Geoje Island, South Korea
Song "HerO" Hyeon Deok is a retired Protoss player from South Korea.
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At the age of fifteen, HerO was already a skilled amateur Brood War player. HerO had not neglected his education, and upon reaching the high school level, he had to decide whether to pursue the life of the typical hard-working South Korean student with the goal of gaining admission to a prestigious university, or the difficult path of the professional gamer. HerO chose to pursue his passion.
A combination of skill and luck saw him through the KeSPA Courage League--the trial through which aspiring gamers are awarded semi-pro status--in just two tries. At the age of sixteen he joined the Lecaf OZ team, making him one of the youngest pro-gamers at that time.
Despite HerO's unexpectedly easy entry into the world of e-sports, the South Korean pro-gaming scene quickly proved its reputation as a meat grinder for youthful aspirations. He had a short time to be star-struck by players like Anytime before being confronted with the skill chasm he would rapidly be forced to fill in order to survive. Wins were hard to come by during the team's internal evaluations, and the burden of disappointment was especially hard on the young pro-gamer.
While HerO gained valuable skill and experience, success did not follow at first. Countless preliminaries came and went, but HerO could not find a way to break through. Though he proved his confidence in practice, he found himself being continually passed over by the team's management for Proleague opportunities (the central, team-based competition in Brood War). When it became clear that after two years, he did not factor into his team's future plans, HerO was forced to call it quits.
HerO settled back into his old life, going back to school to pick up where he had left off. However, the ghosts of the past would never leave him completely. It was hard to shake the feeling that this was not the way things were supposed to end. It was not surprising that StarCraft II caught his interest when it came out, but it was the most fortuitous of meetings at the GSL Open preliminaries that set him on his present course. At the event, he met an old teammate with a new name in the form of oGs.gOn, now a coach on the Old Generations team. There was talk of second chances, and HerO decided he would pick up the shards of his shattered dreams.
There were fairy tale returns to pro-gaming for some Brood War pros, who tossed aside years of ignominy in what seemed like mere moments to finally clinch the success that had eluded them for so long. For HerO, there would be nothing of the sort. It was practice, practice, practice even more, only to lose in the preliminaries. Old doubts began to seep in again. He had been known as a formidable player behind closed doors during his Brood War days, but had never had a chance to shine in the spotlight. For that to be his fate once more would be unbearable.
Yet HerO's talents had not gone unnoticed. When Liquid` came calling, HerO knew that it was an opportunity he could not turn down. He was too good, and too tired of practicing and working with little results or recognition. Joining Liquid` was an affirmation of his dedication and skill; an opportunity to show the world his true abilities in StarCraft II.
Wings of Liberty
Before joining Liquid, HerO had largely been absent from high profile South Korean tournaments. Although he has often been touted as one of the best Protoss players for oGs, his tournament record has been underwhelming.
HerO left oGs for Team Liquid on August 10, 2011, but continued to train in the oGs-TL house in Korea. Following oGs's disbandment, HerO moved to the newly formed Liquid house in Korea, with teammates Jinro, HayprO, and TLO as well as former teammate SuperNova and EG's HuK.
First tournament appearances (May 2011-August 2011)
Hero's first televised debut was in the final preseason of 2011 Global StarCraft II Team League May, where he lost as the starter for oGs against Squirtle. HerO finally managed to break into Code A for the 2011 Global StarCraft II League July by taking out a very notable player in DongRaeGu in the final round of the qualifiers. HerO would subsequently be unable to pass the first round after losing to Noblesse, 1-2. After this he only played in the GSTL, until he was recruited by Liquid.
Winning DreamHack and breaking into Code S (August 2011-March 2012)
HerO broke back into Code A once again in GSL October because he qualified through the preliminaries beating fairly decent players such as Sirius and GuineaPig. Once there, he managed to 2-0 viOLet before falling in the next round to "the king" of Code A YugiOh, thus ending his Code A run, but keeping his Code A spot for the next season.
With the announcement of HerO's switch to Team Liquid, it was also announced that he would be participating in the upcoming MLG Raleigh with the rest of the team, as well as other foreign tournaments. He went through the open bracket and ended up 4th in his group, going 2-3. He made it relatively deep into the Championship bracket before losing to DongRaeGu, finishing in 6th place overall. With the rest of the Team Liquid team, HerO participated in MLG Orlando where he was placed in the Protoss heavy Group D and placed a respectable fourth in his group. In the Championship Bracket, he beat Machine in his first round before falling to HongUn in the subsequent round.
