TaeJa takes MLG Summer Arena Starcraft II crown

Korean 17-year-old leads Team Liquid, Terran players to victory with his first major title.

Team Liquid's 17-year-old phenom Yoon "TaeJa" Young Suh earned his first major Starcraft II title at last weekend's Major League Gaming Summer Arena, the first event of the MLG 2012 Summer Season. The Korean Terran player earned his team's first 2012 title, taking out Team Slayers' Yang "Alicia" Joon Sik, the Protoss player who has now finished second at three straight major events including the MLG Spring Championships and North American StarLeague Season 3 finals.

Yoon "TaeJa" Young Suh's Terran play earned him his first major victory.

TaeJa's first major championship run at the Summer Arena caps off a month that saw him win the IGN ProLeague Season 5 International qualifier, a TeamLiquid StarLeague 4 qualifier, the E-Sports Vision Korean Weekly, and an all-kill of Team Prime in the IGN Pro League Team Arena. After defeating Incredible Miracle teammates Hwang "LosirA" Kang Ho and Kang "First" Hyun Woo in succession, the former SlayerS player was up against his longtime teammate and best-performing player in Alicia.

"This is my first time winning a big tournament so I'm really happy," TaeJa told GameSpot shortly after winning. "I wasn't expecting to win this weekend, but coming to this event, instead of getting knocked out and going touring around New York City, I wanted to go as far as I could. Winning was a surprise and makes me feel good."

Alicia himself only made his breakout performance and first final appearance at the recent star-studded Anaheim event. Despite an incredible run over three days, he lost a rather one-sided final against Park "DongRaeGu" Soo Ho. He had a similar experience last weekend at the NASL Finals, fighting his way to the end only to be swept by Frenchman Ilyes "Stephano" Satouri. Alicia's fight against TaeJa was the closest one yet, as strong timing attacks helped him win two maps, more than his combined wins against the previously mentioned Zerg champions. TaeJa put the hammer down in the final game with an early bunker contain, followed by a full five-medivac drop on Alicia's main, sealing the deal and the win.

"I saw Alicia losing two finals in a row against DRG and Stephano, so I wanted to make that happen a third time," TaeJa said. "I didn't have any specific strategy, but when I was playing against First in the semifinals, I decided just to macro up on two bases. So when I played against Alicia, I proxied fast-Marauder, which is the strategy I saved for the final. I didn't want to show this during my games against First. After I won that initial game off Alicia, I felt I had control of the final."

The win gives Liquid their first major championship of 2012, their biggest victory since Song "HerO" Hyeon Deok won DreamHack Winter last year. The team's most recent signed player has made consecutive Top 8 finishes in the Global Starcraft II league and is now No. 1 on TeamLiquid's Korean player ELO ranking.

"I am extremely proud of what TaeJa has accomplished here," TeamLiquid CEO Victor "Nazgul" Goossens told GameSpot. "When we picked him up, we knew he had the potential to become one of the best in the world, and he's making the steps to get there…For TaeJa to accomplish this in such a dominant manner is really something special."

For some, the win by TaeJa isn't good just for himself and his team, but also for the Terran race. Zerg and Protoss have both had much success as of late, much to the dismay of Terran players everywhere. "I think it's good that not only TaeJa took a title, but that a Terran actually won," said lead broadcaster Marcus "djWHEAT" Graham, a proud Zerg and known anti-Terran. For TaeJa, it's all about moving forward and using his success for the future.

"I'm proud of myself. This will be my motivation to win a GSL."

Translated by Sophie Jung

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Discussion

11 comments
FragRaptor
FragRaptor

Glad to see liquid get a decent win even though it was only an arena still great :) Hopefully he can go win the big championship now! 

Roryx9
Roryx9

Congratulations to Taeja and thank you Slasher for another nice read.

Darth_Tyrranus
Darth_Tyrranus

When I read articles like this, I have to wonder, am I supposed to be impressed?  I find this level of devotion to this game to be laughable at best.

SWFLM
SWFLM

Congratulations to Taeja! Nerd ballin'.

helldew
helldew

Cool and grats on the win

 

NvDox
NvDox

 @Darth_Tyrranus When I read blogs like yours, I have to wonder, am I supposed to be impressed? I find this level of devotion to writing garbage to be laughable at best.

alwaysdroning
alwaysdroning

 @Darth_Tyrranus when you comment like this, i have to wonder, do you do it to display your ignorance, or do you simply enjoy starting flamewars? this level of trolling is laughable at best.

blukkie
blukkie

Are you for real? This is their job, and they are probably earning more than you are. So yes, you should be. @Darth_Tyrranus 

supwidit
supwidit

do you feel the same way about pro baseball/football players?