The StarCraft 2 World Championship Series Returns to Austin
May is an amazing month for StarCraft fans, with major tournaments for both the remastered version and the latest installment in the series. While Brood War fans are anxiously waiting for the Afreeca Starleague Season 5 final between the best Protoss players, StarCraft II comes to American shores. StarCraft 2 World Championship is back in Austin for the second of the four events scheduled for 2018. This tournament is a part of the 2018 WCS circuit and it is organized by DreamHack.
Last year, the tournament generated tremendous interest both in the US and abroad. With a guaranteed prize pool of $100,000 and 11,000 WCS circuit points, it has plenty to offer to its participants. Neeb won the in 2017 competition and was rewarded with $25,000 and 3000 points, after outshining Nerchio. The runner-up received $10,000 and 1400 WCS points, while the ones in the third and fourth place had to settle for $6500 and 900 points. The podium featured a Protoss, a Zerg and a Terran player.
StarCraft 2 World Championship Austin Retains its Format
The tournament is scheduled to start on Friday, June 1 and will conclude on Sunday afternoon at the DreamHack Austin. 64 players will be divided into 16 groups of four players each where they will compete in a dual tournament format. They will have up to five matches to prove their quality, as the group stage games are played in a best-of-three format. The top two players from each group will advance to the second stage which will feature eight groups.
The rules in this phase of the competition are the same and once again the most successful two players from each group qualify. Finally, the remaining 16 players and 16 more from qualifiers play in the third and final group stage. This year the StarCraft 2 World Championship prizes are slightly bigger and 12,600 WCS Points are up for grabs. The top eight players who survive all the group stages and reach the playoffs are guaranteed the biggest prizes. Round of 16 and semifinals are played in the best-of-five format, while up to seven games can be played in the final.
Prize Structure and Points Distribution
StarCraft 2 World Championship Austin has a guaranteed prize pool of $101,000, a $1000 increase from last year. The boost in WCS points is more significant, an increase of 15% for a total of 12,600 WCS Points. Having said this, the prize distribution is slightly different, with the organizers emphasizing the importance of rewarding more participants. As a result, the winner will only receive $20,000 and the same number of 3,000 WCS Points as last year.
The prize structure remains the same for the runner-up and the players who finish the tournament in the third and fourth place. In 2018, WCS Circuit championship events, hosted by DreamHack will also award prizes to participants who finish inside Top 32. Those in the 5th – 8th will receive $4000 and 600 WCS Points, while players between 9th and 16th will get $2,750 and 300 WCS Points. Consolation prizes of $1,250 and 100 WCS Points are reserved for all the players who are eliminated in the third group stage.
StarCraft 2 World Championship Austin is the second event in the series, after the sister tournament in Leipzig. There are two more stages scheduled, one in Valencia Spain and another in Montreal, Canada.