sAviOr

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This player has been banned from professional StarCraft competition.
For more information, see Match Fixing Scandal
sAviOr
Player Information
Name: 마재윤
Romanized Name: Ma Jae Yoon
Birthday: November 23, 1987 (1987-11-23) (age 26)
Country: South Korea South Korea
Race: Zerg
Clan: gm
Nicknames: The Maestro, Ma Bonjwa
Alternate IDs: IPXZerg, sAviOr[gm]
Links
TLPD International TLPD Korea TLPD SOSPA Daum Café
Achievements
2007_Blizzcon_Invitational2008_Blizzcon_Invitational
History
???? - 2006-04

2006-04 - 2010-06-09

2010-06-09
Banned

Ma "sAviOr" Jae Yoon is a former StarCraft progamer from South Korea who played Zerg for CJ Entus.

Although sAviOr is largely associated in ignominy since his involvement in the match fixing scandal in 2010, he is widely recognized as a preeminent innovator and dominate competitor in his peak years of 2005-2007. His play declined steeply in his later years from 2008 on, despite glimmers of success in 2009, but sAviOr never again reclaimed the recognition or success he had previously enjoyed. sAviOr continues to play publicly, occasionally streaming on Afreeca.[1]

Biography[edit]

sAvioR is widely recognized for his innovative game play and timing/game management. Although he did not possess the high APMs (hovering in the 250-range) and mechanics of a Jaedong or Flash, he was recognized for his innate talent, sometimes labeled "genius", and strategic creativity, thus likely leading to his nickname "The Maestro" [2][3] He is considered a Bonjwa of his era, joining the likes of NaDa, iloveoov, and BoxeR, and thus the only Zerg player to attain the title until he was joined by Jaedong. In addition to his four MSL and OSL titles, sAviOr cumulative achievements enabled him to achieve the number one KeSPA Ranking nine times, including occupying the position for eight straight months in 2006.

sAviOr is largely seen as the player who revolutionized Zerg gameplay by popularizing new builds such as the 3 Hatch Mutalisk Build in ZvT. sAviOr is recognized as being one of the most influential StarCraft players to have played the game[4][5].

Beginning[edit]

sAviOr started his progaming career in 2003 at 16 years of age, with his earliest documented matches composed of mainly preliminaries and qualifying tournaments.[6] The trend continued in 2004 he sAviOr played in a handful of major tournaments which were televised. Some of his earliest major appearances included the 2004 SPRIS MSL (quarterfinals) and 2004 SKY Proleague Round 1.

sAviOr would make his presence more widely known in 2005 as he took victory at the 2005 UZOO MSL in only his second attempt at a major tournament. Although this was a big achievement, the community did not yet accord sAviOr much recognition as it was his first Starleague and he had not yet accumulated a more storied career.[7]

Rise of a Legend[edit]

sAviOr would continue his success at the next MBCGame StarCraft League (MSL), the 2005 LG CYON MSL. The tournament was notable for sAviOr's defeat of iloveoov, then the second-ranked player by KeSPA, in two series, winning 2-0 in a best of three and 3-0 in a best of five. sAviOr would eventually advance to the finals before being defeated by ChoJJa 3-2 in a tightly contested ZvZ match-up.

As seen in his annual performance records below, sAviOr continued his rise with his strongest year in 2006. He would take the titles at both the 2006 Pringles MSL Season 1 and 2006 Pringles MSL Season 2. Along the way, sAviOr became Greatest Ones' (later renamed CJ Entus) leading Proleague player, accumulating a dominant 16–4 record during 2006 SKY Proleague Round 1 and 2006 SKY Proleague Round 2.

sAviOr continued his successes in 2007, although there were signs of trouble. His innovative game play still seemed dominant, but Zerg players appeared to have difficulty against some maps, such as Longinus and Reverse Temple, that were said to have favored Terrans in the ZvT match-up.[8] sAviOr would continued to have some success, nonetheless, as he won his first, and only, OnGameNet Starleague (OSL) title at the 2006-2007 Shinhan Bank OSL Season 3. Playing currently in the MSL series, sAviOr would also advance to the finals of the 2006-2007 GomTV MSL before being defeated by Bisu. In doing so, sAviOr had advanced to the an unprecedented five MSL finals, winning three championship titles along the way. The road to these OSL and MSL finals was difficult, with come-from-behind wins against Iris and Hwasin in the respective leagues. These victories were especially notable in context, as Zerg players had previously only won 11% (3 of 28) Starleague titles, whereas sAviOr himself had been responsible for 4 of the past 6 Starleagues (both MSLs and OSLs).[9] During this stretch from April 2005 through March 2007, from his first to last MSL victories, sAviOr accumulated a 136-68 record (66.7%), besting all of the contemporaries to whom he was compared, including, Jaedong, Bisu, NaDa, Nal_rA, Midas, Sea, Stork, iloveoov, July, and ChoJJa. During this two year period, his winning percentage versus the three races were: ZvP 71.6%, ZvT 65.4%, and ZvZ 62.5%.[10] When looking at only Starleague play against the toughest competition, his records were even more impressive, at 71% versus Terran and 77% versus Protoss.

