One of the most consistent competitors in StarCraft II’s history will be missing Blizzcon next month.
Choi “Polt” Seong Hun is scheduled to undertake his mandatory conscription in South Korea.
Polt has spent the past three years living and competing in the U.S., resulting in at least one major championship victory per year.
This is nothing unusual for the world of Korean esports players. Conscription is a mandatory part of modern South Korean life, something both Polt and his now former team EnVyUs were aware of upon signing the Terran player in May 2016.
“We all knew this day would come, and while Polt is proud and resolute, it still saddens us to have to say goodbye to him as a player, teammate, and daily face at the table,” EnVyUs said in its statement.
Polt made his first big breakthrough in 2011, when he won the $100,000 GSL Super Tournament in a 4-0 sweep against heavily favored Mun "MMA" Seong Won in the grand finals. Afterwards, Polt became a globetrotter and competed across the world for the next five years, ultimately winning over $400,000 in prize money.
"I have been really happy for the past 6 years. Playing StarCraft II and meeting a lot of people in the world gave me plenty of unforgettable memories,” Polt says in his statement. “Unfortunately, the time has come to say goodbye. However, remember that every ending is a new beginning. I am looking forward to seeing you again soon."
While it is possible for South Korean nationals to postpone conscription for a considerable amount of time, as many esports professionals have done, they are at some point expected to spend roughly two years in either the South Korean army, navy, or air force. In fact, in 2006 the South Korean air force founded its’ own esports team known as Air Force ACE and featured players such as Lim “BoxeR” Yo-Hwan and Lee "firebathero" Sung Eun. The project has since been discontinued, however.