Lee "INnoVation" Shin Hyung, also known as "Bogus", is a StarCraft progamer from South Korea. He is currently teamless.
Wings of Liberty
INnoVation played his first official StarCraft II match during the hybrid 2011-2012 Proleague Season 2.
On July 19, 2012, INnoVation participated in the 2012 OSL KeSPA Preliminaries. INnoVation received a BYE in round one and then took down Sang, herO, and faced Crazy-Hydra in the finals. After taking down Crazy-Hydra by a score of 2:0, INnoVation advanced in to the 2012 OSL KeSPA Dual Tournament.
In the 2012 GSL Season 4, INnoVation qualified for Code A after going through the preliminaries. There, he beat the seven-time Code A finisher YuGiOh in the first round, with a score of 2-1, and then followed it up with a 2-0 win over Bomber. After beating Happy in the round of 24 with a score of 2-1, INnoVation made it into Code S for the next season. There, his round of 32 group consisted of Leenock, KeeN and Squirtle. INnoVation first lost to Leenock 2-0, then beat both Squirtle and KeeN 2-0, which placed him second and gave him a spot in the round of 16. In his Ro16 group, he was placed in an even harder group, with Polt, Sniper and PartinG. He placed first in his group this time, dropping only one map to Sniper. This secured him a spot in next season's Code S, and advanced him to the next round. In the round of 8, he was against fellow KeSPA player, Soulkey, who he beat with a very solid 3-0. In the semifinals, he played against HyuN, against whom he lost 1-3, and was knocked out of the tournament.
With his semi-finals finish in the previous GSL season, INnoVation headed into the last Wings of Liberty GSL in Code S. In his round of 32 group, INnoVation took out the foreign Zerg player Stephano, but lost to the GSL Champion DongRaeGu. After beating Stephano again, INnoVation advanced to the next round in second place. In his round of 16 group, he took out the GSL veteran TaeJa before facing DongRaeGu again. This time however, INnoVation defeated DongRaeGu 2-0 to secure first place in his group. Facing another Zerg in Symbol in the round of 8, INnoVation narrowly lost with a score of 2-3 to end his final Wings of Liberty GSL run.
Heart of the Swarm
INnoVation played in the first ever Heart of the Swarm MLG event shortly after the release of the expansion. He dominated his first three matches, taking out the Canadian player HuK, the multiple MLG champion Leenock and his fellow KeSPA player Rain all with a 3-0 score. He met the legendary Brood War Terran Flash in the semi-finals where Flash showcased his superior TvT to take the series 3-1. Dropping down into the third place match, INnoVation played another Protoss player in MC, another decorated StarCraft II player. He defeated the Protoss player 2-1 which secured him a third place finish in the first premier Heart of the Swarm tournament.
Back to Korea, INnoVation dominated the Korean scene, acting as the ace player of his team in Proleague and going 15-5 in his first 20 games. He also achieved success in the individual leagues, such as WCS Korea 2013 Season 1 Premier League. Despite losing his very first series in the Round of 32 to the reigning OSL champion Rain, INnoVation easily defeated HyuN 2-0 to face Rain again. This time he took the victory over the Protoss player, knocking him out and securing second place in the group. In the second group stage, he was placed in what was considered the group of death with PartinG, Life, and Flash. INnoVation took out Flash 2-1 and Life 2-0 to comfortably move on to the playoff bracket. There, he showcased impressive TvZ, taking down the defending GSL champion RorO 3-0 before facing the defending GSL runner-up Symbol. Symbol managed to take two games in the series using Roach-based all-ins, but his efforts were not enough, as ultimately INnoVation managed to take the win in the series to advance to the finals against Soulkey.
The finals were highly expected by both fans and casters as the supposedly best Terran player and best Zerg player faced off. Going into the finals, INnoVation had a dominating 21-3 record in Heart of the Swarm TvZ in both Proleague and WCS Korea, where the only macro game he lost had been against his finals opponent Soulkey. INnoVation opened up the series with a quick win after proxying two Barracks and dealing critical economic damage to the Zerg player. He then secured his lead and pulled far ahead in the following two games after deflecting Soulkey's Roach heavy compositions to lead the series 3-0. Soulkey fought back in the next two games however and through the use of Roach/Baneling all-ins and timings, he managed to take the momentum away from INnoVation and start making his comeback. In the sixth game, INnoVation opted to go for another proxy two-Barracks push, but this time his attack was scouted by Soulkey, who defended effectively and crushed INnoVation's push. After losing his army, Soulkey busted up the Terran player's ramp, and managed to take the series to the seventh and final game. Up until this point, there were only two other GSL finals where the series were tied up at 3-3 after the Terran player winning the first three games. In both situations, the Terran player managed to close out the series with a win. However, despite having history in his favor, INnoVation was overwhelmed by Soulkey's Muta-ling style, and after suffering critical economic damage could not keep up with the Zerg macro. INnoVation could not finish off the Woongjin Zerg, and thus lost the series and took second place in the first Heart of the Swarm GSL.
Finally a Champion
After his loss in the finals, INnoVation sought revenge at the 2013 WCS Season 1 Global Finals. He was able to advance in first place from his initial group stage, still showing great form in TvZ, defeating RorO and Revival, and secured himself a spot in the quarterfinals where he would face aLive. Showing that he was capable in more than just TvZ, INnoVation swept aLive 3-0. He then went on to defeat Mvp in a very close series 3-2 to advance to his second consecutive premier tournament finals, where he faced off against sOs, a player who had played two very close series against INnoVation's rival Soulkey in both the WCS 2013 Season 1 Korea semifinals and WCS 2013 Season 1 semifinals. INnoVation once again started the series at 3-0 without showing signs of weakness. The fourth game, however, was much more difficult, as sOs used an unusual Tempest/Templar composition to test INnoVation's ability to adapt. He was not shaken, and he closed the series 4-0 against sOs who looked visibly nervous, and finally found himself a champion on one of the biggest stages in StarCraft 2 history. His accomplishment earned him the #1 rank on TeamLiquid.net's Power Rank for July 2013.