With these strong performances, sAviOr's CJ salary would rise accordingly, from $70,000/year for 2006-2007 to $106,000 the following year, excluding tournament prize earnings.[11][12] Nonetheless, these numbers would pale in comparison to professional StarCraft's highest earner at the time, NaDa, at over $200,000.[13]

The Slump[edit]

sAviOr’s disastrous yet spectacular 0–3 defeat at the hands of Bisu in the 2007 GomTV MSL finals was reminiscent of sAviOr’s own rise to power through an unexpected demolishing of iloveoov. Following this crushing loss, sAviOr slowly descended into a slump. After having been in the MSL finals five times in a row, sAviOr was defeated in the 2007 GOMTV MSL Season 2 in the quarterfinals, going 2–3 against the Terran player firebathero. In the same season, sAviOr, then the reigning OSL champion, was eliminated from the 2007 Daum OSL by his teammate, the Terran player Iris, losing 1–2 in the quarterfinals. In the following season sAviOr was again eliminated from both leagues before reaching the finals, losing in the 2007 GOMTV MSL Season 3 semifinals to eventual champion Mind, and losing his 2007 EVER OSL quarterfinals match to Bisu, the same player who induced his slump two seasons earlier.

sAviOr continued downhill, reaching his lowest ever when he was demoted to the CJ B-team in June 2008.[14] However, after just a very short period, sAviOr was again promoted back to the A-team after improving performance by July 2008.[15] After his reign as the number one player on the KeSPA ranking in late 2006 and much of 2007, sAviOr fell from first to third in September 2007. He would continue his steep slide out of the top ten to 11 a few months later, in June 2008, before falling out of the top 25 in October 2008.

Though nowhere near his prime form, sAviOr then managed to halt his downward spiral with some limited success in event matches, winning the BlizzCon 2008 and 2009 e-Stars Soul Heritage League tournaments and finally defeating Bisu in the 2009 All-Star Race Battle special event matches.

Career End[edit]

After Kwanro’s departure for Woongjin Stars in September 2009, CJ Entus was in need of a third Zerg, resulting in sAviOr being played more frequently alongside fellow CJ Zergs EffOrt and Hydra in the 2009–2010 Shinhan Bank Proleague. He finished the round with a solid 4 wins, 4 loss record, including a win over Jaedong, with one Ace match defeat to Hyvaa. He qualified for the 2009 Nate MSL and was placed in a group with Bisu in what many saw as an exciting group in which the two were expected to play in the Winner’s match. However, sAviOr lost his game to Bogus and had to wait until the loser’s match before he could play Bisu. sAviOr lost to Bisu again, and was knocked out 0–2 in what many saw as an upset.

In 2010, it was discovered that he was involved in the Match Fixing Scandal, and was permanently banned from progaming by KeSPA. sAviOr's last professional match would take place in February 2010. As part of the ban, all his titles and achievements won under KeSPA's governance were vacated, including sAviOr's three MSL and one OSL title. His international achievements, such as at BlizzCon, however, were not under KeSPA's jurisdiction and thus unaffected. In addition to this revocation of historical records, sAviOr was ordered to perform 120 hours of community service and sentenced to two years of probation as part of a court decree.[16]

sAviOr wins 2013 StarCraft Asian Open (2v2) tournament
(Photo: Amel Salibasic)

Continuing in the Amateur Scene[edit]

sAviOr has since his ban from KeSPA events continued playing on the Korean Fish Server. He has had some success there and his Afreeca stream is quite popular, as gauged by cumulative viewers and rankings of casters' popularity.[17] He has occasionally offered paid lessons and participates in amateur events, such as clan wars.[18]

Sonic had included him in a previous event match, but due to negative reactions from fans and viewers, he was banned from all Sonic events in 2012.[19] sAviOr has occasionally participated in public competitions, including the 2013 StarCraft Asian Open (2v2) tournament, which was held in Shanghai, China in November, 2013. He and his Chinese team mate 334 won the first prize of ~$25,000.

