Quick reference links
What is the OSL?
How does Round Two of the OSL work?
How does Round One of the OSL work?
How does the PSL work?
How can I watch the OSL live?
What is the OSL?
OSL stands for Ongamenet Starleague. Ongamenet is the company that's pretty much based around broadcasting StarCraft. They also sponsor a progaming team. They are popularly known as OGN. OSL was pretty much the first well established tournament for the elite StarCraft players in Korea.
Why do some people call the OSL "Starleague"?
Koreans call OSL, Starleague now. But there is also the MSL which stands for MBC Starleague. This has created a rather large amount of ambiguity in the non-Korean StarCraft communities. So for the sake of clarity, I beseech that you will call it OSL to prevent confusion.
What is the formal of the tournament?
The OSL is a 40-player tournament that goes takes about 4 months to finish. There are multiple stages, all of which will be explained. Usually after an OSL is finished, the season has ended and there is a short break. Afterwards, another OSL is started and the cycle continues.
Who plays in the OSL? How is it decided who plays?
This is a very good question. It is in fact, a very confusing process. Here is a diagram showing the process, but don’t worry if you still don’t get it – we’ll still go over the whole process.
There are two levels to the OSL; OSL (the StarLeague) and the offline preliminaries. The OSL is the major tournament and the other rounds are preliminaries to qualify for the OSL. The OSL itself is divided into Round 1 and Round 2 - both of which will be explained. Of the 40 OSL players, those who finish in the top four of the previous OSL are rewarded with what is called a seed. Seeded players are guaranteed a spot in the second round of the next OSL.
How does the OSL work?
There are two phases to OSL – Round One and Round Two. It is easy to explain if we start with Round Two, then talk about Round One
How does Round Two work?
There are two parts to Round Two of the OSL - Group Stage and the Elimination Stage
How does the Group Stage work?
The group stage is actually quite simple to understand and is divided into two parts;
The 4 seeds are placed in separate groups so that Seed #1 is 1st in Group A, Seed #2 is 1st in Group B and so on. The seeds then get to choose their groups. Seeds #1->#4 get to pick one player each from the player pool which then joins the seed in their group as the 2nd player. After that the 2nd player in Group D picks a player, then the 2nd player in Group C, then Group B then Group A. Then the 3rd player in Group A picks, then group B, then Group C, then Group D. And Viola! We have 4 groups of 4 players
Each of those groups plays in a round-robin style so that everyone plays everyone else. The top 2 qualifiers from the group enter into the Bracket Phase. Occasionally there are ties in the group, for example 3 players are on 2-1. In the event of such a tie another round robin takes place between the tied players until usable results are attained. For example, if there are three tied players and they each go 1-1, they play another round of tiebreakers until one player goes 2-0, 1-1 and 0-2. This way it allows the players to be ranked even in the even of a tie. If two players are tied first with 2-1, the player who defeated the other one takes the first spot.
How does the Elimination Stage work?
The elimination stage works in a classic 8 man single-elimination tournament. The quarterfinals (the first round of the bracket phase) are best of 3, whereas the Semifinals and Finals are best of 5.
So four players are seeded into this round of the OSL, where do the other 12 players come from?
So, Round Two of the OSL has 12 vacant spots. Those 12 spots can only be taken by those who qualify through Round One. Since we know that two people advance from each group, there must be at least 6 groups. In this case it's 6 groups of 4. 24 players shooting for 12 spots.
Okay so what about the first round of the OSL?
Round One of the OSL used to be referred to as ODT around Teamliquid. This is because this stage of the tournament used to be separate from the actual OSL and was called the OnGameNet Dual Tournament - ODT. This round determines who makes up the 12 vacant spots in Round Two.
Who plays in Round One?
The 12 players who qualified for Round Two of the previous OSL who didn't receive seeds automatically get a place in the following seasons Round One and has a small advantage which will be explained soon. In each of the 12 groups there is 1 player who were from the previous OSL that didn’t get in the top 4. The other 2 spots in each group are taken by those who passed through the offline preliminaries– more on that later.
