So Korea LOVES the game Starcraft, did you know? Korea = Kimchi, K-pop, and Starcraft.

Starcraft II valentines? PERFECT.

In Korea we have COUNTLESS pay by the hour PC rooms that are filled with gamers, many playing a version of Starcraft.  For those of you who have no idea what I am talking about (I am not a player myself, so forgive me for simplifying this so much!)  basically Starcraft is an online strategy computer game where you are an “army” set in the 26th century and you are battle another army someplace off in distance space.

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These “armies” come in 3 types~ exiled humans called Terrans, a futuristic humanoid race called Protoss, and an evil bug race called the Zerg… kekekeke.


Starcraft is serious business in Korea

Starcraft is such a big deal here that they have a TV channel you can watch matches… AND its on basic cable.  In fact, in the USA we had the Korean satellite package for a few months and one of the 5 channels you got aside from boring Arirang, two religious channels, and a news station was the Korean game channel which airs mostly Starcraft matches.

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People do not just play this game though….Korea has professional Starcraft players that compete in leagues here.  If you are very talented and willing to train night and day you can become a Pro-Gamer! Yes, the players even get boss jackets and have fangirls with banners~ told you it was serious business! Although Starcraft is not a Korean game, this is the place it is clearly the most popular so we have LOTS of tournaments.

One of the major events is the Global StarCraft II League~ which I got to see the final match of last week for Season 2- 2012!

Khaldor is crazy buff.

So how did this happen if I do not even play Starcraft? Well I have been taking language class at Ewha University here in Seoul for the last few months, and my awesome friend in class is Tom!

NOTE: I made fail kissy faces in almost every pic for some damn reason this day. SORRY! Too much time in Korea maybe?  REGRETS, I assure you.


Tom is really fun and always smiling even though he has to sit next to me with my desk covered in Sanrio school gear, what a good sport.  I was very intrigued when when I found out he was not a teacher here… because every foreigner in Korea is pretty much a teacher 90% of the time, you kinda get used to hearing it over and over and over. When he said no I thought maybe he was a personal trainer or athlete of some kind..hummmm~

Turns out Tom is an English (and sometimes German) Starcraft II commentator based right here in Korea who goes by “Khaldor” online!

Well that was an unexpected + pretty awesome surprise~ how cool is that???

★ ★ ★ You can watch Khaldor‘s broadcasts live HERE ★ ★ ★

So even though I do not play Starcraft I am very aware of it and very interested in the whole sort of subculture that has developed around it here in Korea.  I remember back in college Nara’s fellow Korean friend would play it night and day, just glued to that desk. I’m aware of tournaments and special matches for games back home like Street Fighter, but not many games have legit competitive leagues with people who live and train in dorms or do this for a living full-time, this is a JOB here for some people.

I had been to one televised Starcraft match maybe 8 years ago and it was really fun, so when Tom said we could go with him to a big match over the weekend I was pretty excited to see what a pro match, let alone a FINAL match would be like!


★ ★ ★ any excuse to dress up ★ ★ ★

The futuristic player type “Protoss” seems to be the favorite with Koreans here and was being played in the match by the first time finalist Squirtle from team Startale~ so I decided to dress festively for the occasion!  The color scheme of that race is this cool glowing blue with crystals and metallic things so I grabbed a matching shirt and some shiny stuff! I also found some awesome crystal earrings that kinda reminded me of the game… I was way too excited about those and sent Tom a Kakao for approval because I am annoying.

At first I thought this would be all guys and I would be the only non-Korean female whole event…maybe just a few Foreigners in general would come to this because hey, its Korea so it is kinda far for most people!

NOPE! When we arrived, wow~ the lines were packed with people from everyplace!!

I was completely shocked by how diverse the crowd for this Starcraft II competition was, it felt like an almost even split between Foreigners and Koreans. Tom was trying to explain to me that this event was kind of a big deal since it was the FINAL, so some people flew out to Korea special just to watch this match. Wow!

Peeking out the top level to see some of the people waiting in line to get let in! 