Play Style and Innovations[edit]

In spite of sAviOr's relatively low APM, he largely achieved dominance with a combination of timing/game management and strategically exploiting intricacies of each Zerg match-up.[20][21] Although his ZvP winning percentage was the highest of his three race match-ups, his ZvT match-up is likely his defining legacy.[22]

ZvT[edit]

In ZvT, sAviOr is largely recognized for having popularized the 3 Hatch Muta build that, by and large, is still the most commonly used approach in the modern ZvT game. This effectively called for a combination of Mutalisk harassment/stalling and quick ascent up the Zerg technology tree to enable Hive-level spells like Dark Swarm and Plague.[23][24] Along the way, sAviOr demonstrated how to best exploit mobility advantages Zerg had over Terran with Zerglings, Lurkers, and Ultralisks while attacking/counter-attacking while macroing.[25] It has been said that sAviOr optimized and brought together a chain of ZvT innovations from the likes July, GoRush, and YellOw.[26] As a result of these ZvT advancements, sAviOr would win 12 consecutive ZvT series (71% of games) in Starleague play from 2005-2007, including over iloveoov, NaDa, and BoxeR.[27] This was in stark contrast to the generally overwhelming successes Terrans had in the ZvT match-up, having dominated earlier Starleague competitions.[28] As more Zerg players adopted sAviOr's innovations, it has been said that the ZvT winning percent, overall by all players, increased in mid-2006 as a result.[29]

ZvP[edit]

In the ZvP match-up, sAviOr was both innovative and dominant, as well. sAviOr is often credited with having optimized various 3 Hatch Mutalisk build orders against Protoss.[30] The Mutalisk-heavy ZvP builds was highly effective in neutralizing Fast Expand PvZ builds that focused on on upgraded Zealot attack timings. This strategy could then transition to macro Hydralisks by the mid-game as the Zerg will have secured a strong economic advantage, before proceeding to Hive-tech with Defiler spells, and thus akin to sAviOr's ZvT late game progression. Alternately, against Forge-first FE PvZ builds, sAviOr's popularized early expansions that progressed directly into macro Hydralisk and Hydralisk/Lurker combination build orders, sometimes called "4 Base, 8 Hatchery Hydra" builds.[31] Because of the dynamic nature of these builds, the approach would shift while reacting to the Protoss opponent's strategic choices, including incorporating Scourge against aggressive Corsairs, Hydralisk drop attacks, and relying on Lurker defense while establishing the four base economy. Many of these concepts are still used today, having continued refinement under Jaedong's reign in the years that followed. Ultimately, after enjoying significant ZvP success, Bisu would be credited for countering sAviOr's ZvP strategies with an emphasis on Corsairs, thus countering sAviOr's Mutalisk-based builds. At the same time, these Corsair-intensive PvZ tactics limited Zerg production by targeting slow moving Overlords. Despite some of these counters by Bisu, sAviOr was overall very dominant in employing his various optimized ZvP strategies -- in the same 2005-2007 period described above against Terran, between his first and last MSL victories, sAviOr went 24-7 in ZvP for a 77% winning percentage.

Facts[edit]

  • He is known for his Defiler control, which made the unit closely related with his name.
  • He popularized the 3 Hatch Muta (vs. Terran).
  • He holds the third highest versus-Protoss ELO rating peak at 2274.
  • He is known for his risky, fast tech play, which involves crucial timings in order to successfully defend against attacks and counter properly.

Career Statistics[edit]

sAviOr's career records can be seen in the below table:[32][33]

Year Wins Losses %Win vs Protoss vs Protoss %Win vs Terran vs Terran %Win vs Zerg vs Zerg %Win
2010 4 7 36% 2-4 33% 2-1 67% 0-2 0%
2009 41 39 51% 10-6 63% 15-14 52% 16-19 46%
2008 53 60 47% 24-33 42% 19-21 48% 10-6 63%
2007 94 57 62% 44-34 56% 39-16 71% 11-7 61%
2006 84 32 72% 29-12 71% 25-7 78% 30-13 70%
2005 53 31 63% 17-13 57% 22-10 69% 14-8 64%
2004 38 26 59% 16-9 64% 9-4 69% 13-13 50%
2003 5 7 42% 5-4 56% 0-3 0% 0-0  —
Cumulative 372 259 59% 147-122 55% 131-69 66% 94-68 58%

Accomplishments[edit]

