MLG StarCraft II MvP Invitational Playoffs start tonight at 7PM EST
For the last three weeks, some of the world's best StarCraft II pros have clashed with the Korean eSports Association's (or KeSPA) Brood War legends that are making their transition to SCII in Major League Gaming's MvP (or MLG vs Proleague) Invitational. The overwhelming storyline from this tournament is that the KeSPA players have overwhelmingly caught up to the rest of the veterans of Starcraft II.
The Proleague players absolutely stomped all over the MLG players in Regular season play, in which each player from MLG and Proleague played two matches in a round robin style format. Interesting fact: Every player from KeSPA finished with at least a 50% or positive record, where as there was only one player to do so from the players representing MLG, the unsigned Johan "Naniwa" Luchessi, who scored a 26-22 record.
The North American bracket in particular did very poorly against the Proleague players, with the top finisher, Dan "Vibe" Scherlong (the USA National Champion from the Battle.net World Championship Series) scraping only 16 wins. Whether this is a testament to the Proleague's skill or a sign of the times for North American player remains to be seen as we head into the playoffs.
The players representing MLG have perhaps one major advantage here - they only have to win one series against the ProLeague players after becoming victorious in the Playoffs against the other MLG players. To see what I mean, here's a look at the Playoff bracket:
As you can see, the top eight from Proleague must fight each other to progress all the way to the grand finals. The top 4 from the North American division, and top 2 from each the EU and Korean divisions must battle each other as well. This means that players will have to battle opponents they are much more familiar with to secure spots in not only the winner take all $10,000 grand final but also the coveted Group Play spots for MLG Dallas. The winners from each of the Round of 16 matches secure themselves these spots, which include fully paid for airfare and a much easier road at Dallas than other players coming through the open bracket must face, in which they will be competing for a $76,000 prize pool and a $25,000 first place prize.
The competition from here on out is sure to be fierce as we come down to the wire in this unique long-form tournament. Let's take a look at the schedule for the rest of the competition. You can tune in by buying a pass for $9.99, which includes all of the previous broadcasts (a great value, if you ask me):
Friday, October 19, 7pm ET - Round 1 - Europe & Korea/Taiwan
Saturday, October 20, 3pm ET - Round 1 - Proleague Day 1
Sunday, October 21, 3pm ET - Round 1 - Proleague Day 2
Monday, October 22, 7pm ET – Round 1 - North America
Tuesday, October 23, 7pm ET - Quarterfinals - Proleague
Thursday, October 25, 7pm ET - Quarterfinals - NA vs. NA & EU vs. KT
Friday, October 26, 7pm ET - Semifinals - PL vs. PL & NA vs. EU/KT
Monday, October 29, 7pm ET - Final - MLG Finalist vs. Proleague Finalist
My personal prediction is for a Naniwa vs Rain finals, which will mean a Protoss vs Protoss grand finals. What are your predictions? Let me know by posting below!