2013 onGamers StarCraft 2 Awards

We look back at StarCraft in 2013.

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This article was originally published on GameSpot's sister site onGamers.com, which was dedicated to esports coverage.

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Votes were cast by the onGamers editorial team, Michael 'Adebisi' Van Driel, and Greg 'IdrA' Fields.

Editor's Note

This year was one largely of change for StarCraft 2.

Blizzard released Heart of the Swarm in March, ushering in a new era of strategy and playstyles. Blizzard would then go on, to a varied reception, to completely revamp the World Championship Series system for the year. With the KeSPA players finally hitting their stride in a new game, the community would see new faces become champions. We would also see some of our heroes retire.

Despite it being a year of moving and shaking, the constant would be the games and the players that have continued to inspire. In terms of technical and strategic prowess from players, 2013 was the best year of the game yet. As the intricacies of Heart of the Swarm were figured out, we would be treated to a year of spectacular games with new units.

I. Player of the Year
II. Team of the Year
III. Breakout Player of the Year
IV. Series of the Year
V. Game of the Year
VI. Caster of the Year
VII. Map of the Year

Player of the Year - Yun 'TaeJa' Young Seo

Yun 'TaeJa' Young Seo is the onGamers player of the year.

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CountrySouth Korea
Date of BirthJanuary 1st, 1995
Tournament Earnings in 2013$95,590.00
SponsorsShiny Things, Razer, Twitch.tv, Barracuda, Need for Seat

Our player of the year started the year rather slow. A returning wrist injury would keep his practice at at minimum, and the Terran would opt out of staying at the EG-TL house and wouldn't participate often in ProLeague.

Once summer rolled around, however, Taeja would go on to make up for lost time by winning tournament after tournament. He grabbed gold at Homestory Cup VII, ASUS ROG Summer, DreamHack Bucharest, Homestory Cup VIII, and DreamHack Winter. He'd also make it to the semi finals in GSL Season One, DreamHack Summer, WCS America Season Two, and WCS Season Finals Season Two.

The kid, and he is a kid at just eighteen, is very good at winning StarCraft games.

Team of the Year - Team Acer

Team Acer is onGamers team of the year.

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Team Acer did so much this year and they did it so well.

They paid mind to their roots and still fostered strong European talent; Artur 'Nerchio' Bloch and Aleksandr 'Bly' Svusuyk, among others, still held it down for their home continent. Big Korean talent like Mun 'MMA' Seong Won and, their most recent addition, Lee 'INnoVation' Shin Hyung would allow them to see further success while adding depth to their roster. Sasha 'Scarlett' Hostyn would continue to be a star throughout the year, considered, almost universally, to be either the first or second best foreign players of in the world.

In a year where we saw a lot of teams shrink or disappear, Acer would continue to grow and do so in style. They'd end the year with five medals in team leagues including a big win with partners Axiom in the GSTL and a first place over Axiom in the Acer TeamStory Cup Season 2.

Break Out Player of the Year - Baek 'Dear' Dong Jun

Baek 'Dear' Dong is the onGamers breakout player of the year.

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Shortly after STX dropped their backing of SouL, the players Baek 'Dear' Dong Jun, Shin 'hyvaa' Dae Kun, and Cho 'Trap' Sung Ho would go looking for teams, and, at least immediately, would find no success. They would continue to play under the moniker SouL while continuing to keep their options open.

The entrepreneuring Dear cooked up a brilliant team finding strategy: just start winning major tournaments out of nowhere. Dear would beat Eo 'soO' Yoon Su to take first in Korea's World Championship Series season three instantly propelling him into the limelight. He would double down on his performance and go on to win the WCS Season 3 Finals by sweeping the Kim 'Soulkey' Min Chul.

He would wrap up the year with a solid finish at BlizzCon and he now can be seen sporting a Mouseports jersey.

Series of the Year - WCS Korea Season One Finals, INnovation versus Soulkey

The World Championship Korea Season One finals, with INnovation and Soulkey, is the onGamers series of the year.

Lee 'INnoVation' Shin Hyung went into the series a clear favorite. He had spent the early parts of 2013 creating a fervor around him and his talents. Many believed that he was going be to StarCraft 2 what Lee 'Flash' Young Ho was to Brood War. While that certainly may still be the case, his opponent Kim 'Soulkey' Min Chul would best him on that day.

INoVation started, as expected, very strong. He would take the series to 3/0. Just as the community began animatedly tweeting that everything was going as expected everything stopped going as expected. Soulkey prolonged his life just a little longer by taking a game. Then another. Then came the third. Finally Soulkey would win his forth game in a row, reverse sweeping his opponent, and taking the WCS Korean Season One title.

Match of the Year - Scarlett versus Bomber on Habitation Station

Scarlett versus Bomber on Habitation Station at Red Bull Battle Grounds is onGamers match of the year.

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This game that the reaffirmed that Sasha 'Scarlett' Hostyn will go in the history books as one of the best non-Korean StarCraft 2 players of all time.

It was a fantastic game in general with constant action and trading. There had been attacks on both sides, until it, eventually, looked like Bomber had worn her down with the marine train that he’s been fond of since Wings of Liberty beta and that every Terran has been fond of since the release of Heart of the Swarm.

Foreign fans would give a collective sigh as Scarlett helplessly bounced her Mutalisk flock across the map waiting for Bomber to stabilize and put an end to the game. Then there was the Baneling land mine hit. The Baneling land mine heard around the world.

Scarlett would win the nearly-lost game with one of the biggest plays of the year. Baneling land mines would wipe the entirety of Bombers marauding Marine force prompting him to immediately throw in the towel and leave the game.

Caster of the Year - Shaun 'apollo' Clark

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Caster of the year for StarCraft was more involved than it was for any of our other categories. For whatever reason, and for better or worse, StarCraft casters play a bigger role in the ecosystem than their counterparts in other games do. It's not unusual to see heated debates on Reddit or TeamLiquid about the merits of a StarCraft caster before and after an event. It's talked about in the same way player performances are. "He did well this weekend," or "I was disappointed with him this weekend."

Clark began his year by taking a full time job gig casting the European World Championship Series. He would continue to cast DreamHack Open events and would made an appearance at IEM New York. He was always active, and engaged, with the community through Twitter and his blog. He was always very positive publicly; his love of the game is apparent.

In a year where a lot of other casting titans showed new interests, Clark would buckle down and continue to focus on StarCraft. He's well spoken, knowledgeable, and funny. He proved this year that he is an invaluable asset to the community.

Honorable Mention: Artosis

Map of the Year - Fruitland

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When voting IdrA put it simply and put it best:

"Really, it’s not that amazing of a map. The lemons are idiot bait more often than not and the map is otherwise unspectacular. But most StarCraft maps are unspectacular. Broodwar had the longevity, depth, and quality it did largely because of the maps and map makers, and towards the end a lot of that was through strange and unusual maps with features people didn’t even think were possible.

StarCraft 2 needs a lot more of that, so I hope people notice Fruitland and all of it’s gimmicky counterparts and the community starts embracing some more creative maps."

Image Credit: Gosugamers.net, Acer

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