After he secured his first tournament victory at the SBS Multi-Game Championship in December 1999, however, his carefree days became a thing of the past. Once a tiny speck on eSports radar, BoxeR exploded into the pro-gaming scene, coasting on a tide of victory that has yet to be rivaled. He won over a dozen tournaments during his reign from 2000 to 2004, assembled his own team and became the first Korean pro-gamer to earn a six-figure salary. He even stole the title "Terran Emperor" from one of the StarCraft universe's antagonists, Arcturus Mengsk, a moniker created by his adoring fan base.
The secret to BoxeR's success was not simply that he was a better player, though in many ways he was. More importantly, he was a different player. Many league players had fallen into comfortable, predictable strategies; if a certain tactic bore fruit, pros were quick to add it to their arsenals, tweaking details to make it their own without making any major changes. BoxeR, however, vowed to borrow as little as possible from other players, instead opting to invent entirely new techniques that pro-gamers had never before encountered. Since many of the plans he created were unorthodox and untried, he relied on his teammates and practice partners to help him polish his maneuvers to a deadly sheen. Nowhere do the results speak louder than his hundreds of victories.
BoxeR did not stop at baffling his opponents with unconventional maneuvers, however; he also set out to awe his fans. In any given year, a pro-gamer participates not only in official tournaments but also in exhibition matches. In StarCraft's heyday, there were four broadcast TV stations exclusively dedicated to airing StarCraft matches; thus, there existed a huge demand for players to stay active even in their off-time. For most pros, these matches were a chance to relax a little and enjoy their success, but BoxeR saw them as an opportunity to pay back his fans for their unwavering support. His aim was never just to win, but to "win brilliantly" - or not at all.
Tens of thousands of fans at live events and millions more at home once witnessed this philosophy in action. but thanks to YouTube you can still admire BoxeR's performances today. Take, for example, his counter to an enormous Carrier fleet. With the overwhelming Protoss army bearing down on his base, the Terran Emperor deploys a tiny strike force of ... medics. It looks like preparation to heal his soon-to-be bruised ego, since medics cannot deal any damage, let alone to a force of that magnitude. But BoxeR realizes the Protoss Carrier fleet is accompanied by a dispatch of Observers, invisible detecting units that would put the kibosh on any attempts to counter with his own cloaked Wraiths. In an instant, the medics blind the Observers, paving the way for a guerrilla air force to pull a David on his opponent's Goliath.