In the standing-room-only audience for the live broadcast of the Afreeca StarCraft League in Seoul, South Korea, on Tuesday, there was a fan who had lined up to get in nine hours before the ASL Season 2 semifinals. The reason? This was going to be Young-ho "Flash" Lee and Jae-dong "Jaedong" Lee's first official StarCraft: Brood War match in at least six years. They were rival gods of the original professionalized esport back in its heyday, and the hype level was off the charts for this semifinal elimination match.
Game 1 map: Eye of the Storm
In Game 1, Jaedong -- considered the world's greatest Brood War Zerg player -- proved that even the incredibly high expectations weren't quite high enough for him. He opened with a somewhat unusual three-hatch build (one was a macro hatch) before pool for lurkers; he was at cross-spawns with Flash, so luckily he didn't have to worry about early-game aggression. From the first moment of the game, he had been guiding overlords to areas right outside Flash's main and natural. He executed a beautiful staggered drop with zerglings and lurkers right when Flash was moving out with bio and managed to take out the main's comsat and engineering bay. His omniscient placement of scourge for drops and science vessels along with his defiler play was symphonic, and he never let Flash recover.
Game 2 map: Circuit Breaker
In Game 2, the "Ultimate Weapon" flexed his Terran muscles and showed why some predictions had had him taking the match 3-0. Jaedong started with close to the same build as before and pushed out with lurkers and lings to attack Flash's natural, but Flash completely deflected the attack while Jaedong took heavy losses. Flash's bio army implacably headed for Jaedong's brand-new third and a body block by a marine against Jaedong's lurkers crippled the Zerg's ad-hoc defenses. With the third base gone and little army left, Jaedong tapped out.
Game 3 map: Damien 2
"It's stupid how good they are!" English commentator Dan "Artosis" Stemkoski shouted.
This time Jaedong went for his legendary mutalisks, but Flash scouted the spire early enough to prepare for them. Flash did not skimp on missile turrets, so his main bio force of firebats, marines and medics was not recalled from the field when Jaedong started his harassment in earnest. Unfortunately, Flash soon found the Zerg's hidden third and sent relentless waves of bio with tanks and science vessels to crush it. Jaedong attempted a counter-attack with lurkers and lings, but his army was not large enough and he was back to two bases for hive tech. His economy never recovered, and Flash proved unstoppable.
Game 4 map: Benzene
Flash was on match point, but could the world's greatest Brood War Terran player close it out? Things were looking normal until Jaedong started a suspiciously early hydralisk den with no sign of a lair for lurkers. Flash scanned and saw the den before the attack hit him, but he did not react quickly enough -- he built more barracks instead of bunkers. The risky hydralisk-zergling bust forced SCVs out to defend, and Jaedong chewed through them, wrecking Flash's economy and focus-firing the medics as they emerged. With stim rendered useless, Flash was unable to stabilize under the relentless pressure, ending a very intense Game 4.
Game 5 map: Eye of the Storm
The dream was real. The series was going to the last possible game to determine who would face Bo-sung "Sea" Yum in the grand finals. Jaedong opted for the spire again, giving the audience another chance to witness his Zerg-defining mutalisk micro skills. He played exquisite speed chess with Flash, whose SK Terran-style marine-medic armies were able to move in for brilliant flanks against mutalisks and zerglings, whittling down Jaedong's forces cost-efficiently. The lurker aspect upgrade barely did not kick in in time to save Jaedong's third. Jaedong switched to two-base hive tech for defilers and set up a hidden third with a nydus canal, but he didn't have the numbers to defend against drops and aggression on all three bases at once. Flash won the day, but it was a fantastic performance from both players.