In Premier Tournaments
Date Place Event Result Winnings
2007-11-17 A3 MBCGame_StarCraft_League_(MSL) 2007 GOMTV MSL Season 3
Vacated by KeSPA as a result of the Match Fixing Scandal
2 : 3 Terran Mind ₩5,000,000 (~$5,000)[34]
2007-03-03 A2 MBCGame_StarCraft_League_(MSL) 2006–07 GOMTV MSL Season 1
Vacated by KeSPA as a result of the Match Fixing Scandal
0 : 3 Protoss Bisu ₩20,000,000 (~$20,000)[35]
2007-02-24 A1 OnGameNet StarLeague 2006 Shinhan Bank OSL Season 3
Vacated by KeSPA as a result of the Match Fixing Scandal
3 : 1 Terran NaDa ₩40,000,000 (~$40,000)[36]
2006-11-11 A1 MBCGame_StarCraft_League_(MSL) 2006 Pringles MSL Season 2
Vacated by KeSPA as a result of the Match Fixing Scandal
3 : 1 Zerg Silver ₩30,000,000 (~$30,000)[37]
2006-07-16 A1 MBCGame_StarCraft_League_(MSL) 2006 Pringles MSL Season 1
Vacated by KeSPA as a result of the Match Fixing Scandal
3 : 1 Protoss Nal_rA ₩30,000,000 (~$30,000)[38]
2006-01-14 A2 MBCGame_StarCraft_League_(MSL) 2005 LG CYON MSL
Vacated by KeSPA as a result of the Match Fixing Scandal
1 : 3 Zerg ChoJJa ₩10,000,000 (~$10,000)[39]
2005-08-06 A1 MBCGame_StarCraft_League_(MSL) 2005 UZOO MSL
Vacated by KeSPA as a result of the Match Fixing Scandal
3 : 1 Protoss Reach ₩25,000,000 (~$25,000)[40][41]

In Major Tournaments
Date Place Event Result Winnings
2009-11-23 A33rd 2009 Blizzcon Invitational 0 : 2 Zerg Zero $5,000
2009-07-26 A11st e-Stars Heritage League 2 : 1 Terran NaDa
2008-12-07 A44th 2008 IEF 0 : 2 Terran Sharp $1,500
2008-10-12 A11st 2008 Blizzcon Invitational 2 : 0 Terran NaDa $25,000
2007-10-12 A22nd 2007 IEF 0 : 2 Protoss Bisu $5,000
2007-08-04 A11st 2007 Blizzcon Invitational 2 : 0 Protoss Nal_rA $10,000
2007-03-17 A22nd 2007 Shinhan OSL Masters 1 : 3 Terran NaDa ₩10,000,000 (~$10,000)
2006-09-29 A33rd 2006 IEF 2 : 0 Zerg ChoJJa $3,000

Rivalries[edit]

During sAviOr’s peak years in 2005-2007, he had several rivalries which helped establish his dominance.

Nal_rA[edit]

The earliest of sAviOr’s rivals was Nal_rA, a Protoss player. The games to them were referred to as the “Holy Wars”: a war between the the two considered strongest in the PvZ and ZvP match-ups at the time.

Midas[edit]

Midas, a strong Terran player, also reached his career peak in 2006, concurrently with sAviOr, with strong top-four finishes at 2006 Pringles MSL Season 1 and 2006 Shinhan Bank OSL Season 2. Midas would intentionally pick sAviOr for round one in the 2006 Shinhan Bank OSL Season 3, defeating sAviOr 1-0 on Hitchhiker in an intense game . Nonetheless, sAviOr asserted himself and defeated Midas 2–0 after the first game. sAviOr went on to win the Shinhan Bank Starleague Season 3 over NaDa 3–1.

Bisu[edit]

After defeating NaDa 3-1 in the Shinhan Bank Starleague Season 3 finals, sAviOr was an enormous favorite in the 2006–07 GOMTV MSL Season 1 finals versus Bisu. At the time sAviOr was untouchable in ZvP. The following series is the infamous set where Bisu 3-0’d sAviOr in a one-sided series. Bisu would continue to have moderate success against sAviOr in several of their encounters to follow.

firebathero[edit]

In the GOMTV MSL Season 2 quarterfinals, sAviOr and firebathero played a tightly contested best of five that came down to the final map Python. After winning that map, firebathero danced around sAviOr’s booth as a ceremony which was considered offensive by many. This mockery of the former Bonjwa was theorized to be the final slap in the face that brought down "The Maestro", although sAviOr claimed he was unaware of the antics. Ever since that series, encounters between sAviOr and firebathero have been highly anticipated. The total record stands at 8–3 in favor of firebathero, with sAviOr winning their last match-up on Battle Royal .

Notable Games[edit]

ZvT[edit]

  • vs. Terran Iris on Arkanoid, 2006 Shinhan Bank Starleague Season 3 5set 
  • vs. Terran NaDa on Arkanoid, 2006 CJ 3rd SuperFight 

ZvP[edit]

  • vs. Protoss TT on Requiem, 2008–09 Shinhan Bank Proleague Ro1 Week 5 
  • vs. Protoss Nal_rA on The Eye, 2006 Pringles MSL Season 1 Final 3set 

ZvZ[edit]

  • vs. ZergYellOw[ArnC] on Un’Goro Crater, 2007 Shinhan Bank Proleague Play-Off Semi-Final 7set  — despite losing in depressing fashion to Protoss Chalrenge in the same match, sAviOr is sent out as the Ace in the 3rd vs. 4th play-off match. Not a pretty game, but all the more important.

Interviews[edit]

External Links[edit]

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]


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