The NASL Film Festival
One of the biggest challenges for the NASL is not how to hype the first Day, which has already been previewed by their writers on their official website. Curious fans will tune in for Week 1, if just to see what all the hype is about. In fact, I think the NASL will have record numbers in their opening broadcast. The challenge will be maintaining interest throughout the rather lengthy nine week season. Will viewers still watch two lesser-known players who are falling out of contention? The responsibility may rest on the NASL to create a compelling storyline outside of the actual matches.
Rather than just write another cookie cutter prediction and analysis article, I've decided it'd be fun to compare each Division of the NASL to a popular Hollywood ensemble movie. If you haven't seen the movies, don't worry, that just means you won't understand any of this and my words will have no meaning. I have included Wikipedia links to the movies just in case.
Division 1: The X-Men Film Series (2000, 2003, 2006)
Artosis uses Cerebro to screw up yet another BitByBit cheese.
sixjax.Artosis as Professor Xavier
Much like Professor X, Artosis's strong mental powers of deep StarCraft 2 knowledge and analysis contrast sharply with his inability to actually physically play the game. Professor X can't use his legs, and Artosis likewise can't use his hands due to GSL's jam packed casting schedule. Additionally, both are leaders of a team (X-Men, Sixjax) and both have some sort of complete mind control, as Artosis used his mental powers to have his new team pick up his protégé, Kitty Pryde (GosI[Terran]), who phases through teams as easily as Shadowcat does through walls. Lastly, both Patrick Stewart and Dan Stemkoski have two of the most recognizable voices in their industries.
Grubby as Jean Grey
Tall, good looking, and full of potential, Grubby is SC2's Jean Grey. We know he's got the skills and power somewhere in there; he's just yet to show it off. But if recent events are any indication, GrubbyJean is about to become GrubbyPhoenix, and that will certainly rock the StarCraft 2 scene.
ROOT.KiWiKaKi as Nightcrawler
Both are cool, fast, and speak in an accent. Both are extremely adept at teleporting. Everyone watched KiWi's excellent run at MLG Dallas 2011, where he repeatedly went blink stalkers in every single PvP with great success. One of the most memorable scenes in X2 was the opening montage of KurtKiwi infiltrating the White House, blowing by all the Secret Service agents. Blink, and he's next to the Protoss President saying "Sup dood."
FOX_Moon as Magneto
Huge, latent power. Magneto is arguably the most powerful dude ever and Moon is considered by many to be the best War3 player. People are scared of them, because they are scary. They also have very similar philosophies: "Mutants own humans / Korean own white dudes."
ST_RainBOw as Cyclops
Both are veterans/original characters, pretty boys, and very good at one thing (shooting lasers out of his eyes; micro). But both are also ultimately useless to the main story. Like Cyclop's quick death in the X-Men 3, Rainbow is on the decline.
FXO.Sheth as Gambit
If you watched Sheth's matches vs Qxc at MLG Dallas 2011, you know he's a very skilled player. He's also the nicest guy... like scarily nice. I'm not used to that level of sincerity Shawn. Unfortunately, everyone remembers him for his "Where's Waldo" impressions at live events, so we're going to say he's Gambit. You are probably thinking, "but Hot_Bid, Gambit isn't in the first few X-Men movies?" Exactly.
Well this is almost as awkward as Rogue killing her boyfriend.
Liquid`TLO as Rogue
They're small, cute, and take on whatever superpower they touch, be it Protoss, Zerg or Terran. Both TLO's and Rogue's greatest strength is their hands, but it's also their greatest weakness: Rogue can't touch, and TLO has carpal tunnel.
mouz.MorroW as Mystique
She can change forms, he can change races. Their names both start with M. That's all I got.
Maybe Fnatic.Fenix has Wolverine hair. sixjax.ViBE can be Iceman. Because you know, he's tall. And white.
Division 2: Rounders (1998)
"He beat me...straight up no four gates. Pay that man his ladder points."
