Jaedong had during BW.
Men faint, Women faint, MKP cries and the fans love it, a beautiful story arc of the prodigy child with the burning desire to win that one big trophy, and when he finally breaks out and manages to do so, he does it in a fantastic display of skill against a fantastic rivalry between two beasts of players, and he does so twice. There is no doubt, that beyond MarineKing's fun play style, he brought even greater excitement to watching StarCraft, with his lovable persona and beautiful story line. Without a doubt, this was his best year. And here he solved some of the problems SC2 were suffering from. It is always fun to root for the personality, the one who will collapse and cry when wining a championship, and when MKP won, the fans were always rewarded with ceremonies and emotions, something that no other Korean did on such a high level, other than MC and Genius, but even them could not do it as well as MKP.
There is not much more to say here, but during 2012 MKP took his fantastic persona, and lovable play style and brought it to the foreign fans outside of Korea and showed us all how exciting it can be to root for a player.
Oh and let's not forget his bad ass keyboard.
everything added up to a lovable character.
Part III: His Greatest Strength Became His Greatest Enemy.
So what were the things we loved with MKP? It was his personality, driven by intense emotions and his revolutionary and stylistic play style. Honestly guys, if there ever is someone who's "play style" is clearly distinguishable, it is Marine King's. But time's change, SC2 developed, and it developed fast. By every season of GSL new discoveries were made and the limit were pushed even further. And MKP's persona and play style lived in harmony with each other, MKP were stubborn, his play were stubborn, and he never gave up. Factors that in the earlier days gave us games like this. But he was easy to play against, he either went 3CC with no scout, or 2 rax. And such play is extremely easy to adjust to and play against once you know about it.
But I loved his stubbornness, I knew if there was anyone who could get away with it, it was him, he stuck with it, and never surrendered. And to be fair he managed to stay in Code-S all the way to 2013. But by the time HoTS got released MKP had made very little to no adjustments in his play style, and while fans believed HoTS would make him the deadliest Terran on the planet, he never got back to the shape he once were in. And the emotions we loved, turned around and punished him. Every time he got knocked out of GSL he took it harder and harder
It was painful to watch him sit in a game with 40/200 supply against a 200/200 Zerg and not leave. It was painful to see his frustration every time he missed his chance to get that GSL trophy he wanted so badly. And I don't know him personally, but I can almost guarantee that being such a emotional person, and having that deep desire and then falling from absolute dominance, to someone who's not even a threat anymore, will tear you down. And without a doubt one of many reasons why he quit SC2.
And as much as I would have loved to see him actually take home that GSL victory, he never did, and now we know for sure that he won't. I can always hope that Marine King will bring the same pleasures to LoL as he did to SC2, even tough nobody before him managed to succeed, I will wish him the best and truly hope he made the right choice for himself.
Today Starcraft got a little bit less fashionable as we witness MKP leave. But remember this Lee Jung Hoon, you always had, and always will have, a very special place in my heart.
I will leave you all with this, it's a really old YouTube video I used to watch when I still believed MKP would win that GSL.
Good Night Sweet King