Apparently Starcraft II is still not quite as popular as the original Starcraft game in Korea (which has its own leagues and finals) so the venue was a bit smaller, but still packed with people trying to get in!  They actually ran out of seating so lots of people had to sit outside the room and watch on big screen TVs!

Thankfully we did not have to wait in line, we got to roll in like bosses with some Staff badges! Energy drinks, those wacky inflatable noise sticks Koreans love, and lotion samples from a cosmetic brand (of course…?) were the free gift goodies of the day~  nothing very starcrafty-tastic though, SO DISAPPOINT.

Whole wall in the main room was filler with player snapshots!

everyone that entered also got these nifty numbered cards to remember the occasion!

Korea sells redbull now, but I kind of like the taste of this better!

Since Hot6 Energy drinks sponsored the event we got plenty of cans to chug on that day.  lol I love the fake cans they had smashed into all the glass windows as advertising outside, it looked really cool.

Hour or so before game time…

We made our way to the top level and situated off to the side of the actual seating so we could creep around and snap pictures easily.

Khaldor creeping in the shadows (can you see him? haha)to say hi to the Korean commentators.

Both the Korean commentators and the English language ones had some pre-show recordings to get through before the crowds arrived!

Ahn Jun-young “Engine”  and Jungwon Chae aka “Mr. Chae”  were kind enough to let me jump on the platform and say 안녕하세요 in-between filming segments!

These guys are fun to watch, they get so excited when they broadcast a game and talk SO fast!

Ultra advanced Korean skills *_* bit too advanced for me!

I kinda want to steal those ties haha.

The very popular English commentators Dan “Artosis” Stemkoski and Nicolas “Tasteless” Plott also had a table set up to record some things early~ very handsome and nice guys!♥


They had these huge and very glamorous sparkle banners in the room with spotlights on them. If the player lost they shone a red one over the losers banner… it was like some sort of gladiator battle.

Check out how bad-ass Squirtle looks.

 The players arrived & went to their respective battle-booths to warm up + get a bit of makeup before the cameras turned on!

The seats begin to fill up!

We like our view up here just fine!

When you entered the building they had a table set up with paper and crayons so that you could make signs to cheer with and flash at the TV cameras.  As people sat down they quickly set to work on some projects~ however the SUPER savvy fans busted out ipads with things on them and had them in slideshow mode. SMART!

Nothing says this will be an epic battle quite like OUTER SPACE ON FIRE.

cue the smoke machines!

The finalists this year for GSL Starcraft Season II :

정종현 Jung Jong Hyun AKA “MVP” previous GSL season winner 3 other times~ Playing as Terran


박현우 Park Hyun Woo AKA “Squirtle“~ this was his first GSL final so we rooted for him!! He played as Protoss!

One thing I loved was how over the top they presented the match. Smoke, fire, confetti cannons, full-body spin shots of each player, it was AWESOME!  The rolled MVP and Squirtle out on on this platform all intense with sparks shooting everyplace and had them walk down the runway to the center platform~

It was kinda like a WWF match, but just guys that play games in a booth! Loved it. NOBODY SMILE, IT’S GAME TIME.

It was really great to watch the game with a professional commentator right beside me!  Khaldor pretty much gave me full on commentary while we watched and let me know when a clever tactic was being used or something sneaky was happening!  Thank you so much Tom~

Pretty crazy shit going on~

When MVP gets in the zone he plays with his mouth wide open haha.

I was told this is because he is sucking in the energy around him XD nice

Speaking of open mouths…these two opted to suck face at random moments so they are kinda in poses like this for half of our photos. I love that he is holding on to the English language broadcast earpiece while he makes out though. ROMANTIC.

During the game break we stepped outside to get some air~ Tom stopped to sign some autographs and talk to some fans.

This is NaNiwa~ Pro Starcraft player from Sweden who now lives in Korea!

NaNiwa came out to talk, but quickly a line of Korean fans appeared for autographs~ proudly displayed upside down!

back up on our ledge to watch the next round!

