MLG Winter Championships: ESFI Coverage, Day Two

The second day of Major League Gaming’s Winter Championship culled a field of nearly two hundred competitors to a lean twenty-four. The Columbus Convention Center was packed for the meat of the Starcraft 2 tournament, with fans cramming into MLG’s massive seating area while cheering, dancing with MLG commentator Sean “Day[9]” Plott, watching some great Starcraft 2, and generally having a good time.

The story of the day had to be Complexity’s newest player, the Korean Terran “Heart”. When Complexity recently announced the acquisition of a trio of Korean players, including aging superstar Yoon-Yeol “NaDa” Lee, a Beckham-to-LA type pickup for the American based esports franchise, the addition of Heart was an afterthought. Now, it’s looking like the smartest deal of the three.

Heart, 22, has experience as a Starcraft: Brood War professional gamer, but his career was cut short due to health reasons. In Starcraft 2, his career had yet to take off, before this weekend; he’s found success in numerous online tournaments, but his biggest accomplishment is beating Ji-Sung “Bomber” Choi in GSL Code A. Pundits have questioned his ability to compete with the more established Koreans at this tournament, labelling him a one-dimensional player reliant on aggressive build orders. At MLG Columbus, his first live tournament outside of Korea, he’s worked hard to answer those questions.

Beginning his cinderella story in the open bracket, Heart won five straight matches while dropping only one map to advance to pool play. The list of victims include Swedish Zerg Stefan “MorroW” Andersson and Min-Gyu “Inori” Woo, a Korean Protoss and Western tournament veteran. Heart’s rampage did not stop there as he carried his momentum into Pool C, maintaining his undefeated record against players like the popular American Protoss Chris “HuK” Loranger. While he’s taken advantage of some of the aggressive tactics that won him the one-dimensional label, he’s also shown he can beat players straight up.

Heart has guaranteed himself a top six finish and at least a $3,500 payout, but his work is far from finished: he still hasn’t beaten one of those top established Korean stars, but he’ll have his chance soon today when he meets the defending GSL champion Soo-Ho “DongRaeGu” Park, someone who has done just as well in Columbus, but with a weighty resume to back it up.

DongRaeGu and Jung-Hoon “MarineKing” Lee continued their obliteration of their “competition” today, embarrassing the players MLG has placed in their paths. One month ago the two met in the finals of the MLG Winter Arena, a qualifier for the Winter Championship, and MarineKing came out on top. It’s likely DongRaeGu will have a chance for some payback on Sunday.

For those who like to cheer the underdog, the non-Korean players are your best bet, but they’re quickly becoming extinct in Columbus. Europeans seem to thrive while competing in their nation or origin, but the Americans have faltered this weekend, with only HuK (now a Canadian resident) with any hope at all of salvaging a result for red, white, and blue. The brooding Swedish Protoss Johan “NaNiwa” Lucchesi has positioned himself for a championship run on Sunday after recovering from a lackluster first day with two wins, but he has a hard draw in the bracket with two GSL champions, Polt and MC, gunning for him.

But, as Saturday has shown, and every esports event before this one, there’s always another chapter in the story. What will Sunday’s be?

The Starcraft tournament resumes at 10 AM EST (3 PM GMT) with the third round of the Championship Bracket. The upper bracket semifinals begin at noon EST (5 PM GMT), featuring DongRaeGu vs. Heart and MarineKing vs. PartinG.

If you’re reading RPS but still want to watch Halo: Reach or Mortal Kombat or something (it’s okay, I won’t tell anybody), the Halo pregame show kicks off at 11 AM EST (4 PM GMT), with the fighting games slated for 11:30 AM EST (4:30 PM GMT).

You can find the full broadcast schedule here and the MLG live stream here.

General coverage:

Top 5 storylines for Saturday

Video interviews:

Match coverage:
Solid play allows IdrA to sweep old rival Jinro 2-0

Sheth succeeds where Stephano failed, sweeps Polt 2-0

ThorZaIN handles Nony in a 2-0 victory

JYP trounces teammate IdrA, moves to pool play

iSCrazymovING dominates SaSe in pool play

NaNiwa back to even record with 2-0 win over JYP

ThorZaIN EMPs and cloaks his way 2-0 victory over MC

aLive proves to be more than Oz can handle

MC shuts down upstart CrazyMovING

PartinG beats Rain 2-1 to clinch Group D

DongRaeGu finishes 5-0 in Group B with 2-1 win over JYP

Polt picks apart IdrA in Lower Bracket

Photo gallery from Saturday

More media coverage:
Team Liquid Interviews
Gamespot Interviews and Coverage


  1. Atic Atac says:

    But more importantly..what’s their clicks per second?

    • Vandelay says:

      APM has nothing to do with how good you are. 60 is all you need to get everything done that needs doing. The myth that you need to constantly be playing at 300+ actions a minute to get anywhere in SC is spread people who have no clue how to play the game.

      • Maldomel says:

        Depends on your level of play. All those pro gamers like to see everything and do everything all the time. That’s a requierment to keep up and not fall behind.

        I do agree however, that you don’t need to click everywhere to play correctly. Pro players are only having high APMs because they can maximize those clicks. Regular ones would have trouble, and eventually make mistakes when clicking like mad men.

      • oPlaiD says:

        If you enjoy an economy of actions you might like watching Polt. He’s famous for having a lower APM but manages the actions he does make well enough to have some of the best micro in the world.

  2. kwyjibo says:

    This is the unpunniest headline ever on RPS, I hope you’re proud.

    • Unaco says:

      No Alt-text or a Tag deriding that mans beard either. What the heck is going on round here?

      • Moni says:

        BeardMan480 is a Starcraft legend. How could they ever deride him?

      • stahlwerk says:

        Good sir, this is not the forum for ridicule about hair of the facial kind.

      • jimmm25 says:

        One does not simply mock TLO’s beard.

      • Crainey says:

        TLO swore not to shave his beard until he was doing well again, winning major events etc. He has one of the largest fan followings, his beard even has its own fanpage!

  3. NieArch says:

    I think it will be MKP vs DRG final again, but I would like Polt to go far and get top 16 at least.

  4. felix6 says:

    Although I enjoy the match summarize, why is there no links to replay’s? :(

    • oPlaiD says:

      MLG won’t release replays until after the event (if they do) and it may be a couple weeks before then. They will probably have VODs up sooner.

  5. UrQuanLord88 says:

    “like the popular American Protoss Chris “HuK” Loranger.”

    I’m terribly sorry but HuK is Canadian, FYI eh. Well, technically he is also American but I’ve hardly seen him being described as anything other than Canadian in the scene.

    • Ragnar says:

      ““like the popular [North] American Protoss Chris “HuK” Loranger.”

      There, fixed.