It snuck up on me, but apparently the StarCraft II summer arena is this weekend. This is great for me, since I can craft some stuff in Final Fantasy XI and watch top tier StarCraft games at the same time. Woo!
They seem to like shaking up the format each arena and the twist this time is they're running two different double-elimination brackets with the two winners meeting in the grand finals. This is different in that there could be someone who only loses one match but still doesn't win the whole thing. I'm not sure I really understand why they're making this switch but it's interesting.
They also let the top 16 players choose their first round opponents. My initial feeling is that this is going to make for some bad opening round matches. A Zerg player who is really good against Protoss is going to search out a Protoss player who isn't so good against Zerg and then stomp them. But I guess this will only really be true for the first few people who are picking their opponents and the #1 seed is likely to stomp the #32 seed in a normal system anyway. Now, the seeding system isn't perfect (often the top players are from Korea and may not have played in a previous MLG event to build up a high seed), so this does have the advantage of letting the top seeds dodge an underseeded player.
When I look at the roster I'm a little sad. No HuK. No Idra. No MarineKing. On the plus side two of their race specific commentators from the first Spring arena qualified this time around. I made a snide comment about thinking if they were that good they'd be playing in the arena... Well, they are! I can't help but think that the opportunity to go to an arena and break down all the games was a big help for them and I'm really happy that they're there. Qxc, Sheth, and Grubby were all commentators at the first spring arena and are all playing in this event. I like having someone to root for so I'm going to cheer for these guys. Especially Grubby since he plays Protoss!
Perhaps the best part of this arena is they've got Day to do cast some of the games. Woo! Also pretty cool is they've made the standard definition feed free so if anyone is curious they can check it out themselves.