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Korea Dominates Day 1 of MLG

By JimRaynor - 17th March 2013 - 14:08 PM

The first day of the Major League Gaming (MLG) Winter Championship 2013 has come to a close, and the results are not terribly surprising.

The seventeen Korean players entering MLG are among the best StarCraft 2 players on the planet. However, the same cannot be said for the group of fifteen non-Koreans entering the event. This led to the all-too-predictable results on day one. Leenock, Parting, Flash, and Innovation went a combined 12-1 against their non-Korean competition. The only loss came when Flash appeared to be employing a very experimental opening build order in game three with a 2-0 lead against Bly (in the first two games, Flash thoroughly outclassed Bly). Ret, Sen, Jjakji and Rain also won their first round matches. Eight more first-round matches will occur Saturday afternoon. The biggest surprise result of the evening had to be MarineKing getting knocked out without a win.

The MLG Winter Championship consists of 32 players in a single elimination bracket. Each round until the finals is best-of-five, while the finals are best-of-seven. This means no giant open bracket for up-and-coming players to test their skills. While MLG announced that "every match at an MLG live event will be broadcast," this is just a nice way of stating that an open bracket will not be part of any MLG in 2013, prompting a mild backlash on Reddit.

Over the past year, League of Legends has garnered progressively higher viewer numbers in the western hemisphere (primarily via Twitch.tv), so it comes as no surprise that it is one of the three games at the MLG Winter Championship. Given Activision's Call of Duty has now replaced Halo, two of the three games in the event are products of Activision-Blizzard. MLG owner, Sundance Digiovanni, stated Activision-Blizzard gave his organization a clear long term commitment. He also noted in a matter-of-fact manner that he has not received any kind of long term commitment by League of Legends publisher, Riot. This is likely why StarCraft 2 has been given headline status in MLG's presentation.

MLG put together the best presentation of a StarCraft 2 live event in its almost three year history. However, occasional lag problems and small delays marred the proceedings. MLG's amazing "picture in picture" did a great job of covering the action when players fought on two or more front lines. The no-cost 720p Twitch stream provided a clear, crisp, and smooth view throughout the evening. Geoff "Incontrol" Robinson provided some great insights into the strategies executed by Protoss players. Occasionally, TotalBiscuit and DJWheat tried to get into the deeper nuances of the meta-game, though they were way off-base most of the time; after all, not everyone has Artosis' game knowledge. All the other commentators provided nice insights. All in all, MLG can be proud of the viewing package they put together Friday night. I encourage you to turn off Ad Block if you elect to watch MLG on the free stream. Great job, MLG!