Tonight marks the beginning of MLG's Tournament of Champions, a single-elimination invitational pitting a who's who of the best StarCraft II players against one another for a $7000 prize. The opening match, kicking off at 9 p.m. Pacific, 6 p.m. Eastern, will be the God of Brood War, Lee "Flash" Young Ho, vs. Park "DongRaeGu" Soo Ho, a champion in both MLG and GSL play considered by many to be the current best Zerg player in the world.
If you were to look only at the championship winners who came out of MLG Spring Arena this weekend, you might think there were no real surprises. DongRaeGu winning a StarCraft 2 championship is just something we have come to expect by this point, and Team Solo Mid looked dominant from the beginning of the tournament.
But you probably wouldn't have predicted that DRG would take his StarCraft 2 championship from twelfth-seeded Alicia (Yang Joon Sik, Korean Protoss), who had just swept MarineKing out of the loser's bracket final.
Yesterday's games at the MLG Spring Championship comprised probably the best single day of eSports I've seen. The afternoon was full of some incredibly tight League of Legends matches and a lot of exciting StarCraft 2 pool and open bracket play, and the evening featured an increidble 3-game series between MarineKing and Stephano that saw one of the most perfect plays you could ever hope to see, and a miraculous comeback victory to close out the series.
I'm not going to lie: I'm pretty happy with my coverage of the MLG Winter Championship last weekend. But nothing beats seeing it with your own eyes, so I thought I'd call you attention to five of my favorite games from the event. Then we'll talk about what else is going on this coming week, and some of the big eSports news stories that are starting to take shape right now.
But first, let's look at some good StarCraft 2 matches.
The MLG Winter Championship at Columbus concludes today, starting at 10 AM Eastern and the Championship Finals commence at 6 PM Eastern. Before we find out who this season's top StarCraft 2 player is, however, we should revisit the action from yesterday.
One of the big storylines going into this tournament was Greg "IdrA" Fields' streak of bad competition performances. Columbus was an opportunity to put that behind him, and show that he remains a top foreign Zerg player.
The first day of the MLG Winter Championship had some great match-ups and, if the rest of the competition maintains this quality, we should be in for a memorable weekend. With four HD StarCraft 2 streams for MLG Gold Members, there was almost always something good to watch. There were some technical glitches, particularly for some of the secondary streams, but the Central Stream was generally picture-perfect as Day, DJWheat, Tastless, and Artosis called the day's top battles.
Before I dive into another day of marathon StarCraft, I thought I'd write-up my first impressions of this championship tournament.
In any sport, there's a loser for every winner. Every time a champion is showered in champagne (or Diet Coke, if they're underage) and raises a trophy to a screaming crowd, there's a player who stands silently to the side, humbled, overshadowed and defeated. Lee Jung Hoon has been this player four times. At 17 years old, he's a StarCraft veteran, one of the best Terran players in the world, and he's incredibly successful. His fans rank among the most passionate, his games as the most exciting. Jung Hoon is well-mannered, exciting, emotional, a little bit shy, all while maintaining his status as one of the most dynamic figures of StarCraft 2. Yet he's never won a major tournament.