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 hope you’ve blocked off your weekend to watch some eSports. ESL is having their big IEM season finale event in Katowice this weekend. The highlight is probably the IEM World Championship of StarCraft II which sees the best in the world battle it out for ESL’s version of the world championship and a $68,000 payday. The folks at ESL have also pulled in some top talent for their League of Legends, CS:GO and Hearthstone tournaments.
The big feature in this week’s eSports Weekend Calendar is ESL’s first standalone IEM event in North America. Usually, IEM events are run at big comic or gaming conventions but IEM San Jose breaks that mould by running at San Jose’s SAP Center, home to the NHL’s San Jose Sharks. IEM San Jose has both a League of Legends tournaments with some big North American and European teams and an SC2 tournament that will hand out the first WCS points for 2015.
The first visit of ESL’s StarCraft II flagship series to Canada looks to have nothing short of an all-star lineup. We already looked at the twelve qualifiers and invitees to IEM Toronto which includes seven of the top ten players in the World Championship Series points standings.
With a week until the tournament starts, IEM and ESL announced the group drawings for the tournament and the sixteen participants in the Dual Tournaments for the last four spots in the Round of 16. The lineup is one of the most stacked tournaments of the year outside of the WCS and a must-watch for SC2 fans.
The eight qualifier and four wildcard spots for the upcoming Intel Extreme Masters Season IX event at Fan Expo in Toronto have been set. Over 200 StarCraft II players tried to enter the biggest SC2 tournament in Canada this year but only eight qualified straight through to the group stages.
It was just speculation when IEM Canada first announced but the folks behind Fan Expo have made it official. This August’s stop on ESL’s Intel Extreme Masters tour will be coming to Toronto as part of Fan Expo Canada.
After the massive success of the 2013 StarCraft II World Championship Series Season 3 World Finals in Toronto, it was only a matter of time before the highest level of competitive SC2 returned to Canada. It won’t ESL bringing WCS Americas to Canada but ESL’s premiere competition series, Intel Extreme Masters, that will be coming to Canada for a stop in August.