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Major League Gaming's first pro circuit event of 2011 in Dallas is over, and aside from some unfortunate internet issues, the show was a great success, with a lot of really incredible highlights. MLG describes itself as the premiere North American competitive gaming tournament, and the absolutely insane amount of skill the pro gamers showed off this weekend was just epic. The MLG Pro Circuit features Halo: Reach, StarCraft 2, and Call of Duty: Black Ops. Here are just a few highlights from MLG Dallas 2011:
1. StarCraft 2 Champion Dignitas.Naniwa Goes Undefeated Until the Grand Finals
Johan "Dignitas.Naniwa" Lucchesi is professional StarCraft 2 Protoss player from Sweden who, before MLG, hadn't really made a big splash at any LAN events. This weekend in Dallas, though, he took the StarCraft 2 competition by storm and didn't lose to anyone in the entire circuit until the grand finals when Jonathan "ROOT.Kiwikaki" Garneau managed to win two games on him. Still, in a game like StarCraft 2, at an event like MLG where some of the best in the world are competing, to go 26-2 is ridiculously impressive. Sure, it would have been cool for him to go 26-0, completely undefeated, but the sheer skill he showed at Dallas was remarkable and made for great a spectator experience.
2. Halo: Reach Team Warriors defeating Team Final Boss In Losers Bracket
2010 Halo 3 National Champs Final Boss came in to MLG Dallas with a bit of swagger but were ultimately shot down by Warriors in the losers bracket during an intensely close Team Slayer match. Warriors were able to pull off an extremely narrow 49-50 victory over the reigning champs and the crowd went so insane that even the StarCraft 2 players next door commented on it during their match.
3. Team Quantic Leverage Sweeping Call of Duty: Black Ops Grand Finals
Coming in to the Call of Duty: Black Ops grand finals down three games to two (due to MLG's silly extended series rule) team Quantic Leverage definitely had its work cut out for it against Team Resistance who dominated many great Black Ops favorites like Team Obey and Quantic Influence. But Quantic Leverage came to play and win hard, and that's exactly what they did. They totally crushed Resistance in all four games to become the first ever Call of Duty: Black Ops champions, much to the surprise of many spectators as Resistance had previously beaten them once before during the competition.
4. MLG's New Spectator Experience
Aside from all of the rousing competitive gaming going on, one of the major highlights of MLG Dallas was the brand new spectator experience. Going from last year, where Halo 3 had a cool arena but StarCraft 2 was stuffed in the corner of a darkly lit room with three benches, to this year in a huge convention center with main stages for each game, hundreds of chairs for spectators, and a setup where it was easy and fun to watch all of the games be played, it was a real treat. Once MLG sorts out the audio issues so spectators can actually hear the commentators, it will only get even better.
5. eSports Coming Together
The best thing about MLG Dallas 2011 was how it brought all sorts of eSports fans together. We got to talk to Halo: Reach players and asked how they felt about new games encroaching on their space (because, after all, MLG did start with Halo), and they all said that they love how eSports fans can come together and universally enjoy something so much. It was a treat to go to MLG Dallas and be an eSports fan among other eSports fans with very little animosity between one community and another. Everyone wanted to see competitive gaming succeed, and even though MLG Dallas wasn't perfect, being amongst likeminded people is always the best part of these events.
So there are my top five highlights from MLG Dallas 2011, what were yours? Did you enjoy from the venue or from home when the stream was working? Let us know and be sure to check out our MLG Dallas 2011 photo galleries from the Halo: Reach competition, the StarCraft 2 competition, and from the show floor itself. Also keep an eye out for even more coverage from MLG Dallas including interviews with your favorite Halo: Reach, StarCraft 2, and Call of Duty: Black Ops players and more.
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