For those of you who don’t follow the e-sports scene, the topic heading won’t mean much, but for those who do, it means a weekend full of intense gaming competition and lots of things brought to you by Stride and Dr. Pepper. I’ll be writing briefly about the Starcraft 2 that is scheduled to commence in just a few hours in Columbus, Ohio, although of course other competitive videogames are available.
This weekend’s tournament promises to be very interesting, perhaps mostly because this is the first major, major tournament of the year where the Western and Korean scenes will collide. We will find out if the gap between the two has shrunk, increased, or remained where it was in the waning months of 2011 (rather large). Perhaps even more intriguingly, we will see which players in particular have upped their game since we last saw them on the big stage, and who went into hibernation over the winter. The signs point to Stephano, Ret and Naniwa being the torch-bearers for the foreigner cause, but pre-tournament hype can often be misleading.
Meanwhile, it can be safely assumed that the Koreans will do their thing as usual, which is win, a lot. I don’t want to completely rule out a non-Korean victor, but honestly I can’t see anyone else beating them. The trio of DongRaeGu, MarineKing and MC come into Ohio as hot favourites, with players such as Oz and Polt shadowing them closely. The bottom-line is that these Koreans can all beat each other in a given series, and none of them should be unduly troubled by a foreigner, save perhaps for a Stephano or Naniwa in top form. My personal pick is Oz, purely because he comes into the tournament without too much hype to distract him from what he’s there to do, and he’s overdue a true breakout performance on the international stage.
Other than that, it will be interesting to see how MLG has changed up their presentation from last year. They weren’t doing much wrong on that front, particularly post the infamous Dallas event, but they are bound to keep up their efforts nonetheless. I’m less than keen on Rob Simpson as a caster, but hey, that’s just me. It certainly promises to be (another) great weekend of Starcraft 2. Who do you see winning this weekend?