The Second Season of WCS Challenger 2018 Starts in June
The WCS Challenger 2018 is upon us and qualifiers are scheduled to start in early June. Blizzard counts on European and North American professional players to spice things up in the second season of this competition. The tournament is advertised as an essential milestone for both aspiring and established StarCraft II players. There is money on the table, points needed to participate in the WCS Global Finals and the sheer glory of becoming regional champion.
Blizzard got plenty of feedback from StarCraft II fans after the inaugural edition of the WCS Challenger. Some were disgruntled by the fact that they were unable to find a channel broadcasting the games of their favorite players. These included big names, such as Liquid’s Mana who made a deep run in the EU playoffs, yet whose games were broadcasted on few streams. The organizers were often overwhelmed by the frantic pace of the qualifiers, but they are expected to address those problems once Season 2 begins.
Who Qualifies For WCS Challenger Season?
Few changes were made compared to last season, with a total of 32 players from Europe and North America to qualify for the WCS Challenger. Each region will send its best 16 players forward, using the clear-cut system envisioned by Blizzard Entertainment. Four players will be granted direct access to the event, based on their placement in WCS Challenger Season 1. Four more will qualify using their Season 2 Ladder Race rank and the final eight will have to earn their place in online open qualifiers.
Interested players will have two days to showcase their skills, as soon as the Challenger open qualifier events begin. In North America, qualifiers start on June 6 and conclude the next day, while in Europe they run June 7-8. The main event will unfold over the course of several weekends, starting on June 13. Games will be broadcasted throughout the day, with the first half dedicated to European players and the second to their North American counterparts.
Blizzard Sticks To Its Dual Tournament Format
The Second Season of WCS Challenger 2018 will split the 16 players in four groups of four. It will use the dual tournament format, which means that players who win two games in the group phase advance to the knockout stage. Those who lose two games are eliminated from the competition and the last two players compete for the final place in a single-elimination playoff.
At the end of season one, some StarCraft II players expressed their criticism for what they perceived as the devaluation of qualifiers. Knowing that players who were on the brink of elimination could still sign up for the main event made the qualifiers less exciting.
Having said this, the WCS points up for grabs and a place in the Round of 32 at WCS Valencia make the effort of participating in the qualifiers worthwhile. Things will get really interesting in the second week of June and Blizzard has unveiled the official schedule of the competition. From June 13 two June 17 the matches will take place between 7:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. PDT. The EU finals are scheduled for 4:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. PDT and the NA Finals will take place between 11:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. PDT.
Prizes, Points and Glory
Blizzard has invested time, resources and energy in promoting the WCS Challenger 2018. Revitalizing StarCraft II and keeping it relevant in the esports arena is hard work. In 2018, they are trying to improve viewership and coverage, which in turn should generate a better return on investment. Participants can hope to win a share of the prize pool and the coveted WCS Points.
The winner will walk away with 200 WCS Points and a paycheck of $1600, while the runner-up will have to settle for 140 WCS Points and $1200. The next two players receive 90 WCS Points and $800 each, while the players in the 5th – 8th Places get 60 WCS Points and $600. Consolation prizes of 30 WCS Points and $400 USD are awarded to the players who finish in the 9th – 16th Places.
The best four WCS Challenger players in both regions will be invited directly to the Round of 32 at WCS Valencia. Blizzard will pay for travel and accommodation expenses, which do matter when playing a tournament on a different continent.