In GSL November HerO would play in the Round of 48 vs CrazymoviNG winning 2-1 and advancing to the Round of 32. There, he faced asd but would end up losing 1-2, getting a spot for the Up and Down Matches. HerO would end up fourth in his group, going 2-2, therefore staying in Code A for the 2012 GSL Season 1.
HerO would not get enough points in the MLG ranking to be placed directly in the Championship Bracket in MLG Providence, this would make him participate in the Open Bracket, demolishing his way through well known players like Puzzle, Jinro, KeeN and Sheth, earning himself a spot in the Championship Bracket. In the Championship Bracket HerO would defeat the likes of PuMa, SjoW and Ret only falling to Liquid's former top Protoss, HuK being knocked to the Loser's part of the Bracket. In the Loser's Bracket HerO's run would end quickly vs the on form Mvp, leaving him in 13th place overall.
After MLG Providence, HerO would attend DreamHack Winter 2011. In the Round of 64 he would be placed in a relatively easy Group J, alongside TLO, Seiplo, and StarNaN, finishing with a 3-0 score advancing to the Round of 32 Group Stage, this time in Group F, HerO would go 2-1 losing only to DongRaeGu, but nonetheless advancing to the Round of 16 Bracket. He would defeat teammate Sheth, advancing him to the Round of 8, where he beat surprise player Seiplo, and in the semifinals another teammate, Ret. This would take him to the finals vs PuMa, whose TvP was excellent, where he would have a very close series, winning an intense seventh game taking the series 4-3 and making him the DreamHack Winter 2011 Champion. On the main stage after winning, he was all over the place emotionally, covering his hands with his face, shaking, and in tears.
HerO competed in NASL Season 2 and finished the regular season with a 7-0 record, qualifying him for the grand finals. He made an impressive showing at the tournament, taking out notable player such as HwangSin, HasuObs and Sen, dropping only a single game, before meeting PuMa in the finals in a rematch from Dreamhack Winter 2011. Hero was unable to defeat PuMa, falling 2-4.
He was invited to participate in the HomeStory Cup IV. After going 6-0 in Group Stage #1 by beating Naama, KawaiiRice and HayprO 2-0, he was eliminated in Group Stage #2 after beating Naama 2-0, but losing against very strong Zerg players, Nerchio 1-2 and viOLet 0-2.
In the 2012 GSL Season 1 Code A HerO was matched up against Line in the Round of 48 and took him out 2-0 to advance to face JYP whom he would go on to beat 2-1. He advanced to face GanZi in the round of 24 and managed to beat him in two quick games, securing Code S for next season.
He was also invited to IEM Season VI Kiev. He beat qxc 2-1, DIMAGA 2-1 but lost to Feast 1-2. Both DIMAGA and Feast also went 2-1 in this group, but because HerO lost more games than them, he was eliminated from the tournament.
HerO participated to ASUS ROG Winter 2012. He took first place of Group D by beating SeleCT, sYz and Seiplo 2-0. He then had to face JYP in round 16. He repeated his GSL 2012 season performance and beat him 2-1. He then had to face Polt in round 8, but he lost 0-2.
HerO has been experiencing success in the IPL Fight Club Showmatch Series. On his first appearance he took out jjakji. He subsequently 5-0'ed DIMAGA. He then went on to face ThorZaIN and win 5-3. However, he would fall the next week to viOLet in a close 5-4 series.
HerO's debut in Code S happened in the 2012 GSL Season 2 Code S. His group contained Curious, Maru and GuMiho. HerO was defeated by Maru, but managed to secure two wins against Curious and therefore advanced to the Round of 16. There, HerO was placed into Group B which contained Mvp, July, and Leenock. He would beat both Mvp and Leenock 2-1, securing a spot in the Round of 8. He then defeated SuperNova 3-0, acceding the semifinals where he played Squirtle. HerO lost 0-3 to Squirtle and was seeded into 2012 GSL Season 3 Code S.
March - December 2012
HerO was also invited to participate in NASL Season 3.HerO secured the top place in his division by going 6-1 in games only losing to DeMusliM. HerO would face Puzzle in a bo3 to decide the #1 seed in the league but lost 2-1 placing him second in seeding. In the main bracket HerO faced Ryung. The series would end in a close 3-2 win for HerO after trailing 0-2. He will go on to face Stephano in the ro8.
He would return to Code A in the 2012 GSL Season 3, dropping into the round of 48 to face jookTo. He defeated his past teammate 2-0 to go into the round of 32. There he faced MMA and ended up losing 0-2, and falling to the Up and Down Matches.
