20 Things You Need to Know About eSports #4 NASL

North American Star League is a professional gaming league featuring Starcraft 2, Heroes of Newarth and recently they added Tribes: Ascended, which will begin as soon as it is released.  The league began with the same mold of the successful Global Star League (GSL) professional Starcraft league in Korea.

The league was founded by Russell Pfister and Duncan Stewart in 2011 but mid year Duncan Stewart stepped down and Mark K. Brown stepped in as the Chief Operating Officer.  Russel Pfister also owns the video game coaching website Gosucoaching which is as quoted on the site:

Gosucoaching.com is a site dedicated to connecting gaming coaches with gaming students with the goal of improving everything from the most basic strategies to the most advanced counters and tactics.”

Here you can have Professional gamers like Greg ‘IdrA’ Fields, Geoff “iNcontroL” Robinson, and Andre “Gretorp” Hengchua coach you to improve your tactics and strategies, and other things on games like Starcraft.  (Wanted to give you some background on one of the owners and what they have done and doing for eSports.)

Season One:

When the first season of NASL began there where 50 Starcraft players divided into 5 divisions.   Divisional matches where played during the weekdays for nine weeks straight.  During the week after the Divisional matches there was a open invitational, where 1000 players competed for one position which was the last spot in the league finals for the season.  The finals consisted of 16 players, 15 of the players came from the top 3 spots in the 5 divisions and the one from the open invitational.  These 16 top Starcraft players played for $50,000 of the $100,000 yearly prize pool.

The Grand Finals of the first season of the NASL  took place July 8th-10th, 2011 in Ontario, California. The top two players was Lee Ho Joon better known as “EG Puma”, and Jang Min “MC” Chul of SK Gaming played a best of seven series, Puma defeated fellow Korean MC 4-3 and walked away with the  $50,000 prize pool.

Season 2:

After the first really exciting season ended for the league season 2 began.  This season played out mostly like the first season.  The NASL Season 2 Finals was held from December 2nd-4th, 2011 at the Ontario Convention Center in Ontario, California.  The Top two players for this season was Lee Ho “Puma” Joon  and Song Hyeon “Hero” Deok of Team Liquid .  For the second year in a row Puma was victorious beating Hero 4 – 2 and took home the $40,000 prize pool.

Prize Pool
1st place: $40,000
2nd place: $20,000
3rd place: $12,000
4th place: $8,000
5-8th place: $3,000
9-16th place: $1,000

Map Pool:

  • Dual Sight
  • Bel’Shir Beach
  • Antiga Shipyard
  • Metalopolis
  • Terminus SE
  • Tal’Darim Altar LE
  • Shattered Temple
  • Crevasse
  • Xel Naga Caverns

During Season 2 NASL provided the viewers and Starcraft 2 fans with top notch production and gave us play by play casting of most of the matches.  They provided us with eye catching pictures like this:

They also took the production bar of a online league to a all new level. Informative commentary, a high quality stream, and not only featured Starcraft 2 but they featured the players with biographies about the players.  During the NASL Finals they had a red carpet in between the crowd and when they announced the players they walked, ran or did whatever they wanted down the red carpet to their individual booths or to a interview with the casters.  The Casters that the finals offered was some of the best casters in the industry, like Day(9), DjWheat, Diggity (emcee), Gretorp, Husky, MrBitter, Orb, Rotterdam, and TheGunnrun (emcee).

The Next Level:

So how can they top season 2, well that has been answered.  For the crew at NASL it was EASY.  They have given the eSports community more exciting leagues and one other epic battle that takes place on every Sunday.

The league introduced NASTL (North American Star Team League) which eight of the world’s best StarCraft 2 teams battle each other every week for a $10,000 prize pool. The league will consist of 8 teams, 4 of the teams will be invited and 4 teams that qualified. The four teams that are invited are Empire, EG, Mouz, and Liquid. The 4 qualifying teams are, Quantic, Reign, FXO, and Rox.Kis.

The NASL Team League is played as a round robin style, each team playing each other weekly, like one week it could be EG vs Mouz, then the next week it could be EG vs Liquid. Matches will be played as 4 Bo1 matches as a King of the Hill where players play each other and the winner moves on to the next player until they are beat and the next player from the team takes over. The first team to reach 3 wins will be the winner of the team match. However, if the score is tied 2 and 2 at the end of the first 4 games, the match will be determined in a Bo3 ace match.

Map Pools:

  • • TPW Ohana
  • • TPW Artifice
  • • TPW One Must Fall
  • • TPW Damage Inc
  • • TPW Odyssey
  • • NASL Antiga Shipyard
  • • GSL Daybreak

NASL Showdown Match:

Each Sunday, NASL will give us a feature match where two of the world’s best players will compete in a Bo7 showmatch for a $500 prize pool. The winner of the match will be awarded $400 and bragging rights, and the loser will take home $100.

Subscription packages:

There are three different ways to subscribe to see the matches that the NASL provides for their fans. First there is a free subscriptions which gives you access to the live stream but at a low quality only.  Then there is the Weekly Pass which gives you the same live stream access as the free sub, and access to the VOD’s, 1080p live stream, and zero commercials. This weekly pass has not yet went live yet but hopefully soon and at this time it will be $5.00 per week. Next subscription level is the Season Pass which gives you all the amenities as the Weekly Pass but it is a one time payment of $25.00 and it is for the entire season.

Conclusion:

North American Star League’s beginning was a highly welcomed league for North America.  The league gave us foreigners and fans a place where we can compete and view Starcraft in the same environment like the GSL.  The crew for NASL has given their fans a high level of production and is getting better every season. They are also giving us other games like Heroes of Newarth and hopefully real soon Tribes: Ascended to compete in and view our favorite teams and players.  I would like to see them pick up other games also like League of Legends, and a First Person Shooter game.  Season 3 will be beginning soon and I am sure they have big things planned for us.  So far with the NASTL they have shown us some of the improvements they have implemented.   I look forward to see what they can achieve for their future seasons and tournaments.

                                                                                                                               

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