MLG Orlando continues! The opening ceremonies kicked off with another speech from Sundance DiGiovanni, CEO of MLG – he quickly thanked all the sponsors and introduced the commentators for the evening including Day, Artosis, Tasteless, Husky, JP Alexander, djWheat and a few others. After that, the mic was turned over to Artosis and Tasteless who handled the pregame show for Starcraft 2.
Before the pregame show, a highly stylized montage of the players in the Championship Pools was shown, as seen below. I thought it was a neat addition, and gives the players quite a bit of personality.
The theme of MLG Orlando’s Starcraft 2 tournament seems to focus very heavily on the “Foreigners vs Koreans” concept, as there are 12 Korean competitors in this tournament. (For those who don’t understand the terminology, foreigners here is referring to non-Korean players, as that is where Starcraft as an eSport really got its start). And indeed, there were many extremely intense matches throughout the day. Let’s go over a few of my favorite moments.
Before the matches really got underway, fan favorite White-Ra was quickly interviewed and asked his thougths on the new expansion. White-Ra is worried that things will get shaken up quite a bit, but excited for the general direction that the expansion will take eSports as a whole. I couldn't agree more. He also wishes to show us more "speshal tektics" as the Ukranian player would say.
EGHuk vs oGsMC – Protoss vs Protoss
MC opened with a four warp gate rush, allowing him to mass a good number of basic gateway units in a fairly short amount of time, and came very close to cinching Huk out a game – however, HuK had the foresight and perfect timing to tech to Robotics Facility and build an Immortal which finished just as the extremely Stalker heavy army of MC invaded his base. The timing was so perfect that the stalkers had just walked by the building when the Immortal popped, thus catching his entire army out of position. The game continued for another 10 minutes, but this put MC so far behind, he simply was not able to keep up with the very impressive play of HuK.
STBomber vs Liquid’Sheth – Terran vs Zerg
Two games I wish to speak about here – Games 2 and 3. First of all, Bomber abused an extremely simply strategy to grab a quick win against Sheth, producing nothing but Marines and just continuing to push against Sheth’s much more standard Roach/Zergling army – even Tastosis was in somewhat of a state of disbelief, as Sheth very clearly outplayed Bomber, but was unable to keep up with the steady stream of high dps but extremely cheap units.
Game 3 of this set in particular was an intense game that came down to a group of 10 Ghosts with the Snipe ability – a testament to just how overpowered the ability is. Bomber was able to take down a pack of Ultralisks in less than 10 seconds just by spamming Snipe. This, of course, ended up costing Sheth the game. While it was well played by Bomber, I feel that without Snipe, he likely wouldn’t have survived the Ultralisk attack near the end of the match.
The Standings after Day 1 of Pool Play
IdrA, Bomber, Ret and Huk sit at the top of their respective pools after one day of Pool Play – surprisingly enough, only one Korean competitor has remained undefeated in the championship pools thus far, and that’s MLG Raleigh champion Bomber. Will he be able to defend his throne? Or will one of the foreigners steal it from him, perhaps the Protoss prodigy HuK? Only time will tell, so we’ll have to wait until tomorrow to find out the final pool standings, and for the championship bracket to kick off.
In the mean time, let’s check out some of these pictures from the rest of MLG Orlando.
Tyler and TLO of Team Liquid hanging out in the lobby between matches
Liquid'Sheth (2-1) and Dustin Steiner (me) just after Interview, which you can read here.
Destiny of Team Quantic Gaming during practice play
One of the MLG Starcraft 2 Main Stage booths for playing matches
EGHuK in the heat of battle
Huk and JP McDaniels after HuK's victory over oGsMC. During this interview, HuK nonchalantly says "I haven't been training much – I'm just here to play."
Not much in the way of Halo or Black Ops coverage, but check out these pictures from the Halo Reach tournament
Greg "IdrA" Fields (3-0). Will this be the man to win it all?
The crowd for Starcraft 2 was insane – all of this was filled, and there were stragglers off to both sides watching. Halo had about 1/3 this number, and Call of Duty had, get this, 15 people watching. I doubt MLG will be keeping Black Ops in the rotation much longer.
And just for fun – I saw this on the way back to the hotel. It says MLG Party Van on the back!
That wraps up Day 1 of our MLG Orlando coverage! Tune in tomorrow around 2 or 3 EST for a midday update and keep on the lookout for any potential interviews… you never know!
Dustin Steiner is GameZone's eSports Correspondent! Follow him on Twitter @SteinerDusitn