October 2nd, 2012
Author: Anders Ingebrigtsen
Major League Gaming recently finished up their Summer Championship, holding the event together with Blizzard’s World Championships Series (WCS) North American finals meant that some players, like EG’s Greg “IdrA” Fields and Acer’s Sasha “Scarlett” Hostyn, would have their focus on the Blizzard event to qualify for the main WCS event taking place in Shanghai, China. This approach has been questioned by a lot of community members, especially after seeing the success of WCS Europe as a standalone event.
Scarlett being introduced by Clutch.
The clear favorite and winner of the WCS North American event was Sasha “Scarlett” Hostyn. The Canadian swept the tournament, only dropped games in the finals, and established herself as the player to beat in North America, over people like HuK, Major and IdrA.
The WCS NA finals were mostly unnoticed, happening on premium streams and acting as a warm up for the main event, the MLG Summer Championships. The latter event was stacked with fantastic players like Stephano, Revival, Heart, HerO, Taeja, First, TheSTC and Violet. But this tournament would be remembered for its many upsets.
First off, the favorite for most, Taeja, lost his first game against the up and coming protoss player, CranK. Before this event, TaeJa went quite far in the GSL, and won several Korean weekly tournaments. The TeamLiquid.net write-up had the Team Liquid player as the top player and said the only one who could stop him was himself. This turned out not to be true, as Crank and First demolished the tournament favorite, who in the end finished a respectable 3rd place, but I’m sure he would have placed much higher on the podium.
Before the event, I’m sure no one other than FXOBoSs gave Leenock a chance to win the MLG event. After winning his first MLG over Naniwa, Leenock has been in a bit of a slump ever since. However, this event, coupled with his GSL Code S run (currently Ro16), showed he’s been doing a good job coming out of his slump. Leenock ended up facing LG-IM.First in the final, and took a convincing 4-1 victory.
Perhaps the biggest upset of the tournament would end up involving CranK. Being teamless and looking for a new team outside of Korea, his chances were not looking very promising for MLG. But things would change. After a Reddit thread blew up, Genna Bain, manager of the Cynical organization and wife of caster and content producer John “Totalbiscuit” Bain, took charge and basically paid for CranK’s trip, so that he could have shit shot at glory.
At MLG, CranK was placed in the open bracket. After 2-0ing everyone that stood in his way, including prominent players like EG.INcontrol[RC] and ROOT.TT1, he went on to beat Liquid’s TaeJa 2-1, 2-0 against Revival in the next round, and overall 4-3 against Liquid.HerO to qualify for the 16 player Championship bracket, making the Cynical Brit team very happy with their investment. We asked CranK what his thoughts about attending an MLG were:
“I think this MLG was a good turning point [for me] as a pro gamer. I met and made a lot of foreign friends, and I will never forget them because they supported me and cheered for me. Even though I did not post impressive results, I will not be deterred and dedicate more effort to this game.”
A positive for the foreign scene was the revitalized EG.IdrA.RC. After an impressive display in the WCS part of this MLG, he was ready to be released on the main portion, beating runner up IM.First in what is arguably IdrA’s worst match up (ZvP), became the high point of IdrA’s MLG run. This coupled with Quantic.Hawk showing promising games, qualifying for the Championship bracket and beating IM.Losira 2-0, the NA scene is showing it can still compete with the best of them.
The failure of the favorites was the big talking point in this tournament. With people well out of the top ten of Team Liquid’s power ranking getting high finishes, such as #20 TSL.Revival crushing into 7th/8th place, and #12 LG-IM.First surprising the field with a runner up placement. This meant that highly ranked people like MarineKingPrime and SlayerS.Alicia placed much lower than expected.
MarineKing was unable to attend the previous MLG event, meaning he was not given seeding into Championship brackets or Open brackets, which forced him to fight through the Open bracket, eventually falling to Revival in the Championship’s loser bracket. Alicia, who has had several second place finishes had a disappointing tournament, ending outside of top 10, Alicia had this to say:
“The event itself was great. Meeting foreign players is always exciting. For my performance, I was pretty disappointed in the result. But I know I will do better in the future”
As always with MLG events, there were some good showings from the non-Korean players, like IdrA beating First, but the overall performance was a letdown with only 2 non-Koreans in the top 16. As usual, Stephano was leading the charge, but he still fell short of what we know he can do, and surprisingly, coL.Academy player, Sasquatch, was the second highest non-Korean player at the event, surprising many, and winning MLG’s breakout player award, shared with CranK.