This weekend I had the pleasure of attending another regional Starcraft 2 Open tournament. This time hosted on the beautiful University of Minnesota campus by their own Teh Pwn Gaming club. It was a great time and well worth the 4 hour drive!
The tournament was located in the Science Teaching and Student Services building, on the ground floor. ThereÂ were three rooms, one for diamond players, one for master players, and one for spectators. The spectatorÂ room was circled with large HD televisions, each with groups of comfy computer chairs and tables. Two largeÂ projectors, situated on either end of the room, gave an even grander display of the games and really made itÂ feel like a top tier event. There was even soft blue mood lighting which looked really cool and gave justÂ enough light to walk around safely, but not enough that it drowned out the vibrant colors of the TVs. As forÂ speakers, they were all over, so no matter where you were you could hear crisp, loud commentary. It reallyÂ was a perfect setup.
The diamond and master players rooms were also really nice. Similar in design, these rooms were much quieterÂ and darker. The players sat around circular tables and had a comfortable playing space. They also hadÂ projectors for displaying the scores and schedule which I thought was really handy. Between these two roomsÂ there were 73 officially registered players, give or take a few that were M.I.A. Of that number, there was an even split between diamond and master skill level with a fairly equal representation of race. I talked to some of the players expecting to hear nothing but protoss match ups, but wasÂ surprised to find that quite a few had been playing mostly Zerg. Unfortunately towards the end of theÂ tournament the remaining majority were Toss. Oh well.
There was also a small room for the newbie tournament. I didn’t spend any time here so I’m not really sureÂ what went on; all I can tell you is that there were about 17 players competing for the small prize pool. TheÂ finals were then eventually cast during the master/diamond break period. It was fun to watch and I overheardÂ some players saying that it calmed them down and took their minds off things. I’m guessing it probably felt good to watch them make obvious blunders and laugh about it.
Finally the sponsors. In attendance we had a NOS booth, equipped with all the NOS we could drink,Â some hotties working the counter, and a few friendly staffers. Unaware just how much energy these thingsÂ packed, I downed my first can quickly and spent the rest of the night with shaky hands. It was awesome. TheyÂ also had support from Major League Gaming (MLG) who provided some killer prizes (some even for the fans)!Â Myself and a few others happened to win free spectator passes for MLG Columbus in June! There were alsoÂ local sponsors like Oak Street Textbooks, the Student Union and Activities organization, the MinnesotaÂ Student Association, and MTech. It’s great to see organizations such as these helping out a grassrootsÂ Starcraft 2 tournament like this.
A couple weeks ago I attended the Twin Cities Open (TCO) and met some great Starcraft 2 players. WhenÂ heading over to this event I was really hoping to see some of them, but only expected a few at best. To myÂ surprise all the best players from TCO were setup and gaming when I arrived. So let’s talk about the topÂ players of this event and why you should keep an eye on them.
Ssok was our champion that night. His wicked fast APM, impressive unit micro, and unique strategiesÂ dominated player after player and put him in the spotlight after defeating Nozick for first place. He has aÂ long history, plays vigorously, and has what it takes to be the best. I would definitely keep an eye out forÂ Ssok on the ladders after you GG to his massive Protoss army.
Nozick was another impressive competitor and fellow TCO attendee. I’m not entirely sure what it is aboutÂ Nozick, but the man is a beast at Protoss. He’s calm and collect when he plays, he knows the game well, and puts upÂ some amazing fights.
EroSennin was a new face for me, but apparently he’s been around for quite some time. I talked to himÂ shortly before his third place match and he said he’s been playing Brood War for years and reached a highÂ enough level that he was occasionally taking on pro caliber players, competing for WCG qualifiers andÂ reached a B- rating in iCCup. He definitely has the confidence to play well and showed it at thisÂ tournament. Definitely a top contender for the next SC2 Open.
