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Full Details on Qualifiers for DreamHack ZOWIE Open: Montreal Featuring WCS Circuit: Summer Championship!

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DreamHack and Blizzard Entertainment would like to announce the DreamHack ZOWIE Open: Montreal Qualifiers for WCS Circuit Summer Championship – where 32 players will compete for a $150,000 prize pool, 11,000 WCS Circuit points, and a direct seed into the WCS Global Playoffs at BlizzCon 2016. 

Qualifiers

 

Regional Challengers

8 Players from Regional Challengers:

  • 2 slots for Europe, Africa and the Middle East
  • 2 slots for North America (USA and Canada)
  • 1 slot for Latin America
  • 1 slot for China
  • 1 slot for Oceania, Southeast Asia and Japan
  • 1 slot for Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau

 

EU & NA Ladder Challengers – June 27th -July 5th

 

The top 16 players in Grandmaster League in both Europe & North America qualify for separate playoffs. Ladder qualifier ends Tuesday, July 5th.

  • Europe Ladder: 11:59 PM CEST
  • North America Ladder: 11:59 PM EDT

Playoffs

  • Double elimination brackets of 16 players.
  • Seed is based on the player’s ladder position.
  • The top 2 players will qualify for WCS Summer Championship at DreamHack ZOWIE Open: Montreal.
  • The top 2 players will have their travel & accommodations paid for.

Friday, July 8th

  • EU round of 16 begins 6:00 pm CEST
  • NA round of 16 begins 8:00 pm EDT

Saturday, July 9th

  • EU losers bracket round 4 begins 6:00 pm CEST
  • NA losers bracket round 4 begins 8:00 pm EDT

 

Additional Information

 

Grandmaster League in North America and Europe will open up at 9:00 CEST/3:00 EDT/0:00 PDT on Monday, June 27th.

Players will be required to play under the name that they wish to use during the WCS Circuit Spring Championship. A free character name change was provided to every account on June 20th. Player’s account names have to be recognizable (no ‘bar code’ or otherwise unknown alias) once Grandmaster League opens. Any later name changes will render that account ineligible for the respective top 16 final.

Players must have their Battle.net account registered to one of the eligible countries or submit other proof of citizenship or residency to esportsteam@blizzard.com. For more information check here.

The double elimination tournament seeding will work as follows: 1st-4th in Grandmaster rankings will receive top seed, 5th-8th second seed, 9th-12th third seed, and 13th-16th fourth seed.

All matches will be Best of 5. The champion of the upper bracket will receive first place, and the lower bracket champion will receive second place.

For the North American Challenger tournament, only residents and citizens of North America (Canada & U.S.) will be eligible to qualify.

EU players have to be citizens or residents of countries in Africa, Europe or the Middle East.

Qualifiers

16 players from Qualifiers and 8 from invites.

  • 8 slots in total for EU Server Qualifier – #1 LINK 20th of July (Finals 23rd of July) - #2 LINK 21th of July (Finals 23rd of July)
  • 5 slots in total for NA Server Qualifier – #1 LINK 20th of July - #2 LINK 21th of July (Finals 23rd of July)
  • 1 slot for CN Server Qualifier 9th of July
  • 2 players from National Qualifier - LINK 19th of July,
  • 8 invites from 2016 WCS Standings
Due to timing and visa considerations, players from the China region will not be able to compete in NA/EU server qualifiers for the Summer Championship. Instead, one spot has been allocated to a China region only qualifier.

 

Format

  • 32 players in a single-elimination bracket.
  • Round of 32 to Semifinals are Best of 5.
  • Finals are Best of 7.

For those who can’t make it to the event, all matches will be broadcast live and streamed on www.dreamhack.tv, so be sure to mark your calendar to see who will become the WCS Circuit Summer Champion!

For more information about StarCraft II WCS, be sure to visit the official site and follow @StarCraft and @esportstarcraft on twitter. For more information about DreamHack ZOWIE Open, be sure to follow @DreamHackOpen on Twitter and visit open.dreamhack.se.

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IEM Shanghai XI – Invitations Are Finalized!

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The Final Four

 

Information regarding IEM’s announcement was taken from HERE.

 

ShoWTimE, Elazer, ViOlet, and MaSa have acceptied their invitations and will compete in Shanghai alongside the 12 qualified players.

