Part 2 of Red Bull eSports' awards for the WCS scene in 2013.
Our 2013 awards for the best and most memorable players in StarCraft continue as we take a look at three players whose performances were truly inspiring this year, albeit in very different ways.
Most improved: Sasha "Scarlett" Hostyn
Not to overdose on Scarlett here, but it's impossible to name another player whose profile has changed so much over the course of the year. Last fall, she was a regional star who could challenge top Koreans, but rarely defeat them. Now, she's one of the world's best Zerg players and is capable of beating just about anyone she meets, no matter who they are.
Just as impressive was her work ethic. Scarlett kept one of the most intense tournament schedules in progaming, flying around the world and back again to play in some of the year's toughest tournaments. Despite that, she got within two games of beating Jaedong for the NorthCon final. Scarlett is a major star in StarCraft now, and a credible contender at any tournament. If she makes even half the strides in 2014 that she made this year, she should start making room in her trophy case.
Most dominant: Yun "TaeJa" Young Seo
TaeJa's most surprising defeat this year came at the hands of a champagne bottle. You'd think a player with so many victories and so many great showings at DreamHack would have figured this out by now, but TvChampagne continues to elude TaeJa.
It is the only thing that does. This was in many ways the year of TaeJa, as he completely owned the foreign circuit. Back-to-back HomeStory wins, the DreamHack Winter championship plus a first-place finish in Bucharest, the Assembly Summer title - you name it, and TaeJa either won it or came astonishingly close.
2013 saw a lot of "world's best" come and go. It's understandable: StarCraft is not a game that allows players to reign over it for very long. But while players like INnoVation, Dear, and sOs all had a brief moment in the sun, TaeJa continued to hoist trophies and take out stars from one end of the year to the other.
Player of the Year: Jaedong
Lee Jae Dong may have had more than his share of disappointments this year, but in many ways his record over 2013 was more impressive than anyone's. Jaedong never won first place until the very end of the year at Northcon, but he was almost always in the final four.
That's an incredible feat in StarCraft, especially when you consider all the different twists and turns that play out over the average tournament. It didn't matter who Jaedong was playing against, he was always able to turn in some of the best performances.
The lack of first-places actually ends up making Jaedong look even better, because few players can handle as many blows to their confidence and expectations and continue coming back stronger. Jaedong never lost faith no matter how many times he watched from the booth while his opponent raised a trophy. The next week or the next month, he'd be back. Where would his opponent be?
Jaedong's reputation preceded him into StarCraft 2. His results didn't live up to it in 2013, but he did by showing exactly the kind of character and consistency that allowed him to earn it in the first place.
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