Park "DongRaeGu" Soo Ho, commonly abbreviated "DRG", is a retired professional Zerg player from South Korea who is previously played for SBENU. He received recognition in the first half of 2011 despite a late debut in the GSL, and was credited with being the first player to reach 4,000 ladder points on the South Korean server. DongRaeGu's performance in the early seasons of the GSTL, carried team MVP to two consecutive finals.
Toward the end of the year, DongRaeGu broadened his achievements through solid performances at several premier tournaments. He won IEM New York, placed third at MLG Providence 2011, and was runner-up at Blizzard Cup. DongRaeGu has been described in this period as one of the best in the world at the Zerg versus Terran match-up.
In early 2012, DRG won GSL Season 1, ending a streak of disappointing performances in the South Korean league. This victory, coupled with two consecutive second places at the MLG Winter Arena and Winter Championship, prompted several commentators to refer to him as the best Zerg player in the world.
Before StarCraft II, DongRaeGu played Brood War competitively. During this period he was introduced to Genius, who became a close friend of his. They practiced a lot together, exchanging builds, strategies, and replays (both of them played Terran), but DongRaeGu stated that neither of them was ever close to earning a progamer license.
Wings of Liberty
Building the Hype (Feb 2010 - May 2011)
DongRaeGu began playing StarCraft II during the beta, switching to Protoss in the process. However, he later switched to Zerg after finding out that his friend Genius was now playing Protoss as well, as he developed some sort of a rivalry sense with him. At an unknown date between October 2010 and February 2011, DongRaeGu joined Project Supreme, a South Korean clan formed from the remnants of the disbanded clan WeRRa and serving as MVP's B-team.[when?]
During the eight months following StarCraft II's official release, DongRaeGu remained relatively unknown and never managed to qualify for the GSL. However, he made a name for himself in February 2011 as he became the first player to reach 4000 points on the ladder. A few days later, DongRaeGu attended the 2011 GSL March preliminary, and failed to qualify for the Code A. He met team MVP's manager Choi Yoon Sang at the venue though, and kept in contact with him. A week after, DongRaeGu was recruited by MVP alongside his friend Genius (who has had a better start in StarCraft II than him, as he won the BlizzCon 2010) and GuineaPig. In December 2011, SlayerS`Jessica disclosed that DongRaeGu was initially approached by BoxeR to join SlayerS, but declined. According to Jessica, that made DRG the "only player who turned BoxeR down when he offered a position". Team MVP's coach Yoon-Sang Choi explained that he managed to sign him by promising private tutors to send him off to university in case he does not become successful at StarCraft II, and that it actually took him three months to persuade him.
Despite his training in the MVP house, DongRaeGu lost again his opportunity to appear in a televised game as he failed to qualify for the 2011 GSL May Code A. He eventually had the chance to compete in a live event when team MVP earned a spot in the 2011 GSTL May. His first appearance on GOMTV's broadcast occurred on May 17, during the match against team Prime. The encounter was tied 3-3, and DongRaeGu was picked to face MarineKing in the deciding game. He knocked-out his Terran opponent, therefore living up to his hype and sending his team in the semifinals. MVP and Old Generations were pitted against one another in this match held the day after, and oGs took an early lead 2-1 after they defeated Genius and GuineaPig. DongRaeGu came in third, and delivered a memorable performance: he indeed knocked-out NaDa, SuperNova and the twice, reigning GSL champion MC in order to qualify his team for the grand finals.
This last encounter featured MVP versus the winner of the previous GSTL season, SlayerS. The latter team eventually led the match 4-3 when DongRaeGu was picked by his coach, meaning that he had to win the two last games to claim the title. He tied the series 4-4 by defeating GanZi, and faced SlayerS's Ace MMA in the deciding game, which was an anticipated encounter. MMA's break into the South Korean scene had indeed been similar to DongRaeGu's, as he had made a name for himself as the most valuable player of the previous GSTL season. They battled in a spectacular game for the title, which eventually turned in favor of the Terran player. MVP therefore had to settle with silver, and the Most Valuable Player Gold Card was awarded to MMA (DongRaeGu still had the best records, with five consecutive wins and one loss).
