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 Only Blizzard could reinvent the RTS

Ubisoft's (Starcraft 's distributor in France) Tagline for the game.

Initially released in 1998, Starcraft took the Warcraft style of gameplay that had made Blizzard famous and adapted it to a 26th century setting. It is perhaps most notable for being the most popular and most widely played computer game to be played competitively.

As the story opens, Terran civilization is embroiled in a civil war between the ruling Terran Confederacy and the rebel Sons of Korhal when Zerg infestations begin appearing on several worlds. As the Zerg quickly overtake the unprepared Terran outposts, Protoss battle fleets begin attacking the infected worlds as well, destroying all life on them to prevent the infestation from spreading. Arcturus Mengsk, leader of the Sons of Korhal, learns that the Zerg are attracted to psychic energy, and begins deploying "Psi Emitters" into Confederacy bases to bring down Zerg attacks upon them. By doing, so he ultimately destroys the Confederate capital of Tarsonis and takes control of the Terran government, declaring himself Emperor, but his lieutenant - former Confederate Ghost Sarah Kerrigan - is lost in battle and becomes infested by the Zerg. In her new form, she lends her psychic powers to the Zerg's already impressive numerical strength and turns it against the Protoss, managing almost to conquer the Protoss homeworld of Aiur before two warring Protoss factions, the Khalai and the Dark Templar, join forces with a group of Terran exiles to destroy the Overmind.

Three Expansion Packs, Brood War, Insurrection, and Retribution were released in 1998. Brood War added new units and a continuation of the campaign, wherein the Protoss have to escape their Zerg-overrun homeworld, a new Terran faction invades the sector and the remaining Cerebrates attempt to resurrect the Overmind. Amidst all of the action, Kerrigan swoops in time after time to ally herself with everyone in turns, pitting them against each other and eventually making herself the Queen Bitch of the Universe by beating her weakened enemies in battle. Insurrection and Retribution were not made by Blizzard, not widely available, and generally regarded as Canon Dis Continuity. Considering they don't really affect the canon and just focus on minor characters doing random stuff, it doesn't matter.

Starcraft shipped with a map editor that was extremely versatile for its time, giving the user control over almost all of the game's mechanics. Members of the community have produced maps easily on par with those included in the official campaign, even including voice-overs in some examples. Starcraft was also one of the first games to utilize, Blizzard's proprietary multiplayer matchmaking system, which streamlined a process that previously had required using third-party clients, and created a climate that has kept Starcraft popular to this day.

This series also has its own Shout-Out page here.

You Require More Tropene Gas. Construct Additional Examples:

