Things haven't exactly gone according to plan for Flash in Starcraft 2. It has been a tale of false starts and small improvements for him, culminating in a difficult Season 1 of 2015. Things had begun to look up for him after he finally broke his championship duck in IEM Toronto 2014, and his successive podium placements in KeSPA Cup and HomeStory Cup X had affirmed that belief. Yet as the calendar turned, Flash hit another pane in a seemingly endless layer cake of glass ceilings. He failed to qualify after the great GSL purge, and he was stopped short in the new Starleague by Life—a great nemesis from the new generation of players. His seed into the IEM World Championships was for nought when he was outlasted by the mortal Trap, and he was left with nothing but Proleague for the first quarter of the year. There too, he struggled, limping to a 1-6 record in Round 1, one of the worst rounds of his distinguished career. Once again, he had hit a new bottom after finally having reached the top.
Yet anyone who knows the legend has heard of his unbreakable spirit. Though he was thwarted by Leenock in SSL, Flash raised himself back into Code S over the formidable Super. With his season in purgatory seemingly over, Flash must once again prove that the age of God is not over. Even after such a challenging start to the year, Flash remains positive.
At this point, Seeker had to drive his brother somewhere, right in the middle of the interview. Flash was very understanding about the situation, and waited patiently. Seeker basically made God wait for him to finish his errands for 20 minutes. When he returned, Flash just brushed off the inconvenience like it didn't happen.
~Adela Sznajder, IEM WC 2015
Despite his optimism and past success, Flash remains humble. Watching his peers succeed in his stead must be difficult, but Flash realizes that he has a long way to go. The pressure on him to succeed would have broken other players, but he knows that a calm mind is necessary.
That peace of mind even in the face of adversity was what guided KT Rolster to the Proleague 2014 championship title. Their eternal rivals, SK Telecom T1, were favored by most to wrap up the title after a dominant season. PartinG, one of SKT's best players at the time, even hounded Flash throughout the season with ceremonies. That they were matched against each other in the grand finals was considered destiny. That KT Rolster toppled the great Team 1 giant was considered a miracle.
For the 2nd round of the 2015 season, KT acquired the most significant transfer in recent memory: BlizzCon champion Life. Even though the two players had developed a small rivalry over the years, the addition should have turned the defending champions into the favorite to repeat.
Unfortunately, KT has struggled this season even with one of the strongest starting lineups in the league. In the Round 2 playoffs, Rolster lost to Jin Air Green Wings, and Flash was left on the bench. Some fans speculated on the reasons for his exclusion, but Flash reveals that it was out of his hands.
Currently 6th place on the table, KT Rolster are outside the playoff places. They have a lot of ground to make up for if they wish to reach another memorable final. SC2 attendance and fan fervor has experienced a revival in Korea, and even Flash has noticed some growth.
For Korean fans however, it’s a whole different story when they’re cheering for a player they especially like. But for foreign fans, it strongly feels like they like everyone?
~Meru, IEM Toronto 2014
Many a fond memory was made during his career in Brood War, and even though his competitive fire continues to burn wildly, Flash is not immune to waxing lyrical about the past. Most of all, the ties that he developed during the most competitive days of his career have stayed strong throughout the years.
~Yong "kenzi" Woo Kim, Proleague
I can’t seem to remember now that I’m trying to think of them all of a sudden.
Once considered the game's greatest prodigy, Flash won his first title at the tender age of 15. Even though he's now only 22 years of age, he's become one of the most experienced players in all of esports. He has seen players, teams, and games come and go, and his illustrious career has seen him turn into a mentor for younger players.
~Helena Kristiansson, IEM Toronto 2014
And work hard, he does. In a career paved with gold, Flash has every right to relax and slow down. Yet Flash appears hungrier than ever to prove his disbelievers wrong. That singlemindedness has not engulfed him, however, and his positivity allows him to enjoy his life even in the midst of fierce competition. A certain lightheartedness makes him easy to talk to, though he remains largely reserved through the interview. With people he's more comfortable with, we've seen a side of him rarely seen in the intensity of the booth.
I guess I would choose them because I feel like they would make sure that they save my family ㅋㅋㅋ.
Our team’s name would be TaekBangLeeSsang.
I picked this team because I think we would be the most popular ㅋㅋㅋ.
I think SC2 tanks are so bad.
~R1CH, HSC X
Our conversation is going well, but Flash unfortunately has something else scheduled for the afternoon. Coach Kim "Hery" Yoon Hwan informs us that Flash must attend to other matters, and we hesitantly wrap up the interview.
With his Code S group on the horizon—where he faces herO, Dream and Patience—Flash must feel lucky that he avoids his self proclaimed weakness of TvZ. Yet this marks only his second time in Code S since the end of 2013, and many fans understandably approach his group with subdued pessimism. After all, herO just won KeSPA Cup, Dream was the runner-up for SSL Season 1, and Patience routinely goes deep in big tournaments. By many estimates, Flash lost the title of favorite long ago, and the pearly gates of Code S may find him wanting once again. But if he has made one thing clear in all his interviews, it is that he is a man of boundless faith—in himself, and in his desire to be the greatest once more.