Translated from Korean from Daily Esports: http://www.dailyesports.com/view.php?ud=2017121121343491730
Hong “YellOw” Jin-Ho has finally been overtaken for the most runner-up finishes. If YellOw’s legacy is that he made second place a memorable position, then Eo “soO” Yoon Su has risen to become the new ‘Legend of Second Place’.
soO recently dominated Blizzcon.. with another runner-up finish. Ironically, his earnings still surpass that of many other professionals. And with so many finishes near the top, come so many stories for him to tell. soO’s vibrant personality lightens all that are around him; perhaps he is still one of the best because he gets back up and continues to take new challenges after defeat.
Some have taken to calling soO ‘Buddha’, due to his peace despite many near misses at victory. We met with the man himself to hear his plans for the future.
The closest second place
Nobody will believe that a runner up is happy with the result. Missing out on the fame and fortune of victory by one game is a heavy loss to bear. It was the same for soO early on. He told himself it was ok, that he could just win next time, but every second place finish is a regret – and a sore thumb that sticks out.
Amongst all the regret, there is the one standout loss for soO: this Blizzcon. Against Rogue, soO has lost again 2-4 to finish second yet again.
“To be honest, I thought that just getting to the finals would be great. Even if I placed second, I could get a large amount of money, equal to last year’s Blizzcon winning, and I couldn’t play well because of my greed. So I decided to be happy with getting to finals. But when I actually got there, there was a big difference in the prize money and honor between first and second place. I also felt that I had a real chance of winning because I was confident in ZvZ. I think because of the anticipation of victory, I couldn’t move my hands smoothly”
soO has always bounced back quickly after defeat, but after this Blizzcon, he says he felt dismayed more than normal, disappointed in himself.
“Even as I was telling myself it was okay, I would suddenly have bursts of sadness, and I would calm that down, only to be visited by regret. It wasn’t this bad the other times, but this is lasting a bit longer. I think it’s because I was confident I could win, I definitely could have won, and I know what I did wrong. I still think about it.”
The secret to consistency: Competitiveness and practice
While the amount of second place finishes is amazing, the more astounding thing is soO’s consistent performance. In a game like Starcraft 2, where there is never one player that shows all time dominance, being a 6-time GSL finalist is impressive.
From his easygoing smile, it’s hard to think that soO will have a competitive bone in his body. However, according to him, the reason he’s constantly kept up his stellar performance is thanks to his unyielding competitive spirit. He has kept his spot through motivation, driven by other top-tier players.
“Someone doing well really fires me up. I get motivated especially when a Zerg is doing well or winning a tournament. I keep up the self encouragement thinking ‘he can do it, why not me?’”
Of course, a competitive spirit is nothing without the practice to back it up. soO declares proudly that “if there is a list of hard working Starcraft 2 players, I will definitely be up there.”
“I am a practice oriented player. To tell truth, I had lost a lot of stream after the two runner up finishes during the 2017 GSL. Even so, I still started to prepare for Blizzcon straight away. I didn’t consider anything else. I can say with confidence that I made it to Blizzcon finals because I prepared and practiced harder than anyone else. I couldn’t get far in Blizzcon if I kept lamenting about my two second places.”
2018, Burning the last flame
Currently 26, next year soO turns 27. In an arena where youth is prized, many players have not been able to surpass the older player as a professional gamer. This is an achievement in and of itself – many players have struggled after turning 27. soO confessed that he was nervous about next year as well.
“While I don’t have a lot of experience winning tournaments, I did go to the finals more than anybody else, and I can certainly say I was most consistent, but I am worried about what I should do if I show poor form next year. I want to do well because it could be my last.”
He uses the word “last”. It seemed as though soO was considering making 2018 his final year for SC2. There is much about the life of a person his age that interferes with a career on the stage, such as mandatory military service.
“I always play every match thinking that it could be my last, but I really think that 2018 could be my last year. I think I am that much more desperate. I want to burn my final flame and have a better 2018.”
‘Last’ is a sad word to hear. But, for soO, it’s not just sombering, but a word filled with determination and resolution. He talks about his final flame with the resolve that he will try even harder in 2018.
“I had so much help from my fans coming this far. I was at a loss what to do after the team disbanded, and I even tried part time jobs, but I could pick up the mouse and get back to where I am thanks to my fans. Fans that I meet during streams are my energy as well as the reason I continue to be a professional gamer. I am always thankful.”
soO says that he has felt the fans’ love even more after becoming teamless.
What will he show to his fans in 2018, as he burns his final flame? It is my wish for soO’s dream, to become an eSports Legend rather than a Legend of runner ups, to come true.