My first trip to a BroodWar event came the week after I began attending Starcraft 2 events. It was soon after I began going to Starcraft 2 events that I saw the second week of the OSL quarterfinals were coming up. Due to the way the tournament was structured, game one of each of the four series had been played 2 weeks ago and then they let it sit for a week or so to build hype. I don't really understand why still, but I couldn't complain that I was going to get to see great players. I finally made it over to Yongsan Station to go to the huge IPark mall. After climbing (the escalators) all the way up to the 9th floor, I finally arrived at the OGN esports stadium. Even though I was half an hour early, all the seats were taken and it was more or less standing room only. The studio there is much larger than the GOMTV one. I hear it is the largest of the three (OGN, MBC, and GOM) in Seoul.
^Just the link, sorry. The image is having issues being resized.^
I still follow the BroodWar scene back at home, though none of my friends watch it anymore. I follow Starcraft 2 with them, but I was never quite able to give up BroodWar, so I was left with nobody to really discuss matches with back home. Unfortunately, on my first day, I spent most of it alone as I knew nobody there and the audience was almost entirely Korean. Getting to see the announcers I had heard all these years was quite interesting however. And to make things better, Hyuk who is one of my favorite players (my absolute favorite is Firebathero, I have a lot of bro-love (no homo) for that guy). Hyuk started down one game on Fantasy and he was a serious underdog, but I liked his chances. Unfortunately, he lost in one game, with Fantasy going onto the semifinals. After each match is played for the day, the winning player goes over to sign a keyboard bag. At the end of the day, the person in the audience with the best sign is awarded the bag. There's no big ceremony, a staffer just hands the person the bag as they're leaving the stadium. Below is a picture of Jangbi signing the bag after his win.
+ Show Spoiler +
Next up was Hydra. He was my favorite going into the match and fortunately for him, he had won the first game. Modesty took the second one pretty decisively, then Hydra came back in game 3 to secure the series. The third set of the day saw Killer and Soo. While Killer is a perpetual member of my anti-team for fantasy, I had to root for him anyway, just for kicks. Also, he had won the first game, so I had to expect him to win. During the break, a guy from the TL forums came up and introduced himself and we began talking leading into Killer's game. All of a sudden, it ended when Killer had to pause for technical reasons, but forgot to PP before he did it. The game was awarded to Soo, who then proceeded to quickly take the second game, beating Killer. It was pretty sad to see him getting taken down like that because Killer was having such a good run.
And then the showmatch of the night. The big dogs, Jangbi and Flash. Flash had taken a very easy game off Jangbi previously and nobody in their right mind really expected him to win. But it was fall after all....
In a hugely surprising match, Jangbi took out Flash not with cheese, but just by completely outplaying him. The crowd went nuts. They were chanting his name. By the second match, the tables had turned and everyone seemed to be rooting for Jangbi. With this newfound support, he managed to pull out a win. Again, the house went crazy as he stepped out of that booth while Flash just looked at his computer screen in awe of what had just happened. Jangbi went over to sign the bag and then disappeared backstage for some player interviews.
After the matches, I hung around with the guy from TL hoping that we could catch Jangbi on his way out. While we were waiting, a member (the leader?) of Jangbi's fan club came up and talked to us. He had studied in Canada a few years back, so his English was pretty good. We got to talk with him about the future of BW in the esports industry in Korea and fortunately, he was pretty optimistic about it. I was especially comforted by his optimism after realizing how well informed he was. Eventually, he said that he could help us get pictures with Jangbi during the fan meeting that was coming up. Surely enough, he helped introduce us to Jangbi, who thanked us for coming out and rooting for him. He signed autographs and took pictures with us. The guy from the fan club also told Jangbi about how I was going to be in the Code A Prelims that weekend (it will be the subject of my next post!) and Jangbi turned to me and smiled, saying (in Korean) "I don't know much about Starcraft 2." I'm not sure if he was taunting me over the fact that I was a foreigner competing with Koreans or if he legitimately knew very little about SC2, but it was cool to have some quasi-interaction with him. Here is the picture I got with him. There were a lot of fangirls, so we cheesed it up big time and they all started giggling really loud. After that, the foreigners headed out and the fan meeting continued without our presence.
+ Show Spoiler +
BroodWar is much bigger in Korea and as a fan, I hope it stays around in the future. I really enjoy watching it and if it were to go away (especially before I get to meet FBH face to face!) then I would be really sad. Coming up in a couple days will be my writeup on my experience playing in the Prelims for Code A of GSL October. Until next time, have a good couple of days!