  • Acronym and Abbreviation Overload: Most of the Goliath's Stop Poking Me quotes.
  • Aerith and Bob: Main characters from Starcraft I included Jim and Arcturus.
  • All There in the Manual: Literally; the story assumes you already know the histories and social organizations of the factions from the huge lore section in the manual and so doesn't explain any of the background in the game itself.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: The Zerg invasion of Aiur, and the UED appropiation of Char in "Brood War". It was short, though.
  • The Alliance: Raynor's Raiders and the Protoss. Literally used in the RPG that hardly anyone knows about.
    • For a while, Kerrigan, the Dominion and Raynor formed an alliance to fight the UED. Then Kerrigan betrayed them when she got strong enough to go it alone.
  • Anachronism Stew: The Terrans are seriously temporally confused--their technology in-game is fairly advanced, but the units are all based on Southern stereotypes from the early Nineties. During cutscenes, the Confederacy's outposts appear to be displaced from World War II, and the UED is seen using trench warfare of all things, with their officers being apparent time travellers from Cold War Russia.
  • Anticlimax Boss: In mission five of the sixth campaign, you're pitted against a super-powered Dragoon who can be killed instantly with the Queen's "Spawn Broodlings" ability. The second boss, a super-powered Battlecruiser, can be rendered helpless with the Defiler's "Dark Swarm," which blocks all its attacks on ground units. Then again, these are there purely to let players see how useful these abilities can be.
  • Anyone Can Die: Arguably. More than half the somewhat relatable characters (including good guys) are dead or murdered by the end of Brood War. On the other hand, a couple of heroes are just spared by Kerrigan.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: Per race, which means Protoss can potentially triple it by mindcontrolling enemy workers.
  • Arm Cannon: Firebats have wrist-mounted flamethrowers.
  • Awesome but Impractical: Nukes were at the same level tech as Battlecruisers, but by the time you actually get the required tech to build Nuclear Silos, build the Nuke itself, train a Ghost and upgrade it to the point it can sneak into the opponent's base undetected to launch said Nuke, your opponent will have detector units to spot your ghost and kill it before the Nuke finishes targeting. Also, good luck getting that sort of tech without your opponent scouting and seeing it.
  • Back From the Brink: Brood War, Terran Mission 5, is subtitled "Ground Zero". They give you a huge army a few seconds before Mengsk's entire nuclear arsenal lands on it. If you don't try Sequence Breaking, you'll end up with a few marines, some workers, and a burning command center. You'll then proceed to rebuild your base and pound Mengsk's base, spanning most of the map, back to the stone age.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Kerrigan's victory at the end of Broodwar. The only things that keep this from being an outright Downer Ending are that the UED was established as the main Big Bad in Brood War until several story twists shortly before the end and that enough protoss and terran forces may be still around to eventually rebuild and become a match for Kerrigan's forces again.
  • Black Humor: Lots. The best comes from Raynor during the final battle against the Overmind.
  • Boxed Crook: About three-quarters of the Confederate military and virtually all of the Dominion military are 'resocialized' criminals who were sent from the penal system straight to the front line. Raynor's Raiders, however, is an all-volunteer force, and the UED military simply conscripts from their civilian population, although both regimes have proven that criminal is a stretchable term and often includes harmless people that didn't agree with the government enough.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: In the minimap your forces are always in (bright, since dark green is a possible team color) green, and your enemies are in the color they wear.
    • While any of the races can appear as any colour in Custom/Multiplayer games, and most of the colours are seen on each race at least once in the Single-player campaigns, there are some some general conventions. In the original game, the player's terran forces are blue (or red when fighting for the Sons of Korhal), the zerg are purple, and the protoss are yellow. In Brood War, the player's protoss forces are usually blue (though in one of the missions they are brown), the terrans are brown or white, and the zerg are once again purple. Teal units are heroes for protoss and terrans, while zerg heroes are red. Usually, important enemy units and structures, like enemy heroes, are yellow.
    • Different factions likewise can be told apart by color: the Dominion is red, Alpha Squadron is white, Raynor's Raiders are blue, the UED is white, the protoss warband are mostly blue and occasionally brown, the Khalai protoss are yellow, Kerrigan's zerg are purple, and generic enemy zerg are usually brown and orange. If there are three enemy zerg forces, odds are the third one is red or purple. Again, this isn't universal, and some variations can occur. For example, in two missions some Dominion forces are blue, and in another some UED forces are blue.
    • And this applies to heroes as well. Kerrigan, for instance, is colored purple in the zerg campaigns and Duran is colored teal. Both are somewhat justified - red is Daggoth's Brood's color, and Kerrigan is opposed to him so she wouldn't be likely to use his color (Kerrigan is red in later missions), and as for Duran, technically he's still a Terran, sort of, so he uses the color of Terran heroes.
      • Kerrigan also has a unique sprite; she doesn't need a different color to differentiate herself from your ordinary units, which is why heroes are always given unique colors.
  • Combat Tentacles: Sunken Colonies and Lurkers.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: In the first game's campaigns, the computer gets free resources. Also, the AI has full map knowledge of what is going on, with no need to scout.
  • Continuity Nod: The force title "Fleet of the Executor" is used for the Player's side all throughout the Protoss Campaign of the original game. The title gets used again in Brood War only during the final Zerg mission, as the name of the Protoss force Artanis is leading; because Artanis is the Executor from the original game.
  • The Corps Is Mother: implied for the Confederation/Dominion Ghost Program. Said program enforces it by mindwiping its trainees. Sometimes twice, although the memeories may still be present but locked away. Regardless, the results are usually insanely loyal, or just insane.
  • Crosshair Aware: A tiny blinking red dot means someone's about to drop a nuke there, though it helps that they give a "Nuclear Launch Detected".
  • Cutscene Power to the Max: The Zerg are far more fragile in cutscenes than in-game, often getting killed with only a few barrages of gunfire that would hurt but not kill them. In-game cutscenes (that is, scenes on the maps that aren't pre-rendered) often boost the attack strength of units so they can destroy enemies in a single shot for dramatic effect, like Kerrigan have her strength boosted to 500 damage so she can kill Aldaris.
  • Damage Increasing Debuff: The acidic attack from Zerg Devourers.
  • Danger Deadpan: The Wraith and Dropship pilots.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: The Dark Templars, outcasts of the protoss race. The Khalai protoss consider them evil heathens who nearly destroyed the protoss way of life, but its all been blown out of proporation by horror stories passed down through the generations for the last thousand years. In reality the Dark Templar are actually nicer than the Khalai protoss, seemingly not as dogmatic, and most (but not all) genuinely want to help their Khalai brethren.
  • Death by Irony: The Confederacy was destroyed by an experimental weapon they designed.
  • Deep South: The Confederacy is clearly a look-alike of the Confederacy from the Civil War complete with the "Rebel Flag" displayed in cutscenes, and the only named Confederate general from the game speaks with a strong Dixie accent, as do many of the terran units.
  • Desert Skull: There are all sorts of bones and skulls in the randomly-generated desert terrain tiles.
  • Driven to Suicide: Du Galle.

