Famous Starcraft 2 player Yun “TaeJa” Young-seo announces his retirement from professional esports. However, this is not the first time the Starcraft 2 great had decided to pack up his gaming gears. Back in 2016 also, TaeJa decided to quit the pro gaming space for good. But he made a comeback nevertheless. Naturally, people are wondering if this retirement is permanent or he will be back once again. Plenty of questions remain answered. However, there is no denying the fact that he had one of the most prolific esports careers. Many would consider him as a Starcraft 2 legend.
Team Liquid co-founder Victor “Nazgul” Goossens was all praises for the Starcraft 2 great. When asked about Liquid’s connection to TaeJa, he said, “There are few individuals who have been as impactful as TaeJa in the path for Team Liquid to grow to where it is today. We started working together when he was 17 years old. A rising talent, playing under the legendary SlayerS clan. Offering him an opportunity to play for us has turned out to be such a pivotal moment in our history.”
Early Life And Road To Professional Esports
TaeJa got familiar with Starcraft when he was still in kindergarten. This had something to do with the fact that his parents used to run a PC bang. PC bangs are Korean gaming cafes where players can come and play online games. Being raised around a gaming cafe certainly helped TaeJa to pick things up faster. At much young age, he was already headfirst in the world of Starcraft.
Later, when Starcraft 2 was released. TaeJa tried the game out of fun. After playing a couple of matches, the game ranked TaeJa quite highly to predict his actual skill bracket. But soon, he was faced with a choice of choosing between his studies and Starcraft 2. However, he received guidance from his teacher, who asked him to try out for the GSL preliminaries. So, he got motivated and tried out for the tournament qualifiers. TaeJa even managed to clear the preliminaries and made his GSL debut.
After playing in the GSL tournament, TaeJa decided to give his studies one more chance. However, he soon realized that studies are not for everyone, and he gave up. Instead, he wanted to play Starcraft 2 as a professional player. Unfortunately, his parents failed to realize his dreams immediately and expressed their disapproval of this decision. However, it was TaeJa’s brother who supported him through thick and thin. With his help, TaeJa’s dream of becoming a pro esports player become realized.
TaeJa’s first professional Starcraft match was in the GSL open season 1. It was September 2010. TaeJa managed to reach the Round of 32 in the tournament, where FruitDealer eliminated him. When asked about what was his experience of his first tournament, he said, “Back then, I was studying hard, even staying for an evening study session at school. I was barely able to practice, so I told myself I’d participate (in the GSL open season 1) for the sake of the experience.
I got a walkover in the RO64, so I think I got too nervous for the RO32 match. Since then, I always tell myself not to get nervous when I play games.” Shortly after a year, TaeJa joined SlayerS. He participated in a series of tournaments after that and achieved mixed results. However, his performance was certainly improving. TaeJa won the GSTL May with SlayerS. In August 2011, TaeJa participated in the GSL August Code A. he played flawlessly in that tournament. However, the tournament didn’t go as planned for TaeJa. Finally, in the 2011 GSL October, TaeJa got a chance to participate in Code S.
In March 2012, TaeJa left SlayerS. This is because he wanted to explore his luck in foreign teams. Later, TaeJa got the opportunity of a lifetime when Liquid approached him to join their team. TaeJa delivered a string of good performances with Team Liquid. He enjoyed his time with the foreign team. TaeJa won his first premier tournament in August 2012. His performances as a reigning MLG champion continued to impress others. After his coronation as the prince of Terran in Finland, TaeJa participated in the TeamLiquid Starleague 4. He soon came to be known as the crown prince. After this, Taeja’s performance only went up. He participated in numerous tournaments in the next few years and delivered some of the best performances. The next year, TaeJa won the DreamHack Open: Bucharest.
First Retirement And Wrist Problems
TaeJa won the IEM: Shenzhen in July 2014. Unfortunately, soon after winning the tournament, TaeJa was facing acute wrist problems. As a result of this, TaeJa’s doctor advised him to take a break from playing. TaeJa recovered soon after and went back to his gaming ways. But soon, his performance began to fall as he was still recovering from his wrist problems. TaeJa prepared strongly for the 2014 WCS Global Finals but ended up finishing 3rd. A string of disappointing performances continued as TaeJa struggled to find his grip back.
On June 2, 2016, Taeja announced TaeJa’s retirement. TaeJa himself became quite emotional while addressing the fans. He said, “Since March of 2012, I was able to spend four happy years on TeamLiquid, thanks to fans who always cheered for me and showed me love, regardless of whether I was doing well or doing poorly. For me, my life as a pro-gamer was a succession of unforgettable moments because I played on the best team with the best teammates.” Unfortunately, TaeJa had to retire from professional esports to fulfill his South Korean Military Force duties. Team Liquid co-founder stated that TaeJa had confirmed that it was his final goodbye. However, his fans were soon rejoiced to find him not taking his retirement seriously and back in business.
Return To Professional Esports
TaeJa returned to professional gaming after finishing his military duties in the South Korean Army. Team Liquid welcomed him back with open arms. His fans were pleased with his comeback. By then, he had cemented his place as one of the game’s greatest ever. In 2018, he started to play again for Team Liquid. TaeJa continued to participate in various other tournaments for the next three years.
After 3 years of his comeback from the first retirement spell, TaeJa finally decided to pack up his gaming gears for good. He found the decision to be a necessary one and was very emotional while addressing his fans. He wrote, “It wasn’t an easy decision. I can feel I want to play more, but the circumstances aren’t good for me. I’m getting older, and my skill on SC2 wasn’t satisfied as my expectation, So I decided this.”
He also stated, “It’s time to start a new chapter of my life. I will get this through with my experience and knowledge, which I got from my pro-gaming life. I appreciate so much to my fans who gave me much love more than I deserve. Hopefully, we can meet in the future again.”
Many are speculating whether TaeJa will retire this time for good or make a comeback again. Nevertheless, he will stay as one of the most decorated players in Starcraft 2’s history. Not only the people of Korea but the entire Starcraft2 world loves him. So naturally, his fans worldwide are quite disheartened by this news.