This weekend was one of the biggest weekends for Major League Gaming, one of the fastest growing eSports organizers. MLG had its first ever LAN-event, the Starcraft 2 Winter Arena. This event was also a big step for MLG because for the first time ever, this event was Pay-Per-View. For $20 U.S.D fans were able to tune in online and watch over 80 hours of competitive. Starcraft 2 between some of the worlds best players. MLG also had a free stream, sponsored by Dr. Pepper, which included behind the scene footage, including interviews of the players and much more; however this free stream featured no actual gameplay footage.
The Winter Arena brought together 32 of the worlds best competitive Starcraft 2 players, who battled through a double elimination tournament, in hopes to get their share of the $26,000 dollar prize pool. These players included 24 players who qualified from the Online Qualifiers, as well as the top 8 finishers from MLGs last event, MLG Providence. These players were not only fighting over the prize pool, but also for seeding in the MLG Winter Championship, a tournament taking place in March in Columbus. The top sixteen finishers from the Winter Arena will be given a fully paid for trip to Columbus for the Championship. Both of these prestigious rewards made this tournament very competitive and extremely entertaining to watch.
Similar to most Starcraft 2 tournaments, the MLG Winter Arena was complete with close matches, as well as blow outs, and a few very shocking surprises. Some of the early surprises in this tournament included DeMuslim defeating Nestea and Oz beating Idra in the first round of the Winners Bracket. This upsets continued, as DRG, one of the favorites to win the tournament, was knocked down to the Losers Bracket by Parting in the second round. Also in the second round, Ret was able to knock out, MVP, another favorite to win the tournament.
This type of surprising, and very entertaining, play continued all the way through the tournaments until the Grand Finals. The finals were between two of the best players in the world, as MarineKing, who went undeafeted through the entire Winners Bracket, went up against DRG, who was knocked down to the Losers Bracket early, yet was able to fight his way back up to the finals. DRG was able to come out strong, and after the first three games he was ahead 2 games to 1. However, MarineKing kept his composure and was able to when the round, 4 games to 2, and successfully finish in first place. Winning first place, MarineKing earned $10,00 from the prize pool. Second place DRG was rewarded $6,000. Huk was able to finish in third were he earned $3,600. Fourth place went to Oz, who received $2,200. Parting and Violet finished 5th and 6th, and both earned $1,400. Finally, Naniwa and Ganzi finshed in 7th and 8th, earning $900 dollars each.
The MLG Winter Arena was one of the most action packed weekends that MLG has ever brought their fans. Not only was it a new format, but the Pay-Per-View, along with the high prize pool made the action even more exciting then their previous events. This leads one to believe that their upcoming Winter Championship event, taking place in March, will be even better then the previous MLG Championships.