I like to think that every great team is made up of little bits of success. They are influenced by every small victory experienced on a day to day basis, carried through the lives of their players and manifested in outstanding teamwork. Every challenge is an obstacle for players to overcome, every moment a chance to prove that they’ve improved from the moment before. When you bring a seasoned player to a team, you not only bring their skill, knowledge, and perspective, you also bring those little bits of success they’ve accumulated over their careers. Add several of those players together and allow them to grow as a team, and those tiny morsels of accomplishment amount to a hill, a mountain, a rising storm.
Tempest is one of these teams. Storm puns aside, they have been gradually growing in power as a rookie team in the Korean Super League and have finally coalesced into a fighting force. With their recent victory over Team No Limit, the Gatekeepers of Super League, they have proven they what it takes to win against the best teams in Korea. It’s monsoon season.
Lockdown and Hide: The Tale of Two Brothers
I don’t know much about the players on Tempest (relatively speaking), but that just makes me want to hunt down and find the reason for their success even more—every small battle and triumph, every roadblock swept aside, every challenge overcome through mental fortitude, every piece of every block that, layered one on top of another, built the tapestry of their story.
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Starting with Lockdown, the story is quite simple: two brothers helped to form what is now the most dominant team in the world, MVP Black. Lockdown and his brother Hide were huge parts of MVP Black’s initial success. As the team roster expanded, Hide went over to MVP’s sister team Sky to lead while Lockdown stayed on MVP Black. Despite Hide’s solid and unique Support play, MVP Sky had poor success and, after a few tournament flukes, were let go from the organization. During his time on MVP Sky, Hide pioneered an aggressive Seven-Sided Strike Monk style that Merryday has credited him for on more than one occasion.
How agonizing it must have been for Hide to be separated from his brother, unable to regain the prestige he once held on MVP Black. Lockdown, too, felt this pain. When he left MVP Black on the gamble of forming a team, now known as Tempest, with his brother a few months ago, he looked absolutely insane. Nonetheless, it was the confidence in his abilities, his brother, and the joy of being reunited with someone he could call his best friend that led him to make such a risky career move. For Lockdown, it was more about the joy of playing competitively than the distinction of being well-known. Lockdown’s spectacular talent has translated well from MVP Black to Tempest, moving from a melee to ranged DPS role on the team. His carry potential is still very real, and teamfights are often decided by Lockdown’s aggressive positioning and pristine timing.
Duckdeok: The Face of the Faceless Koreans
Who can really forget duckdeok from StarCraft II? As Stuchiu wrote several years ago: “To us, he became the face of the faceless Koreans.” He was a player who had struggled through the cogs of Korea’s brutal esports system, who managed to finally make it to the finals of a major tournament and beat the two-time GSL Champion, MC—after all those years of hard work, he finally got to stand in limelight, broken down to tears, and raise the trophy above his head. For me, this is one of the most touching stories in all of esports, the one that fully justifies the idea that greatness is built on blocks of little victories each and every day that push us toward our ultimate goal.
Shortly after that victory, duckdeok retired from competitive StarCraft and went underground for over a year. Upon the official release of Heroes of the Storm, duckdeok began to make appearances on some of the early professional Korean teams, most notably MRR. His multi-tasking skills have transferred into Heroes nicely, allowing him to play the flex role as Abathur or Vikings as almost an extension of his will. The blink micro he became famous for in StarCraft II shines through when he takes small skirmishes and fights. Everything he has trained for and practiced has led up to this moment of being one of the top teams in Korea, the only challenge to MVP Black’s throne.
Dami and Hongcono: Ying and Yang
Finally, we have Dami and Hongcono, two sides of the same coin. Dami’s unbridled aggression play counterpoint to Hongcono’s patient tank play, balancing them out and allowing them to trade aggression effectively. The two have played together competitively since July of last year among a myriad of teams, including MRR at the beginning of their HotS careers and later Super League’s Season 1 rookie, Young Boss.
Formerly League of Legends challenger players (in Korea, mind you), they have the chops necessary to play with the best as well as a wealth of experience making snap calls and proper decisions. There’s nothing like seeing Dami go ham on Sonya (or Butcher, his trademark Hero), chopping down the enemy team, while Hongcono effectively zones out the threats and peels for his teammate; their coordination is sublime, molded out of months of getting to know other’s calls and thought processes. It’s almost a form of telepathy, a sixth sense, that connects their movements into one beautiful dance.
The Future is Still Unwritten
The little pebbles that make up Tempest’s story have showed great promise, but they still haven’t accomplished their crowning achievement: MVP Black, the Korean Death Knight, stands atop the podium littered with awards and salutations as the best team on the planet, beckoning their opponents to come forward. This month has been a challenge for Tempest to prove their worth in the Korean scene. In my mind, they’ve already succeeded with flying colors. Even if they are wrecked by MVP Black in the finals of Super League, it’s just another challenge to overcome. It’s just another step to success.