Hardly Meeting Expectations (Jun - Aug 2011)
In June 2011, DongRaeGu eventually found success in an individual tournament, the LG Cinema 3D Special League. After winning his regional qualifier in Busan, he made his way through the bracket in a series of tied matches, eliminating TaeJa, YongHwa and JYP. DongRaeGu eventually defeated sC in the finals in order to claim an almost $10,000 winner's prize. However, this first success in a major individual tournament didn't forecast an attendance to the GSL, as DongRaeGu was eliminated again in the 2011 GSL July preliminaries.
Eager to make right for this setback, the Zerg player went on an outstanding series in the 2011 GSTL Season 1. The first match of team MVP in the group stage pitted it against SlayerS, for a rematch of the previous season finals. SlayerS soon led 3-1, needing only one more game to win the match, when DongRaeGu came in as the ace player. He flawlessly knocked-out BoxeR, GanZi and finally MMA, giving MVP its first victory in the round robin. The next match, against oGsTL in early July, followed exactly the same pattern with DongRaeGu defeating three players in a row in order to secure the victory for his team.
On July 12, GOMTV announced that it would send DongRaeGu to the 2011 MLG Anaheim through the GSL-MLG Exchange Program, meaning that the Zerg player would finally have the opportunity to compete in a premier event. Ten days later, the coL.MVP agreement was unveiled, implying that DongRaeGu and his friend Genius would be able to travel overseas and to attend foreign events more frequently. DRG's recent showings in the GSTL made him appear as a favorite of the MLG Anaheim, and he demonstrated during the first day of the competition that he deserved this status by going 5-0 in group stage, losing only one game to HuK. His run in the championship bracket was short-lived though, as he narrowly lost against Mvp and MMA, ending up at the fifth place of the tournament. This outcome, despite being quite good for a first participation, generated a bit of disappointment and led commentators to wonder if the South Korean player hadn't been overhyped. Moreover, he had missed his chance of being awarded the GSL Code S seed which was given to MMA, runner-up of the event.
A couple of days after this event, DRG finally qualified for the 2011 GSL August Code A after many unsuccessful attempts. The optimism of his fans was dampened by his poor run, as he was eliminated by JYP in the second round and failed to get a spot in the up and down matches. Like in July, his setback in the GSL led him to be in an uncompromising mood in the 2011 GSTL Season 1 group stage; DongRaeGu indeed all-killed team Prime on August 18, defeating MarineKing, anypro, BBoongBBoong and Polt.
At the end of the month, the South Korean player crossed the Pacific again in order to participate in the 2011 MLG Raleigh, where he was seeded in the group play due to the MLG rank points he had earned in Anaheim (this time he wasn't attending through the MLG-GSL program, but was sent by compLexity Gaming instead). With the two last MLG champions MMA and Mvp not attending the event, DongRaeGu was even more regarded as the favorite to take the entire tournament, and himself stated that he wouldn't be satisfied with only the Code S seed. He took the first place of his group again, losing only to TricKsteR. In the championship bracket, DRG seemed to be on the way to a quick elimination like in Anaheim as Bomber immediately sent him in the lower part of the bracket. He nonetheless defeated HerO in a tied extended series, and NaDa as well, hence reaching the loser's final. DongRaeGu was finally upset by CoCa, whom ended his run at the third place. He wouldn't head back to Korea empty-handed though, as he was awarded the GSL Code S seed (both Bomber and CoCa, champion and runner-up respectively, were already in Code S).
First Foreign Titles (Sep - Oct 2011)
On September 1, DongRaeGu suffered his first loss in the GSTL Season 1 group stage, when Clide defeated him during his all-kill of MVP. The latter team nonetheless qualified for the playoffs. Later the same day, DongRaeGu was invited to the DreamHack Valencia Invitational, for what would be his first trip in Europe. His participation in this event was the occasion for him to display his mastery of the Zerg-versus-Terran match-up, as he swiftly defeated LucifroN and Rain in order to proceed to the finals. ThorZaIN proved himself to be more of a challenge, and tied up 2-2 the last series of the event, but DongRaeGu eventually took the upper hand and secured the victory as well as the $15,000 winner's prize and an invite in the DreamHack Winter 2011. The South Korean player also stated that he was planning on attending more foreign tournaments than previously.
