Top professional eSports athletes gathered at Full Sail University in Orlando, Florida, last weekend for the opening Red Bull LAN of 2012. The event may have only been a training session – the competition begins in May in Austin, Texas – but with the StarCraft® II and Halo: Reach teams testing new strategies, refining techniques and holding scrimmages, the action was nonetheless intense.
For the first time, spectators watched on site to learn and cheer on the players, joining the nearly 2.5 million live-stream viewers.
Attending from the Halo: Reach circuit were teams Status Quo, Instinct (deemed “The God Squad” by their fans), and Dynasty. For Status Quo, which was led by Red Bull athletes and Red Bull LAN alums Ian “Enable” Wyatt and Mike “Flamesword” Chavez, the theme of the weekend was communication.
On the StarCraft® II side, players faced off in hectic one-on-one battles, with Sean “Day” Plott of www.day9.tv and Marcus “djWHEAT” Wheat calling the plays and analyzing the action.
While all StarCraft® II players were able to compete with one another, the weekend featured four focus players: Marcus “ThorZaIN” Eklöf, Dennis “HasuObs” Schneider, Shawn “Sheth” Simon and Joseph “Ret” de Kroon. The four played back-to-back matches to improve upon their weaknesses in specific situations. Players also partook in some less traditional game-play sessions, such as a four-versus-four Korea-versus-Sweden challenge.
A free-for-all match on the last day ended with Joseph “Tizoxic” Campbell, Paul “Snakebite” Duarte and Matthew “Royal 2” Fiorante on top.
One of the highlights of the weekend came from David “Walshy” Walsh, a Red Bull athlete and eSports legend, who was presented with a one-of-a-kind 24-carat-gold “Milk and Honey” headset. Walshy, who recently retired from competition, took on a new role at the event, commentating for the Halo: Reach live stream.
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