2013 WCS Season 2 & Beyond
After his first major individual championship, INnoVation entered the 2013 WCS Season 2 Korea OSL looking to further prove himself. He looked strong in the round of 32, advancing 2-0 after defeating Bbyong and Savage. He was placed in a four-Terran group in the Round of 16 along with Flash, Bbyong, and Bomber, where he eventually advanced, losing to Bomber 0-2 but defeating Flash and Bbyong 2-0. He ended up facing off against Soulkey for the first time in a WCS match since the WCS Korea 2013 Season 1 finals. INnoVation took out Soulkey convincingly 3-0, finally redeeming himself against his Woongjin rival. At this point he was expected to reach the finals once again, as he was set to face off against Maru, a player that was considered to be the underdog due to his lack of notable results despite his substantial GSL experience. However, INnoVation was taken off-guard by Maru's aggressive one-base builds, which revealed his nerves and lack of composure under stress. After losing to Cloaked Banshee play in game one, INnoVation overreacted in game two by building a Raven, which was ineffective against Maru's Marine/Hellion drop. The third game saw INnoVation fall to a double proxy Barrack build when he attempted to take an expansion before building his own Barracks. Down 0-3, he exhibited poor control in the final game, which led to his being swept 0-4 by his young opponent.
On August 23, 2013, INnoVation went to Gamescom in Cologne, Germany to play in the 2013 WCS Season 2 Finals, where he was placed in a Round of 16 group with TaeJa, duckdeok, and NaNiwa. After barely losing a very intense initial match against TaeJa, he was bested by NaNiwa in the losers' match 0-2, which knocked him out of the tournament in the group stage on the first day of the tournament. Despite not making the 2013 WCS Season 3 Finals, he earned a ticket to BlizzCon for the 2013 WCS Global Finals.
Moving to a Foreign Team
Shortly after joining Team Acer, INnoVation participated in the 2013 Global StarCraft II Team League Season 2 for Axiom-Acer - his GSTL debut. INnoVation played in the team's first match versus FXOpen e-Sports on September 3, 2013, as the starting player. His first opponent was Hurricane, whom he dispatched without difficulty. He then played against the Terran player sC, against whom INnoVation fell behind due to early aggression. However sC lost his early lead, and from there INnoVation proved too strong during the mid-game and took the victory. INnoVation defeated his next opponent, the former GSL champion Seed, which forced FXOpen to put out their final player. Leenock was chosen as the ace player, but INnoVation was able to close out the match, giving him his fourth All-Kill in Korean team leagues and his team their first win of the season. His form continued throughout the season as he won two clinching games in the finals against AZUBU, including a deciding ace match against SuperNoVa, to not only win Axiom-Acer its first GSTL title but also win the season MVP award for himself.
In 2014, INnoVation showed strong results. After previously dropping out of Code A in January 2014 from a group with 3 Protoss players, in the 2014 Global StarCraft II League Season 2 he advanced through the qualifier. He then finished first place in his Code A group, securing himself a place in Code S for the season. He showed good control at the 2014 DreamHack Open/Bucharest, especially in his series against Finnish player Welmu. In a nail-biting deciding game, INnoVation managed to secure the win with his precise bio micro, dodging Psi Storms and stutter stepping, after being at a 20-worker disadvantage. In the end, he fell in the round of 4 to eventual champion Life, once more showing his weakness to roach busts in TvZ.
In April, INnoVation started his team out with a win in the Acer TeamStory Cup Season 3 with an all-kill against Evil Geniuses. This would be the first of three 5-win all-kills (against Evil Geniuses, mYinsanity and Invictus Gaming). He also managed to win three games against Axiom, Millenium and yoe Flash Wolves, then finally won 4 games against Team Liquid to lead his team to first place in the group stage, and finished with an outstanding 28-4 record.
In May, INnoVation defeated Center, Impact, and HyuN in the Dragon Invitational Tournament #1, showing strong TvZ in the latter two series. He went on to face RagnaroK in the finals, winning 3-2 and earning the $1,200 first-place prize. The next month, he won against TaeJa, JYP, MMA, and Life to take first place in the Dragon Invitational Tournament #2 and defend his championship title.
GSL Trophy and Return to the KeSPA
After one year with Team Acer, he decided to leave the team on September 3, 2014. Even though his results in team leagues were great, he was not satisfied with his individual results and he wanted to return to the KeSPA environment and its training method. On September 25, 2014, it was announced that he had joined SK Telecom T1.
In July, INnoVation defeated Hurricane and Ruin with SCV pull strategies to requalify for Code S. In Code S, he lost his initial match to MyuNgSiK but showed a better performance in TvP by defeating Paralyze and then MyuNgSiK in the rematch, earning him his spot in the Ro16. In the Ro16 group selection, he ended up in the group of death with Maru, PartinG and Stats. Showing resilience, INnoVation topped his group and advanced to the Ro8 for the first time in over a year. In the Ro8, he faced his first non-Protoss opponent in DongRaeGu and defeated him in a one sided series going 3-0. Then, he faced the rising Terran Cure and after a close fought series featuring mech play, INnoVation ultimately triumphed 4-3. Facing his now teammate soO in his second GSL finals, many fans were expecting an amazing series. While the series was tense, with all-ins and cheese on both sides, the games ultimately did no live up to the hype. After going down to 2 Roach-Bane all-ins, INnoVation managed to pull out the win in a base race. He then employed two 2 Barracks rushes to take the lead. On match point for INnoVation both players opened up macro. After a relatively calm opening, soO started to throw attacks at his opponent. Nonetheless, INnoVation was able to hold off the attacks and managed to do economic damage with Widow Mine drops at the same time. Soon after securing his fourth base and getting 3-3 upgrades, the victory was his and INnoVation secured his first GSL title and his first Premier tournament victory of the year.
INnoVation started 2015 very well by qualifying for both Korean Starleagues. He was first defeated by Stats in the SSL Challenge in a reverse sweep, so he did not get to play in the main event. However in the GSL season 1, he managed to get into the round of 8 where he lost to an eventual champion Life in a very close series 3-2. Shortly after that, INnoVation travelled to play in the IEM World Championship in Katowice, and he managed to get his revenge against Life in another very close series in the Ro16, only to be eliminated by Zest in the Ro8. In Proleague, INnoVation went undefeated 6-0 during the first round.
