MLG Raleigh StarCraft II Summer Championships Recap
Raleigh, North Carolina played host to Major League Gaming’s (MLG) Summer Championships this weekend. The top players from the MLG Summer Season were joined by an astonishing 208 Open Bracket players, full of talented competitors, all looking for their share of fame and $76,000 in prize money.
The 2012 MLG Pro Circuit Summer Championship is the final event of the 2012 MLG Summer season. The tournament had two preliminary stages – a Group Stage for the highest seeded players and a double-elimination Open Bracket. However, the Group Stage has a new name this time around, and a new format: double-elimination Group Play replaces the round-robin Pool Play from previous Championships. Top 16 players of 2012 MLG Summer Arena are seeded into Group Play, due to scheduling conflicts, the eight invited KeSPA players will be replaced in Group Play by the next highest qualifiers from the Summer Season, based on Arena and Invite Qualifier results.
The Open Bracket and Group Play are conjoined in a culminating double-elimination Championship Bracket. In addition to the regular tournament, MLG will also be hosting the WCS North America Finals, players like Huk, Idra, Nony and more will be competing in both.
Just a few months prior, Major Leagues Gaming’s spring championship played out, and the event was watched by more than 4.7 million people online.
To put those numbers in perspective, the MLG championship on that Sunday outdrew the Sugar Bowl, the Rose Bowl and even the 2012 NBA All-Star Game in the coveted 18- to 24-year-old male audience.
And by the time the tournament was over and the last of the $160,000 in prize money was awarded, MLG calculated that an astonishing 5.4 million hours of video had been consumed by “StarCraft II” gamers from around the world hoping to get a glimpse of the techniques of some of the world’s most elite players.
While I don’t have the exact numbers of who turned into the Summer Championships just yet, it’s easy to assume the numbers were equal or even higher. Needless to say, E-Sports is on the rise and MLG is certainly reaping the rewards and benefits.
While there were many matches that I could certainly talk about, it was actually in the finals between IM’s First against FXO’s Leenock that drew the biggest cheers from the crowd and fans worldwide. Leenock had already won the MLG National Championships not 9 months prior, and is quickly becoming one of the best Zerg players world wide. IM’s First is being called the “protege” of IM’s Nestea and had played well throughout the tournament, defeating some big name players. Players like, Hero, Taeja, Goody and Sasquatch to name a few.
To determine who would win the MLG Summer Championships and take home the prize of $20,000 dollars, a best of 7 would be played out by the two players. Through determination, great macro and micro play and some of the best Zerg vs Protoss (Z v P) play I’ve ever seen, Leenock won 3 games to 2 and put his name into the history books.
In game 1, Leenock played what was arguably some of the most beautiful ZvP play ever. With beautiful defense play, unit movement, tech transition and just flawless play, he was able to take the first game. Leenock was then able to continue his dominance into games two and three respecitvely before attempting what appeared to be a cheese in the 4th game. However, it didn’t work out as well as he had hoped and thus gave up a freebie. It had many laughing, including myself, but I suppose when you’re up 3 games to none, you can afford to give a game away or two.
First did start to make a comeback in game 5 however, and through some much improved aggressive play, he took the fight to Leenock to force a GG (good game) and a game 6. In game 6, Leenock had decided enough was enough and that he wanted the $20,000 prize more then First. This is not to slander or slam First at all, but Leenock played some of the craziest ZvP I’ve ever seen in the history of watching E-Sports.
So what’s next for Leenock or MLG for that matter? Well the next MLG event is the Fall Championship, which takes place November 2nd through to the 4th in Dallas, TX, at the Dallas Convention Center. That’s just 67 days away for those playing at home. This doesn’t give players a lot of time to prepare as qualifications begin shortly and the Fall Arena for StarCraft II is on October 5th through October 7th in New York City, at the MLG Studio. As for Leenock, it’s hard to say what will come next for the up and coming super star. With his most recent MLG win, he surpasses Zerg player, DongRaeGu (DRG) in earnings and is certainly considered a favourite moving forward.
Velocity Gamer will be sure to cover all of the MLG Fall Arena and Fall Championships for Star Craft II, as well as other games at the venue such as, League Of Legends, Halo Reach, Call Of Duty: Black Ops and several fighting games such as Mortal Kombat and King Of Fighters XIII.
For more information about Major League Gaming, visit the official website for MLG and be sure to sign up for a HD pass for great MLG coverage.
What did you guys think of the MLG Summer Championships? Do you have a favorite player you’d like us to cover or perhaps try and interview? Let us know in the comment section below!