  "Dearest Helena, by now the news of our defeat has reached the Earth. The creatures we were sent here to tame are untameable, and the colonies we were sent to reclaim have proven to be stronger thatn we anticipated. Whatever you may hear about what has happened out here, know this: Alexei did not die a hero. I killed him—-my pride killed him. And now my pride has consumed me as well. You will never see me again, Helena. Tell our children that I love them, and that their father died in defense of their future. Au revoir."

  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: You. That's right YOU. It's All There in the Manual, but the Player-Cerebrate from the original Zerg Campaign is killed by Tassadar shortly after that campaign ends, when he basically catches Kerrigan in the exact same trap that got Zasz killed midway through the same campaign. All the other Zerg Cerebrates, unable to live without the Overmind, die between Brood War and the sequel as well.
  • The Empire: The Terran Dominion, and the United Earth Directorate. Also, the protoss before the fall of Aiur.
  • Enemy Mine: Rampant, especially in Brood War.
  • Evil Versus Evil: Terran Dominion vs the UED vs the Zerg, Kerrigan vs. the Overmind, Sons of Korhal vs. The confederacy.
  • The Federation: The Confederacy is essentially an evil version of this, being at least nominally a federal, democratic republic, especially in contrast to the openly Imperial Terran Dominion.
  • Floating Head Syndrome: They just used a protoss head, then Kerrigan's head in the expansion, up front on the cover. The protoss head was clustered with other less visible heads, one for each species, no less. Originally there was three different floating head covers, but apparently the terran and zerg faces were soon discontinued in favor of protoss.
  • Foreshadowing:

  "So the zerg are here for you, darlin'?"

    • Then in the expansion:

  "He will always be a traitor in my eyes, and you know I cannot abide a traitor."

  "I think the female ghosts have nicer equipments."

