The conclusion of season 3 of the North American Star League wrapped up this weekend in Toronto to a raucous crowd which had long awaited a major eSports event in Canada. Three champions were crowned at the end of the weekend for the main Starcraft II event, Blizzard's World Championship Series Canadian finals, and the Tribes: Ascend Finals.
Team Millenium's Ilyes "Stephano" Satouri from France won the main Starcraft II event and a $30,000 check with it, sweeping Team Slayers' Yang "Alicia" Joon Sik from South Korea in the finals 4-0. Stephano's Zerg timing and control took out three of the best Korean Protoss players in the world, including Team Liquid's Song "HerO" Hyeon Deok and SK Gaming's Jang "MC" Min Chul. Meanwhile, top PC first-person shooter players put on a skiing display in Tribes as Team MonoManiacs squeaked by Team Legion 3-2 to take the Tribes: Ascend trophy.
Finally, Team Acer's Sasha "Scarlett" Hostyn won over the crowd by taking out four of the best Canadian Starcraft II players in a row, starting with Evil Geniuses' Chris "HuK" Loranger. She went on to defeat Christopher "Ostojiy" Ostojic, Andrew "Drewbie" Moysey, Moon "DdoRo" Jung Ho, and Ostojiy a second time in the grand finals, only losing one map the entire event. She will now lead team Canada at the Blizzard World Championships in China later this year.
"I was really confident [going into this event]" Scarlett told GameSpot after her victory. "I was most worried about Ostojiy, I always beat HuK on the ladder recently, but Ostojiy I always lose to. When I played him the first time I thought I might lose. The first game I got way ahead but then I lost to a Nydus Worm, I thought I would lose the series, but then I barely won. I got more confident after that so when I played him in the grand finals again I thought I could easily win."
Scarlett made a name for herself at the IGN ProLeague Season 4 finals where she defeated Evil Geniuses' Benjamin "DeMusliM" Baker and lost a close series to November GSL 2011 Code S semifinalist, Fnatic's Kim "Oz" Hak Soo from Korea. She took out some of Team SCV Life's best players earlier this month in anticipation of the display she put on this weekend.
"All the Canadian players knew they were going to lose to Scarlett and were pretty open about it", says James "Kennigit" Lampkin, Marketing Manager of TeamLiquid, born and raised in Ottawa. "Except Huk, of course. He didn't think he'd lose".
Stephano's win this weekend was a big statement for the Western Starcraft community, which marked its third major victory in the past month. That string of success was started by Polish stars' Team Mousesports' Grzegorz "MaNa" Komincz winning DreamHack Summer 2012, and Scarlett's teammate Artur "Nerchio" Bloch taking home the fifth HomeStoryCup. Stephano will use the win going into this weekend's MLG Summer Arena.
"Winning a tournament doesn't really boost my confidence, because everybody will expect me to do good so everyone will be playing better against me," Stephano told GameSpot. "But I think this tournament has been good practice for me as I haven't been able to do it the past days, so I think I could do it."
Stephano has mentioned his lack of practice before major events in previous interviews. Some have speculated on whether this is just part of Stephano's projected aura in the community, but it's definitely working.
"The most interesting part about Stephano's performance is that for two days he was basically chilling--watching French TV shows, playing off-race matches, UMS maps," said Lampkin, who was on-hand at NASL this weekend. "He would have you believe that he isn't practicing, but his play is simply too clean for him not to be doing a couple hundred practice games in the week leading up to the event. The most stressed I saw him during play days was looking for a pack of Sun Chips."
NASL President Russell Pfister said the event was a success, and that the fourth season will start in September, with the finals event in December. A King of the Hill series is set to begin in just a few weeks, and finals will start in December. Although no location was given for the finals, Canadian fans would welcome NASL back with open arms, Pfister said. "I think we hit this one out of the park," said Pfister. "The Canadian fans made that all possible. We wanted to come to Toronto just on our viewership because we knew Toronto loves to watch us and they actually love to come in-person and watch us too."