HerO continued his success in the IPL Fight Club by participating in the 4 man IPL Fight Club at Hot Import Nights tournament. He defeated Illusion in a close 2-1 series. He then went on to defeat DongRaeGu 3-0 to move on to the grand finals. DongRaeGu came out of the Losers finals to face HerO in a rematch of the winners finals with HerO up 2-0 since he came from the winners bracket. HerO would go on to win the tournament with a 4-2 score over Dongraegu.
HerO participated in the MLG Pro Circuit Summer Korean Open Qualifier. He advanced to the 3rd winners round where he lost to Seed 2-0. He then pulled an impressive string of pvp victories triumphing over Classic, Brown, and Vampire. He would then go on to defeat Squirtle 2-1 taking revenge from his 0-3 defeat in the 2012 Global StarCraft II League Season 2 semifinals. He went on to defeat Tassadar 2-0 in the losers bracket finals allowing him to qualify for the MLG Pro Circuit Invite Only Summer Korean Qualifier. In them he triumphed over his side of the bracket which included victories over aLive and Ryung 2-1. in the winners finals he defeated his Liquid teammate TaeJa 2-1 and would have a rematch against aLive. Due to the extended series rule the series became a bo7 with HerO up 2-1. HerO would defeat the IGN ProLeague Season 4 champion 4-2 securing a top seed in the MLG Summer Arena.
On July 2, 2012, HerO participated in the 2012 OSL Non-KeSPA Preliminaries. HerO received a BYE in round one and then took down PeGaSuS, Tear, Tassadar, and faced ByuN in the finals. He was not able to advance any further and had to take 2nd place after he lost to ByuN by a score of 1:2.
HerO played in the 2012 GSL Code S Season 4, getting in through the Up and Downs. He was placed in a group with Symbol, YoDa and Ryung. He went 2-0, dropping only one map in the process. HerO then went onto the Round of 16 groups, in which he was placed with Leenock, Squirtle and Heart. He placed second which put him through to place Rain in the quarterfinals, where he got defeated 0-3 by the Protoss monster Rain. His advancement to the Round of 8 seeded him in the 2012 GSL Code S Season 5.
On the 24th of November, HerO won DreamHack Winter 2012 with a 4-0 sweep over team mate TaeJa. He crushed his group, which consisted of NaNiwa, ThorZaIN, NightEnD, ForGG and Ret 5-0, while dropping just a single map. In the quarterfinals, he faced Snute, winning with another 3-0 decisive victory. This put him through to the semifinals, where he faced relatively unknown player monchi. HerO looked shaky in the beginning, but quickly returned to form, winning 3-1. In the finals he faced TaeJa, who he gave a 4-0 thrashing to, seemingly winning with ease every single game against one of the best players in the world.
HerO participated in the IPL 5 Asian Satellite Qualifiers. The tournament started straight off from the semifinals. HerO defeated Kingdom by a score of 2-1 and was able to advance in to the finals to face Apocalypse. Afterwards, HerO took down Apocalypse by a score of 2-1 and was able to take first place. His first place finish qualified him for the IGN ProLeague Season 5. After a walkover against Sting and a string of victories against Stephano, Seed and San, HerO would swiftly fall to viOLet and Sniper finishing in 9th-12th place.
On the 9th of December 2012, HerO defeated viOLet 4-2 to win the North American Star League Season 4. HerO was placed in Division 3 for the regular season and finished with a 5-3 record, with wins over Dark, Beastyqt, Alicia, Strelok and MaNa and losses to LoWeLy, viOLet and GanZi. Because HerO did not come 1st in his group he had to defeat his opponent in the Wilcards to move on. HerO's opponent for this was teammate Sheth, who he defeated 3-0, allowing him to move on to the main bracket. HerO's opponent in the round of 16 was finale, who HerO also defeated 3-0, qualifying him for the offline finals. HerO's opponent in the round of 8 was teammate TaeJa, who he had recently defeated 4-0 to win DreamHack Winter 2012. HerO was victorious over TaeJa once again, defeating him 3-0. In the semi-finals, HerO's opponent was Polt. HerO was able to defeat Polt 4-2 to move on to the finals. HerO's opponent for the final was viOLet. Despite being down 0-2, HerO was able to win 4 maps in a row to win the series and the tournament to become the NASL 4 champion.
Heart of the Swarm
In the 2013 WCS Season 1, HerO played in the America region in Premier League. In the Ro32 group stage, he defeated both KiLLeR and MajOr with 2-0 victories. In the Ro16 group stage, he defeated both Scarlett and Suppy with more 2-0 victories, getting him a playoff spot. There, he defeated Alicia 3-1, defeated Ryung 3-2, and defeated Revival 4-2 to claim the championship.