With the start of Round 2 in Proleague, INnoVation lost his undefeated record against ByuL after making it to 7 straight wins since the beginning of the 2015 season. In the SSL Season 2 Challenge, INnoVation once again lost in a very close series 3-2, this time against his new nemesis ByuL. At that point, INnoVation was going through a slump, confirmed when he got eliminated from his Ro16 group in GSL Season 2 against Rain and Bbyong. His Round 2 record in Proleague was an underwhelming 2-3, and his team started fielding other players than him.
After a very disappointing loss against HerO at the start of Proleague Round 3, he started climbing back. He finished the Round with a 3-1 record and participate in his team victory in the Round 3 finals against Jin Air Green Wings, beating Rogue and sOs before being stopped by Maru.
In July, INnoVation qualified for the third season of the SSL by beating Snute 3-0, and got back into Code S by beating KeeN 3-1 without any significant problems. INnoVation advanced in first place of his Ro32 group in GSL, and in second place in his difficult group in the SSL. At the beginning of August, INnoVation qualified for IEM gamescom, and after beating ForGG, MMA and soO in the playoffs, he finally got his first championship of 2015. After returning to Korea, INnoVation played his Ro8 match against ByuL in the SSL season 3. After going to the last game on Terraform it seemed that INnoVation had the game won, but he forgot a crucial vehicle plating upgrade. That mistake eventually turned the tide of the game in ByuL's favour, allowing him to advance to the Ro4. In GSL Season 3, INnoVation advanced first from his Ro16 group, beating Flash and GuMiho. In the Round 4 of Proleague, INnoVation continued showing strong performances including an ace match win over GuMiho, although losing the final set in the Round 4 finals against KT Rolster to Zest. A few days later, he faced Zest again in their Ro8 match in the GSL and defeated him 3-1, showcasing a new Drilling claws mine drop tactic. After that, he played against Maru in the semifinals. After losing the first set, INnoVation rallied back with four straight wins, going through to the finals against ByuL. All three of the players he faced in the GSL playoffs had winning records against him, but INnoVation sealed the deal by defeating ByuL 4-2 to become a GSL champion for the second time in his career. During the HotS era, he was the only Terran to reach and win the GSL finals, managing to win in two out of his three appearances.
A week after his GSL championship, SK Telecom T1 played against Jin Air Green Wings in the Grand Finals of the 2015 Proleague season. INnoVation was scheduled to play against sOs in a highly anticipated match up. He managed to win this game, helping his team to the eleventh Proleague championship and becoming the MVP of the Grand Finals.
INnoVation then for the third year in a row entered the WCS Global Finals. His opponent in the first round was Zest, an opponent he has had difficulties with historically. Both in pre- and post-match interviews, he stated that his opponent was very strong, that he was nervous, and that he anticipated himself to lose the series. However, he handily defeated Zest with a 3-0 score. One week later, he would go up against Life, the reigning WCS World Champion at the time. Life had advanced in equally dominating fashion, eliminating the only foreign player at the Global Finals, Lilbow.
The matchup between Life and INnoVation was highly anticipated by fans around the world, as well as the experts, who had unanimously predicted INnoVation to take the series. INnoVation convincingly took the first set of the series on Moonlight Madness with a mech-based push, finding Life's defenses inadequate. However, in game 2 on Terraform, Life surprised INnoVation with an early Roach attack. Nearly 30 workers were lost to the attack, and INnoVation ultimately could not recover from the deficit, leaving the series at a tied 1-1 score. The next game was played on Iron Fortress, and it saw Life go for a Roach/Baneling attack. INnoVation had opened with a quick stim and very fast 5 barracks, however, and was able to hold the attack without bunkers, and took no real economic damage. INnoVation then went on the offensive, but Life repelled his attacks time and time again, eventually forcing the Terran who was still on 2 bases to surrender the game. INnoVation then surprised on Coda, fans, experts and commentators alike, as he went for a Thor drop. The drop was completely ineffectual, and INnoVation's follow-up 2-base all-in was repelled by a force of Roaches, Zerglings, Banelings and Infestors. INnoVation's run at the Global Finals ended early for the third year in a row.
Legacy of The Void
In Proleague in 2016, INnoVation ended in 5th place in player standings and a 64% winrate, with good Rounds 1 and 3 (5-1 and 4-1 records respectively), but a unusually bad Round 2 (1-3 record). In the Playoffs, he posted two wins against Afreeca Freecs's Patience in round 1. In the Playoffs semifinals though, SK Telecom T1 was eliminated by KT Rolster. On October 18, 2016, it was announced that SKT1 would disband its StarCraft II roster.
In individual tournaments, INnoVation did not reach the final stage of any major tournament, and as a result did not make it to the 2016 WCS Global Playoffs. In an interview, he mentioned that he saw 2016 as a "year taken off". INnoVation said that he played a lot of League of Legends (after his practicing sessions), and that it affected his focus on the game. Fortunately for him, being invited for a couple of showmatches at BlizzCon woke him up : "Watching players win championships and all, it made me wake up a bit."
At the end of 2016, INnoVation started practicing a lot and it payed off. He won three online tournaments, Leifeng Cups 157 and 158, against Impact and herO respectively, and Make Korea Great Again #1, where he beat Classic 3-2 in a really close final.
His return to form was confirmed by his very good display of skill at IEM Season XI - Gyeonggi. He emerged first of his group, beating both Stats and Losira 2-1. He faced Trust in the ro8, and smashed him 3-0, showing for the last game a quite innovative proxy Cyclone/Marine push. He then defeated Dark 3-2 in a close semifinal series. INnoVation displayed his new mech style, a lot of harass with Hellions and Cyclones followed by Siege Tanks, entirely skipping the Starport. After taking out Dark, INnoVation stomped Stats 4-0 in a one-sided final series.
Following his return to form shown at the end of 2016, INnoVation started 2017 by winning seven online cups in only five weeks. In four GSLTV The Loser Strikes Back events, he defeated soO (9-2), herO (6-5), Classic (8-3), Leenock (11-0), Scarlett (10-1), Patience (6-5) and finally Dark (7-4). He also qualified with ease in the Ro32 of 2017 GSL Season 1, beating ByuL and Losira without losing a single map. He then got placed in the Ro16 "Group of Death": Dark chose Classic in group B, who picked soO, who then chose Ryung but TY switched INnoVation with Ryung from Group C to B, creating an ex-SKT group with four high caliber players. Despite that, INnoVation took a clean victory against soO (2-0) and convincingly beat Classic, despite dropping a map to an Adept all-in. In the Ro8, he was matched against Stats and despite taking a decisive 2-0 lead to start the night, INnoVation's doom drop was caught on Daybreak, which broke his momentum and marked the beginning of Stats's comeback. INnoVation lost on Echo to an Adept all-in and his 5-rax bio-heavy build was countered by Stats's defensive robo build on Whirlwind, marking the end of his run in GSL Season 1.