 

The first stop of Intel Extreme Masters Season 11 kicks off in Shanghai on July 28th with 16 players competing in a single elimination bracket. 12 of the players were determined through a series of qualifiers. The remaining four slots were to be filled by players receiving direct invitations based on their 2016 WCS points. As some of you already worked out, Polt was invited but we are sad to say, he cannot attend. Next in line was MaSa, who has gladly accepted the position to travel to China.

Invited Players

  • ShoWTimE – The most recent StarCraft champion – the WCS Summer Championship held at DreamHack Tour. The #2 seeded player in the 2016 WCS Circuit standings.
  • Elazer – The young rising star from Poland. Currently seventh in the WCS rankings. Elazer had a fantastic performance at the 2016 World Championship Katowice earlier this year finishing 5th-8th.
  • ViOlet – A former Intel Extreme Masters champion from 2012 returns to yet another tournament. This will be his 10th tournament with us.
  • MaSa – MaSa joins puCK and Neeb to complete a very strong North American line-up. So far this year in the WCS Circuit., MaSa has two semi-final finishes.

The Complete Lineup

The full player lineup of players competing for IEM Shanghai Championship is as follows:

  • Ptitdrogo – qualified by EU Qualifier
  • Snute – qualified by EU Qualifier
  • Nerchio – qualified by EU Qualifier
  • Masa – qualified by Wildcard Invite
  • Neeb – qualified by NA Qualifier
  • Pilipili – qualified by NA Qualifier
  • Puck – qualified by NA Server Qualifier 
  • Showtime – qualified by Wildcard Invite
  • TooDming – qualified by CN Qualifier
  • Cyan – qualified by CN Qualifier
  • Hydra – qualified by OCE Server Qualifier
  • Elazer – qualified by Wildcard Invite
  • Enderr – qualified by OCE Qualifier
  • Has - qualified by TW Qualifier
  • Major – qualified by Latin American Qualifier
  • Violet – qualified by Wildcard Invite 

Bracket and Schedule

In the next few days, we will release the tournament bracket and schedule, check back for more details.

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Clarification on WCS Age Requirement and Event Rules

In the lead up to DreamHack Zowie Open: Valencia, we have received many inquiries about the WCS age requirement posted in our 2016 World Championship Series Rules. We hope that now we can clarify the contexts under which these rules apply, and the ways we are working with event organizers in the WCS Circuit.

WCS Age Requirement

In section 3.2.b of the 2016 WCS Rules it states:

You may participate in the WCS if you have reached the age of majority in your country of residence as of December 5, 2015. 

If you are under the legal age of majority in your country of residence, but over the age of 16 as of January 1, 2016, you may still enter the WCS and participate as a player if you otherwise meet all of the eligibility criteria set forth in these Official Rules and one of your parents or legal guardians reads and accepts these Official Rules on your behalf.

This rule is intended to only apply to placements directly sponsored by Blizzard Entertainment in 2016. To that effect, those under the age of 16 may not participate in the following:

  • The earning of WCS points, and eligibility for a seed at the WCS Global Finals at BlizzCon
  • WCS Passport Qualifiers to WCS 5000 Circuit Events
  • All WCS Circuit Championship qualifiers and Challengers

Players under 16 will be allowed to join WCS Circuit or Global events if the organizer’s rules allow it, and they are not attempting to qualify via WCS Passport Qualifiers.

Event-specific Rules

In the 2016 WCS Circuit system, organizers still operate on their own rulesets to govern the administration of tournaments in the system. Refer to section 4.7 of the rules for our official statement. Please be aware that these may vary from event to event, and any questions on rules or eligibility should be addressed first to tournament organizers. If the tournament organizer is not able to resolve the matter in a satisfactory fashion, please contact esportsteam@blizzard.com.

In the lead up to DreamHack Zowie Open: Valencia, we have received many inquiries about the WCS age requirement posted in our 2016 World Championship Series Rules. We hope that now we can clarify the contexts under which these rules apply, and the ways we are working with event organizers in the WCS Circuit.

WCS Age Requirement

In section 3.2.b of the 2016 WCS Rules it states:

If you are under the legal age of majority in your country of residence, but over the age of 16 as of January 1, 2016, you may still enter the WCS and participate as a player if you otherwise meet all of the eligibility criteria set forth in these Official Rules and one of your parents or legal guardians reads and accepts these Official Rules on your behalf.

