2009-2010 NATE MSL
(≃ $100,520 USD)
After the uneventful Avalon MSL MBCGame looked to turn things around. It saw that it needed to rectify two problems in order for the MSL to compete with the OSL: the high number of Zerg in the later stages as well as less popular players in the final. The theme for the MSL was "Forget the past", and the plan was to make this MSL the biggest and best of all time, including having a final that would be talked about for years to come. Despite having trouble finding a sponsor, NATE stepped in at the eleventh hour to become the biggest sponsor the MSL had had in a while. Despite these noble aims, there was much controversy along the way, as the dubious ranking systems that reworked the brackets was seen by some fans as a form of rigging the tournament to ensure that the bigger names would advance.
Everything seemed to go as it should, with the generally-considered better players qualifying and going deeper in the tournament. However, NATE was not without upset. In the round of 32, Guemchi and Bogus shocked fans by knocking out Bisu and sAviOr in their group. Fans were expecting Bisu and sAviOr to meet in the winners' match in a rematch of their famous final in the 2006 GomTV S1 MSL. However, Guemchi and Bogus both won their respective games leaving Bisu and sAviOr to battle it out in the loser's match. Bisu defeated sAviOr but then lost to Bogus's proxy factory, knocking him out of the MSL early.
Perhaps the last big upset of the tournament came in the round of 16 when Stats defeated JangBi in a best of 3 series. The KHAN Protoss showed sloppy play which was ineffective against the focused Stats. One of the best series of the Round of 16 was ZerO trying to stop Flash's dominance in TvZ. The exciting games showed great play and some incredible micro from both players, though ultimately Flash came out on top on his way to the finals.
The Ro8 was full of one-sided games with three 3-0 results and one 3-1. Flash showed a revival of his incredible TvP to oust BeSt; Jaedong continued his ZvP streak by taking out Stats, and Kwanro showed he was not a fluke by taking out Light, making it to his second consecutive MSL semifinals. In the only 3-1 of the round, Kal defeated Hwasin and showed off his new emerging PvT prowess.
As the Ro4 loomed, fans were getting excited at the prospect of a Flash/Jaedong grand finals and their hopes didn't go unrealized. Flash and Jaedong both demolished their respective opponents 3-1 and 3-0, respectively, to show fans that they were at their best and ready to win the MSL. However, during the Kal vs Jaedong series an image appeared towards the end of the final game. On-screen, a picture of Flash faded in with the caption "I'll see you in the finals" (translated from Korean). This caused a stir among some fans as not only a way of being rude to Kal in the game, but as a way of flaunting MBCGame's "rigging" of the tournament so that they could force a Flash/Jaedong finals.
The Grand Final between Jaedong and Flash sparked a lot of controversy when, during the third game, a power outage occurred. It led to KeSPA's decision to award the game to Jaedong (who took the fourth game and the series 3-1).
Round of 32 Group Stage
- Flash vs ZerO in the round of 16. ZerO attempts to take down the Terran monster in a clash of great micro and clever strategy:
- ZerO vs. Type-b, NATE MSL Round of 32 - With a creative strategy, ZerO defeats Type-b with Queens and high-tech units.
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