  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Next time you play "New Gettysburg," try this. Before you finish off the last protoss building, disengage and pull back to base. Now build a dropship, order everything that isn't your dropship, a battlecruiser, or Kerrigan to run around the zerg base and get itself killed, and fill up your supply limit with a MASSIVE FLEET OF 32 BATTLECRUISERS. Now select your MASSIVE LOLPWN FLEET OF 32 BATTLECRUISERS (in three batches, of course, because this is Starcraft) and right-click on the dropship to order the MASSIVE ROFLPWN FLEET OF 32 BATTLECRUISERS to follow it around and protect it. Now load Kerrigan into the dropship escorted by a MASSIVE WTFPWN FLEET OF 32 BATTLECRUISERS and destroy that last protoss structure to complete the mission. Guess what happens next.
    • Also, the opening cinematic of Brood War. Because of the cliff, the soldiers' trench defenses should have been well-protected from the zerg. Provided there were no ramps....
  • A God Am I: Kerrigan during an assault on Char.
  • Gambit Pileup: In an attempt to model what happens in Brood War, you'll use half the alphabet as placeholders for names only to discover that "E betrays every letter in the alphabet and kills all the consonants" is an accurate description of the events in the game. Then Y turns out to have been playing E from the start.
  • Heroic BSOD: The unnamed Marine in the Brood War intro cinematic goes through one of these as the Aleksander abandons the battlefield, shortly before his trench is completely and utterly Zerg Rushed.
  • Hey, It's That Voice!:
    • Harry Shearer (voice of Mr. Burns on The Simpsons) plays the Terran Science Vessel. He sounds very similar to Mr. Burns and even references his role as Burns in a few lines:

  Science Vessel: Excellent. Hmm... Fusion, eh? I'll have to remember that.

  • Hold the Line: The third terran mission.
  • Hufflepuff House: Both the Kel-Morian Combine and the Umojan Protectorate get no screentime in the original game, beyond a blurb in the manual. The Combine was later elaborated on in Brood War, but Umoja still has yet to make an appearance.
  • Idiot Ball: Picked up by the commander in Brood War, terran mission 5a. You're told well in advance that Mengsk will use his nuclear arsenal to destroy you, since you didn't eliminate it in the previous mission. Ghosts are needed to deliver nuclear strikes. Do you have any detectors, such as missile turrets, in your base? No. Do your scripted reinforcements include any science vessels? No. Mengsk takes advantage of this to nuke every square inch of your base and all your reinforcements. However, there's a twist: Do you lift-off your entire base to dodge the nukes? Well, yes actually, you can do that.
    • Or maybe you speedily research Spider Mines and carefully place some to kill a few of the ghosts and keep at least most of those shiny reinforcements? Maybe.
  • Instant Win Condition: The single-player campaign ends the missions in your victory when you fulfil the objectives, anything else is trivial. If your objective is to destroy a key enemy structure, no matter what you do you won't win until you destroy that structure. In a timed survival mission, as long as you have at least one building left when the timer is up you win, even if your base has been overrun by this point. Also, with the exception of two or three missions that have optional objectives, your performance in a mission has absolutely no bearing on the next, for better or worse.
  • Ironic Echo: In the original game Tassadar uses Kerrigan's ego against her to distract her while Zeratul assassinates Zasz. At the end of the mission he tells her that "she is her own worst enemy". Echoed by Kerrigan herself in Brood War when she betrays the Dominion and the Protoss after defeating the UED on Korhal.

 Kerrigan: You are your own worst enemy.

Fenix: That's ironic. I remember Tassadar teaching you a very similar lesson back on Char.

Kerrigan: I took that lesson to heart.

 General Duke: You're the last folks I've expected here. What's your angle, Mengsk?

Jim Raynor: Angle? I'll give you an angle, you slimy confederate piece of sh-

Arcturus Mengsk: Jim! Enough! I'll take care of this.

  • Kill It with Fire: The point of the Firebat.
  • Lampshade Hanging: A frequent source of comedy in annoyed dialogue...and even some cutscenes.
  • La Résistance: Raynor's Raiders, the Sons of Korhal before Mengsk forms the Dominion, Tassadar and the Dark Templar.
  • Lawful Stupid: The Protoss make first contact with humans by emerging without warning of any sort...and irradiating an entire human planet. Albeit an infested world, but the Terrans didn't know that. Would it have killed the Protoss to send a message first and not guarantee themselves another enemy?

  "Hi, strange primitive ape-people, don't mind us scary-looking aliens you've never heard of before, we're just going to have to wipe out this inhabited planet because through no fault of yours it's infested with another alien race you've also never heard of, but take our word for it, now that the planet is infested everyone on it is as good as dead anyways. Take Our Word for It."