As the WCS Season 1 Champion for the America region, he advanced to the 2013 WCS Season 1 Finals. In the group stage, he lost 0-2 to ForGG but won 2-0 against Symbol, earning him a match against sOs for advancement, which he lost 0-2.
As a result of his WCS Season 1 results, he was invited back to compete in the 2013 WCS Season 2 America Premier League. In the Ro32 group stage, he lost 1-2 to Oz and then won 2-0 against ViBE, which earned him a decider match against Scarlett where he was defeated 1-2.
His loss in the Ro32 forced him to fight in the 2013 WCS Season 2 Challenger League to decide if he would return to the Premier League in 2013 WCS Season 3. There, he defeated SeleCT 2-0, defeated State 2-0, and defeated Alicia 2-1, which returned him to Premier League for Season 3.
Hero's performance in the 2013 WCS Season 3 America Premier League began with him winning his groups in both the Ro32 and Ro16: in the Ro32 he defeated Heart 2-1 and Jim 2-0; in the Ro16 he defeated Hack 2-1 and HyuN 2-0. However, he was eliminated from the first round of the playoffs, losing 3-0 to Oz. He then fought Heart to go to the 2013 WCS Season 3 Finals and won 3-1.
At the 2013 WCS Season 3 Finals, HerO was placed in a group with Dear, Oz, and VortiX. He lost to Dear 2-1, but he beat VortiX 2-1. The decider match for the group was a rematch against Dear, which he again lost 2-0.
He has earned enough WCS points to get a place at the 2013 WCS Grand Finals at Blizzcon 2013.
At the 2013 MLG Spring Championship, HerO advanced through the winner's bracket to Round 6 by besting MaSsan, SeleCT, Minigun, and Sage. He then lost to HyuN 2-1, defeated Sound 2-0 and was eliminated by HyuN in a rematch in the semifinals.
At IEM Season VIII - Shanghai, HerO advanced to the semifinals by defeating MC 2-0, Jaedong 2-1, and HyuN 3-0 before he was eliminated in the semis by Oz 2-3. In the next IEM Season VIII event (New York), he beat qxc and NaNiwa 2-0, but lost in the quarterfinals to eventual champion Life 0-3. In the last tournament of the season before the World Championship (Cologne), he placed second in his group after losing to Rain but beating ForGG twice and then swept past INnoVation 3-0. Two grueling series followed - a semifinal against Jaedong that HerO won after a Game 5 comeback from the brink on Yeonsu that featured an Immortal/Sentry all-in and a probe pull and then a final against Polt that included a Game 1 regame after a draw on Heavy Rain and an delay due to Blizzard server maintenance. When the dust finally settled at about 3 AM local time, though, HerO was the last one standing after a 4-2 victory to give him his first Premier Tournament victory of 2014 and a ticket to the IEM Season VIII World Championship in Katowice.
At HomeStory Cup VIII, HerO beat TargA and Kas advancing him into the Round of 16. In the Round of 16 HerO beat Scarlett, lost to Babyknight 0-2 and defeated Dayshi in the final match to advance into the Round of 8. In the Round of 8 HerO faced team-mate TaeJa, despite HerO's efforts he lost 0-3 ending his tournament.
At ASUS ROG Winter 2014, HerO entered into the round of 32 in the group of Patience, Zanster, and MorroW. Expected to come out first in his group, HerO started off disappointing many fans with a very uncharacteristic 1-3 loss vs up and comer Zanster. Afterwords, HerO quickly recovered with an easy 3-0 over MorroW, putting him in the final match of the group vs Zanster again. This time HerO crushed him in a convincing 3-0. HerO went onto the round of 16 and was placed into the group of death with Jaedong, Life, and Solar. HerO was first defeated by Jaedong with a 1-3 map score, and had to face up against Solar in the losers match, who he also lost to 1-3, thus knocking him out of the tournament.
In the Warer.com Invitational, HerO started off in a group with Life, ForGG, and TLO. There, he beat both Life and ForGG with convincing 2-0s to move on to the round of eight. There, he met San who he took care of handily with a 3-1 score. In the round of four, he met his teammate TaeJa yet again. HerO finally was able to break the loss streak he had vs TaeJa ever since Heart of the Swarm and won the series with a 3-1. He then faced MC in the finals, where after a long and hard fought seven game series, he was ultimately defeated 4-3.
