eSports Update: State of the GSL
As usual, the world of Starcraft II competition is busy-busy. Today we're going to recap the GSL Team League matches and the new Code A/Code S seasons.
GSL Team League Results
The Global Starcraft League ran a team tournament during the normal GSL season break, from February 7th to the 11th. Eight teams (IM, fOu, ST, Slayers, Prime, ZeNEX, oGs, and TSL) started on the field with four players each, and they endured a series of 1v1 best-of-one matches until only one team remained.
Team ST (StarTales) and Team IM (Incredible Miracle) made it to the finals, leaving behind a few excellent war stories in their wake--ST "Ggoboogie" ("Squirtle," in Korean, for you Pokemon fans) landed the only clean sweep of the whole tournament by beating four fOu players in a row. Team IM, on the other hand, was a heavy favorite to win it all due to the presence of two GSL winners (Jae-Duck "NesTea" Lim from GSL Open Season 2 and Jong-Hyeon "MVP" Jeong from the Code S tournament in January).
Needless to say, the finals matches were truly epic: Each team traded wins back and forth until IMNesTea beat Ggoboogie/Squirtle in the last game on Xel'Naga Caverns to win it all with ruthless Hydralisk/Zergling attacks. The best games of the series were undoubtedly game 7 (Bomber/MVP on Tal'Darim Altar) and game 8 (Ggoboogie/MVP), the former demonstrating the comeback power of a former champion and the latter showcasing Team StarTales' up-and-coming talent, respectively.
GSL Code S/Code A Tournaments Resume
With the team tournament over, the regular GSL Code S and Code A tournaments kicked off on February 21 and have been running at full steam since (through round 32).
If you're new to the game, or simply forgot how the GSL works, it works like this: Players are divided into two groups, with the better players earning "Code S" ranking and the not-so-good players getting stuck with "Code A." The two groups each have their own 32-man bracket to win, but the Code S players have more money at stake for the final prize (a little under $45,000 for this season). After each tournament is over, the higher-placed members of the Code A tournament play through a tournament with the lower-placed members of the Code S tournament in an "up and down match" where Code A members can get upgraded to Code S, and Code S players can get knocked back down to Code A.
So far, we've already seen some pretty exciting results coming out of both tournaments. Canadian fan favorite Chris "Liquid'HuK" Loranger has demonstrated that he can hang with the Korean scene by beating Pyo "ST.Curious" Lee-Won 2-0 in the Code A bracket, while Dong-Nyung "Leenock.fOu" Lee beat Seung-Il "SlayerS.YuGiOh" Jung 2-0 to move on to the Code A round of 16. In Code S, meanwhile, the first round is handled as a set of qualification pools that send the top two on to the next round and the bottom two to the up/down matches. Last Code S season winner IMMVP found himself at the receiving end of a death bracket that included GSL Season 3 winner Min-Chul "oGsMC" Jang (Protoss), while Jonathan "Liquid'Jinro" Walsh and Starcraft: Brood War legend Yoon-Yeol "NaDa" Lee have both made it to the round of 16.
Also, don't forget to catch tonight's Code S matches, which include Jae-Duck "IMNesTea" Lim (Season 2 champ) and Yo-Hwan "SlayerSBoxer" Lim.