'Starcraft 2' phenom wins $60,000 in back-to-back tournament victories
Baek Dong Jun is on the warpath.
The Korean Starcraft 2 pro known as "Dear" has won two tournaments in barely over a week, netting himself over $60,000 in prize money. He's taken first at two consecutive World Championship Series (WCS) events for the popular Blizzard strategy title.
Starcraft 2 pits two players against each other, with each controlling a large army made up of units from one of the game’s three races: the human Terran, the bug-like Zerg and the psionic Protoss. Dear is an incredible Protoss player, and this weekend at the WCS Season Three Championship, he swept the final match against another talented Korean, Kim "Soulkey" Min Chul, who had previously won nine games in a row.
Despite the grandiose name, this weekend's championship was not the biggest Starcraft 2 event of the year. That would be the WCS Grand Finals, taking place at BlizzCon November 8th and 9th. While Dear took home $40,000 for his recent win (and $20,000 before that in a Korean WCS event), the stakes are even higher for the Grand Finals, with a $250,000 prize pool and a $100,000 first place award.
The event will feature 16 of the top players in the world, and only one of them, Swedish player Johan "Naniwa" Luchessi, hails from outside Korea. Despite Dear's recent victories, he's still ranked just 6th out of the 16. Even Dear himself is stunned by his winning streak.
"I didn't think I was going to win this tournament, but I did. I'm so overwhelmed with emotions," he said, addressing the 2,500 person crowd at the WCS event Toronto.
The WCS is part of Blizzard’s plan to take a greater role in shaping its own events, much like Riot Games has done with League of Legends and the League Championship Series (LCS). Though Blizzard still works with outside organizers like Major League Gaming (MLG) and the North American Star League (NASL), the biggest Starcraft 2 events—including the massive Grand Finals— are Blizzard-only.
BlizzCon is already sold out, but you can watch the finals streaming live online for free, and the truly dedicated can snag an HD pass for $40.