MGRedground was another player I recognized from TCO. He’s currently playing for Mobility Gaming, a smallÂ eSports upstart trying to get a quality team together to compete in large tournaments. Redground is a solid Terran player with excellent theory and a lot of confidence. Every conversation I’ve had with him, he’s beenÂ upfront and honest about the matches. He knows when he can win and will make sure it happens.
Ack and FrozenHobo are two others that really stuck out in my mind. They had the room roaring during some ofÂ their matches and showcased some really great talent. I believe both were in the top 8 as well.
I also feel compelled to give Hollywood another shout out because it’s always a pleasure watching him doÂ work against his competition. He’s the amazing, 14 year old Zerg player I met at TCO and again at thisÂ event. His dad was there as well, helping him out and showing support through the entire event. It alwaysÂ warms my heart to see such passion and support for something like this.
Finally I want to give a shout out to the other TCO competitors that showed up: RebelJHawk, JaPz, Stips, PsychonautQQ, Storm, and Happyhobo. If I missed anyone I’m sorry, let me know and I’ll throw you on theÂ list. Otherwise next time make sure to seek me out and let me know you’re there. I always love hearing fromÂ the players!
Before wrapping this article up I want to give out a few non-player shout outs. These are some people that IÂ met, did an amazing job and deserve credit for their actions. Thanks for providing and/or contributing to anÂ awesome event!
First I want to recognize the casters who did an amazing job all day long. I was really impressed with theÂ quality of conversation, insight, and energy these guys had. Especially since Siraz was the only one who hadÂ done this kind of thing before. Scott ‘Obsidian’ McGrath and Cody ‘Courbple’ Swede (I hope that’s right)Â were new to casting but stepped up magnificently and performed like pros. Definitely take a moment and showÂ these guys some support!
Next we need to acknowledge Evva and Nick who were in charge of the entire events operations. These were theÂ delegates that showed up to the TCO event to scout for players and tirelessly maintained the event onÂ Saturday. And not only did they run the event, but they were nice enough to spend some extra time talking toÂ me and answer a few questions here and there. I really appreciate that and felt very welcomed by them. SoÂ thanks Nick and Evva for putting on a great show and making things happen. Before I jump onto the next shoutÂ out, I’d also like to tie in one for Teh Pwn Gaming club and the CSL team for contributing as well. I’m sureÂ this was a team effort with plenty of planning and coordination. Thanks to all you guys!
Finally I want to say thanks to Daniel McIntosh and NOS for getting so involved in the eSports community andÂ more specifically Starcraft 2. More sponsors means more money which leads to big and better tournaments. AndÂ of course, more NOS. Thanks for keeping us powered up and showing your support!
I haven’t found a link for the brackets, but as soon as I do I’ll provide them here.
NEW: Replay Pack
NEW: Teh Pwn Gaming on Justin.tv
Official event post on CSL (with link to Team Liquid)
Facebook Event post and relevant discussion
Other Tags: CSL, LAN, NOS, StarCraft II, SC2, TPG, University of Minnesota – Twin Cities, UMN
April 26, 2011 — 10:16 AM
I’ve enjoyed your write up on local events Sam. Keep up the good work and I hope to see you around at more Local MN events and reading about your e-sports coverage.
April 26, 2011 — 2:55 PM
Thanks a lot! Yeah I’m planning on attending any local/regional LAN events in the Wisconsin/Minnesota area. Hope to see you around.
April 26, 2011 — 5:13 PM
Hi sam, good article man. I haven’t been to many lans, but this is one of the very best. With so many TV’s and nos (even though I had none) this is as good as it gets compared to the good old days. It’s like I’m watching a movie! I enjoyed your company at the lan and I hope to see you more in the future. Keep it up!
April 26, 2011 — 6:55 PM
Thanks Hollywood! I will definitely try and make it to more tournaments. It’s such a blast hanging out with you guys. Good luck with all your games and I’m sure I’ll see you sometime soon!
April 27, 2011 — 4:52 PM
Thanks for the article and the NOS love man! See you around!!