A few weeks later, INnoVation traveled to Poland for another shot at a Blizzcon seed through IEM Katowice. Playing in Group D of the Ro24, INnoVation got off to a strong start by handily defeating ShoWTimE 2-0. In his next series, a highly anticipated match against Dark, INnoVation lost two full medivacs on Abyssal Reef in Game 1, putting him on the back foot going into the midgame. Despite this handicap, INnoVation's skill with 4M kept him in the game against Dark's LBM, and after a hotly contested string of engagements that showcased both players' micro to the fullest, INnoVation managed to get his 3/3 first. Although Dark reached Hive in the meantime, INnoVation's constant pressure forced the Zerg player to continually spend everything he had on remaxing LBM, and without Ultras or 3/3 Dark was eventually forced to tap out. Game 2 on Newkirk Precinct saw Dark attempt to exploit INnoVation's fast 3rd with a Ravager timing. Despite losing 20 SCVs, INnoVation held with Hellions and a lone Banshee. Heavily down in workers, INnoVation countered with Auto Turret harass in the main while sending his single Banshee to Dark's 3rd, and was rewarded with 16 dead Drones. While Dark re-droned rapidly, he failed to prepare for the double drop that INnoVation followed up with, and lost another 11 Drones plus several Ravagers as a result. After both players settled back to macro, INnoVation moved out with a formidable Bio-Tank army against Dark's fourth, while Dark countered with a Ling/Bane runby against INnoVation's third. While INnoVation lost 11 SCVs, he destroyed Dark's fourth and continued pushing, forcing a battle near the replacement fourth Hatchery. Dark's burrowed fungals allowed him to snipe almost all of INnoVation's Medivacs but a concave of Siege Tanks and Marines gutted the bulk of Dark's army and delivered INnoVation a 2-0 victory. Unfortunately for INnoVation his triumph against Dark marked the zenith of his performance in his group. Despite defeating MaNa 2-0, INnoVation lost to early cheeses against both uThermal and GuMiho to end the day with a 3-2 record, barely advancing in third place. The next day saw INnoVation once again begin strongly with a dominant 3-0 performance against Ryung in the Ro12, but once again it was short-lived. In his Ro8 match, INnoVation lost the first two games to a startlingly lethal aLive, and despite a tenacious effort that tied up the series, INnoVation lost the deciding game against aLive to once again bow out in the quarterfinals.
TvT in general and aLive in particular would continue to haunt INnoVation in the next few months. His first match in the Super Tournament was against aLive (who would go on to finish in 2nd) and saw INnoVation swept 0-3 from the Ro16. GSL Season 2 was slightly more successful; INnoVation qualified and advanced over Losira and sOs in the Ro32, but was placed yet again within the Group of Death alongside aLive, Classic, and TY. Close games notwithstanding, INnoVation was defeated by both TY and aLive and left Group B in last place.
A lone spot of hope glimmered in the newly revamped JinAir SSL Season 1. Despite a rough trip through the two-stage qualifiers, INnoVation managed to secure one of the ten Premier spots for a potential shot at the trophy. First however, he had to complete a grueling nine-week Round Robin against the nine other Premier contenders. Like many times before, INnoVation started well, defeating Zest, Dark, and Maru without dropping a single map. But like many times before, his early success did not last. Weeks 4 and 5 saw INnoVation suffer two painful losses at the hands of Solar and Patience, and Week 6 put him in an unpleasantly familiar spot facing aLive. Unlike many times before, INnoVation refused to allow history to repeat itself and defeated aLive 2-1 before continuing his winning streak with victories over ByuL, sOs and Stats to end the Round Robin with a 7-2 record and first place. His reward for this was a direct seed to the SSL Season 1 Finals, where he waited for nearly a month while Stats, ByuL, and Solar fought for the opportunity to face him there. In the end, Solar narrowly triumphed over Stats and ByuL to earn his own spot in the finals. In June 2017, INnoVation entered the finals of a Starleague for the first time since October 2015.
INnoVation's first finals of 2017 did not start well for him on Frost, as Solar deflected his early pressure before committing to a Ling/Bane/Hydra attack that overwhelmed INnoVation's Bio-Tank defense in Game 1. Game 2 on Overgrowth went better, as INnoVation's Hellion/Banshee opening caught 14 Drones. Following up with a mech transition, INnoVation chose a double Thor drop and more Hellions as his next attack, which resulted in 42 Drones slain across all three of Solar's bases. Severely behind in both economy and army, Solar was unable to halt the mech timing that followed, and the series was tied up 1-1. On Abyssal Reef, INnoVation repeated his Hellion/Banshee opening, but Solar's creative gas steal and unorthodox base placement allowed him to defend more successfully. Skillful Banshee micro killed a few drones, but more significant was a 1/1 Combat Shield drop in the main combined with frontal Hellion pressure, which fragmented Solar's attention and killed both Queens and Mutalisks. Transitioning into Bio-Tank, INnoVation made a maxed-out push on Solar's third, but bogged down on the high ground. Solar attempted to counter with Mutalisks and picked off 10 SCVs, but rallied Marines drove him off while INnoVation slowly wore down Solar's defenses at home. A Muta/Ling counterattack ran into a large chunk of INnoVation's reinforcements which he had kept at home and without any other options, Solar committed to a desperate pincer attack on INnoVation's main army which dissolved under a flood of Marines. In Game 4 on Newkirk Precinct, Solar ramped up the greed with hatch first and gas before pool, inadvertently playing right into INnoVation's hands as he proxied two Barracks for an old-school Bunker Rush. The first Bunker completed just as Solar's natural did, and despite a Drone pull, INnoVation just barely managed to get his first Marine into the Bunker. Two more Bunkers followed, which killed the natural in short order, and in spite of a desperate Ling surround which killed two Bunkers, a completed fourth Bunker and Hellion reinforcements gave INnoVation his third victory in a row. On match point, INnoVation returned to Hellion/Banshee on Whirlwind, but with a new twist by first producing a Medivac. Solar's scouting Overlord spotted the Medivac but not the Banshee and INnoVation slaughtered 15 Drones as a result. The same double Thor drop followed but a well-placed Spore and several Hydras picked off a Thor-laden-Medivac for free, giving Solar some much-needed breathing room to tech up to Hive. A Hellion runby and then another picked off some Drones, but both players sat back and focused mostly on macro for the next several minutes. INnoVation maxed out first and pushed out while Solar was at 190 supply. Seizing the high ground near Solar's natural, INnoVation set up a formidable siege line with a dozen tanks covered by Vikings, Hellbats, and a Thor. Solar's three Vipers only managed a single Blinding Cloud before dying and his Roach/Hydra army could only pick off two tanks and some Hellbats in exchange for 30 supply. Pushing forward, INnoVation's tanks sieged the natural while his Hellbats torched Solar's infrastructure and his Vikings camped the Hive, easily sniping Solar's last Vipers as they hatched. Solar mustered enough Roaches and Hydras for one final attempt, but even without any support, INnoVation's eleven Siege Tanks shredded the Zerg army and forced the last gg.
