Day 1 was a little rough. I had taken my master’s exam that morning, and was running on 2 hours of sleep. It wasn’t easy to strike up conversation with people, and by the end of it, I was falling asleep in my chair. Day 2 started at 8:00 AM, but It was just warm-ups until 10. Matches started at 10 AM, but they didn’t start casting on the main stage until 1:00 PM. Lynn and I opted to get a decent night’s sleep instead, and I’m glad I did- I felt way better than I did on day 1- I’ve been getting a lot of writing done, and we’ve been able to watch a lot more matches than we did yesterday.
The tournament is casted by a number of different Internet personalities, including Day, DJWheat, Artosis, Tasteless, and two others. They are about as popular as some of the players- I’d imagine that even they are surprised by the incredible reception that they get at these events, when they spend most of their time casting alone in their homes. There was a brief feature on the main stage where Clutch interviewed Day, who is fantastic at public speaking. He can get the crowd at least as much as any of the players. He had some kind words to say to people trying to do independent game sites, and that really resonated with me. He said what most in the business would say: if you want to work in casting, games journalism, or streaming- just start now. You don’t need anyone’s permission to do it. It’s good to see industry favorites giving encouragement to their fans. I would say the same, adding one addendum- have a day job in the meantime.
I had a lot of material to talk about on the first day, so I decided to wait until my day 2 article to talk about the tournament setup- there are 256 entrants: 16 top-ranked guys that play their bracket on the main stage, and 240 entrants (anyone can sign up), and they play in a roped-off players’ area. You can watch over their shoulder as they play, but understandably, it’s not as fun as watching on the main stage. There’s a winners bracket and a losers bracket, so if you lose a match (or even more than one), you’re not necessarily screwed. For instance, Grubby was in a funk, but had to lose 5 matches before being eliminated from the tournament, because of his high original seed. Over the course of the weekend, you slowly start to new entrants filter into the main stage arena.
There was an exciting (and mildly depressing) upset match between HuK and Heart, from team Complexity. Heart has streamed competitions online before, but this was his first trip to MLG. They have a system where you can text in who you think will win the match, and 95% of people thought that Huk would win.
- In the first game, Huk was staying fairly reserved, with a small army. Heart’s army was designed to counter stalkers. He was harassing Huk’s base like crazy with a cloaked banshee, and Huk occasionally moved forward a few stalkers to shoo them away. To his detriment, he ignored the banshee more than he should have, and the banshee killed enough probes to cripple HuK, ultimately costing him the match.
- In the second game, HuK was on the defensive from the start, but managed to survive long enough to amass a decent army, and won in the following push (with, of course, some nice sentry micro). In the third game, however, HuK ended up losing to Heart’s well-rounded anti-stalker army, in the biggest upset in the tournament thus far. Heart’s record was 5-0 at the end of day 2.
Another really exciting match was JYP vs. DongRaeGu (DRG). The Zerg vs. Protoss battle of the macro-champions was intense, but DRG ended up winning 2-1. We’ll be back tomorrow with a Day 3 update! See you then.