A week after his return in Korea, DRG delivered once again a decisive performance in the ongoing GSTL playoffs, defeating Happy, YongHwa and LosirA of team Incredible Miracle before being stopped by Mvp. His teammate TAiLS nevertheless sniped Mvp and NesTea, allowing team MVP to proceed to the semifinals. This would remain DongRaeGu's last appearance in the 2011 GSTL Season 1; his coach didn't had to have him joining the fray in the two last matches, as the team dominated New Star HoSeo and Prime and won the league on October 8. DongRaeGu was undoubtedly at the heart of MVP's coronation, with an impeccable 13-2 record throughout the league.
The day after the match against Incredible Miracle, DongRaeGu entered the Arena of Legends 1, an invitational tournament gathering some of the most successful players attending the GOMTV leagues. He took his revenge against Mvp, defeating him 2-0 and advancing to the playoffs, and reach the finals after a narrow victory over July. DongRaeGu had to settle with silver though, as MarineKing inflicting him a severe 4-1 the finals. In the meantime, the 2011 GSL October had kicked-off, with DRG competing in Code S for the first time of his career thanks to the seed he earned at MLG Raleigh. Regarded as a favorite to take the entire tournament, DongRaeGu (who had decided not to attend the 2011 MLG Orlando in order to focus on the South Korean league) defeated TaeJa and Killer in his group, hence qualifying for the round of 16. There, he was upset by his opponent, the Terran player SuperNova, who narrowly eliminated him at this stage of the league. It was the second time in a few days that DongRaeGu was defeated in the match-up he was famous for, but he was nevertheless still qualified for the next Code S season.
A week after this disappointing outcome, DongRaeGu was in the USA, where he had been invited to the IEM Season VI - Global Challenge New York. He managed to qualify for the playoffs, in spite of an unexpected defeat against Gatored in the group stage. Two swift victories against TT1 and KiLLeR drove him to the grand finals, where he was pitted against another South Korean Zerg player, FruitDealer. The winner of the first season of the GSL put up quite a fight, taking an early lead 2-0 and seeming to be on his way to the title. DongRaeGu then pulled an astonishing turnaround, winning three games in a row to secure the victory. This achievement not only awarded him his first title in a premier tournament, but also granted him a spot in the Blizzard Cup, an invitational event gathering ten of the most successful players of 2011.
Rise in Power (Nov - Dec 2011)
On November 8, he lost to Happy and to GuMiho (and defeated Bomber), hence falling into Code A. DongRaeGu appeared to be somehow struggling with his Zerg-versus-Terran match-up, as he was eliminated by SuperNova in the Arena of Legends: Team Ace Invitational quarterfinals a few days later, meaning that his four last participations in GOMTV's events were ended by Terran players (MarineKing in the Arena of Legends 1, SuperNova in both the Team Ace Invitational and the previous GSL, and GuMiho in the current season). The new GSL format inaugurated in November still gave him the opportunity to immediately requalify for the Code S though, depending of his upcoming performance in the Code A. In early December, DRG eventually managed to get his Code S spot back, at the expense of TaeJa.
Prior to DongRaeGu's successful run in Code A, the South Korean player attended two foreign premier events in mid-November: the MLG Providence and the DreamHack Winter. DRG's achievements in MLG Anaheim and Raleigh (fifth and third place, respectively) granted him a seed in the upper portion of Providence's championship bracket. He defeated the underdogs Leenock and KiWiKaKi, and then inflicted two 2-0 defeats to the favorites MMA and MC, hence reaching the winner's finals and looking pretty much unstoppable. However, DRG was upset by NaNiwa who defeated him 2-0 and sent him in the loser's finals where he met Leenock, who had came all the way from the bottom portion of the bracket. DongRaeGu started the extended series with a 2-0 advantage, but his opponent beat the odds and eventually won 4-3, leaving DRG with the bronze medal and a $15,000 cash prize.
