For the longest time now, the OnGameNet Starleague has always been the first and the best. While their competitors have been able to come up with maps and player rosters equal to or even exceeding OGN, the OGN Starleague has always been considered the most prestigious league. The amount of prize money has been brought up as a possible reason, but it was disproven as MBCGame retains their status as 2nd place, even after raising their prizes to OGN levels. OGN's dominance was absolute, even sending GameTV out of business temporarily.
OGN has been on top for a number of reasons, they are the first game channel, thus possessing the oldest and largest fan base, they are leaps and bounds ahead of their competitors at hyping themselves, they have 3 announcers who have years of experience behind their backs, etc! So when I heard that KT-KTF were going to try and topple OGN, I was quite interested in how they planned on going about it.
The solution KT-KTF came up with is actually very simple, and quite characteristic of a big company(KT-KTF, largest telecommunications provider in Korea). If there's a problem, throw money at it!
I'd love to say that it's their idea of broadcasting it on two channels, MBCGame and GameTV, or their unique format which ensures many good games. But when you see the total prize money is 120,000,000 won ($100,000), you know what it's really all about.
So, there we have it! The KT-KTF Premiere League.
KT-KTF Premiere League
Rather than hold a preliminary, KT-KTF went to the KPGA and asked them for a list of 20 players. While this may seem unfair at first, it may actually be the best way to start off a tournament of this sort. Holding a best of 3 tournament with over a 100 playe
rs still ensures quite a few upsets, and making it even more complicated(best of 5, double elim, etc) to ensure less flukes makes it very time consuming.
Here is a list of the players:
Terran(5): Boxer, Nada, Xellos, Sync, TheMarine
Zerg(8): Yellow, Chojja, Junwi, Jinnam, Jinsu, TheWind, Sonic)Black, Mumyung
Protoss(6): Reach, Nal_rA, Zeus, Kingdom, ForU, Autumn
While I'm not exactly sure how the KPGA chose the players, here's what I've noticed. For the most part, they've gone with the KPGA rankings. The KPGA ranking is the only ranking that takes all leagues into consideration and is still somewhat accurate. Most of the players on the list are top 20 players. Also, the fact they have not invited players scheduled to play in WCG is noticable. HOT(6th), Elky(11th), Control(15th), and Grrrr...(26th) are all missing from the list.
The players who seem out of place, Mumyung(actually, he's 27th!), Autumn, and BlueK are the players KPGA picked for various reasons. They probably wanted represent as many pro teams as possible, thus inviting Mumyung from Ktec and BlueK from POS. Still, I can't figure out what they want with Autumn. Nada, Yellow, TheMarine, and Black are already representing KTF, and Autumn isn't exactly a top tier player. There are quite a few players who have the skills and can pull more fans. V-Gundam, SC_Side, and Kos, just to mention a few. I guess KTF is giving their players spots, since they're sponsoring the tourney -_-.
This is where the 2nd main feature of the premiere league comes in, being broadcasted on two channels. The players are divided into two groups of 10, and each channel broadcasts the game for one group. The KT Megapass Nespot Premiere League is aired on MBCGame, While the KTF Bigi Premiere League is taken care of by GameTV.
KT Megapass Nespot Premiere League(MBCGame)
Terran(3): Boxer, TheMarine, Sync
Zerg(4): Yellow, Jinnam. Jinsu, TheWind
Protoss(3): Reach, ForU, Autumn
KTF Bigi Premiere League(GameTV)
Terran(2): Nada, Xellos
Zerg(4): Chojja, Black, Mumyung, Junwi
Protoss(3): Nal_rA, Zeus, Kingdom
The 10 players in each league will play 1 game against every other opponent in their group, and an extra game against one player from the other league. So, each player will have played 10 games. With 10 games each, it will be easy to rank the players from each league. The 2nd and 3rd place players will play in the playoffs, and the winner will go on the play the 1st place player in the finals for their league. The two champions from each league will then play in the grand finals.
A note of interest is that they won't just play in Seoul. They plan to do a tour of Korea, travelling to several major locations. If the OGN Starleague's Busan tour is any indicator, it's going to be like the finals to any other tourney, each city they go. Also, they'll have an All Star game for some light hearted entertainment.
As with any big tourney, the maps are a huge factor. KT-KTF decided they'd go with mostly tried and true maps. And quite impressively, neither the MBCGame, GameTV, nor KT have an official map pack available for download! So I went to MBCGame and SClegacy, and put together this little pack. May or may not be the official latest versions!
Plains to Hill D, Jim Raynor's Memory 1.5, Enter the Dragon, and Lost Temple Desert. Yes, they basically recycled the old maps and tossed in Enter the Dragon. Though it may be a bit disappointing for players who want something new, it's good for the gamers because they can play on maps they already know, which is good for the fans too.
One of the other interesting parts of this tournament is how the maps are selected. While the players know who their opponent will be, they don't know the map. On the day of the game, the two players are allowed to veto one map each, leaving two maps. Of the remaining maps, one is randomly selected and used. As the announcers pointed out, it appears as if the progamers will remove Enter the Dragon by default, as it is the newest and most unpredictable map.
The Prize Money
Ah, here's what this tourney is really about! I'll assume the exchange rate is 1,200 Korean won per $1.
The total prize money is listed as 120,000,000 won, $100,000 as listed above. All the details are yet unclear, a little disappointing considering the tournament has already started -_-. Anyway, here's what's been revealed through various newspaper articles. I'll update this after I watch the rerun.
The players receive 300,000 won ($250) per victory, and extra money for a win streak; 1,000,000 won every game they win in a row, about $833. If a player can win all 10 of his regular season games, he's already made over $11,000.
In the case the players don't go on big streaks, that's good for the players going to the playoffs and finals. It's said that the leftover money will be added to the prize money for winning the tournament. Whatever happens, the eventually winner can expect to win over 50,000,000 won, over $41,000. That's two times over what the winner of MBCGame or OGN gets.
It was no surprise that the players seemed a bit giddy as they were interviewed during the opening ceremony
5 games for the KT Megapass Nespot League have been played, I'll have reports for those up after I catch the reruns! Also, this means even more liquibets! Rejoice!