The game we watched was very exciting even though Nara and I could not truly appreciate the gameplay in full detail~ it was a great experience for sure! The winner had to win the best of 7 matches, and quickly the more seasoned player MVP won 3 matches in a row~ BAM BAM BAM!  We thought for sure the game would be over with the 4th win in the next round, but Tom told us to wait since the other player Squirtle had nothing to lose so he may try something crazy!

Khaldor and NaNiwa watching the match

Sure enough, Squirtle came back from nothing and won 2 more matches making it 3-2… that 2nd win he had was really insane because it really kept you on the edge of your seat for a LONG time and the crowd was going nuts! It was just so much fun to be there and witness it playing out first-hand! I can see why people enjoy watching these games live and on TV now after that 5th match.

Yes, I don’t even play starcraft but I was flipping out over game 5 in this match, CRAZY STUFF!!

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Sadly after that win we had to leave before seeing who won because the location this was being held was over an hour outside the city and we had a Buddhist festival to attend… I had been looking forward to it so I was torn about staying or going argh!  Tom stayed and we made plans to meet him after the game finished and kept us informed on Kakao that Squirtle won AGAIN, but the last final round was taken by MVP the player that had won the original 3 rounds.

MVP with his first GSL trophy~ now he has 4!

I wish we could have seen that last round to break the tie, I bet the room went insane while it happened because it was Squirtle’s first time in a GSL season final match… so he was going for a “Royal Road” which is when you win the first time you get to the final games. Apparently a Royal Road is super rare or has never been done in Starcraft II~ so lots of people cheered him on hoping he would win that! He  put up a hell of a fight O_O  Still though, MVP won after an amazing game and I think he is now the first player to win 4 GSL finals ever!

Check out the English-language broadcast of the match (complete with the opening walk-off) in the video above from!  Even if you don’t like watching Starcraft it is fun to see how they present this sort of match in Korea, the opening is seriously something worth viewing~ they go all out hardcore and it is amusing as hell!

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Thanks so much again to Khaldor for taking Nara and I along ~ I had such an amazing time 😀

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also big xoxo to my fiance Nara for taking so many photos at the event for me to use! ♥ He has a fancy camera that Tom and I have NO CLUE how to use correctly, so he was not in any photos~!

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41 Responses to “Global Starcraft II League★ MVP VS SQUIRTLE”

  • Custom avatar Jen:

    OMG!I loved this post! My boyfriend and house mate are both big Starcraft 2 players and watch the GSL. So naturally because of them I know a bit about Starcraft, would have been amazing to hear khaldor run through it with you personally.

    My BF and housemate are so jelly!! I love how this is such a big event over there! and even over here in Australia now. I would love to go see a match one day in Korea for the GSL. It would be just like a sports event only air-conditioned.

    The post really made my day!

    • Elle:

      I’m so glad to hear Jen!!! I was wondering if this would be of any interest to any of my normal readers~ but I figured fun is fun, right?? 😀 It was a lot of fun and a big surprise for me, the last one I went to 8-9 years ago was VERY VERY small, just about 40 people or less so I was really excited when the fire and smoke started shooting out, totally different experience nowadays~ they really go all out! I was told that this venue was a change from the larger one last time, they tried a smaller size but it quickly filled so maybe the next one will be even larger. Hopefully I can share some other interesting Starcraft things in the future here, anything that has a following I like to stick my head in and poke about~ so I will try XD

  • Custom avatar Miles:

    I may not check this website again but just have to say for an article written about Starcraft by someone who doesn’t even play it this is immensely well researched when it comes to names, links and stats. I highly enjoyed reading it, by far the highlight had to be the upside down Naniwa sign!

  • Friend zone for poor poor tom(joke). That dude is awesome though. Nice to see a person who never played going to an event and actually having fun.

    • Elle:

      It is all good for Tom~ If I ever hang out with pretty girlfriends in Seoul he will be the first single guy I call to meet them! haha! Seriously, it was a real blast 🙂 I was very impressed by the event as a whole!

    • Elle:

      Next time you come Stephiee~ we shall have a starcraft theme day and wear giant big bows… or something! I DUNNO! ♥

  • Custom avatar pestilenz:

    Hi there!

    This was surely an interesting read. Might even come back and read some more of your content^^

    Is it possible to get in contact with you in any way? I have some questions regarding your pictures.

