Liquid`TaeJa Retires

June 02 2016
When TaeJa told me that he had finally decided—once and for all and with absolute certainty—to retire, he was still in GSL and waiting to play his final qualifier. He had not qualified for any tournaments in a while, and the forums were all pessimistic of his chances of reaching Code S.

As if turning back the clock, TaeJa qualified for Code S and then the Ro16 while giving Zest a run for his money. Their game on Lerilak Crest may well and truly be the last great TaeJa game, and for a moment I felt like the sun would shine on TaeJa for a little while longer. He passed through the Ro16, and, as luck would have it, he would then meet Zest again in the Ro8. A series against one of the greatest Protoss of all time and one of the players with whom he has played several great games seemed like the perfect stage for TaeJa to create another miracle.

Instead, he lost 0-3, and I think it was in that moment when I realized that there would never be another Summer of TaeJa.

This would have been our fifth summer together, but instead of another tour we must now announce his retirement. We know that many of Liquid’s older fans grew up watching TaeJa from the very start, and I hope that you are still with us to wish him a fond farewell.

For me personally, this is a goodbye to the most successful player Liquid has ever had. We picked him up before he had ever even advanced a single round in Code S, and he ended up winning the most number of premier tournaments (11) in SC2 history. He did it with a style of play that was unique and beautiful to watch, and when you counted him out he always came back.

I think that’s one of the hardest things about making this announcement. In my opinion, TaeJa had an unrivaled amount of gaming talent, and it’s such a shame that the career of this stoic killer ends at 21. Even at such a young age he has already amassed so many gold medals and he did it his way—he was one of the first players to become a world beater on a foreign team. He didn’t play from a team house, and he had an injury to deal with that greatly impacted his ability to practice. Yet his play was polished and most of all, mesmerizing. Even his failed manner mules will be remembered forever.

One thing I will always admire about TaeJa is that he always did things his way. He didn’t care what people expected in-game or in person, he was himself through and through. It manifested in the way he celebrated tournaments, always with an air of cool indifference. His titles meant a lot to him, but he acted like it was expected, and that all he had in mind was the next tournament to win. He had the killer attitude of a winner, but he also knew how to take things slowly. When he and HerO visited TLHQ in The Netherlands, I took them to an Asian supermarket that required a 10 minute bikeride to get there. On the way there it took us about 20 minutes, but on the way back we just got absolutely nowhere and had to pause along the way. It was the slowest bikeride I’ve ever experienced. The great RPGMaker in the sky can only give skill points to so many talents and he decided to give them all to TaeJa's ability to figure out games and none to his ability to bike, clap, or pop champagne bottles.

Even though the past year has not been what it used to be, he left us with a wealth of memories even until his very last day as a progamer. I wish him a full life in whatever he decides to do in the future. He possesses a solid financial base and a sports legacy that most could only dream of, and I am sure he will make the right decisions.

All of us at Liquid say goodbye to a friend and a man that meant the world to us in building our team and organization. I’m proud to have had you on our team, proud of all the things you have done for us, and eternally grateful for the legacy you have built for both of us. I’m going to miss you.

-Victor "Nazgul" Goossens

Hi TeamLiquid fans, it's TaeJa.

The progaming career I unintentionally stumbled into in 2010 is coming to an end, five years later in 2016.

I lost to FruitDealer in the Ro32 of 2010's GSL Open Season 1, and I was disappointed that I couldn't get results at tournaments for over a year afterward.

Then, after I joined TeamLiquid, good things kept happening for me, like reaching my first GSL quarterfinals and winning championships at foreign tournaments.

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.

I was also able to be happy on Team Liquid because Victor, Robin, and everyone on the team gave me their constant support.

For me, my time as a progamer was a succession of unforgettable moments, because I played on the best team with the best teammates.

One last time, I want to give my deepest gratitude to the fans who always gave me their love, and to Victor, Robin, HerO and all of my Liquid teammates.

-Young Seo "TaeJa" Yun

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