FXO.qxc as Mike McDermott
The main character of the film, Mike and Qxc are known for their excellent reads and selective aggression. Qxc and Mike both are in school, and their classes are screwing up their game. Mike dropped out to take his shot, will Qxc??
Duckload.White-Ra as Teddy KGB
The accent, the personality, and the experience. No role has been a more perfect fit for anyone than KGB for White-Ra. Teddy may be a tad meaner than White-Ra but they both live by a strict, principled code.
coL.CrunCher as Worm
Don't let the moniker fool you, "Worm" isn't derogatory. The guy is actually a magician / con-man, turning nothing into something and having some solid (almost cheater like) mechanics. If you listen to Cruncher's anti-fans, it's almost as if he's playing with an imbalanced deck...
ST_July as Johnny Chan
This guy has won multiple World Series of Poker / OSLs. He's known for his crazy mind games and excellent table presence, and is known for highly aggressive all-ins when the time is right. Also, he has that lucky orange and we all know how much July loves food.
dignitas.SjoW as Joey Knish
Grinding a living through $200 weeklies playing his tight-aggressive solid style, SjoW doesn't take the big aggressive risk to get paid like Mike would. But he's practically written a guide on how to navigate the seedy ESPORTS world.
EG.iNcontroL as Grama
The big enforcer of KGB's debts is out to punish the gambling world if they don't pay what they owe. Not one to waste time, Inc/Grama is very outspoken, strong, and straight forward.
Fnatic.TT1 as Judge Abe Petrovsky
Abe is able to produce a $10,000 loan for Mike out of nowhere, much like TT1's seemingly unfair unit production that propelled him to MLG Dallas 2010 second place.
oGs.Ensnare as generic Asian gambler. aTn.DarKFoRcE as that guy who is in Mike's study group. CN.MoMaN is the guy who goes "does Qxc look like a man beaten by Jacks??"
Division 3: Ocean's Eleven (2001)
"There's a 95 pound Chinese man with 300 APM behind this door."
dignitas.NaNiwa as Danny Ocean (George Clooney)
Both men come from troubled pasts and are looking for a big score. Coming off an insanely strong showing at MLG Dallas 2011, Nani is looking to make the big heist: win NASL and the $50,000 first prize.
oGs.NaDa as Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia)
If anyone is the Bellagio of progaming, it's NaDa. Golden mouse, a billion tournament wins, and a reputation for no-nonsense and excellence. Maybe he's not as uptight and douchey as Benedict is in the movie, but everyone wants what NaDa's got.
TLAF-Liquid`Haypro as Basher, aka the black guy who blows stuff up
Both guys have darker skin and both have a criminal record with explosives. Okay, Haypro doesn't, but he might as well because the US government stops him on every flight into the US thinking he's a terrorist. He's from Sweden, stupid TSA.
Fnatic.KawaiiRice as The Amazing Yen
Small, fast Asians can be found in both [x] circus and [x] StarCraft 2.
ROOT.SLush as Linus (Matt Damon)
Slush's low-drone, high aggression style is smooth, fast, and timing-sensitive. You make one mistake and boom Slush's big mid game attack is busting down your door with banelings while Linus makes off with your wallet.
mouz.Strelok as Old Saul
Old school, wily, and with a European accent, Strelok brings with him a no-nonsense approach backed with years of RTS experience. If you want someone trying to steal NaDa's group, you'd want the guy who's been around since the Brood War.
FXOmOOnGLaDe as Brad Pitt's character.
ST_Squirtle as one of NaDa's bodyguards, to protect the Korean pride. EG.Axslav and sixjax.dde as Virgil and Turk, background characters who are underdogs in this group.
Division 4: The Matrix Trilogy (1999, 2003, 2003)
"I know forcefield fu."
oGs.MC as Neo
He's "The One" and basically its everyone against him in this group. To quote the Merovingian during that epic action sequence in Matrix: Reloaded after Neo stopped an axe with his hand and a drop of blood pulsed out -- "You see? He is just a man." MC is not a god, he's just a very, very good Protoss player. How the other players view him, whether they believe the "the One" prophecy or not, will determine if they can really compete.