Less than a week later, DongRaeGu was in Jönköping, Sweden, where he attended the DreamHack Winter. He made clean sweeps in the group stages, losing only two games and defeating Sen and HerO (who later won the tournament). In the round of 16, DongRaeGu faced NaNiwa again, and narrowly managed to take revenge on him, knocking him out of the tournament. His run in the event was stopped by PuMa in the quarterfinals.
On December 12, the Blizzard Cup, where DRG had earned a spot due to his victory in the IEM of New York, kicked-off with ten of the most successful players of 2011. DongRaeGu delivered a dominating performance, taking the first place of his group in spite of a loss to Stephano (he beat Mvp, MC, and HerO). In the semifinals, DRG met MC again, whose Protoss-versus-Zerg match-up was regarded as particularly strong; he had indeed defeated Leenock in the round of 6. DongRaeGu emerged victorious of a tense match, winning the series 3-2 (with a game featuring an uncommon and unsuccessful Carrier play from the Protoss player). The grand finals of this all-stars event gathered DongRaeGu and MMA, for a fairly anticipated confrontation. The two competitors had indeed developed a certain rivalry, which started as they were battling in the GSTL May grand finals ace match. Their respective careers had followed similar paths: both of them were team leagues stars who later turned into successful competitors in individual tournaments, with the Terran player being ahead thanks to his victories in the 2011 MLG Columbus and in the 2011 GSL October. Prior to the Blizzard Cup finals, they had met four times, with a 2-2 record (MMA won in the GSTL May finals and the MLG Anaheim, and DRG in the GSTL Season 1 and the MLG Providence).
At first, DongRaeGu seemed to be completely overwhelmed by his opponent, conceding three defeats in a row in this best of seven (two of them being fairly one-sided games). Even though the title looked pretty much out of reach for DRG, he managed to make an outstanding comeback, tying up the series 3-3 with a nothing-to-lose attitude. The deciding game turned out to be a spectacular, back and forth confrontation which was described as one of the greatest Starcraft II games to date. MMA came out victorious, leaving DongRaeGu the place of runner-up of the event after an epic match which was dubbed "one of the best StarCraft II finals up to date" by many. As a somewhat consolation prize, DRG was invited to the Arena of Legends: The King of Kongs alongside seven other runner-ups of 2011 GOMTV's events. This event constituted the first tournament victory of 2012 for DongRaeGu, who defeated MarineKing and LosirA in the bracket.
The Best Zerg in the World (Jan - Mar 2012)
In early January, DongRaeGu's went through a scary moment in the 2012 GSL Season 1 Code S round of 32: a defeat against his friend Genius and a victory over JYP drove him to the last match, where he narrowly beat sC in order to qualify for the round of 16. This round looked pretty harsh, as DongRaeGu's pool featuring Genius, MarineKing and NesTea was regarded as one of the toughest group in GSL history. DRG was still able to overcome MarineKing, and NesTea and his Zerg-versus-Zerg mastery, therefore proceeding to the quarterfinals. DongRaeGu's participation in the playoffs looked very promising, as he had won the FXOpen Invitational Series #5 a few days before, crushing MarineKing 4-0 in the finals. DRG handily earned his place in the semifinals at the expense of PartinG, whom he defeated 3-0. The Zerg player eventually made it to the grand finals, knocking-out GuMiho in a tied series.
Before this last match was actually played, DongRaeGu attended the 2012 MLG Winter Arena. Day one of the event was quite a discomfiture for the South Korean player, who quickly dropped out of the winner's bracket after being upset by PartinG in the second round. DongRaeGu nonetheless made his way in the loser's bracket (eliminating TheStC, Ret and NaNiwa in the process) until he faced PartinG again, in an extended series. This time, DRG was able to overcome the Protoss player, and defeated Oz and HuK as well thereafter in order to reach the grand finals, proving that he was now feeling confident in the Zerg-versus-Protoss match-up that had once been his Achille's heel. The other finalist was MarineKing, against who DongRaeGu was on a four wins streak. The Zerg player appeared to be on his way to expand this streak as he won the series 2-1, but because he came from the loser's bracket, the match was extended into a best of 7. MarineKing ultimately secured the victory 4-2, while DongRaeGu had to settle with the silver medal.