    • Elle:

      Glad to hear you enjoyed the post! Haha I only started this blog maybe 3 months ago, so soon it will have a bit more content on it for sure 🙂
      You can contact me at kika (at) misskika .com with any questions you might have, or any of my other listed mailboxes~ they all redirect to the same main box so I should get it!

  • Custom avatar fezvez:


    Damn, that was a nice article! It is possible I will not come again, but damn, that was an accurate description, and an enjoyable read! Thanks!

    And I’m glad you enjoyed it 😉

    • Elle:

      Well thank you for stopping by to check it out at least!! Maybe I will do another one sometime, I def am willing to see more events (I mean, I do live in Korea… so I might as well right?) it was a lot of fun, I’m glad I could experience it!

  • Custom avatar James:

    Awesome post! very well researched
    btw a royal roader is someone who wins the first starleague they qualify for not the first they reach the finals of.

    • Elle:

      Ahh thank you for clearing that up for me! I will revise that so it is a little more clear, I saw lots of “Royal Roader” signs at the event and was really confused haha lots of lingo and in-jokes I am out of the loop for obviously

      • Custom avatar James:

        no problem! i was really hoping that squirtle would be sc2’s first royal roader T.T

        • Elle:

          yeah, I was rooting for him too! Watching him get smashed the first three times was so sad, we could see him in his battlebox thing after losing. That was still an amazing fight he put up, I’m pissed we had to slip out and miss round 6 and 7!

  • Custom avatar labbetuss:


    This was really fun to read, it’s interesting to see SC2 from an “outsiders” point of view. I’m really glad you enjoyed the finals, maybe there’s still hope for my friends who are not into Starcraft, haha.

  • Custom avatar Tuco:

    Good pacing with the pictures and the captions/humor etc., kept the reader engaged. Excellently researched. You really didn’t make very many blunders for being so new to the game which makes me think you are either very thorough, have a good proofreader, or maybe you are just that damn good. Anyways, well done. A fun read even for someone quite familiar to the game.

    • Elle:

      Thank you very much, I am really glad so many people that play the game enjoy this post because I wrote it with my usual traffic in mind which is (obviously) mainly females haha. I crept around the wikis a bit for a few days before I got started so I could learn a bit more after already watching the event…should have done that BEFORE watching the game I suppose! No proofreader for this, I almost had Tom take a look before I posted, but he has been busy casting this week so I did not want to disturb him!

  • Custom avatar Mason:

    Wow. Real journalism is found in the strangest places. This was a well written, well researched, enjoyable piece. Grats on having talent. You’re a dying breed.

  • Custom avatar Phil To:


    Great post, i would have loved to have seen that.
    One question tho, why is StarCraft1 still more popular than 2?


    • Elle:

      Hey Phil ♥ ♥ I was told it is because of habit since SC1 has been out FOREVER everyone here is so used to playing they are just sticking with it still. SC2 apparently has better (of course) but slightly different gameplay that takes a bit to adjust to so people are reluctant to switch and suck for a bit while they learn the new changes in the game for the 2nd version! Makes sense I guess, I used photoshop 5 for like 5 years because I was too stubborn/lazy to learn the new version and did not feel like not knowing where everything was haha.

  • Custom avatar Nathan:

    This is an amazingly well written article for someone who wasn’t interested in the game at all before the experience. I think I will come back to this site to get some more tips on life in Korea as I will be studying in Seoul next fall! Thanks for the awesome content.

    • Elle:

      Thank you very much! Where will you be studying? I hope you will enjoy it here, I should have some more cultural related content up here eventually as well as good places to eat that may be of interest to you have you have been here a little bit haha after 6 months I was kind of like “OK WHERE IS SOME THAI FOOD?”

      • Custom avatar Nathan:

        I will be studying at Yonsei University from late August till late December. Yeah, it will be my first experience outside of North America so it will be interesting and I am looking for as much helpful information as possible!

