MvP Invitational starts tonight, puts KeSPA and MLG pros in direct competition


The MLG v. Proleague Invitational begins tonight at 12 AM BST / 7 PM Eastern. It is the first tournament featuring many of MLG’s international StarCraft 2 professionals and the Korean eSports Association’s (KeSPA) pro players now joining the world SC2 competitive scene.

Tonight opens the $10,000 winner-take-all tournament with matches featuring Chris “HuK” Loranger v. Kim “Bisu” Taek-Yong, Johan “NaNiwa” Lucchesi v. Lee Jae Dong (whose handle is simply “JaeDong”), Greg “IdrA” Fields vs. Song “Stork” Byung Goo, among others.

The MvP Invitational is pay-per-view, and a $10 pass for the entire 48-player event is on sale at the MLG store. Streams will be broadcast in 1080p and only passholders will have access to replays. However, we have one code to give away for free! All you have to do, reader, is like our Facebook page and send us a direct message via Facebook messaging service. First person to do so gets a code for weeks of pro StarCraft 2. So hurry over to the PCGamesN Facebook page and give us our propers.

While the tournament won’t consist exclusively of crossover matchups like the ones tonight, they are definitely the main draw and it’s no surprise MLG is opening the event with them. Tomorrow night’s games, also at 12 BST / 7 Eastern, feature American StarCraft champ Dan “ViBE” Scherlong against Lee “Flash” Young Ho and Yang “Alicia” Joon Sik v. JaeDong.

This is also a very different format from typical MLG events, which tend to be weekend-long tournaments. Casters Nick “Axslav” Ranish and Alex “Axeltoss” Rodriguez, who will be calling the MvP Invitational, are both excited to see how it affects play styles. Rodriguez points out that long-form tournaments are a little more forgiving, because a few bad games doesn’t necessarily doom a players to an early exit from the tournament.

They also encourage and entirely different approach to matches. “In long tournaments, players have the time to create strategies designed specifically for a certain opponent,” explains Ranish. “I am especially excited to see what kind of ‘sniper’ builds different players come up with for the MvP Invitational.”

A tournament like this, of course, means cross-server play, and that’s one of the big unknowns about this tournament. How well will it work when you have MLG players going up against KeSPA players on the other side of the world and on a Korean server. As GameSpot reported, Sasha “Scarlett” Hostyn already had to drop out of the event because she didn’t think her connection would be playable, and IdrA told GameSpot eSports reporter Rod “Slasher” Breslau on Twitter that this was an example of “another potentially awesome online event ruined by [Battlenet].”

We’ll be covering this event tonight and will post our impressions immediately following tonight’s games. Technical issues are definitely one thing to watch for, as are the play styles of the KeSPA players who, until recently, sat out StarCraft 2 in favor of Brood War. They have a reputation for being some of the world’s best progamers, but the MLG regulars have a lot of competitive SC2 experience under their belts by this point. Will JaeDong try another surreal Queen rush like he did at the MLG’s KeSPA Exhibition Tournament earlier this year?