A mere six days after winning SSL Season 1, INnoVation began his VSL Season 2 run. Though he had failed to make it through the Bo1 qualifiers for VSL Season 1, he successfully qualified in the Season 2 Bo3 format, and subsequently sailed through his Ro16 group without dropping a single map against Curious and jjakji. INnoVation continued his undefeated run in the Ro8, easily defeating Hurricane 3-0, but in the Ro4, he finally hit his first obstacle. Leenock managed to take Game 2 off of INnoVation in a lategame slugfest, but INnoVation bounced back to take the following two games and closed the series 4-1. In the finals for the second time in a month, he faced soO, the perennial finalist (but not champion). Four straight macro games and four straight victories later, INnoVation lifted his second trophy in 2017.
Shortly after claiming the VSL Season 2 trophy, INnoVation began the Season 2 VSTL by drafting a strong team consisting of himself, Solar, Ryung, and Pet. In his team's first match against a team captained by Leenock, INnoVation elected to send Ryung out first, who promptly all-killed the enemy team and sent INnoVation and co. to the winner's finals. There, INnoVation faced his former SKT teammates soO, Classic, and Impact, along with the former CJ Protoss Hush. This time, INnoVation decided to allow the his team's resident rookie, Pet, to lead the vanguard against Impact. Unfortunately, the more seasoned ex-SKT Zerg triumphed and INnoVation turned back to the reliable Ryung, who defeated Impact and Hush before falling to the enemy captain, soO. At this juncture, INnoVation decided to take matters into his own hands and swiftly eliminated both soO and Classic to send his team to the VSTL grand finals. Once there, Team INnoVation waited patiently as Team soO battled it out with Team Leenock for the privilege of facing them. Despite missing their strongest player ByuN, Team Leenock pulled off a narrow 4-3 victory thanks to their captain. In the grand finals, Ryung once again led the charge for Team INnoVation, but soon fell to Leenock's double nydus attack. INnoVation retaliated by entering the battlefield himself, crushing Leenock's hydra/ling/bane defense with a tank push before smashing Hurricane with another and shattering jjakji with a third to seize the VSTL Season 2 trophy for his triumphant team.
A week later, INnoVation traveled to Shangahi alongside thirteen of his countrymen to compete for another IEM title. Placed in Group D with ByuN, Maru, and Trust, his Ro16 group was widely considered the Group of Death. Despite this, INnoVation quickly defeated Trust offstage with a pair of two-base pushes before moving on to the winner's match against longtime rival Maru. The Jin Air Terran used proxy Reapers to gain an insurmountable lead in the first game on Abyssal Reef despite INnoVation's best efforts to catch up. In game 2 on Proxima Station, both players opted for macro play. INnoVation chose to emphasize Marines over Vikings and Liberators, repeatedly retreating from his opponent's superior air control while harassing with multiple drops. Multiple unsieges cost INnoVation most of his Tanks but despite losing many units, INnoVation's constant harassment allowed him to expand uncontested while stunting Maru's own economy, enabling him to continue taking inefficient trades. Eventually, Maru chased INnoVation's retreating Tanks up a ramp, where a flood of reinforcing Marines promptly destroyed Maru's forces before chasing him back to his base and tying up the series. The third game on Ascension to Aiur saw an interesting reverse of the Proxima game, with an INnoVation focused on air-control attempting to defend on all fronts while a Marine-heavy Maru harassed. Deflecting most of Maru's harass eventually allowed INnoVation to build up a superior army, which slowly crept forward and put Maru's bases into a chokehold. A desperate breakout doom drop was thwarted by a quick response, and INnoVation closed the series out 2-1. Advancing from the group in first put him against herO in the Ro8. Mine and Marine drops gave INnoVation a quick game 1 victory but a failed two-base push tied up the series. Game 3 saw herO block his own attempted fast gold expansion with a poorly placed pylon, and INnoVation never let him recover. A Pylon rush took the series to the deciding game, where INnoVation's bio-heavy army crumbled against herO's Colossi, ending INnoVation's tournament run.
GSL vs the World began a mere four days after IEM Shanghai concluded, and INnoVation seized the chance to redeem himself. In the Ro16, he faced the Chinese hope iAsonu who began the day with a strong macro game on Abyssal Reef, successfully teching to Ultralisks. The Zerg army ransacked two of INnoVation's bases whose own army gutted iAsonu's economy, halting all of the Zerg's mining. A desperate attack failed to break INnoVation's planetary and gave the Korean Terran his first victory of the day. Game 2 on Newkirk saw iAsonu try a Mutalisk tech-switch halfway through, but despite killing 18 SCVs, INnoVation's Bio-Tank army could not be stopped on the ground, putting the Chinese Zerg two games down. The final game saw a devastating 2/1/1 opening by INnoVation on Mech Depot, killing 5 Queens along with the entire Zergling defense force and 5 Drones to boot. Afterwards, INnoVation patiently deflected iAsonu's attempts to retaliate until committing to a double-pronged drop which destroyed the third, immediately followed by a 3/3 push which delivered INnoVation a 3-0 victory.
