I visited the three main E-Sports stadiums during my first week in Seoul. Because I’m recounting this from memory, I don’t know how much I can speak about the games themselves, but the experiences are still fresh. I went to the Sindorim E-Sports stadium, which is the room located on the third floor of the techno mart mall where they hold the GSL Code A qualifiers. The place is not very good for watching games because there are two television screens awkwardly placed too far from the sides of the benches and their resolutions weren’t configured so I couldn’t see both players’ supplies and the minimap was cut off. The other option was to sit in front where you could see the game projected on a white screen, but the place is so well lit that it’s hard to read. So paying close attention to the games was incredibly difficult. There were very few people there. It was just a handful of fan girls on either side of the benches and me.
I arrived to catch the last four matches of STX Soul vs CJ Entus, in which I got to see INnoVation demolish CJ herO and a very long game between STX Classic and CJ Bunny, in which Classic kept throwing away his lead, but eventually came out on top. After this match it was SK Telecom T1 trying to secure their placement in the playoffs versus the team in the number one spot, Woongjin Stars. I was rooting for SK Telecom T1 because Woongjin have already secured their spots and I want BoxeR’s team to make it as well. The first game went to Woongjin with Light beating FanTaSy, then Bisu evened up the score by winning a PvT over BrAvO. Thus making the game between Soulkey and Rain inevitable. The next game was a battle between modern greats with sOs bringing the team ahead 2:1 against PartinG.
The next game between Flying and BeSt was met with some technical issues, which provided what I saw as an opportunity. I see coach BoxeR standing alone to the side not doing anything, so I stupidly decide to ask him for a picture. I walk to him and bow and say “Annyong naseo, Emperor” and give him a polite smile. I ask him for a picture while making the taking-a-picture gesture with my hands. He curtly said “after” and then I realized my mistake. I don’t know what made me think it was ok to approach him while he is stressed about his team, which is down 2:1 in a match that may decide whether or not he makes it to the finals. My fanboydom overtook my senses and I start to panic and think to myself about how stupid and rude I must have been.
After the game got back underway after about half an hour of downtime, Flying took the game over BeSt which put Woongjin further ahead with a score of 3:1. This was the game I was waiting for, Soulkey vs. Rain. Arguably the best Zerg at the moment versus a Protoss player who absolutely dominated Starcraft II during late 2012. The game is on Whirlwind and starts with Rain playing greedy with a nexus first which is easily countered by Soulkey’s 10pool. Rain micros to the best of his ability, but Soulkey denies his cannon and takes down the pylon powering the unfinished gateway that Rain so desperately needs. He loses too much to the 8 zerglings in his base. He responds by building three cannons at Soulkey’s third at the 12 o’clock position, but Soulkey is far enough ahead that he can sacrifice that expansion and relocate to the 10 o’clock mineral line. By 6:30 Soulkey is constantly ahead in supply over Rain 2 to 1 and finishes the game at 12 minutes with a roaches.
SK Telecom T1 has lost 4:1 to the strongest team in Proleague, and I feel that this would be a terrible time to ask BoxeR for a picture. As I’m walking out of the venue I pass by the Emperor and give him a quick awkward nod, which he returns, and I’m not sure if it was considered an insult to neglect the picture, or respectful to leave him alone after a devastating loss. I’m going to go with the latter.