The next week, on March 3, DongRaeGu had another premier event finals to play, the 2012 GSL Season 1 finals. His contestant for the title was non other than his teammate Genius, with whom he had been close friend with since the Brood War era. DongRaeGu seemed to be struggling as Genius soon led 2-1, but he eventually managed to take the upper hand and won the three last games, hence becoming a GSL champion. After winning the final game, he presented Genius with pieces of military apparel, jokingly suggesting his teammate should consider fulfilling his mandatory military service. This achievement, together with the great performances streak DongraeGu has been in since November 2011, secured his reputation as the best Zerg player in the world. DongRaeGu's busy schedule drove him to cancel his participation in the IEM Season VI - World Championship, which started two days after the GSL finals.
At the end of the month, DongRaeGu was back in the USA for the MLG Winter Championship, where he was seeded in pool play due to him placing second at the Winter Arena. He fulfilled his role as the favourite, going 5-0 in his pool. A swift victory over the underdog Heart in the championship bracket drove him to the winner's finals, where he met MarineKing again. The Terran player narrowly won this confrontation, which wouldn't be the last of the event as DRG crushed Heart again in the loser's finals and advanced to the grand finals. Based on the rule of the extended series, the match started at 2-1 for MarineKing, but the Zerg player immediately equalized. MarineKing seemed pretty much unstoppable though, winning three one-sided games in a row with a strong bio play. DongRaeGu had to be content with the second place again, repeating MLG Winter Arena's pattern. The same day, the Zerg player received an unexpected praise from his city of DongRae-Gu. The ID "DongRaeGu" he uses is indeed named after his hometown, which local newspaper "DongRaeGoEul" published a detailed story on DRG with the title: "Park Soo Ho, a progamer, stands on top of the world with the ID DongRaeGu". The town of DongRae-Gu acknowledged DRG’s contribution to the city's recognition and allowed him to attach a DongRae-Gu badge to his uniform.
Downturn (Apr - May 2012)
A couple of days after this finals, the 2012 GSL Season 2 Code S kick-off turned out to be a huge upset for DongRaeGu; the reigning champion was indeed sent into Code A after two straight defeats against TheStC and TaeJa, as he displayed an unusual poor unit control and a fallible decision-making. DongRaeGu made a flawless run in Code A, therefore retrieving his Code S spot for the next season. During the said run, DRG attended the MLG Spring Arena 1, an eight-player invitational featuring the top-eight finishers from the MLG Winter Championship, of lesser importance than a usual MLG event. He delivered a clumsy performance in the group stage, narrowly grabbing the last qualifying place. DongRaeGu performed much better in the bracket, as he convincingly knocked-out MC 3-1 and GanZi 3-0, before facing MarineKing in finals for the third time in a row in the MLG Pro Circuit. This time, DRG was able to defeat his rival, winning the match 4-3.
This victory granted DongRaeGu the highest seed in the MLG Spring Arena 2, which he used to pick BlinG as first opponent. He made short work of the British player, but was upset by Polt in the second round and dropped into the loser's bracket. DRG made his way at the expense of Sleep and Socke, but MC dealt the fatal blow to his run in the fourth round. DongRaeGu therefore finished out of the top 8, his worst performance in a MLG event so far.
Resurgence (Jun - Nov 2012)
At the 2012 MLG Spring Championship, DRG tore through the group stages, losing only one set against Socke, and eventually defeating MarineKing 2-0 in the winners' bracket finals. He played the Grand Finals against SlayerS Alicia, defeating him 3-1 to be crowned the winner of the Spring Championship. He continued his resurgence at GSL Season 3, beating both Maru and viOLet 2-1 and advancing 2-0 in his group. In the Ro16 he went go 2-0, defeating Ryung and NesTea and beating them both 2-1. In the quarterfinals he defeated NaNiwa in a close series 3-2. He finally faced MC in the semifinals, which he lost 3-0.
On July 16, 2012, DRG participated in the 2012 OSL Non-KeSPA Dual Tournament where he took down San and Symbol, hence qualifying for the playoffs. In the quarterfinals DRG faced the Protoss player Oz, whom he defeated 3:1. In the semifinals he is to face MC.
