Date: March 3-4, 2012
Location: St. Paul Student Center, St. Paul, MN
This weekend I had the pleasure of representing The Spawn Room at another Teh Pwn Gaming StarCraft 2 tournament. I had been to their previous 2011 StarCraft 2 Open so I was excited to see another high quality tournament. Along with me were my close friends and fellow SpawnRoomers Mitch â€œLegacyâ€ Tallman and Joe â€œGerbaâ€ Ohnstad.
The first day was a Collegiate Star League qualifier involving several regional Universities. Registered were the Universities of Minnesota-Twin Cities, Wisconsin-Madison, Case Western Reserve, Cincinnati, West Illinois, Chicago, St. Olaf, Iowa State, University of Iowa, and Mankato State. Needless to say, it was a full-house with a lot of great talent fighting for a spot in the CSL playoffs.
Like many LANs, the dayâ€™s matches were delayed due to unforeseeable networking issues. From what I heard, the venue was only supplied with a limited amount of IP addresses. Instead of 12-16 per table, they got 12 overall, which clearly isnâ€™t enough for dozens of players. Fortunately a work-around was implemented and the tournament began a couple hours behind schedule. As usual, LAN mode would probably solve something like this.
â€œTeam TSRâ€ spent the first day of the event meeting the other sponsors and casually talking to various people at our booth. I met Evan from Fancy Pants Gangsters, a local Internet broadcaster, Nick and Dennis from Antec, Elling from Asus, and Robert from Device Unknown. They were all really friendly and great to talk to. I want to give a special shoutout to the Antec for traveling from San Francisco for this tournament and bringing a ridiculous amount of swag to give away! Thatâ€™s some eSports dedication right there. I also had the pleasure of chatting with Dan, the NOS representative I met last year. His booth was decked out with free give-aways, NOS energy, a console gaming area, and some lovely girls helping gamers choose the right beverage. Overall it was a great setup for the sponsors and definitely an improvement over last year.
The matches were pretty solid from what I saw, although it was a little difficult to follow. Since games displayed individual player names, I had no idea which teams were actually competing. And as for someone who only watches big SC2 pro tournaments, the CSL format was a little confusing at first. Of course after reading the description on the site it made sense, but personally Iâ€™d prefer a more standard 1v1 bo3 winners-losers bracket.
The production quality was again very high for a regional tournament and is probably the highest youâ€™re going to find around this neck of the woods. The only two problems that persisted the length of the event was variable sound and stage lighting. From our booth, it was somewhat hard to hear the casters and often times we got lost trying to figure out what was happening. This problem isnâ€™t easy to solve however. If the speakers were too loud, the players may hear the casters narrating their games. Ideally, we could have watched the stream, but unfortunately the University wireless was too slow. The other main problem was the lighting on the projector screen. It was too high and washed out the image. Had that been lowered or removed, the screen would have been much clearer. Iâ€™m assuming this was the case because the casters needed light?
Day 2 launched the Open tournament. This was what we were really looking forward to since familiar names were competing. Players like redground, Nozick, EroSennin, stips, storm, PsychonautQQ, JaPz, happyhobo, and Ssok were listed among many others. There were also some â€œknown playersâ€ registered: puCK from Convergence Gaming and Everize from Team Dynamic, Complexityâ€™s goswser was listed but couldnâ€™t make it (non-cash prize pool?). In total, there were 56 registers players, down from approximately 73 that registered last year. After talking with a few it sounds like many were focusing less on StarCraft and more on school and jobs right now.
Matches began with a round robin that guaranteed at least 6 games for every competing player. This was a really smart idea on part of TPG for two reasons. One, every player got to play their moneyâ€™s worth of games, and two, the spectators got a chance to see who the top skilled players were. It was fun watching the results and picking out who was likely to make it through.
After the round robin, they proceeded with a tiebreaker series for all 4-2-0 players. This was a little confusing because according to Challonge, the top 8 were already chosen using the â€œtiebreaker scoreâ€. This decision, while offering more exciting games, ultimately resulted in two problems. First, the two 4-2-0 players seeded the highest, now had to compete again for spots they probably should have had automatically. Luckily for them, they ended up both winning that bracket and securing their spots. And the second problem was that it took so long that the top 8 losers bracket had to be dropped to save time (although consolation matches were played off stream). Either way it resulted in good matches, but ideally the top players should have a chance to come back after a loss.
Top 8 ended up consisting of: Everize, Sports, Moa, Moosegills, puCK, Daydream, sTrike, and redground. They each fought a bo3 elimination round leaving Everize vs Moa and puCK vs redground. Everize was probably favored over Moa in terms of skill, but both had a lot of support in the stream. As for puCK and redground itâ€™s hard to say. Redground is like a local hero and clearly a talented player, but puCK is rostered on an official eSports team. The next bo3 went underway and resulted in explosive cheers from redgroundâ€™s station. He went 2-1 over puCK and would face Everize (2-0 over Moa) in the finals. puCK and Moa would also play a series resulting in a third place win for puCK.
The finals were pretty awesome from a spectators POV. Everize started the series with a relatively quick 2-0 over redground, and it seemed like he was going to walk away with an easy win. It seemed like his drop play and constant harass was just too much for redground to deal with. But he wasnâ€™t ready to give up quite yet and turned the tables taking two games from Everize. As each moment passed by, people began to get more excited as they saw the almost impossible opportunity for redground to take the tournament. The final match was pretty back and forth at the beginning and looked promising for both players. But unfortunately redgroundâ€™s army couldnâ€™t stop his opponents and the series ended 3-2 in favor of Everize.
Overall this years event was solid and an improvement in almost every way. The mini-MLG setup gave it a very legitimate feel and allowed spectators to mingle amongst the players. The games, especially the top 8, were exciting and well casted (from what I caught). The layout for sponsors and partners was excellent, the staff was friendly and helpful, and the coordinators were constantly at work. In fact, the biggest shoutout I want to give is to Evva and everyone who made this possible. Events like this are invaluable to helping build eSports and introduce new people to the scene. Thanks for all your hard work!
Other Tags: TPG, StarCraft II, SC2, CSL