    • If the Protoss containment strategy had worked, apologizing in advance would have fallen on deaf ears. It didn't, but reasonable humans have found out about the Zerg and come to understand the Protoss even without the apology.
  • Let No Crisis Go to Waste: In the terran campaign, Mengsk uses the zerg invasion to help himself gain power.
  • Man in the Machine: Protoss Dragoons.
  • Metagame: At the professional level, Starcraft's Metagame is very evolved.
  • Mobile Factory: Most of the Terran buildings and a few of the Protoss ones.
  • Newsreel: The UED victory report, heavily inspired by the propaganda videos from the Starship Troopers movie.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Killing the second Overmind allows Kerrigan to become the unchallenged zerg Hive Queen. On the other hand, if the Overmind had been allowed to mature, it would have reassumed complete control over the Swarm. And then comes Wings Of Liberty, and it turns out the Overmind was just trying to prepare a defense against the Xel'Naga's ancient enemy. Damned if you do, damned if you don't, times three.
    • In the original Terran campaign, your actions end up putting a new power-hungry madman into power and getting Kerrigan infested by the zerg. Damned if you do, damned if you don't again, as the Confederacy was just as corrupt and not only caused the whole zerg invasion in the first place, but was unable to do anything about it.
    • Helping Duran get to Stukov during the UED campaign.
    • Defeating Aldaris' rebellion in the protoss campaign. Yet another case of damned if you do, damned if you don't, since even though Aldaris had good reason for this insurrection, if it had went on, it would probably have crippled the Protoss forces to the point of no return and caused a long and bloody High Templar/Dark Templar war which would have left the whole protoss species easy prey for Kerrigan or the UED.
    • And let's not forget Zeratul who kills a cerebrate with his psychic powers, which briefly links his mind to the overmind, revealing the location of Aiur and causing the downfall of the protoss homeworld. According to the novels, four years later he's still in solitude feeling guilty for that and being forced to kill Raszagal. And really, who can blame him?
  • Non-Entity General: Mostly played straight, though supplemental materials eventually reveal that the Protoss executors for the original and Brood War were Artanis and Selendis, respectively.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: Aldaris. He gets better before he gets killed--by Kerrigan, no less.
  • Officer and a Gentleman: Both UED leaders, Stukov and Du Galle. Sort of subverted by the fact that the UED itself appears to be a bunch of genocidal lunatics.
  • Oh Crap: In the first cinematic of the terran Campaign, two rank-and-file soldiers are out in a buggy when they run down a zergling. They get out to survey the damage and realize it was a trap.

 Lester: You just mashed some poor fella's dawg, Sarge.

Sarge: It's a zerglin', Lester. Smaller type o' zerg. They wouldn't be out this far unless... Oh, Shit. * Both turn around to see a pack of zerg bearing down on them*

Lester: Ah love you, Sarge.

 Kerrigan: Captain Raynor, I've finished scouting out the area, and... you pig!

Raynor: What! I haven't even said anything to you yet!

Kerrigan: Yeah, but you were thinking it.

Raynor: Oh, yeah! You're a telepath. Look, let's just get on with this, OK?