On October 16 DRG played his semifinals match vs MC, whom he managed to defeat with a score of 4-1. He moved onto the finals to face Rain in Busan where in the first game would go for a Brood Lord-Infestor combination that was too much for the Protoss player to deal with. Despite losing bases, DongRaeGu's army was just too strong, and he would end up taking the first game of the night. In the following game, DongRaeGu attempted to once again get to hive tech and get a Brood Lord-Infestor army. However, his Greater Spire ended up being sniped by a Warp Prism attack, and thus ended up delaying his production. With an inadequate army, DongRaeGu ended up losing the second game. In the third game, DongRaeGu would be fooled twice by Rain. Predicting an Immortal all-in, DongRaeGu was forced to make Roaches and Lings to fend off the attack. However, Rain ended up going for a quick third base instead, therefore causing DongRaeGu to fall behind. The Protoss player fooled DongRaeGu once again by hallucinating a Colossus, prompting Corrupters that were useless in the engagement. Falling behind with a score of 1-2, DongRaeGu entered the fourth game on Daybreak where he sensed a three-base Immortal-Stalker attack. Despite putting up some static defense, it was not enough as Rain took his army and tore down DongRaeGu's defenses, causing him to lose the third game in a row. In game five, DongRaeGu was the victim of a four-pronged Dark Templar harassment while going Muta-Ling. This caused DongRaeGu to enter crisis control mode, but his macro slipped. In the mean time, Rain was formulating a bigger and bigger army, and was able to dismantle the Zerg army for the fourth game in a row, causing the Zerg player to take second in the first SC2 OSL.
|In Premier Tournaments|
|2013-12-01||3 - 4th||IEM Season VIII - Singapore||0 : 3||herO||$2,000|
|2013-01-26||2nd||Iron Squid – Chapter II||3 : 4||Life||$6,250|
|2012-10-27||2nd||2012 OnGameNet Starleague Season 1||1 : 4||Rain||$18,000|
|2012-07-19||3 - 4th||2012 Global StarCraft II League Season 3||0 : 3||MC||$4,300|
|2012-06-10||1st||2012 MLG Spring Championship||3 : 1||Alicia||$25,000|
|2012-03-25||2nd||2012 MLG Winter Championship||2 : 5||MarineKing||$15,000|
|2012-03-03||1st||2012 Global StarCraft II League Season 1||4 : 2||Genius||$44,500|
|2012-02-26||2nd||2012 MLG Winter Arena||2 : 4||MarineKing||$6,000|
|2011-12-17||2nd||2011 Blizzard Cup||3 : 4||MMA||$8,400|
|2011-11-20||3rd||2011 MLG Providence||3 : 4||Leenock||$15,000|
|2011-10-16||1st||IEM Season VI - Global Challenge New York||3 : 2||FruitDealer||$6,500|
|2011-08-28||3rd||2011 MLG Raleigh||1 : 2||CoCa||$2,000|
|In Major Tournaments|
|2014-08-10||1st||2014 Red Bull Battle Grounds: Global||2 : 0||Solar||$3,900|
|2012-07-07||2nd||IPL Fight Club at Hot Import Nights||2 : 4||HerO||$2,500|
|2012-04-22||1st||2012 MLG Spring Arena 1||4 : 3||MarineKing||$5,000|
|2012-02-12||1st||FXOpen Invitational Series #5||4 : 0||MarineKing||$2,500|
|2012-01-05||1st||Arena of Legends: The King of Kongs||4 : 1||LosirA||$1,900|
|2011-10-02||2nd||Arena of Legends 1||1 : 4||MarineKing||$900|
|2011-09-17||1st||2011 DreamHack Valencia Invitational||3 : 2||ThorZaIN||$15,000|
|2011-06-18||1st||LG Cinema 3D Special League||3 : 2||sC||$9,200|
|In Minor Tournaments|
|2014-12-01||4th||Leifeng Cup Monthly #2||1 : 2||TaeJa|
|2015-01-06||4th||Hey, Look, Koreans!||1 : 2||Rain||$200|
|In Premier Team Leagues|