Another MLG season draws to a close this weekend in Anaheim, and a look at the offerings illustrates just how much the MLG has changed over the course of this one spring season.
League of Legends appears for the first time at an MLG championship in 2012 [thanks to reader IceSin for the correction], taking its place along StarCraft 2 as a major focus for the MLG. The Summer Season will see League of Legends get its own Arena event, just like StarCraft 2. A group of pro gamers from the Korean e-Sports Association (KeSPA) will be at MLG tomorrow for an exhibition tournament, an event that helps mark the end of the Korean giant's exclusive focus on Brood War and the Korean competitive landscape. Finally, Anaheim will also play host to the USA National finals for the StarCraft 2 World Championship Series (opens in new tab) , Blizzard's international competition aimed at picking one world champion from among all the major pro-gaming markets. The fragmentation that often defined professional StarCraft 2 is giving way to a more cooperative attitude, and an international focus.
The Anaheim championship (opens in new tab) tournament starts today at 8:30 PM Eastern and goes through to 4:30 AM. Six streams will broadcast StarCraft 2, while four will have League of Legends matches. An eleventh stream features the MLG's slate of a fighting games: King of Fighters, Mortal Kombat, and Soul Calibur V. The KeSPA tournament will be streamed Saturday night at midnight Eastern time. The USA Nationals Finals will be streamed on Sunday at 7 PM Eastern.
Take a look at the full StarCraft 2 broadcast schedule (opens in new tab) for MLG Anaheim, and the full League of Legends schedule (opens in new tab) . Head over to the livestream page (opens in new tab) to buy a pass to watch all the games in HD, ad-free.
So if you are in the mood to watch some eSports this weekend, the MLG has you so covered that you should probably prepare for the LoL / StarCraft 2 extravaganza as if you're getting ready to withstand a siege. Be sure to check back in with PCG at the end of each day of competition, because I will be recapping the action each night. But with over eight hours each day of competition across eleven streams, I definitely hope you'll call attention to stuff I may have missed, and some matches worth catching in replay.
I have my doubts that the MarineKing - DongRaeGu domination of MLG is really at an end. I would not be at all surprised if they renewed their Finals rivalry this weekend. But they are facing a lot of strong competition (opens in new tab) . And be sure to check out the League of Legends lineup (opens in new tab) . StarCraft players are competing for a $25,000 first-place prize, while the winning League of Legends team will take home $20,000.
Be sure to tell us what storylines you're following this weekend, and who you like for the StarCraft and League of Legends finals. Oh, and if you haven't gotten around to buying StarCraft II, it's on sale this weekend (opens in new tab) . Just in case you're feeling inspired.
(Photo credit: TeamLiquid.net, photo taken at Columbus Winter Championship)