This Week in Competitive Gaming - July 3

UK on center stage for Blizzard's WCS, Team Fortress 2 rocks Dallas, Brood War legends and current StarCraft II pros to clash soon, Seth Killian on PlayStation All-Stars, and the world eyes EVO 2012 this weekend.

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UK World Championship Series

Among the numerous storylines this week, Blizzard's Starcraft II World Championship Series event in London, England was center stage for the nation, and the world's eSports fans. The professional gaming scene in the UK has had its highs and lows over the years, with much of a fragmented identity as of late. You wouldn't have known that this weekend at the highly produced event, though, where a young rather unknown champion was crowned in front of a sold out hype crowd.

To most people's surprise, Ziktomini held on strong taking down DeMusliM in two quick maps, winning his first major event in his career. Ziktomini couldn't believe it himself, saying in the post-game interview that he only thought he had a chance at top three, never to win.

Going in the two top players everyone was looking out for were rivals Evil Geniuses Ben "DeMusliM" Baker and Dignitas' Samayan "BlinG" Kay. After meeting up early in the brackets which saw DeMusliM head on to the next round, many people thought they would matchup again in the finals. That didn't happen, as young Zerg talent Paul "JonnyREcco" Whyte and Nick "Ziktomini" Copello came to play, taking not only the players by surprise, but also the spectators and even longtime casters Nick "Tasteless" Plott and Dan "Artosis" Stemkoski. DeMusliM and Ziktomini would meet in the finals, where Baker would need to win two best of three's after an earlier loss to JonnyREcco. To most people's surprise, Ziktomini held on strong taking down DeMusliM in two quick maps, winning his first major event in his career. Ziktomini couldn't believe it himself, saying in the post-game interview that he only thought he had a chance at top three, never to win.

"I think this is the perfect demonstration of why the WCS will work", longtime broadcaster and host of the WCS UK event Paul "ReDeYe" Chaloner told GameSpot. It allows truly grass roots players to get involved at the qualifier stage, make their way to the national finals and beyond. Look at Ziktomini, first major event in the UK and he wins the whole damn thing against established players like DeMusliM and BlinG. I'm really thrilled this tournament showed the depth of talent from the UK but I think these tourneys will do that in every country they go to."

Not only did the event showcase some of the UK's best StarCraft talent, but people showed up to watch in droves, selling out the venue in two hours and creating a spectator environment that has not been seen in the country in quite a while - if not ever.

"When compared to other events that have been purely ESports dedicated, I'd say it is possibly the best we've ever had," Trifecta Media's Ben Woodward told GameSpot, the company that runs the Electronic Sports League in the UK, and that ones that put on this event. "I've been around for over 10 years and I've never seen anything quite like it in the UK."


Watch live video from esltv_sc2 on TwitchTV

ESEA Season 11 LAN Finals

The 11th season of the ESEA Finals took place in Dallas, Texas this past weekend with $85,000 on the line for North America's best PC FPS players. Longtime staples Counter-Strike 1.6 and Counter-Strike: Source were at the forefront, as American 1.6 superstar Jordan "n0thing" Gilbert lead his Maximum Effort team to victory through the lower bracket, winning four straight maps off Ultimax Gaming in the finals. This is Maximum Effort's 2nd title, and n0thing's 8th personally, six of those with Evil Geniuses, giving him the most championships in ESEA history.

"It always feels good getting recognition for your efforts," n0thing told GameSpot. "ESEA has done a great job of providing and establishing a top competitive circuit for the Counter-Strike scene, so I of course am honored to receive my 8th trophy through such a prominent North American organization."

Source had its own competitive history extended as teams Dynamic and Torqued have had quite a rivalry as of late, meeting in the semifinals of Season 10 and the finals of Season 9, where Torqued won. This final was no different, lasting over five hours and tied 13-13 on the final map, the two teams separated by only two rounds over six maps. Team Dynamic along with Sal "Volcano" Garozzo barely edged out Torqued, taking home another title for the ex-Team 3D player, who announced his retirement shortly after the win.

Counter-Strike was not the only game on display, as Team Fortress 2 impressed me the most and also had the most viewers for the three games this weekend. It's a really fun game to watch competitively, and has been getting more attention lately from places like Reddit TF2. Leviathan Gaming claimed their third ESEA title, taking out Classic Mixup in the finals.


Watch live video from ESEA LIVE S10 LAN Finals in Dallas! on TwitchTV

OSL Goes SC2 Soon

The OnGameNet StarLeague will soon be featuring StarCraft 2 in their prominent competition, as this will be the last season of Brood War's storied history. Lee "Flash" Young Ho has qualified for the final Brood War semifinals, hoping to cement his reputation as one of the greatest Brood War players of all time. On StarCraft 2's end, this will be the first event which will pit the current Korean StarCraft 2 superstars against their KeSPA counterparts. Counterparts who are probably not quite ready for this. Multi-GSL champions Jung "Mvp" Jong HyunJang "MC" Min Chul, Lim "NesTea" Jae Duk, and Park "DongRaeGu" Soo Ho have been invited based on performance, and players such as Lee "MarineKing" Jung Hoon and Won "PartinG" Lee Sak have qualified. More details will be released soon on the matchups. Let the battle begin.

Seth Killian returns to Sony for PlayStation All-Stars

Former Capcom community manager and pure fighting game guru whose name was given to the boss in Street Fighter IV, has announced his move to Sony's Santa Monica studios, where he'll be working on--among other things--PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale. He spoke to GameSpot earlier this week on both topics. "Capcom was (and is) very close to my heart. The teams there have been extremely gracious with me, and showed a great deal of trust in me to work on the fighting titles specifically." On PS All-Stars being a competitive game, he said, "Frankly, its greatest competition is itself. There's inspiration from games like Smash Bros. and Marvel vs. Capcom, but it's a fundamentally different kind of experience. The core is definitely there, and it's got that infectiously fun quality that makes you want to play again immediately after a match ends (I haven't mashed so hard on the countdown timer since SF2!), so I think its success will come down to people giving it a chance to win their hearts."

Seth will have a great opportunity with the folks at Sony, and PS All-Stars is the best first title he could work on. I just hope to see him this weekend at EVO, as it wouldn't be the same without him, as does EVO Co-Founder Tom Cannon. It will be MADNESS, after all.

EVO 2012 This Weekend!

The long awaited World Finals for EVO 2012 is this weekend, and I'll be attending my first ever EVO. I'm really excited and you should be too, as we'll be broadcasting the event live here on GameSpot, and we'll be out there in Las Vegas to bring you EVO 2012 event coverage all weekend long. From Daigo Umehara and Justin Wong, to the hype that will be who can hit the newest Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 infinite, to the millions of people watching at home, and more people gathered together than ever have in the event's history. This is the fighting genre's Super Bowl.

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