HerO entered IEM Season VIII - Cologne into the group stage as an invite with WCS points. His group included Rain, ForGG, and HyuN from the open bracket. With HerO already 2-0ing ForGG in the Warer.com Invitational, he had no fear going into him again in his first match of the tournament, which ended with another 2-0 for the Liquid Protoss player. He then faced Rain in the next match, but with amazing scouting from Rain in the first game and a build order win in the second, Rain came out with a 2-0 win, sending HerO down to the final match of the group. HerO met ForGG there once more, and again defeated him with an easy 2-0 to advance onto the Ro8. His first match was vs INnoVation, and HerO brought out some 1-base builds and mindgames to abuse INnoVation's greedy play to win in a convincing 3-0. Jaedong was HerO's opponent in the Ro4, and after a failed cannon rush in game 1, a perfectly deflected 6-pool in game 2, a successful Immortal-Sentry all-in off the gold on Habitation Station in game 3, and a long drawn out Swarm Host game in game 4, HerO and Jaedong found themselves tied 2-2 on Yeonsu. HerO started with a 4-gate Zealot pressure, easily deflected by Jaedong. Knowing he had no other chance, HerO went for an Immortal-Sentry all-in that also got shut down. With Jaedong with the win in his hands, he went down to the natural of HerO, but ended up losing a large chunk of Roaches to the reinforcements HerO had been making at home. Then, HerO went for one final attack and with Warp Prism Immortal micro, and well-placed force fields, HerO slowly took out Jaedong after a non-stop fight lasting over five minutes to take the series and head to the finals. There, he met Polt and started the series off in a rather bizarre way, with a seemingly won game for HerO, forced to draw as he lost all his of his Nexuses and Polt flew his buildings to the edges of the map. The rematch ended up going in HerO's favor, but after a long break of technical issues, the second game on Frost went to the side of Polt, even after some incredible Warp Prism storm drops and Zealot harass. Game 3 went in a similar way as game 2, except that HerO's harass did the work it needed this time, and he easily took out Polt, after harassing all three of his mineral lines at once. Game 4 also started with a seemingly won game from HerO, after a proxy Oracle into Chargelot/Storm attack. However, Polt fought back and sniped 4 nexuses within a single minute of game time, and eventually took the game. Game 6 was then a 40-minute macro game with both players constantly harassing and sniping bases. However, in the end HerO's drop defense and storm drops were too much for the CMStorm Terran player, and HerO was able to pick up his first tournament victory of 2014 with a 4-2 map score.
- Is known for using the Warp Prism and Mothership to great effect, abusing the great mobility they come with.
- HerO's favourite K-pop star is Hyuna (with whom he shares a birthday).
- Likes roast chicken.
- Was the first South Korean to join Team Liquid.
- Currently holds the Liquid`HerO ID. Originally, the ID belonged to Tom Whittier (Liquid`Hero, also known as FroZ), but negotiations allowed HerO to take it.
- Has an anamorphic portrait drawn by Glider, "Liquid`HerO by ThePortraitArt".
- Was undefeated in best-of-3 series during group play for NASL Season 2. His overall streak was stopped by DeMusliM in week 7 of Season 3.
- Was the first player to go undefeated in an NASL group stage.
- Smokes to make himself less nervous before games.
- Is known to take Cheong Sim Hwan, a herbal medicine, for calming.
- Was the first player to win two DreamHack championships.
|2013-08-03||Premier||2012–2013 SK Planet Proleague||Rookie Award||$2,789.92|
|In Premier Tournaments|
|2014-09-07||3rd||World E-sport Championships 2014||0 : 2||Jaedong||$8,100|
|2014-06-16||2nd||Dreamhack Open: Summer||0 : 3||TaeJa||$5,000|
|2014-02-16||1st||IEM Season VIII - Cologne||4 : 2||Polt||$10,000|
|2013-07-27||3 - 4th||IEM Season VIII - Shanghai||2 : 3||Oz||$2,000|
|2013-06-30||3 - 4th||2013 MLG Spring Championship||1 : 4||HyuN||$3,000|
|2013-06-02||1st||2013 WCS Season 1 America||4 : 2||Revival||$20,000|
|2013-04-28||3 - 4th||2013 DreamHack Open: Stockholm||1 : 2||Leenock||$3,080|
|2012-12-09||1st||North American Star League Season 4||4 : 2||viOLet||$30,000|
|2012-11-24||1st||2012 DreamHack Open: Winter||4 : 0||TaeJa||$37,726|
|2012-10-13||3rd||2012 WCS Asia Finals||0 : 2||PartinG||$3,600|
|2012-05-10||3 - 4th||2012 Global StarCraft II League Season 2||0 : 3||Squirtle||$4,263|
|2011-12-04||2nd||North American Star League Season 2||2 : 4||PuMa||$20,000|
|2011-11-26||1st||2011 DreamHack Open: Winter||4 : 3||PuMa||$29,600|