Our e-sports correspondent is ESFI World's Samuel Lingle
Spring is here! Flowers are blooming, the grass is greening, the birds are back from their migrations, and the nerds are flocking to the Columbus Convention Center. It’s time for Major League Gaming’s Winter Championship. Yea. Winter Championship.
So MLG may not be good at naming things, but that’s not what they do. They throw video game tournaments, and their first big one of 2012 is this weekend in Columbus, Ohio.
Today they kicked off competitions worth over $200,000 in prizes, featuring Starcraft 2 as the main event, with $25,000 going to the victor.
The top sixteen seeded players battled in pool play today and over two hundred other entrants struggled to win one of just thirty-two spots in the championship bracket.
Some of the best players in the world were in form today, as defending Global Starcraft League (GSL) champion Soo-Ho “DongRaeGu” Park and MLG Winter Arena winner Jung-Hoon “MarineKing” Lee swept their groups 3-0. Canadian hotshot Chris “HuK” Loranger also put on a clinic, posting his own 3-0 record.
The biggest match of the day featured Korean Terran Sung-Hoon “Polt” Choi, a former GSL champion, and Ilyes “Stephano” Satouri, a French Zerg player from Team Millenium famous for his ability to best Korean foes. The two world-class players built a bit of a rivalry this past month after meeting in consecutive tournament finals, with the pair splitting the results between each other. In Columbus Polt tipped the rivalry ledger in his favor at MLG, ousting his adversary by a 2-1 score.
Stephano will now need to battle through the lower bracket to win, leaving him with a razor-thin margin for error the rest of the tournament.
Today is elimination Saturday. The potential for elimination looms large as the bulk of the tournament field will be weeded out in just a few short hours. Early games to watch on Saturday include Polt vs. Sheth, aLive vs. Artist, Killer vs. Symbol, IdrA vs. Jinro, and ThorZaIN vs. Tyler.
MLG runs a free (low-medium quality) stream, and they have premium options available if you’re willing to pay. If not, at least give it a look. Maybe esports isn’t for you, but if you’re a fan of video games and competition, or Starcraft, you might be surprised to find it’s a good time.
You can find the broadcast schedule on the MLG website.
If you are interested in more in-depth coverage, complete with esports lingo, gameplay analysis, interviews, and more, check out ESFI World’s on-site coverage below:
- DongRaeGu puts NaNiwa off balance, wins match 2-0
- HuK wins back-and-forth 2-1 match against viOLet
- MKP dominates again, tops SaSe
- NaNiwa rebounds, sweeps DeMusliM 2-0
- DRG sweeps HayprO, remains undefeated
- Oz controls tempo and initiative in 2-1 win over PartinG
- Parting 2-0’s Grubby, tops group
- Polt and Stephano don't disappoint in exciting rematch; Polt wins 2-1
Friday photo gallery.