It is with a heavy heart that the inevitable has happened on November 1st, 2016. The legendary player Lee “Jaedong” JaeDong announced his retirement from StarCraft II.
In 2004, Jaedong began his journey with StarCraft I as a professional player. He quickly pioneered the famous mutalisk-micro strategy that many adopted. After performing extremely well at the beginning of his career, the previously unknown player had come into focus.
Jaedong didn’t make his real debut until 2006 in an unbroadcasted Pro-league game. After doing poorly, he spent time refining his strategies. Jaedong then won several tournaments which earned him the “Rookie of the Year” award from the “Korean Esports” Awards. He became known as the most accomplished zerg player and gained the title of “The Tyrant.”
Over the next couple of years, he found himself a rivalry. In 2010 during the MSL Grand Finals, both Lee “Flash” Young Ho and Jaedong were vying for the championship title. Being at the peak of their respective careers, this particular grand final caused the most controversial decision in StarCraft history. A space heater took out the buildings power when the series was tied. Referees awarded Jaedong the win, giving him a 2 – 1 lead in a best of five. He then won the next two games, giving him the title, and ended the rivalry – or so we thought. It was not the last time the two would face off…
They went head to head once more which seemed doomed to repeat the same type of results. The internet had been rubber banding too much when Jaedong and Flash were tied. This lead to a rematch which the fans and the players alike wanted. After Flash won the series, he earned the title of “God”, but nothing would stop Jaedong from victory.
Jaedong in StarCraft II
In 2012 the seasoned Korean competitor was finally able to enter tournaments for StarCraft II. Originally this wasn’t possible due to legalities between KeSPA and Blizzard, preventing Koreans from entering North American tournaments. Due to the popularity and fame of many Brood Wars legends, any mistakes made in StarCraft II was put under a microscope, causing them to leave the scene. Again, Jaedong refused to let this stop him from competing.
He very quickly gained the attention of the overlords at Evil Geniuses (EG) and signed him to the team. Under their banner, Jaedong went to numerous tournaments. By the time BlizzCon 2013 hit, more fans had congregated to the ever growing masses already in his fan-base. For some reason, he befell the curse of EG, unable to attain the top status he once had. Perhaps because StarCraft II was a completely different animal.
As part of his requirements to be part of EG, Jaedong ended up doing amusing sponsorship videos like this:
Jaedong 2013 – Present
For the next year, he had clawed his way back into titled championships, giving him a shot at WCS Global Finals at Blizzcon. In the tournament, Jaedong had advanced to the finals but was defeated by sOs (Kim “sOs” Yoo Jin). This marked his eighth consecutive loss and fans were losing hope.
Restoring faith in the fans, he competed in ASUS ROG NorthCon 2013 and took his first official win in StarCraft II. Even this wasn’t enough to prevent his plateaued status. The Tyrant persisted one final time, returning to the Korean circuit to finish his career where it began.
Lee Jaedong hangs up his “mutalisk” wings after 13 years of competitive esports but not without earning a total of $617,774 according to esportsearnings.com. He’ll be remembered for his strategies and perseverance in the scene. Those of us who have autographs, pictures, or had the opportunity to meet this legendary zerg player will know that he will never be forgotten.
@EGJaedong ur the best. Have missed you for a while and will continue to do so!— Dan Stemkoski (@Artosis) November 1, 2016
@EGJaedong wish you all the best in whatever you do <3!!— Kevin van der Kooi (@RotterdaM08) November 2, 2016
Even though our swarm hearts are bleeding, Lee Jaedong had an amazing journey. That said, this zerg player is going to burrow.
Until next time.