Big, big weekend in eSports this week. It’s an IEM weekend which is usually a big deal but this weekend is the annual IEM World Championships from Katowice, Poland. It’s the one eSports event that I would strongly consider hopping on a plane for. Well, mostly because I’ve never been to Eastern Europe and I understand Poland is a lovely part of the world.
Anyway, the annual IEM World Championship features League of Legends and CS:GO events along with supporting mini-tournaments for Hearthstone and HOTS. They’ve also partnered with Blizzard to bring the WCS Winter Championship to Katowice which marks the first major stop on the road to BlizzCon.
If none of that strikes your fancy, the second Dota 2 Major Championship, the Shanghai Major, is currently going through its playoffs with the grand final on Sunday. I would assume that the winner of this tournament will spent July in Seattle for The International so there’s more than the $1.1 million winner’s purse on the line.
I’m not sure I could have picked a worse week to get back into the eSports weekend calendar. LPL is taking a short break so it’s a light schedule on the League of Legends front. Dota 2 is mostly qualifiers and small regional events. SC2 is all qualifiers. At least CS:GO and Hearthstone have a couple of big tournaments this weekend.
There’s a whole lotta eSports going on this weekend. Chief among the action are the two big MOBAs. Over in Dota 2, the jointly produced StarLadder Star Series and IMBAtv i-League season comes to an end with their playoffs and some top teams still in contention. Meanwhile, League of Legends starts league play this weekend worldwide. All five of the big leagues have games over the weekend so we can see who gets off to a hot start.
Elsewhere, there is various StarCraft action in Korea. The Heroes of the Storm Gold Series continues group play ahead of next weekend’s playoffs. And CS:GO has their first January Minor event in the Americas. That doesn’t sound too impressive but it’s worth $30,000 to the winner and an invite to the final eight qualifier for February’s MLG Columbus Major.
There are a few events happening this weekend to give some of your favourite eSports stars a couple of extra dollars in spending money right before Christmas. The stars of League of Legends are split between China and Germany. The big teams are in Cologne for a stop on the Intel Extreme Masters tour while China plays host to World Cyber Arena. Also at WCA are Hearthstone and Dota 2 which isn’t listed below because I can’t find times for anything beyond the group stage.
My focus will be on StarCraft II this weekend. The semi-annual HomeStory Cup is taking place this weekend. I believe that this one will be the first HSC from Take’s new studio rather than his apartment. Hopefully this won’t change the atmosphere of the event. HomeStory Cup is my favourite tournament series in SC2.
If you’re looking something to watch on Twitch this weekend and are in the Americas, this is a good weekend for you. Dota 2’s The Summit 4 wraps up this weekend with the eight-team playoff. ESL and ESEA conclude their CS:GO pro league. And StarCraft II’s Nation Wars continue this weekend. Canada is in action on Thursday and Friday so I’ll be watching to see if Scarlett, HuK and desRow can bring Canada to the Round of 8.
For those on the West Coast or those up late elsewhere, Riot is holding the 2015 All-Star Event featuring the international regional all-star teams and the 1v1 tournament. Put a pot of coffee on if you want to see the finish of those.
There are a series of random tournaments and leagues in action this weekend. Challenger level teams are getting their own League of Legends tournament. The world’s top CS:GO teams descend on Canada for the Northern Arena championship as part of the Canadian Videogame Awards FanFest at the old Maple Leaf Gardens. And over in Korea, the eSports World Championships feature StarCraft and Hearthstone.
This weekend, the world of eSport descends on Jonkoping, Sweden. The little Swedish town becomes the home of competitive StarCraft, Dota, CS:GO, Hearthstone and Heroes of the Storm as it’s the host city of DreamHack Winter 2015. StarCraft II, Hearthstone and HOTS all have their own tournaments that started earlier today and will continue through to Saturday. Dota 2 and CS:GO have ongoing leagues that are concluding their seasons in Jonkoping.
This is a big weekend in the world of eSports for two reasons.
The big reason is the 2015 League of Legends World Championship wraps up on Saturday with the Grand Final between SK Telecom and Koo Tigers. Worlds is one of the most watched sporting events in the world and two of Korea’s best going should be a pretty intense matchup even if we expect Faker and MaRin to cement their status as two of the best in the world.
On the other side of the world, the Road to BlizzCon nears its conclusion. Two rounds of 16 will take place at ESL’s studio in Burbank ahead of next weekend’s tournaments at BlizzCon. On Friday and Saturday, Hearthstone’s World Championship group stages will wrap up to set the stage for the playoffs in Anaheim. Sunday is all about StarCraft’s WCS Global Finals round of 16 where we’ll be watching to see how far the lone foreigner, French Protoss Lilbow, can go.
Just in time for the 2015 League of Legends World Championship, it’s time for the return of the eSports Weekend Calendar. Usually, it runs on Thursdays at the end of the day but because the Worlds start on Thursday afternoon (Central European Time) in Paris. I’ll be paying as much attention to this as I can because I have some acquaintances trying to drag me back into league. He’s an ADC who is looking for some help. I’m working on my healers so I’m playing a lot of Soraka and Sona because if you need a new ADC, it usually someone to keep you out of trouble. His loss. My Morgana is pretty good.
There is more happening in the world of eSports besides the Worlds. ESL is holding their latest ESL One Dota 2 tournament at the Madison Square Garden Theatre. Just for the spectacle of eSports at MSG, I think this might be the highlight of the weekend. And then fans can go upstairs and watch the WWE on Saturday night. Meanwhile, in Korea, GSL wraps up this weekend with their Season 3 Grand Final. It’s also the last stop on StarCraft’s road to BlizzCon so the field will be set on Sunday.
The Electronic Sports League (ESL), one of the biggest eSports companies in the world, is going to be making a major change ahead of its upcoming ESL One event in Cologne. The $250,000 Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament will be the first ESL run event to feature random drug testing for performance enhancing drugs.