In the Ro8, INnoVation faced one of his biggest fans, fellow Horseman ByuN. Early aggression on Odyssey allowed ByuN to take a worker lead, but INnoVation swiftly broke the contain and responded with a doom drop while deflecting ByuN's followup attack. Both battles went in his favor, and INnoVation forced ByuN back until he had nothing left. It was INnoVation that seized the early lead on Whirlwind after shattering ByuN's attempt at a contain. Despite this lead, ByuN's smaller army managed to catch INnoVation's divided one and destroy both halves in turn to even up the series. Game 3 on Newkirk saw ByuN taking a massive early lead by denying INnoVation's stim, who gambled by sending two Liberators across the map in spite of ByuN's air control. The gamble paid off as INnoVation killed 11 SCVs and forced ByuN to return home, allowing the game to go long. Wresting air control from ByuN, INnoVation patiently built up his Tank count to overwhelming levels while simultaneously teching up to Liberator Range in order to seal the deal. The fourth game on Acolyte began with a proxy Reaper opening by INnoVation against ByuN's CC first. In spite of the enormous build order disadvantage, ByuN successfully defended INnoVation's initial strike but moved out and lost his army to the followup, allowing INnoVation to rack up a dozen SCV kills. Moving into the midgame, both players harassed inconclusively until ByuN sniped INnoVation's fourth and forced a lift on his natural. ByuN took a modest lead, though he left his Marines on 2/2 against INnoVation's 3/3, and moved out with his maxed out army. While ByuN attempted to clear out the mid-map rocks for his push, INnoVation managed to corner his opponent's Marines and the fight rapidly snowballed from there. Pushing on, INnoVation's superior Tank count shattered ByuN's defenses and closed the series 3-1.
Heading into the semifinals, INnoVation faced one of his biggest rivals of 2017, Stats. Game 1 on Ascension to Aiur opened uneventfully, with Stats choosing a defensive robo build that inadvertently played into INnoVation's fast 3rd CC. Several minutes of macro eventually gave way to a maxed-out Bio-Liberator push on the Protoss fourth after Liberator Range completed. Stats was zoned out by sieged Liberators and even allowed his warping Nexus to be killed rather than cancelling it. Circling around, INnoVation took a formidable position between Stats's natural and third, forcing the Protoss army to attack into a beachhead Stats couldn't break, giving INnoVation a 1-0 lead. Game 2 on Abyssal Reef saw a return to more conventional openers, with Stats choosing Stargate against INnoVation's 1/1/1. Deflecting the first Oracle with his Viking, INnoVation committed to a Marine-Cyclone push against Stats's third, destroying the Nexus. While Stats managed to catch two of INnoVation's Medivacs with his Phoenixes, this only delayed the inevitable as INnoVation's Bio-Mine push against Stats's new third base overwhelmed his Chargelot-Phoenix defense and delivered the second victory. On match point, INnoVation returned to his 3CC build from the first game, but this time Stats went for a proxy Stargate, which INnoVation managed to scout in short order. The initial Oracle was deflected with minimal damage, and both players again settled back for a long macro game. INnoVation postured on the map but did not commit, while Stats's attempt at an Adept flank was scouted almost instantly. Maxed out on Bio-Liberator with Advanced Ballistics, INnoVation began his push across the map, shoving Stats's army back further and further. While Stats managed to break the contain this time, it came at the cost of most of his army, including all his High Templars. INnoVation decided to retreat, and both players maxed out once more before clashing again in the center of the map. This time, an aggressive blink by Stats exposed his Colossi, and INnoVation cleaned up the entire Protoss army within moments. Down 60 supply with no splash damage on the field, Stats resisted only briefly before conceding the third and final game to INnoVation.
On the last day of GSL vs the World, INnoVation participated in the team showmatch between Team Korea and Team World. As the final player for Korea, he faced Serral on Newkirk Precinct, a game which saw INnoVation uncharacteristically throw away 30 army supply for free by holding position against Banelings. Nonetheless, INnoVation moved into the lategame with a base advantage over the Finnish Zerg. Multiple Bio-Tank pushes, a Liberator-backed doom drop, and a Bio-Liberator push all stretched Serral's forces to the breaking point, but he held on with six bases to INnoVation's seven. Finally transitioning to Ghost/Liberator, INnoVation denied Serral's attempt to take the last base on the map in a costly engagement for both sides before remaxing and wiping out the remainder of Serral's army to secure a 7-1 Team Korea victory.
Shortly thereafter, the grand finals began with INnoVation squaring off against his third Horseman opponent in a week, TY. In the first game on Newkirk, INnoVation's initial Hellion-Reaper poke struck just as TY loaded up his Marines for a drop, scoring several SCV kills as a result. TY's drop evened out the worker count, but INnoVation's followup with multiple cloaked Banshees caught TY woefully unprepared, and when the dust settled, the Splyce Terran was down 20 SCVs. A desperate Marine-Tank push met INnoVation's army, but the resulting trade was not good enough for TY, putting INnoVation in the lead. Game 2 on Abyssal saw INnoVation repeat his Game 1 opening with a Reaper, Hellions, and cloaked Banshees, while TY was defending with a Raven, a Tank and Marines. A botched ambush attempt by INnoVation after he took a fast 3rd CC was punished with the destruction of his natural orbital as TY took his own third. Retaking his natural, INnoVation sent a double drop across the map, but ran into defensive Vikings and barely escaped with one Medivac. From there the game developed into a furious slugfest, with TY holding a superior economy, Tank count, and air control against INnoVation's mass Marine aggression with superior upgrades. Repeated clashes saw TY's fifth cancelled, killed, replaced, and killed again while INnoVation's own economy suffered the loss of a fourth and fifth. Shortly thereafter, INnoVation's Marines caught a large chunk of TY"s Liberators and Tanks unsupported and swiftly cleaned them up before charging a Planetary that TY barely saved with timely reinforcements. The chaotic battles continued all across the map, with multiple simultaneous battles, skirmishes, and drops stretching both players' multitasking to the limit. As both players' Planetaries were killed in turn and replaced by floated Orbitals, the frequency of drops and skirmishes only increased further. At one point, INnoVation was forced to pull his SCVs to augment his army and barely drive TY away from his fourth while dropping TY's fourth at the same time. After a prolonged struggle with both players taking, losing, and retaking the lead in turn, the game finally came to a head when INnoVation took a southernmost sixth expansion by floating over his natural Orbital while denying TY's attempt to do the same. TY's superior army pushed out but INnoVation took the opportunity to send a large force of Marines into the heart of TY's economy. An inferior force was sent by TY for defense, and although INnoVation was briefly forced into retreat by TY's entire returning army, INnoVation returned as soon as TY marched out again. With the heart of his economy gutted, TY made a final desperate attempt, destroying every last one of INnoVation's Tanks. However, the remaining Marines cleaned up the rest of TY's push, finally bringing an end to the 25-minute duel.
