WCS Valencia 2018 has ended with Joona ‘Serral’ Sotala winning his third consecutive WCS trophy. He stands heads and shoulders above the rest of his competitors and can be counted among the best players in the world. His opponent was the legendary Ke ‘Has’ Yu Feng. A player I once dubbed as the Lord of the Pylon Walls, the Holy Cannon, the Most Sanctified Oracle, Breaker of Kaelaris, Great Wolf of the East, Humbler of Tyrants and Protector of the Faith.
The grandeur and absurdity of those titles says it all about Has. He is a cult favorite among Starcraft 2 aficionados. Every hardcore fan can recognized the debilitating weaknesses in Has’ play. When we structure and break down what makes a good Starcraft 2 player, the models often include ideas like: positioning, macro, micro, economic management, build orders, series ordering, preparation, strategy, multitasking, mental composure, decision making, or adaptation. Has has almost none of those beyond strategy and build orders.
He is a player who consistently mismicros his units. Who cannot play a macro game unless he has gambled his way to a sizeable lead and even then he can throw it all away on terrible and mismanaged fights. It has gotten to points where those fans unfamiliar with his play thought he was match fixing. The truth is even more bizarre, he is legitimately that bad as a player. He doesn’t have the raw mechanics of even a below average Protoss player. In a ranking of top Protoss players, I’d rank him close to the bottom in all of history in nearly every category I named.
However he is also a player I can respect. He isn’t a player who lies to himself. The way he has trained himself, the build orders he has created, the scenarios he plays the most in, all of it is seemingly by design if you assume that he accepts that he is not a ‘good’ player in a traditional sense. Instead he is a player who has crafted himself as the upset. He forces cheese upon cheese and creates strange scenarios that other players rarely find themselves in.
This is the chaos of Has, it is why he is so beloved and a cult favorite. Without regard to skill or integrity of the game, he is by far the most entertaining player to watch. He cares nothing for the well worn paths of how Starcraft 2 should be played as he understands that he cannot win in those areas. Instead he forces down chaos. He rushes down people with cannons, creates pylon walls, proxy shield batteries and robo bays, strange tech paths that even the best analyst with full vision cannot fathom.
He has been doing this for years and I’ve watched him ever since he upset Mun ‘MMA’ Seong Won in the ECL 2013 Final where he did a proxy void ray into a photon cannon contain into a tempest transition. The only comparable player to Has in all of Starcraft 2 history is Kim ‘sOs’ Yoo Jin. But there is a certain sense to everything sOs does. It is why players like Johan ‘Naniwa’ Lucchesi fawn over him because his chaotic ideas make sense once they are put into action.
The same cannot be said about Has. His chaos seems to create further chaos. However it is the perfect game plan for someone who has the deficincies that Has does. He cannot play the macro game, he cannot manage a large fight, he cannot micro his units with the deftness of say Alex ‘Neeb’ Sunderhaft. But he can force chaos, he can create strategies and build orders to blindside his opponent, to take the victory before Starcraft 2 is played. To befuddle his opponents.
That is what is so compelling about Has. He truly is a player has created an identity for himself and is the epitome of that identity. He will never be counted among the best. He will likely never be counted among the good. However the style he has forged, the way he has played, he has created a career for himself that far outstrips the skill he has in the game. He is one of the biggest overachievers in Starcraft 2 and even now, nearly five years after his international debut in 2013, he still shocks and surprises the world with what he can achieve with what little skill he has.