This rule is intended to only apply to placements directly sponsored by Blizzard Entertainment in 2016. To that effect, those under the age of 16 may not participate in the following:

     The earning of WCS points, and eligibility for a seed at the WCS Global Finals at BlizzCon

     WCS Passport Qualifiers to WCS 5000 Circuit Events

     All WCS Circuit Championship qualifiers and Challengers

Players under 16 will be allowed to join WCS Circuit or Global events if the organizer’s rules allow it, and they are not attempting to qualify via WCS Passport Qualifiers.

Event-specific Rules

In the 2016 WCS Circuit system, organizers still operate on their own rulesets to govern the administration of tournaments in the system. Refer to section 4.7 of the rules for our official statement. Please be aware that these may vary from event to event, and any questions on rules or eligibility should be addressed first to tournament organizers. If the tournament organizer is not able to resolve the matter in a satisfactory fashion, please contact esportsteam@blizzard.com.

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DreamHack Zowie Open: Valencia Featuring $50,000 StarCraft II Tournament

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Information regarding DreamHack’s announcement was taken from HERE.

Today DreamHack is proud to announce that the next stop of the StarCraft® II WCS Circuit will be hosted at DreamHack ZOWIE Open Valencia, featuring $50,000 in prizes and 5,000 WCS points. This year’s DreamHack Valencia will be just the latest stop in a massive 2016 circuit that collectively features the biggest StarCraft II prize pool in DreamHack history. 96 players will compete live onsite, including 8 players who qualified from around the world and won trips to Valencia via the WCS Circuit program.

The entirety of the competition will be played out live at DreamHack Valencia, July 14-16th of 2016. The event will serve as DreamHack’s third WCS Circuit Event of 2016 and alongside having a $50,000 prize pool, participants will be able to earn a share of the 5,000 WCS points being awarded.

Tournament Structure

Dates: July 14-16th
Location: DreamHack Valencia, Feria de Valencia
Prize Pool Breakdown:
Total: $50,000 USD and 5,000 WCS Points
1st: $16,000 and 1,000 Points
2nd: $8,000 and 700 points
3/4th: $5,000 and 450 points
5-8th $2,000 and 300 points
9-16th $1,000 and 150 points

Format

8 players from online qualification, 88 players from open signups.
32 players (including 8 from the qualifiers) will be pre-seeded into group stage 2.
64 unseeded competitors from the open signup will compete in group stage 1, top 32 advance into group stage 2.
32 players advancing from group stage 2 will compete in single elimination.
Match Format: Group stages are played in dual tournament BO3 format. Single elimination is played in BO5 with BO7 Grand Finals.

Open Signups

88 slots in the tournament will be allocated to players who signup through open signups. All players must be eligible to participate in WCS Circuit Events as outlined on http://wcs.battle.net to participate. To signup please fill in your information in the following HERE. Note that shortly after signing up you will receive an email to confirm your slot in the tournament, or that you have been placed on the waitlist should the tournament fill up before you sign up.

Online Passport Qualifiers

EU Qualifier: 4th-5th of June Sign-up
NA Qualifier: 5th of June Sign-up
LatAM Qualifier: 5th of June Sign-Up
ANZ/Sea: 10th of June Sign-up
TW: 10th of June Sign-up
CN Qualifier: 30th of May Sign-up

Be sure to follow @DreamHackOpen on twitter for all the latest updates.

For visitors who wish to compete or spectate onsite, visitor passes for each day of the event are still available at HERE. Viewers from around the world who aren’t able to make it out to Valencia will be able to catch all the best games streamed online at http://www.dreamhack.tv. Stay tuned to open.dreamhack.se and @DreamHackOpen for upcoming information including the full tournament schedule, broadcast talent and of course the list of competitors!

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2016 WCS Korea Season 1 Cross Finals

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Event_Summary

On May 22, the top two players from the GSL (Zest and TY) will face off against the top two from the SSL (Dark and Stats) to determine the best player in Korea for Season 1 of 2016. Whoever claims this title will take with it a $17,000 first place prize and 1,000 WCS points. The upcoming Korea Cross Finals is the main arena where the absolute highest echelon of players will battle across tournament-lines during Season 1. In addition, this event will also host a $4,300 Archon showmatch where the two GSL finalists will face off versus their SSL counterparts and display levels of skill which we may never before have witnessed in StarCraft II.