Down two games on Ascension to Aiur, TY successfully deflected INnoVation's proxy Reaper opening as well as his triple Cyclone followup. However, while TY attempted to pressure INnoVation's third, INnoVation chased down a smaller force of Marines on the other side of the map with a larger force of his own that stormed right into TY's completely undefended third base. With his army on the other side of the map and enemy Marines ransacking his bases, TY committed to a doom drop that was destined to fail as it boosted through Marines and ran into INnoVation's Vikings, handing INnoVation his third victory in a row. Game 4 on Acolyte began with a CC first from TY against a Gas first from INnoVation, but drops by both players failed to accomplish significant damage until both of them committed to near-simultaneous doom drops. While INnoVation successfully landed and sieged up in the enemy natural despite a Turret ring, TY was deflected multiple times and forced to circle around while his sloppy response at home allowed INnoVation to catch Tanks and Liberators unsieged as well as destroy both Engineering Bays and the Armory. TY's doom drop failed to accomplish anywhere near enough to make up for the damage he took, and he made one last stand at INnoVation's fourth. INnoVation charged into TY's Tank line head on, and despite the heavy losses, once more he simply had too much for TY to handle. Out of options, the Splyce Terran conceded the game and the series, crowing INnoVation the champion.
Following this run, INnoVation continued his dominant form in GSL Season 3. Defeated by Stats in Season 1 and not making it past the Round of 16 in Season 2 due to his poor TvT form, INnoVation was eager to win a new StarLeague title. This run was considered among the most clutch in SC2 history, in that every match won by INnoVation starting from the Round of 16 had a winning margin of just 1 game.
Having just come out of a grueling 3-2 victory over fellow Terran horseman ByuN, INnoVation was slated to face-off against Dark in the semi-finals, who was widely considered to be among the top 3 Zerg players in the world at the time. INnoVation broke away from his standard builds in this series, showing off a newly refined double Starport Banshee Mech transition build. Dark, on the other hand, did not crumble against this new style of play and easily dispatched INnoVation in game 1 (Newkirk Precinct TE). Game 3 was among the most applauded games of the entire tournament. INnoVation executed a proxy factory rush with Liberators and Siege Tanks on the macro map Acolyte, which Dark was unable to defend against. Dark, facing imminent defeat, used a surprise Nydus Worm to transport his remaining army and workers into INnoVation's base, which was completely undefended. With INnoVation's army being completely immobile, INnoVation had to settle for taking the base of Dark while Dark built Hatcheries in INnoVation's main. Dark's superb decision-making under the circumstances eventually caused INnoVation to make multiple blunders, culminating in a last-ditch attack by a 1-base INnoVation against a 3-Hatch Dark, which was easily repelled by the Zerg. The rest of the much-acclaimed series consisted of mostly long and drawn-out macro duels between the two maestros, which INnoVation took by a well-executed mech push late in game 7. Artosis believed that, due to the variation of the games and the stellar skill level of the contestants, this series was one of the best in 2017, with many commentators on TeamLiquid and YouTube agreeing. [Citation needed]
With this victory under his belt, INnoVation faced off against a resurgent sOs in the grand finals. This was a highly-anticipated match up between two players of polar opposite orientations: INnoVation, the stoic traditionalist of incredible micro and macro, against sOs, with a thousand strategies up his sleeve and the presence of mind to execute them when it really mattered. This series ended up playing out like many had anticipated: sOs used his unorthodox tactics and unpredictable unit compositions to pull INnoVation apart, while INnoVation attempted to defeat sOs using his superior mechanics.
Tied at 1-1, game 3 was notable for INnoVation reversing the trend and defeating sOs using a proxy Cyclone rush. Game 5 on Odyssey saw one of the most one-sided games in the series, with sOs completely mind-gaming the Terran contender. sOs started out with a proxy Stargate into Oracle placed in a very far location from INnoVation's main base, which was not scouted by INnoVation until the Oracle flew into his base. While INnoVation did not take major damage, sOs had already constructed a Nexus at the gold expansion. INnoVation at this point became fearful of a Protoss attack that did not exist, as he constructed multiple Bunkers and Missile Turrets on a 2-base economy. sOs took advantage of the confusion and went up to 4 bases including the gold expansion. With 4 bases to 2 and INnoVation completely behind on economy, sOs decided to cement his lead further by taking a hidden base on INnoVation's side of the map which was not discovered for the entire game. INnoVation ended up spending the last 3 minutes of the game on 0 workers (both players had circa 100 supply armies) after losing all of his Orbital Commands, and was forced to concede after there was no way for his units to attack Dark Templar.
With sOs on match-point, the pressure on INnoVation was palpable. Game 6 on Ascension to Aiur saw sOs use another pocket strategy: Zealot Charge / Blink DT rush. This was a strategy designed to catch the Terran army off-guard, rather than attempting to ruin the Terran economy like standard DT play. sOs intended for his DTs to blink in and surround INnoVation's Marine force from behind, while Zealots charged in from the front. Unfortunately, the Dark Shrine was placed in sOs's main base which was scouted rather quickly by INnoVation. INnoVation's subsequent defense was effortless, easily repelling sOs's three attempts to destroy INnoVation's army. By the end of the third attempt, sOs was at half of INnoVation's supply. Down on army and on economy, sOs conceded the game.
