Jul 092014 Tagged with ,

WCS America Season 2 Finals (2014)

You know what, I think the third time might really be the charm. In a world were WCS NA was questionably handled by both MLG and NASL, it seems that ESL has really dedicated an American team to doing this product justice.

I was able to attend the 2014 WCS America Season 2 Finals (yup, it’s still a mouth-full) in beautiful Burbank California at the brand-spankin-new ESL studios. This location really is new, and this was their first big SC2 broadcast. They had time to practice with Tanks and promos, but it seemed as if this was finally the real deal for them. The first real test. After whipping up the warehouse into a badass studio and production house, they put on one hell of a show for not only oodles of online viewers, but a packed house of SoCal local attendees. Thank’s for letting me clown around at your new home ESL.

So onto the event itself: In a world were I get most of my WCS knowledge from liquipedia, I started off a little under-enthused going into the Ro16. Major was there, but no players who I really cared about, or could have good dinner conversation with, made it. Luckily I had my hands full taking oodles of pictures of them smexy Korean’s. If you’d like to just look at pictures (maybe you hate my writing, maybe you always just had a thing for picture books and magazines, I don’t judge) you can look at them all here:  Day 1  // Day 2

Day 1 was pretty standard fare. 4 best of 5 matches were being played. The day started at 3pm and the house was filled with audience members. Toodming, Clutch, Veto-Mustachio, and Taeja were sexy as usual.

Nathanias and Rotti were holding down the fort casting as usual. However the real surprise here was just how damn good QXC was at the desk. He brought energy, did a little call and response with the audience, and actually had a deep player perspective articulated beautifully in game. A++ hope’s ESL gets him back again.

A new addition to the on-screen family was Nikki B. She was…..well…willing to learn. I’m sad that I got to miss all the things that twitch chat must have said. I have a feeling this might be the last we see of here.

Bomber won his match and did some Alliance-level brand sporting. Hyun and PigBaby also took home wins, while Polt made us all a little sad. The atmosphere in support of pigbaby was actually crazy. People went from not knowing of him, to become fanatic about observes, to legitimately cheering him on through the weekend. I knew I drank the kewl-aid. He seems to be a high level korean who can come win in America, has a bm personality, and can engage a crowd. Now if only he spoke english we would have a full package. I’m sure the dude is inundated with team offers.

Clutch, who spent most of the down time hyping the crowd (and giving them food) sent the broadcast and the day away with an SNL style ending.

Day 2 was bigger in every way. More stress. More people. Blizzard staff all over the place. I feel like the fire marshal would not have been happy. Here is a pano shots to get a feel of what we were dealing with in the studio:

The ESL/Redbull partnership saw not only the audience getting free redbull, but the appearance of their bar in the backdrop of part of the set. This is were the casters were giving post game solo replay analysis from.

I took advantage of the situation to do my best RedEye impersonation.

With even more people there for the finals, it’s a good thing the fire marshal did not show up. The ESL need4seat office chairs lined the room as blizzard staff, esl staff, and general public cramped together. Bomber was comfrotable on stage tho. Man is suave.

The 7 game crazy set between Bomber and PigBaby was probably one of the most entertaining I have seen in a while. It was wacky, gimmicky, and just multiple typed of odd. I like matches like that. Keeps things fresh. The game 7 tempest win (spoilers lol) had the crowd and Rotti going crazy. When the GG was called the fans in the stand rushed the stage and really shocked PigBaby. It was a pretty cool moment but I have no idea how it really reflected on camera. The crowd favorite won, and everyone was elated.

Once the broadcast wrapped the staff invited everyone to downtown to hang out and eat. We had a grand old time till late in the night. I sat next to Alicia and helped him order wisky. We all shared some good laughs on a job well done that week. I’d be lying if I said I recalled much more.

But yeah, that was my weekend at the new ESL studios. Cool place, cooler people. They’re gonna pump out a ton of awesome content. When I wasnt taking pictures or watching the games, I really enjoyed conversations with staff and audience members. I wish there was more to write about from an “on the floor” perspective, but alas my weekend was just that. A lot of time sitting on the floor. Mmmmmm polished concrete.

Again, if you would like to visit the two image galleries to see all (77) pictures that I salvaged from this weekend, you can do so here: Day 1  // Day 2
Shoutout to the friends who worked their ass off on the broadcast.
If you’d like to follow me on the twitter, I’d totes give you a hug. @Leafeator
~Joey “Leafeator”