eSports Update: Major League Gaming 2011 Starts

Major League Gaming kicks off the first event of its 2011 season, and the Global StarCraft League is well into its world championships. Read on and we'll help you catch up.

What to expect from MLG Dallas

Last year's MLG Dallas saw plenty of excellent action, culminating in a big win by LiquidJinro, which turned out to be a bellwether of his impressive performance in subsequent GSL tournaments. Now GSL's starting its 2011 season with another big Dallas tournament (featuring StarCraft 2, Halo: Reach, and Call of Duty: Black Ops). You can watch the StarCraft stream in the video player below (starts at 5:30 PM PT today).

The StarCraft 2 tournament consists of four pools, each consisting of four seeded players, plus an open bracket that tops out at 256 players. The pools and open bracket are designed to eventually feed the final 32-man bracket, so the tournament will start by playing the open bracket until it gets to the top 16. The top four from the open bracket will be placed into each of the pools, where they play round-robin style to figure out the top player in each pool. Meanwhile, the losers from the pool join the bottom 12 from the open bracket in the final 32-man bracket, where they'll have to claw their way to the top.

The seeded pool players are: EG.IdrA (Zerg), ROOT.KiWiKaKi (Protoss), aTn.Socke (Protoss) and Gretorp (Terran) in Pool A, LiquidRet (Zerg), dignitas.SeleCT (Terran), dignitas.SjoW (Terran), and FXOQxc (Terran) in Pool B, LG.PainUser (Terran), ROOT.SLusH (Zerg), LiquidTLO (Terran), and EG.iNcontroL (Zerg) in Pool C, and ROOT.Drewbie (Terran), LiquidTyler (Protoss), LG. Agh (Protoss), and EG.Machine (Zerg) in Pool D. The open bracket, meanwhile, has plenty of big names looking for a strong finish, including ROOT.CatZ (Zerg), LiquidHuk (Protoss), LiquidHaypro (Zerg), and a whole bunch of other hungry would-be winners.

Considering how many high-class StarCraft tournaments we've seen the last few months, it's clearly still anyone's game. My money's on Socke, Qxc, PainUser, and Machine to make it out of their respective pools and bring the heat in the winner's bracket, though feel free to check back here on Monday and we'll see how right or wrong that prediction turns out to be.

GSL World Championship Round of 8

If you haven't been paying attention to the Global Starcraft League lately, it's time to pick it back up. Rather than run another Code S/Code A tournament, they're doing an 8-on-8 world tournament between 8 Korean players and 8 non-Korean players. The tournament kicked off with a two-day team match that featured Team Korea (IMmvp, oGsNaDa, ST_July, NSHoSeo_san, IMNesTea, MarineKingPrime, oGsMC, and anyproPrime.WE) vs. Team World (LiquidHuk, Duckload_WhiteRa, mTw_Dimaga, Fnatic_Sen, Fnatic_TT1, Mouz_Morrow, and LiquidJinro) that culminated in a nail-biting series between Dimaga and July, IMMvp, and IMNesTea. While NesTea ended up capturing the title for Team Korea, Team World acquitted themselves nicely--a warning shot for the real 16-man World Championship tournament bracket.

Rather than spoil the World Championship tournament results, I'll just link you to the GomTV videos index. That's because unlike previous seasons, this tournament is sponsored by LG Cinema 3D and doesn't require the purchase of a season ticket. Instead, the GSL encourages you to donate to Japan tsunami relief efforts, and watch the tournament for free.

Patrick Miller is a Staff Editor for PCWorld. Add him on Twitter or Facebook, or message him on Battle.Net (pattheflip.729) for a game.

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