MLG Spring Arena Preview
Posted by Andrei "procyonlotor" Filote 1 year, 33 weeks ago
MLG’s Spring Arena has more than cherry blossoms going for it as eight of the new year’s best performing players have gathered in New York City to open up the traditional season of war. The only question is are they going to duel or brawl?
I get the feeling that HuK is sort of a one man show. Whenever he goes to a tournament he packs up his giant circus tent, complete with stage, trampoline and angry lion, and then he shows us what he can do. Not quite all the tricks in the book, but it’s better than the hula hoop a lesser player might carry.
Were you sad when NaNiwa decided to go to Dreamhack? You shouldn’t be. It’s like losing Stallone but getting Schwarzenegger. Admittedly, it’s always nice to see a top foreigner play top Koreans, but really, were we looking forward to HuK taking him out in PvP again?
More than a fish, more than a man
Death rising from the tide
Is probably going to win again. The man has nothing to prove. All he needs to do is not bomb out of the tournament, and even if he slips quietly out of the running it will have been a nice a trip and a fun weekend, and then it’s off to winning Code S.
Still kind of a new guy, and not entirely convincing. When we see someone at the very end of an MLG bracket we expect him to be more spectacular and more solid. It’s unfair, but running from the Open Bracket all the way to the near end of the entire tournament produced more hype than Heart could deliver.
Poor viOlet, after all this time and he’s still as unquantifiable as Heart. He plays well, he wins stuff, but he doesn’t inspire awe. We watch him play but we still just fidget when deciding if he’s got the goods or not. Like Heart, however, he must have them. He wouldn’t be here otherwise.
Still one of the Emperor’s less favored sons. Having left SlayerS, we have to wonder, how long until he grows out of that shadow? It’s easy to forget S level players have their own tiers, and GanZi is stuck firmly in the middle of the pool. Like Heart and viOlet, he is the owner of a mediocre brand of excellence.
Everyone’s new favorite protoss is going to be taking names - especially MKP’s.
Everybody’s favorite zerg. Also going to be taking names - also MKP’s.
Short of HuK beating everybody the best storyline of the event must be these two players’ likely eagerness to face MarineKing again. DongRaeGu has been repeatedly taught his place by the newly ascended champion, and Parting, like the whole of Startale, is sure to be feeling sore from when a very possible GSTL victory was snatched from them in Las Vegas by none other than MarineKing himself. If Parting denies MKP another victory it will probably assuage his team’s discontent. If DongRaeGu manages to do it, however, then it’s just the latest blow in one of the newer rivalries of Starcraft 2.
Wet with tears.
I won again.
Winter Arena, Abridged
What people call a tournament is a glorified series of showmatches built on the idea that winners deserve to be rewarded. Spring Arena is at the root of that notion, the tiny roster being the revealing factor. The very idea that this event is a tournament is quaint. Perhaps we have been spoiled by the large gatherings at Dreamhack and other MLG events, losing track of the nature of competition. Maybe it’s just the magniloquence of the word - tournament - drawing in its sonality the winner’s path beginning to end leading us to believe that something this focused could never be worthy of a three day broadcast.
MLG seems to know this because they are bringing in no less than six casters, including Tastosis, Blizzard’s own Rob Simpson, and Grubby, whose casting skills have slowly been gaining fame and might eclipse his success as a player. Supporting them will be Sheth, qxc and Axslav, three players apparently tasked with producing additional analysis in an attempt to fill more empty space with content.
I don’t know what makes more sense. Charging for a three day event with four streams and hundreds of competitors where you can only view a small selection of games at any one time; or charging for a three day event with two streams and eight players, unfolding comfortably and being streamed completely. Is it fair to say you would get roughly the same amount of content? I suppose it would. An entire weekend of matches available in the comfort of your home, no sacrifices, the tournament made available in its entirety.
What’s missing is the excitement, pageantry and chaos of a large event. There’s no crowd, no physical image of the unfolding glory. There are few, if any, great storylines to follow and almost certainly no surprises. There can be no champion battling through the brackets to become the revelation of the tournament - no NaNiwa, no Leenock - and there can be no unexpected breakthroughs. For these players, the walls have long been torn down.
It’s wise to resist the thought that MLG’s pay per view model seems to be working. Realistically speaking, it has worked once. A second success would reinforce but not confirm the model, and in the great scheme of things, it pays to be cautious. Spring Arena is an event so small it might deserve to be private. It functions as a kind of Homestory Cup of the boardroom, possibly mirroring MLG’s still timid approach to PPV. Even so, it’s one I’ll watch gladly.