Major League Gaming comes to Orlando in the 2011 season


Halo Reach team Instinct made a push for the finals, but was defeated by team Dynasty 3-1 in the semi-finals. Photo by Mark Gibson.

Mark Gibson

Halo Reach team Instinct made a push for the finals, but was defeated by team Dynasty 3-1 in the semi-finals. Photo by Mark Gibson.
Starcraft 2 player, Idra, was a fan favorite. Despite not making it to the grand finale, his match against Boxer was one of the most popular matches all weekend, drawing a crowd that overflowed the stage. Photo courtesy of MLG.

Starcraft 2 gamer, Jang Min Chul, stood in front of a packed crowd of about a thousand people as a translator helped him with a Web TV interview. Better known as “MC,” Min Chul was minutes away from playing the grand finale against his rival and good friend Huk.

Before the match began, Min Chul talked softly in Korean when asked if he had any final words for his opponent. His translator laughed and silently stared at the microphone before translating Min Chul’s words. “I want the trophy … so I kill you!”

The crowd erupted with cheers, applause and laughter. The grand finale then began.

Throughout the three day competition in Orlando, competitors from around the globe came to compete in Starcraft 2, Halo Reach and Call of Duty (COD): Black Ops. 

Fans wore Halo Reach team shirts and hats, while the shocking number of Starcraft 2 fans walked around with posters of their favorite players and chanted their gamertags throughout the convention center.

The energy in the room was so great one spectator even decided to propose to his girlfriend in the middle of the competition floor.

CEO of MLG, Sundance DiGiovanni, gave a special welcome to the fans in Orlando before the competitions started. Photo courtesy of MLG.

“It just felt like the right time,” he said in an interview with MLG TV.

Live streaming of the Orlando competition on MLG’s website peaked at 181,000, breaking the previous record of 138,000. This made the Orlando competition the fourth consecutive record breaking event this year for MLG. 3.2 million hours of video were watched throughout the entire weekend.

Dynasty defeated Infamous in the grand finale of Halo Reach and took home $20,000. Photo by Mark Gibson.

The closer each competition got to the finals, the more crowded the venue became. The COD: Black Ops stage did not seem to draw as big of a crowd as the others — until the grand finale when team OpTIC Gaming took home the Orlando trophy and $10,000.

The Halo Reach stage saw some intense battles, especially in the grand finale where team Dynasty defeated the underdog, team Infamous, in a close match. Dynasty took home $20,000.

“I guess we’re going to Disney World,” said a team member from Dynasty when asked what he was going to do with the money.

The most popular stage the entire weekend, however, was Starcraft 2. Fans filled the seats and even sat on the cold, hard, concrete floor of the convention center in order to get a glimpse of their favorite gamers playing. Kids and adults were even getting autographs after matches.

Idra and Boxer were big crowd favorites. Idra’s name was chanted loudly by the audience every time he finished a match. But it was Huk vs MC, the two good friends, that made it to the grand finale. Huk and MC put on quite a show for the crowd, as they typed to each other in the game chat window — something most people weren’t doing. Huk joked about MC’s threat to kill him, and MC respond back in broken English, which added to the humor.

Despite MC’s energy and effort, Huk easily defeated him in two rounds. He made MLG history by becoming the first non-South Korean to take home the trophy and $5,000.

After the match, Huk and MC embraced, and then Huk turned to the ecstatic crowd and made a heart shape with his hands.

“I love you guys,” he said to the audience. “And thank you.”

The 2011 MLG season will conclude at the championship in Providence, Rhode Island during Nov. 18-20. For complete brackets of all the three game competitions, or replays of the matches, visit