IEM Sao Paulo: Bomber's new beginning
With IEM Sao Paulo's group stage around the corner, we take a look at one of the most prolific players who've travelled to Brazil - Red Bull's Choi "Bomber" Ji Sung.
Bomber’s career rollercoaster has been the topic of many articles yet it never gets dull somehow. Choi Ji Sung’s quest towards becoming a grand champion of this tournament or the next ubiquitously glues the audience to the screen. Whenever the ex-StarTale Terran is on stream, fans and naysayers alike wait to see whether Bomber will prevail through his signature marine marches or daring bunker rush wall-offs; whether he’ll rule as the macro majesty he can be, drowning his enemies in wave after wave of units and gunfire squall, or fall victim of the now haunting Bomber’s law.
In the eve of IEM Sao Paulo day two, this familiar trepidation returns as Bomber readies himself for the tournament whose group stage will meet him with fellow Korean Terran Jjakji, ROOT’s puCK and a local player who will most likely be the punching bag for the more established names.
At this point, every StarCraft writer knows what predictions to write for the group and Bomber in particular – none. Throughout his career, Bomber established himself as a player that can ruin any bet and lose any match, regardless of opponents’ or tournament’s esteem. He would go from the scariest Terran in the world to a cannon fodder within a week and despite his numerous high finishes, he quite ironically remains the very epitome of “wild card”. He’s made me eat my words more times than I can count and I can imagine the same can be said for other colleagues out there.
Yet, there’s something different with the WCS Season 2 champion. For the first time in four years, there’s no longer the StarTale jersey on him.
Bomber’s departure from the Korean team was an unexpected move. Since StarTale’s creation in 2010, the Terran had become one of its poster boys alongside names like Life and PartinG. Even though his desires to switch to more foreign events and even pursue a coaching career at some point were sound reasons for the parting, to see him strip the orange star from the uniform must’ve made a more than few StarTale fans shiver.
Photo: Red Bull
It was announced today that Bomber has secured the personal sponsorship of Red Bull, which might be the fresh beginning the champion needs. Though he did end 2013 on the best possible terms, the above paragraphs still ring true – Bomber is anything but a stable player until he can prove otherwise.
One can argue that simply changing the jersey can’t do much but that’s really not the case. For the first time since 2010, Bomber has no one else to represent but himself. He can be as egoistic as he wants in his pursuits for success and dedicate all his attention to the right places. Going for a personal sponsorship instead of just switching teams somehow fits Bomber better and if Polt’s results in 2013 are any indication, something big should be coming from the ex-StarTale poster boy.
With the above in mind, turning head to the actual competition in Sao Paulo does make one feel optimistic for Bomber. After destroying Jim 3-0 not one week ago, he starts the year as a guaranteed Premier League player in a brand new place – North America. At IEM, he’s placed in a group where his toughest opponent is a Terran who’s tangibly worse than Bomber in the mirror. He has a new sponsor, a new uniform and new motivation to be the best once again. He has the perfect chance to erase all unpleasant memories of the past, forget about his wild fluctuations in performance and reach for the gold.
And doesn’t every professional player lust after that?