Event_Details

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Organizer

AfreecaTV

Location

AfreecaTV Freecup Studio

Date & Time

May 22nd at -

  • PDT – 2:00 AM
  • EDT – 5:00 AM
  • UTC – 9:00 AM
  • KST – 6:00 PM

Talent

English:

  • Tasteless & Artosis 

Korean:

  • Caster: Park Sang Hyun
  • AfreecaTV: Park Jinyoung, Hwang Youngjae
  • SpoTV: Ko Inkyu, YooDaehyun

Streams

English:

Prizing

  • 1st place: $17,160 and 1,000 WCS KR Points
  • 2nd place: $4,290 (no WCS KR Points awarded)
  • Archon Prizing: $4,290 for the winning team (no WCS KR Points awarded)

Where_to_discuss

Join in on the conversation about these games here!

More_Information

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WCS Circuit Spring Championship Survival Guide

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Event_Summary

The Winter Spring Championship held at DreamHack Tours is the pinnacle of Spring competition in StarCraft II. 32 of the most skilled StarCraft II players, hailing from 17 different home countries, will clash over two days to earn their share of a $150,00 prize pool and 11,000 WCS Circuit Points. The winner of this event will claim a $35,000 cash prize and alongside a guaranteed slot at the WCS Global Playoffs where $500,000, and the title of WCS Global Champion, will be up for grabs. With so much on the line, we’ve tried to make it as easy as possible for you to learn all you want about the Spring Championship, so check out the details below!

Event_Details

Organizer:

DreamHack

Location:

Le Vinci Conference Center
26-28 Boulevard Heurteloup, 37000 Tours, France

 Date & Time:

Saturday, May 14

  • CEST – 11:00 a.m.
  • PDT – 2:00 a.m.
  • UTC – 9:00 a.m.
  • BST – 10:00 a.m.
  • KST – 6:00 p.m.

Sunday, May 15

  • CEST – 11:00 a.m.
  • PDT – 2:00 a.m.
  • UTC – 9:00 a.m.
  • BST – 10:00 a.m.
  • KST – 6:00 p.m.

Monday, May 16

  • CEST – 12:00 a.m.
  • PDT – 3:00 a.m.
  • UTC – 10:00 a.m.
  • BST – 11:00 a.m.
  • KST – 7:00 p.m.

 Talent:

  • Desk Host: Shaun “Apollo” Clark
  • Stage Host: Sue “Smix” Lee
  • Commentator: Kevin “RotterdaM” van der Kooi
  • Commentator: Nathaniel “Nathanias” Fabrikant
  • Commentator: Yoan “ToD” Merlo
  • Commentator: Nick “Tasteless” Plott
  • Commentator: Dan “Artosis” Stemkoski
  • Commentator: Geoff “iNcontroL” Robinson
  • Commentator: Leigh “Maynarde” Mandalov

 Streams:

Format_Prizing

The WCS 2016 Spring Circuit Championship hosts a 32 player single-elimination bracket. All matches from the Round of 32 to the Semifinals are determined by a Best of 5, with the Finals being a Best of 7 contest.

Total prize pool: $150,000 and 11,000 WCS Circuit Points divided amongst the top 16 players.

  • 1st Place: $35,000 and 3,000 WCS Circuit Points AND an automatic seed into the WCS Global Playoffs
  • 2nd Place: $15,000 and 1,400 WCS Circuit Points
  • 3rd – 4th Place: $10,000 and 900 WCS Circuit Points
  • 5th – 8th Place: $6,000 and 600 WCS Circuit Points
  • 9th – 16th Place: $4,000 and 300 WCS Circuit Points
  • 17th – 32nd Place: $1,500

Competitors

Players entered WCS Spring Championship in one of the following ways:

  • 8 slots were awarded for being a top 8 WCS Circuit player in the 2016 WCS Standings as of April 11.
  • 14 slots were awarded via NA/EU Server Qualifiers
  • 8 slots were awarded via Regional Challengers
    • 2 slots for North American and 2 slots for Europe
    • 1 slot for each of the following regions: Taiwan/Hong Kong/Macau, Latin America, China, and ANZ/Oceania
    • 2 slots were awarded via the National Qualifiers for French players

Notable players include (among others):

  • Europe: Snute, Harstem, Elazer, and Nerchio
  • North America: Neeb, MaSa, puCK, and HuK
  • International: iaguz, Has, iAsonu, Polt, Hydra, and viOLet

Where_to_discuss 

Join in on the conversation about these games here!

