Arguably the greatest player StarCraft: Brood War ever saw and one of the best pro gamers of all time, Lee “Flash” Young Ho, has announced his retirement from the scene at age 23. In a pair of interviews with Korean sites, the Terran player from team KT Rolster said it was “about time” he retired after “8 years happy as a pro gamer.”
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As translated on fansite TeamLiquid, Flash’s future plans are to do his mandatory military service and then hopefully transition into a coaching role for his old team. It won’t be the end of his gaming, but he isn’t planning on playing more pro matches:
“As a progamer, I`ve got so much more than I deserve. It`s been long 9 years, and I won`t forget the love that my fans gave me. From now on, I`d like to travel or rest a while, thinking about future. However I would say I won`t put down my keyboards and mouse.”
For StarCraft fans, Flash is a true legend. His win-rate in Brood War approaches 80% and he spent multiple years at the top of KesPA’s official rankings during the game’s most competitive period. As young as 15 he was recognised as one of the best players in the game and made well over $400,000 playing long before the global recognition and prize pool boosts that we’re now used to.
In StarCraft 2 he never found as much success, with injuries and age taking their toll – a horrifying thing to say considering he’s younger than everyone I know, but there we are – but was still regularly present at the top of the Korean game for the past couple of years, narrowly missing out on a spot at the Blizzcon world finals last month.
Personally, he was the best player at my favourite game playing my race choice just as I was discovering that yes, you could play games for money but damn did you need to be good at it. I could tell anecdote after anecdote about pre-mining gas at unbuilt naturals, winning through power cuts or beating fellow Terran players with unconventional builds that shouldn’t, but somehow did, work. Each game has their icon, and Flash was Brood War’s. Good luck to him, and it will be a shame not to see what he can do with Legacy of the Void.