Nicknames can say a lot: Lim Yo-Hwan, a man who plays Starcraft and Starcraft II as SlayerS_BoxeR, is nicknamed The Emperor. The story of Starcraft's phenomenal rise in South Korea, and in particular its emergence as an e-sport, is inextricably bound to Boxer's star-crossed career. Today, that career has taken a new turn and created the biggest transfer story in E-sports history.
SlayerS_BoxeR has applied to join the startup North American Star League . The NASL's inaugural season kicks off on Tuesday 5th April, a North American alternative to Korea's superb Global Starcraft League (GSL), with 50 players and a prize pool of $400,000 dedicated exclusively to Starcraft II. So why's Boxer applying? Click more for the details and his application video.
In the first place, he has to: teams or individuals not expressly contacted by the NASL are required to make a public application, hence the above. And despite what cynics will say, it probably has little to do with the fact, [GSL SPOILER ALERT], that Boxer was demoted from Code S in the GSL to Code A earlier this week, after losing a crucial Up / Down match.
At the tender age of 30, Boxer is older than the majority of his competitors but there's no question of his being washed-up – he's been seriously in the running for a few GSL championships, his best result a 4th place finish in Season 2 (last November). His heyday was in the first Starcraft, however, at the turn of the millenium, when Boxer took the then-unfancied Terran race to new heights in a game simultaneously booming in popularity.
And he's not the only GSL player to be applying to join the NASL, not by a long shot. If you have time, we recommend you check out oGsNada's application, which must be the cutest thing ever:
That guy is one of the world's best ever progamers, and look at how nice he is.
A lot of other professional gamers have applied to join the NASL. Watch their applications here . Should Boxer's application to the NASL be successful, and surely it will be, he - along with players like ST_July and oGsMC - will bring a special star quality into their lineup. As we said in last week's ' 10 Best Starcraft II Games you Can Watch Now ', Boxer isn't a Starcraft legend – he's the legend. And why is he doing it? Why is Nada doing it?
From here, it could look like the start of a shift in momentum, as western esports attract the big players and find big audiences. It could look like that, and only time will tell. But we'll just throw something else out there: $400,000? That's a spicy meat-a-ball. You would, wouldn't you?