ST_Ace as Seraph
Who is Seraph? Remember that Asian guy who had that really cool fight sequence and then you never saw him again? That's Ace. He has a really good tournament (IEM) and then disappears off the map, bombing out of Up-Down matches.
RoX.KIS.BRAT_OK as an Agent
BRAT_OK is short of words and no-nonsense, just like the Agents in the first Matrix movies. He just wants to fight, and when he does he beats just about anyone (except Neo).
ROOT.CatZ as the Oracle
He believes in Destiny. Or at least ROOT's Destiny.
ESC.GoOdy as Tank, the operator
If anyone is really good at communicating with mechanical units, it's Goody. This guy goes mech every single game in every single matchup. "Tank" indeed.
EG.Machine as a machine
There are robots in the matrix and Machine's ID is "Machine."
Liquid`Ret as The Keymaker
Except instead of keys, he makes drones. He's just really good at making drones. Anytime you want a drone, he's there, with a drone.
coL.Stalife and mouz.HasuObs as the Twins, even though they look nothing alike.
dignitas.SeleCT as Trinity, as they both are fast / click fast and wear black.
Division 5: The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (2001, 2002, 2003)
SlayerSBoxeR as Aragorn
Old and missing from his Kingdom (Brood War), the heir to the throne returns when he is sorely needed (StarCraft 2). A natural leader who has a way with words and some kickass battle micro, Boxer personifies Viggo's character in the LOTR series.
EGIdrA as Smeagol / Gollum
Once a happy hobbit with not a care in the world, IdrA traveled to the magical land of Korea only to become obsessed with the One-Ring (balance). He is hence known as the Gracken / Gollum, forever bent on pursuing balance among the races. "My precious Protoss nerfs... we wantsss it."
TLAF-Liquid`Tyler as Gandalf
He was sort of cool in the first movie (SC:BW) as Tyler the Grey, but is currently in a bit of a slump, losing MLG and TSL both. He may be fighting his "Balrog" right now, and we'll see if he comes out as Tyler the White in the NASL.
aTn.Socke as Gimli
Both are kind of short and have epic beards. Gimli worked in the mines and Socke is from the engineering-efficient Germany.
LG.PainUser as Treebeard the Ent
Like a tree, Painuser is tall. Also, like a Ent, Painuser takes forever to do stuff. He spends 20 minutes between games at MLG to set his hotkeys, watch replays, and mentally prepare. But when he does finally play, he usually plays quite well, as evidenced by his third place finish at MLG Nationals last year. Just like the Ents marching over Saruman.
Fnatic.Sen as Frodo
He was quoted as having the same frustrations about balance (the Ring) as Idra, but he bears the burden a bit more privately. Sometimes though it boils over, like with forcefields, you see?? With his GCPL ace match win over NaNiwa, Sen might be the player to finally cast the imbalance whines into the fires of Mount Blizzard.
oGs.Zenio as Faramir
He backhand slaps Idra/Gollum at some point in the movie, but IdrA has the last laugh, escaping Korea and trolling the entire GSL Group Selection ceremony. He even managed to trick GOM into believing he passed away.
I suppose the big question is who is Sauron in this analogy, KeSPA or Blizzard, but we'll let the courts decide that. We also have MYM.ClouD as Boromir (betrays his race, switched from Protoss in BW to Terran in SC2), ROOT.Drewbie as the Urukai leader, and mouz.MaNa as Shelob.
I was seriously considering Love, Actually (2003) as one of the movies. ST_Ace would have been that guy who travels overseas and has girls throw themselves at him because he's a foreigner, except instead of girls it'd be the IEM prize pool. ROOT.Catz would have been that hispanic housekeeper who fell in love and married a tall white guy (Drewbie).
I hope you enjoyed this special preview of the NASL. Everything was done as a joke and I don't actually think Idra is Gollum, please don't send me hate mail.
Everyone tune in for the first NASL broadcast on Tuesday night!