How do we determine who advances?
Simple. Well, maybe. One person from each group advances. The two players who advanced from the Offline Preliminaries who were randomly assigned to the group play each other in a best of three match. The winner of this match plays the player in the group who played in last seasons OSL Round 2. The winner of this second Best of 3 advances to the OSL round 2. The advantage that the player who played in last seasons round two gets is that they only need to play one Bo3 to advance from the group whereas the other two gamers must play two.
What is the result of Round One?
12 players advance from Round One into Round Two. 4 Seeded players + 12 qualified players = 16 players.
What maps are used in the OSL?
OGN picks 4 maps from a selection of maps from various sources. Often they commission map makers (typically those from mapdori.com) to make maps for them. Other times they borrow maps from the current MSL or Proleague to make up the OSL map pool. Traditionally the OSL has a tendency to try out experimental concepts and maps as opposed to plain macro maps. Recently, OGN have picked two maps from the map pool from Proleauge and two of their own commissioned maps.
What are the offline preliminaries?
The offline preliminaries, or PSL, are the qualifiers for OSC. PSL stands for Pc-Bang Star League and is not the official name, just one that became popular with the Korean communities. The official name is OSC Round 1, but for simplicities sake we just call it the PSL.
Who plays in PSL?
Any registered Progamer who is a member of a Progaming team can participate in the tournament, and as you can imagine, it is a very very large tournament. There are 24 groups in which only one person advances. The groups generally have around 7 to 8 people in each, groups with 7 generally have one player having a bye round. This player is ranked highly on the KeSPA rankings and is given an advantage because of it.
How do we determine who advances?
The group is played out like an 8-man single elimination tournament. Each match is best of 3, as to increase the chances the better player will advance. The 24 group winners then advanced to OSC. Typically the groups are played out over 2 days.
What maps are used?
The maps are 3 maps chosen by KeSPA and generally are a mix of MSL, OSL and Proleauge maps - sometimes with overlap..
How do I watch the OSL live?
The Ultimate Starcraft VOD/Live Stream Guide has all the different ways you can watch the OSL live.
What is the player doing when he places his name in a Group after he advances from OSL Round 1?
While it may seem that the player is assigning himself to a group, he actually isn't. The board of groups is simply there as a hype tool and a way for the progamers to call out other progamers by placing their name in that players group. The groups don't actually correspond to anything, but give the fans and commentators something to talk about during the actual group drawing.
What is the Legend of the Fall?
The Legend of the Fall is a beleive that a Protoss player will win the OSL in the Fall. This Legend started in SKY 2001 where Garimto defeated Boxer in the fall, stopping Boxer from winning three back to back OSLs. This curse was perpetuated the following fall in SKY 2002 where Reach defeated Boxer once again in the Fall.
What is a "Royal Roader"
A Royal Roader is a player who wins the OSL the first time they participate in the OSL. Any player who achieves this feat is said to have walked the "Royal Road". Currently the following players have walked the Royal Road; Boxer, Garimto, Nada, July, Anytime, Savior and Jaedong
What is the Golden Mouse?
The Golden Mouse is an award for any player who wins three OSLs. Currently there are two recipients of the award; Nada and July. The award was created in late 2005 before the finals of So1 OSL. The award is a solid gold mouse statue worth approximately $8000 USD.
Are there any other special awards?
Yes, before Nada won his Golden Mouse in Shinhan 2 OSL, OGN announced that there would be two more levels of special mice added. Any player who won 5 OSLs would earn the Platinum Mouse - a white gold mouse statue. Any palyer who won 7 OSLs would earn the Diamond mouse, a diamond encrusted White Gold mouse.
Do you understand now?
Hopefully? If you have questions feel free to post in this thread without fear of ridicule. I'm always happy to help a fellow fan understand the ways of the Koreans. I would prefer if you didn't PM me though, some people may have the same questions so feel free to ask them in the thread.