Game 7 was to be played on one of the most macro-heavy maps ever featured on GSL, Acolyte. At the beginning of the series, Artosis specifically called out this map, with its size and many proxy locations, to be very advantageous for sOs to play on. Unfortunately sOs opted with a greedy Stargate opening while teching to Colossus on three bases (with very few army units) while INnoVation opened with a Siege Tank, Marine, Medivac, and Bunker push. INnoVation, sensing an obvious opportunity to take this series thanks to his massive build order advantage, pressed forward and dealt sOs a major blow by destroying sOs's exposed third Nexus. sOs, however, was able to stabilize in his main by building up his Colossi count. Just as the armies looked to be at a stalemate, with nobody willing to make an aggressive move, the trickster Protoss decided to take a hidden Nexus on INnoVation's side of the map. This went unscouted by INnoVation for some time, but INnoVation must have remembered his humiliation on game 5 and had the discipline to send out a single Marine to check the spots where sOs might make hidden expansions. To INnoVation's great surprise (and elation), the moment he scouted the base was when sOs used the Mothership Core to recall about a dozen Probes to that expansion. INnoVation wasted no time in sending a small force of Marines and Marauders to wipe out the outpost. The Protoss two-time world champion, seeing his desperate situation in the final game of the series, in typical sOs fashion, then went for a play that nobody expected -- he recalled his Mothership Core and Probes back to his main, but returned, seconds later, with his entire army and about two dozen workers, into the proxy Nexus leaving nothing to defend his main. INnoVation's hapless infantry squad, tasked with wiping out sOs's outpost, is decimated.
INnoVation immediately sent his forces closest to sOs's undefended main to destroy it. He also gathered his Viking/Liberator air force, with whatever SCVs and infantry he could muster, for a showdown against sOs's final push. Fortunately for INnoVation, the Viking air force punched through sOs's remaining Phoenixes and destroyed the Colossi from range. A small Marauder flank from behind sealed sOs's fate. With no functional army and his base in tatters, sOs handed INnoVation's third GSL trophy.
With this victory, INnoVation has matched Mvp's own incredible record in the number of GSL victories, and cemented his position as one of the most successful players of 2017, with 3 Korean Premier Tournament wins. At this point, many observers are openly debating whether INnoVation could qualify as StarCraft II's Greatest of All Time. For INnoVation, two major tests are just on the horizon which will answer that question -- the 2017 AfreecaTV GSL Super Tournament 2 and the 2017 WCS Global Finals.
In October 2017, INnoVation entered 2017 AfreecaTV GSL Super Tournament 2 as one of the heavy favorites in spite of the heavily stacked line-up. After taking down Chinese prodigy TIME 3-1, he was able to defeat Classic 3-1. In the semi-finals, INnoVation faced Rogue, a Zerg player who had been ranked #1 on the Korean ladder for several months and who was thought by many to be the #1 Zerg in the world. INnoVation opened with the same double Starport Banshee Mech he used against Dark in GSL. This proved to be a fatal mistake against Rogue, who was well-accustomed to fighting Mech and easily defeated INnoVation in games 1 and 3 using Swarm Hosts to exploit Mech's lack of mobility. Unlike Dark, who did not use Swarm Hosts, Rogue used Swarm Hosts to great effect, which was combined with the Viper's Parasitic Bomb ability to continually gain value in long battles of attrition. On the other hand, INnoVation's bio play in games 2 and 4 performed much better, winning both of those games. In game 5, however, Rogue opened with a much greedier opening than in the previous games and eventually crushed INnoVation's infantry force, knocking INnoVation out of the tournament which was eventually won by Rogue.
- Reached the Ro4 in the GSL in his first Code S appearance, only to be stopped from advancing to the finals by HyuN, who was also in his first Code S appearance.
- Is the first player to lead a GSL finals 3-0, but then lose 4-3.
- INnoVation was the only player to qualify for both 2013 WCS Season 1 and 2013 WCS Season 2 finals. However he wasn't the only player to attend both as aLive attended season 2 as a replacement for Jim.
- INnoVation was rank 1 on TeamLiquid's Power Rank 3 months in a row.
- Starred in one of Khaldor's videos showcasing his APM.
- The only player to qualify for the 2013 WCS Global Finals, 2014 WCS Global Finals and 2015 WCS Global Finals while playing in the WCS Korea region or in Korean Starleagues.
- Has reached the finals of both the first and the last GSL Code S of Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm, and played against a Zerg player in both of them.
- With his wins in 2014 Global StarCraft II League Season 3 and 2015 Global StarCraft II League Season 3 he is the only Terran player to win two GSLs in the Heart of the Swarm era as well as the only Terran player to reach the GSL finals, and the only player to make GSL finals in every year of the Heart of the Swarm era.
- Because of his win against sOs, he was declared the Most Valuable Player of the 2015 Proleague Grand Finals.
- Having won Proleague (twice), GSTL, Acer TeamStory Cup (twice), NationWars, VSL Team League, and VSTL, INnoVation can be considered the most accomplished team league player in StarCraft 2. He also holds the record for most all-kills in Premier StarCraft 2 Team Leagues, having single-handedly defeated the entire opponent team no less than 12 times.
- From 2013 to 2017, INnoVation has won at least one Premier Tournament per year.
- After his friend Classic, INnoVation is the second player to have won both the GSL and the SSL
- INnoVation is the first player to have won the GSL, the SSL, and the VSL
- INnoVation is one of the Four Horsemen of Terran, alongside Maru, TY, and ByuN.
- At a total count of 7 victories, INnoVation currently holds the record for the greatest amount of premier tournament wins in Korea, with Mvp at second place (5).
- When asked what he liked to read about him from the fans, he said "INnoVation is the absolute best".
- INnoVation has won all three of his GSL titles in Season 3 of the year. He has never won a GSL during Seasons 1 or 2, although he was a runner-up in the 2013 WCS Season 1 Korea GSL.
|In Major Tournaments|
|2017-10-01||2nd||SHOUTcraft Kings September 2017||0 : 1||Snute||$2000|
|2017-07-07||1st||2017 VSL Season 2 - Individual League||4 : 0||soO||$4,420|
|2014-08-10||1st||Destiny I||5 : 1||HuK||$1,600|
|2014-01-26||4th||Warer.com Invitational||2 : 3||TaeJa||$500|
|2013-12-05||3rd||Dailymotion Cup 2013||3 : 1||ForGG||$1,000|
|2013-08-18||3rd||2013 WCG Korea National Finals||2 : 0||Soulkey||WCG Slot|
|In Premier Team Leagues|