A very merry StarCraft 2 weekend: get ready for the NASL Finals
Today at 11 AM PST (that's 7 PM in the UK, for those of you counting on your fingers), the finals of the North American Star League commence. To help you enjoy what should be a world-class tournament, we've prepared a guide on everything you need to know and a collection of all relevant links.
On paper, the highlight of the day may be a match between MC and BoxeR—an historic meeting of the young, current SC2 master and the former Brood War champion. Start popping that corn (or preparing creative methods to watch at work), and read on for more details.
What's the NASL?
There are only a few ongoing StarCraft 2 leagues. Last year, the Global StarCraft 2 League in Korea established itself as the premier StarCraft 2 competition. There are plenty of tournaments, but no comparable league to the GSL on other other side of the world—that is, until the North American Star League (NASL).
Season One of the NASL kicked off on April 12th. It started slowly, amid larger, single-weekend events like MLG and DreamHack. With no “stage” to speak of, and their pros playing in the tournament remotely, it was uncertain whether or not the NASL would earn enough attention. After three months of constant improvement, that question has been answered—the NASL includes some of the best players and commentators in the world. With daily broadcasts throughout the week, an exciting ranking system, and a huge, $100,000 USD prize pool, the NASL has become the go-to StarCraft league for many fans.
Today through Sunday, 16 of the world's best players will be competing from the Ontario Convention Center in Ontario, California. The commentators will be none other than Gretorp, Incontrol, Day, and the “casting Archon," Tasteless and Artosis. If you're lucky enough to be in the area, go and check it out in-person! If you're at home, tune in to the NASL internet stream.
All of the players in the NASL finals are top-tier, but if you are unsure of where to start, or which players are the talk of the town, read on for my “chosen champions” of Zerg, Terran, and Protoss.
The NASL's favored Zerg, Terran, Protoss in the finals
Ranked #1 in the NASL Season One with a direct seed into the round-of-16, Ret is a former StarCraft: Brood War pro who trained in Korea. He is known today for winning the StarCraft 2 tournament “Assembly” and having a macro-heavy style.
Lim Yo Hwan. The Emperor. The man who started it all, and the Michael Jordan of StarCraft: Brood War. He is easily the biggest name in the NASL finals (and in E-Sports). To quote “riptide,” the TeamLiquid administrator and former TeamLiquid Editor-in-Chief, “Lim Yo Hwan is The Emperor because he embodies the very spirit of the game. His style of play can only be properly described as in flux, with the only constant in his gameplay being change.” Simply put—you have to watch this man play.
The “Protoss President” has been considered the best Protoss player on the planet for a long time now. He has two GSL first-place finishes and a DreamHack gold medal, among many other notable tournament placements. MC is consistent with his results, and is usually the scariest player in the tournament. But in an wonderful, early-tournament twist, he'll be playing the legend, BoxeR, in the round-of-16. Do not miss that game!