  • One-Man Army: The Torrasque.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: The Overmind is dead, hurrah! But the greatest Protoss hero is dead, Aiur is ravaged and lost, the Zerg are still rampaging, Kerrigan is taking over, and the UED has arrived and they hate everyone.
  • Recycled in Space: In one of his custom taunts, Artanis denies that Starcraft is just 'Warcraft in Space', saying 'it's much more sophisticated!' This is actually derived from a review of the game.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Vilified: Played straight with Tassadar and the Dark Templar, but so very, very subverted by the Sons of Korhal.
  • Rouge Angles of Satin: Kerrigan: "I've insured the destruction of the renegade cerebrates, and I used you to do it."
  • Separate but Identical: Played with, actually. During the battle with Aldaris' rebel troops, he has exclusive access to the Khalai Archon, Arbiter and High Templar units while you get exclusive access to Corsairs, Dark Templar and Dark Archons. The UED has exclusive assess to Valkyries and Medics, any time you fight the Dominion in Brood War you'll never face these units. The two also show distinct preferences in their troop formations when fought as AI opponents, DuGalle relying more on air units and Mengsk preferring ground units.
  • Sequence Breaking: In the Brood War Terran 5A (Ground Zero) Mission, you're giving a fairly advanced base and a flood of reinforcements, including Battlecruisers(!), right from the start, only to have it all destroyed by a Nuke Barrage. Against the design team's expectations, you do actually have enough time to research Spider Mines (which detect and blow up on cloaked units, like Ghosts) and lay a few to lessen the damage from the nuclear barrage, allowing you to keep at least most of your considerable starting assets.
  • Surprisingly-Sudden Death: The zerg just take this trope and run with it. One cutscene where a squad of terran special forces are tasked with destroying a Science Vessel has the terrans laugh off the possibility of a zerg attack. Until one of them dies courtesy of a Hydralisk scythe to the head. And let's not forget that almost every single zerg unit can burrow and invoke this trope at will. The Infested Terrans, in particular, explode For Massive Damage, at least in the campaign.
  • Tempting Fate: Way back in the second campaign of the original game, Zasz declared Kerrigan "would be the doom of us all." From a number of certain perspectives, he was right.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Really, UED, you leave two Siege Tanks to protect the power generators powering the one thing keeping zerg from overrunning the sector? That's despite the fact that your second-in-command died over it?
    • To be fair, they had to occupy Braxis, Char, and Korhal to protect the Disruptor, Overmind, and Dominion capital, respectfully. Considering they first had to conquer all those places, its possible they just didn't have the manpower.
  • Units Not to Scale / Your Size May Vary: The Dropships, Shuttles and Overlords don't look anywhere near big enough to carry the units they do. Also, the Terran and Protoss capital ships (Battleships and Carriers) are much larger in cutscenes than in-game - Science Vessels are implied to be as big as the Death Star in cutscenes.
    • A Dragoon is about the size of four Marines onscreen and takes the same space in a transport as those four Marines.
    • In a cutscene, it appears that those four marines, standing close together, could probably be squashed by one of the Dragoon's feet.
    • And then there's the hundreds of crew and passengers in a low orbit Battlecruiser...the size of two Dragoons.
    • Also, it seems like the mission where you hijack the battle cruisers with a single pilot each shows that it can at least operate with a one man crew.
    • The mind boggles at the few levels that take place inside a Science Vessel, a unit visibly the same size as a tank. It's a large map. In the boardgame version, the Science Vessel is the smallest piece in the game, even when compared to Marines and zerglings. That had to have been intentional.
    • In actuality, the mind should boggle on why the Science Vessel and Battlecruisers are the size of a tank or two - in the cutscene about the terrans blowing up a science vessel shows it to be the size of a mountain. The news report cutscene in Brood War shows a whole fleet of Battlecruisers dwarfed by a single Science Vessel.
  • Vestigial Empire: The Confederacy in the original SC terran campaign might also count. Also, everyone except Kerrigan at the end of Brood War.
  • We Can Rebuild Him: Protoss Dragoons. These guys won't let even death get in the way of them fighting for Aiur. Although when Fenix gets killed a second time, in Dragoon form, there's no talk of bringing him back to life.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: The UED wanted to "pacify" the Protoss, enslave and subjugate the Zerg, and destroy the Dominion to rein in the Terran colonies under their banner. Except for the Protoss being destroyed or enslaved, even that is justified considering from the human point of view that protoss had glassed numerous human worlds.
    • Enslaving the colonists of the Koprulu sector ain't so swell either, especially since it's heavily implied the UED is a totalitarian dictatorship. At best, the UED's no worse than either the Confederacy or the Dominion, who are villains.
    • The protoss themselves, and specially the Conclave, given their (early) "treatment" of infested terran worlds.
  • Wham! Episode: The part of the Zerg campaign where Kerrigan hatches from the chrysalis. Yes, it's now pretty well-known, but that doesn't diminish the initial impact.

  Zerg Overmind: "Arise, my daughter... Arise... Kerrigan."

