The best Brood War player is back in form
Lee “Flash” Young Ho, the best player in StarCraft: Brood War history, nicknamed the Ultimate Weapon, or simply, God, struggled to live up to his divine reputation when he first turned to StarCraft 2 in 2012. But his play over the last two months has turned atheists into believers.
Last night, Lee swept his Global Starcraft League Code S group, winning all four maps he played. He was the only player to do so in the first group stage of this third GSL season of the year.
The GSL remains StarCraft 2’s premiere individual competition. But despite being Brood War’s most successful player, Lee never managed to qualify for Code S, the elite portion of the tournament, until this season. And so far he’s dominating it.
Since the start of July, Lee has a 50-11 map record, an 81.97 percent win rate. During that period he’s won 23 of 25 best-of-three series and three of his four Proleague matches. All Proleague games came during the playoffs, including his tone-setting win against Won “PartinG” Lee Sak in the Proleague final, leading KT Rolster to the title and earning him Finals MVP honors.
During that period Lee’s rating on Aligulac, a site that uses an Elo-like system to rank StarCraft players based off their in-game performance and then predict match results, has risen from 1824 at the end of June to 2013. Lee now ranks as the number 11 player overall.
His recent win rate and rise up the Elo rankings are reminiscent of his Brood War past. Team Liquid’s match database, TLPD, ranks Lee as the only player to reach a peak Elo over 2400, at 2443. That’s nearly 100 points higher than the second ranked player, Lee’s closest rival Lee “Jaedong” Jae Dong at 2378. The Ultimate Weapon’s career map win rate of 71.74 percent is insane, besting Jaedong’s 67.45 percent by a large margin.
It was only a matter of time before Lee brought his brand of dominance to StarCraft 2. At least, that’s what his fans are saying now that he’s emerged as a force in the game, leading his underdog team to an unlikely Proleague title and showing off his skill in the world’s toughest league. But for months and even years, it was unclear whether Lee would be able to replicate his insane Brood War skill in StarCraft 2.
Lee built his dominance in large part due to his insane macro talent, able to simply outplay opponents by building more units faster and more efficiently than foes. In StarCraft 2, that skill is often thought to be less valuable due to game mechanics that make macro easier.
It’s clear now that some of his old magic is still in tact. In his Code S matches, Lee simply outplayed his opponents. Park “Dark” Ryung Woo and Kang “Solar” Min Soo are two powerful Zerg players. Kang even ranks number 16 on the Aligulac ratings. But Lee had both series well in hand. Against Park, he even pulled off a perfect game--winning a map without losing a single unit, showing off the ruthless efficiency that made him such a force in the past.
It’s quite possible that this two month stretch is a hot streak. But it’s hard to count out the man who is the best player in StarCraft history—he just might lay claim to the title of best player right now. He is Flash, after all. King of the impossible.