WCG 2011 Grand Finals

Posted: December 11, 2011 by xenocidebrm in Events, General, Metagame
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

“Beyond The Game” is the slogan of the World Cyber Games, and at the 2011 60 national flags on stageGrand Finals it certainly seems like they’re dedicated to it.  The opening ceremony seemed almost Olympian in it’s seriousness, attention to sportsmanship, and respect for participating countries.  The spirit and sense of national pride shown throughout the event was fantastic, with flags proudly displayed in hands and painted on faces.  In addition, the US does not dominate the scene here – top medal winners for the day included South Korea, China, and Brazil.

The first day began with an opening ceremony in which all of the countries participating were announced and got a chance to wave their national flag on stage.  Again, it’s hard to stress enough just how serious of an event this was, and how strong the sense of sportsmanship was – 60 different countries, all sending their best, brightest, and fastest competitors to bring home the gold.

A lot of the other games were very entertaining to watch, even without a detailed knowledge of how they work.  For example, I was lucky enough to see the Tekken 6 finals between Japanese contestant NOBI and Korean player dejavu.  I have next to no experience dejavu after losing in Tekken 6 finalswith fighters, but the tension was evident right from the start.  Not a few people have said that esports, MOBAs in particular, are inaccessible to outsiders who don’t know the rules and mechanics of the game.  I completely disagree.  The faces of the competitors, the roar of the crowd, and the visual effects give all the information a spectator could need.

The final four League teams represented an entirely Western group, despite the general dominance of Korean and Chinese teams.  In contention for bronze were Canadian group CLG and the French team NEGGRET, and gold and silver would go to either American team CDE (Chicks Dig ELO, mostly made up of Team SoloMid players) or the Polish Gameburg.  I think I saw more Polish flags these last few days than any other, which really shows how dedicated the community is over there.

The match for bronze was intense, and unfortunately ran over into the gold/silver finals.  Game 1 saw the French quite aggressive in the early game, followed by a few poor teamfights at dragon that cost them their lead and the game.  The second match was incredible, with the French Udyr stealing not one, but two Baron buffs and getting away scott-free.  HotshotGG played a potent Nidalee, managing to take down two turrets and an inhibitor by himself in the same time it took 4 French players to do the same.  Scarra of team Dignitas commented on the matches in English, doing an excellent job despite not being a professional shoutcaster.

The final match for gold and silver was somewhat boring in comparison.  CDE came into the finals leading 1 game to 0, and played a Gragas mid, GP jungle, Udyr top, and Soraka/Caitlyn bot.  Gameburg, their Polish opponents, played Amumu in the jungle, Karthas mid, Nasus top, and a very strong Graves/Sona bottom lane.  Early game was pretty even, with Saintvicious as GP getting a clutch dragon steal with his ult around 13 minutes in and picking up a neat 4 kills by 20 minutes.  Dyrus knocked down top tower early and roamed aggressively as only an Udyr really can.  Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to secure any kills, but by 27 minutes, despite only 9 deaths total in-game, Gameburg’s mid inhibitor was down, and the nexus quickly followed, resulting in a 2-0 victory for Chicks Dig ELO and the USA.

Unfortunately, not many players or Riot staff were available during the event.  I did see Riot’s eSports Manager, Marc Merrill, but unfortunately he wasn’t able to answer any questions for me.  However, after the LoL finals, I was able to get a few questions in.

No ELO:  How do you feel about the LoL competitive scene as compared to the old Brood War or current SC2 scene? Can LoL hit the same level of popularity, and if so, what does it need?

Reginald:  League of Legends is very new to the competitive scene, and most people didn’t expect it to be this big.  There are a lot of casuals that play the game, because it’s a fun game, and so lots of casual people play.  Because there’s a huge casual fanbase, League of Legends has the potential to be as big or bigger than Starcraft.  Starcraft is more hardcore, and is a better spectator sport.  In League there are no experienced shoutcasters, and so LoL is going to have to grow and become much more mature.

Other Journalist:  You’ve competed with lots of countries at this event, who was the hardest?

Everyone:  The US team.

Dyrus:  We were actually worried about a lot of high-ranked teams, but they got knocked out before we had to face them, so we were happy.

Saintvicious (Explaining why):  US and European teams have a slight advantage because [of patch timing.]

Other Journalist:  You’ve won the first official League of Legends tournament, how do you feel?  Any thoughts on winning?

Everyone:  Feels good!

Other Journalist:  Why is LoL the best MOBA in the world?

Saintvicious:  League of Legends is easier to follow – even if it’s a game you’ve never played or seen, if you have a good commentator it’s better to watch.  It’s more colorful, and easier to see what’s going on.  DOTA 2 is less clear on what’s going on.

Reginald:  How I feel is that LoL has a better interface, and that attracts more people to play.  It’s not fun in HoN or Dota [to start playing,] but it’s easier in LoL to pick up the game and get better faster, and play against more skilled players.

Other Journalist:  Some teams, like the French, played with a different composition (of people), could you still have beaten them with the old composition?

Saintvicious:  We’re a merger of three teams too, so we suffered from the same handicap as others. I think Dignitas is the only team that was the same team as before, and wasn’t any kind of merger.

No ELO: If you had to pick one champion to be your roommate, who would it be and why?

Everyone:  Miss Fortune?  Yeah, probably Miss Fortune.

The weekend finished with a thanks to all of the players and congratulations to all of the medal winners on stage.  South Korea took home the most medals, with Poland in second and China third.  The next two years’ WCG will be held in China, and the next major League of Legends event looks to be IEM in Kiev.  I was able to speak with Scarra for a bit, and he said that he and the team were very excited to be going.

I have a few more pictures that I couldn’t squeeze into the post above, but I felt deserved a place, so enough with the reading: here are a few more images from around WCG Grand Finals 2011!

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