  • Yin-Yang Bomb: The Xel'Naga temple on Shakuras, with emphasis on the "bomb" part. It is powered by a dark crystal and a light crystal. Once the temple finished charging up, anything zerg was in for a bad day.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Happens to player's cerebrate some time after the end of Brood War after you've fought off the attack from terrans and the protoss and Kerrigan getting important data from the cerebrate to help her evolving the zerg.
  • Your Little Dismissive Diminutive:

  Kerrigan: And not all of your little soldiers will stand in my way again.

Examples of tropes in the pro-gaming scene:
  • Always Second Best: Hong Jin Ho (Yellow) was famous for being "King of Second Place", since he had so many silvers but no gold medal in a big tournament. More recently, Song Byung Goo (Stork) has taken up this role, though has finally won a single gold medal.
  • Anticlimax Boss: Arguably any tournament finals that disappoints.
  • Butt Monkey: Hyuk. Starting with an infamous match against Pure, he gained a reputation for snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, to the point where the term "hyuk" made it into the Urban Dictionary with the meaning "the act of losing after having a seemingly insurmountable lead". It reached the point where he was impossible to take seriously, and most of the English commentary on his games was spent mocking his inevitable defeat, as in this game against UpMagic. Is now terribly inconsistent.
  • The Chessmaster: Lee Young-Ho (Flash)
  • Creepy Twins: Park Chan-Soo (Luxury) and Park Myung-Soo (Yellow[arnc]).
  • Curb Stomp Battle: Oh so often.
  • Dark Horse Victory: Has happened a few times.
  • Death Glare: Anyone who's seen Jaedong's death stare.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: Park Jung Suk (Reach). Appropriately nicknamed "The Mantoss"
  • Executive Meddling: Oh Ke SPA, how you must ruin our game so much. More recently, MBC Game as well.
  • Fun Personified: Firebathero
  • Gratuitous English: "Resluts".
  • Headphones Equal Isolation: Subverted in that players are required to wear headphones to blot out all cheers of joy from the crowd when something happens. Double-Subverted in that it doesn't always work. Crowd noise does bleed in if its sufficiently loud, and crowd reactions have been known to influence pro-gamer decision making (stopping an army right before walking into a Spider Mine ambush).
  • Heel: Idr A is something like this. Well known for his arrogance and bad sportsmanship, he has even been labeled the "villain" of Starcraft by some. Embraces this image by his sequential career, frequently leaving without the customary "gg" and insulting fans and fellow pros alike, but otherwise being fairly pleasant IRL and critical of his mistakes rather than criticizing others.
  • He's Back: Julyzerg, Ever OSL 2008.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Terran players often get mine-dragged. Sometimes pretty badly.
  • Kansas City Shuffle: Happens with hidden tech and buildings.
  • Obvious Rule Patch: It is possible by the rules of the game (but forbidden in tournament play) for a terran player to ally their opponent in game, wait for them to walk over a minefield, then unally them and laugh at the carnage.
  • One-Man Army: Lee Young Ho (Flash).
  • Rapid-Fire Typing: Top-level players perform about 300 actions per minute, such as a command issued to a unit or a macro set in action. That's about five per second; you'll think the footage has been sped up. An enthusiastic home player might hit 80 or so APM.
  • Real Life
  • The Rival: There have been a number of famous rivalries between Starcraft players. Biggest ones would be Boxer vs Yellow and Jaedong vs Flash, though there are others.
  • Serious Business: The very image of stadiums filled with people watching people play a computer game may seem unusual, however, there's a reason why South Korea's two national sports are actually football and StarCraft. And then, there're the schools completely dedicated to Starcraft with 10 hour training sessions, six figure salaries and the screaming fangirls for the more victorious players. The top of the iceberg? The Korean Air Force has its own team.
  • Throwing the Fight: A great controversy in recent days. One of the best Zerg players, Ma Jae-Yoon (in-game ID "Savior") has been found to be one of the ringleaders in fixing the matches, and could face jail time. Because of the incident, he is being called "Marbage" (play on "garbage") or "Marthas" (play on Arthas Menethil, who got corrupted by Frostmourne).
  • Tournament Play: The biggest.
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