        • Elle:

          Ahhh nice! Well Korea is VERY English friendly now, so you should have an easy time even though it is your first exp outside… pretty much everything important has some English on it and if you get stuck almost everyone younger knows enough English to throw at you (even if you do not want the help) VS Japan which is quite bit more difficult. If you are coming for language study I can not give you any opinions on Yonsei since I have only tried out Sogang and Ewha’s programs so far, but I hear lots of Japanese girls take that program! Feel free to mail me with any questions you may have or add them here and I will try to do a related post so you have some info before Aug 🙂 I have been coming here for about 9 years and lived in Japan for a year in High School, so I am an old fart when it comes to Asia at this point I think haha. Can you read Korean already? If not try and learn that before you arrive, it will make things a lot easier for you right away!

          • Custom avatar Nathan:

            Yeah, I plan on learning how to read Hangul before I leave. I am just going for a general exchange program but I will be taking a language class as well as mostly culture related classes. I am almost ready to graduate so I don’t think many classes will help with my major at this point but I am doing it more for the experience than the credits.

            I will be sure to email you for any tips or topics I have questions about. Thanks!

  • Custom avatar norjoncal:

    Very jealous. One of my best friends has been living in Dageu Korea for 3 years (teacher of course) I have been trying to have him get me autographs forever. Very nice writeup. I will have to check out your other articles as well. I was stationed in Uijeongbu Korea back in 2001/2002 while I was in the army and always looking for information on the culture side.

    • Elle:

      You should get him to go to something! Everyone was very approachable, it was a very nice vibe for sure 🙂 Oh wow 2002? I bet they had nothing online for Korea at that time… even maybe 8 years ago I had a hard time finding much actual reading that was not *really* dated for Korea, I remember I had to even special order travel books because my stores did not sell any and some of the etiquette listed was incorrect. ugh! I will have a LOT more culture-related things very soon, I just started this 3 months ago so I threw up a lot of simple things to start.

      • Custom avatar norjoncal:

        Have you done one on haircuts?Like how you get a massage afterwards.

        • Elle:

          not yet, I am still getting info together though because I want to list some good places to visit for girls… it is kinda hard here. I never got a massage after though, just during the shampoo routine which is very nice… unless you are talking about the “special” beauty shop massages here lmao because if it is THAT, I obviously have no idea.

  • I love this post! I’ve always heard about how Starcraft is huge in Korea, but I’ve never read or seen any posts by anyone who went to an event. Awesome! The earrings totally fit and look Starcrafty. =P

    Also, your friend Tom’s job sounds kinda epic. =)

  • Custom avatar Laura:

    Like many commenters have said, what an awesome post! My boyfriend is into Starcraft (more spectator than player) and I get to hear the commentators all the time. Im pretty sure I’ve listening to several casts by Artosis and Tasteless, but my favorite is Day 9 (who I think is brother w/ Tasteless?) It sounds like they have a lot of fun and they genuinely love the game, so I think its awesome!

  • I know nothing about Starcraft, so I was casually scrolling past (I haven’t visited in awhile, so I’m trying to catch up! >_<) when all of a sudden, I see the part about Hot6. My friends and I drank so much of that stuff while studying abroad in Korea, especially during Midterms and Finals weeks! The dirty jokes ran rampant~! 😉 ㅋㅋㅋㅋ

  • Custom avatar Anna Weems:

    My son is a huge fan of Starcraft. He loves this game. He tells a lot of story about Terran and Zerg. As a mom, I just have to listen even though I don’t even have an idea what he’s talking about.

  • Custom avatar Megan:

    Love this post! I’m a crap SC2 player, but I loooove watching the games. I’ve never been someone who watched sports, but SC2 is a “spectator sport” I actually really enjoy watching. When I did a quick trip to Seoul, my husband and I got to see a small GSL match…I believe Khaldor was commentating that day. SC2 is getting bigger and bigger is American (what, with all the “barcraft” viewings and whatnot) but nothing like the spectacle of a GSL final like you got to go to! Very jealous!

    • Elle:

      It was an interesting experience for sure, even though I was not 100% how exactly the game went haha! I think I will be blogging about some more starcraft events because this was a lot of fun and everyone really seemed to be amused by the post, so hope you will enjoy those!

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