More_Information

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Ticket Sales

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DreamHack Zowie Open: Austin Survival Guide

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DreamHack Opens are extremely unique and exciting tournaments in that they provide opportunities for anyone to come and compete at live events that boast huge prize pools, massive crowds, and top talent. This year, this opportunity comes to North America in the form of the DreamHack Zowie Open: Austin, where 96 players will enter to compete for $50,000 and 5,000 WCS points. Open tournaments host a wealth of unknown players and unseen strategies, which you can witness starting this Friday, May 6. As the weekend progresses, the stars will shine through as the tournament concludes in an epic 32-person Bo5 Single-Elimination Playoff Bracket to determine the champion of the first ever North American DreamHack. Be sure to tune in all three days to catch the thrilling and diverse gameplay that this tournament is sure to bring!


Organizer

DreamHack

Location

Austin Convention Center

500 E Cesar Chavez St, Austin, TX 78701, United States.

Dates

DreamHackAustinTimes

Streams

Casters & Hosts

Dreamhack Austin-2016_Casters


The DreamHack Zowie Open: Austin will host a total of 96 competitors at its three day event, all of which will get to participate in at least one of the following stages that compose the tournament’s format:

  • Group Stage #1 - This first stage is composed of the 64 players not seeded into Stage #2
  • Group Stage #2 - The top 32 players from Group Stage #1 join 32 players seeded into this stage (due to past event performance).
  • Playoff Bracket - Single-elimination Bo5 bracket featuring the top 32 players from Group Stage #2
    • Grand Finals are Bo7

Total prize pool: $50,000 and 5,000 WCS Circuit Points divided among the 16 competitors.

  • 1st Place: $16,000 and 1,000 WCS Circuit Points
  • 2nd Place: $8,000 and 700 WCS Circuit Points
  • 3rd – 4th Place: $5,000 and 450 WCS Circuit Points
  • 5th – 8th Place: $2,000 and 300 WCS Circuit Points
  • 9th – 16th Place: $1,000 and 150 WCS Circuit Points

Join in on the conversation about these games here!



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2016 WCS Challenger Spring – Ruling

Following WCS Challenger – Europe, several players were removed from ongoing Challenger competition due to evidence of win-trading and other offenses. We conducted a deeper investigation into player behavior on the European ladder during the competition period to see if it met the standards set forth in the 2016 WCS Rules, StarCraft II End User License Agreement, and rules published by event organizer DreamHack. That investigation has now concluded, and we present the results below:

DnS, MarineLorD, MajOr Win-trading

During the final hours of the ladder portion of the WCS Challenger – Europe, DnS played three ladder matches with a Terran, barcode-named player. DnS won two out of the three matches. Upon examining these matches and accounts in question, it was found that two players in the top 25 rankings had access to the barcoded Terran account: MajOr and MarineLorD. These matches were win-trades played to increase DnS’s rating without sacrificing either MajOr or MarineLorD’s ladder rank. In addition, the match DnS lost to the Terran barcode-named account appears to be a deliberate attempt to cover their tracks.

MajOr Ladder Behavior

After examining the DnS matches, we expanded our search to all players in the top 25. We identified a significant number of matches by MajOr in which he immediately forfeited the match. A number of other replays were examined, and along with the chat in those games, the records indicate MajOr was deliberately awarding wins. Though suspicious queuing behavior occurred, we cannot prove that any of the players that received free wins directly requested them from MajOr, so we have decided not to list the suspect matches publicly.

We also took a closer look at other matches and players reported to us in addition to those flagged by our internal investigators. In those cases, we found no definitive evidence. Again, we will not be sharing specific matches to preserve the assumption of innocence for those players.

Ruling

DnS, MarineLorD, and MajOr are in violation of Section 6.2.a of the 2016 WCS Rules, and additional violations of Section 1.A.iv of the StarCraft II End User License Agreement occurred as well.

  • All accounts involved with these instances of win-trading will be closed.
  • DnS, MarineLorD, and MajOr will be suspended from Blizzard-sponsored events occurring on-or-before June 30 (players will be allowed to compete in qualifiers or Challengers for events that occur after June 30).
  • The 2016 WCS points already accrued by DnS, MarineLorD, and MajOr will be removed from their records. They will be able to accrue WCS points again once their suspension has been lifted. The voided points will still be used for seeding purposes, but not for invites to future events.
  • MarineLorD is retroactively disqualified from the French National qualifier of DreamHack ZOWIE Open: Tours, and the spot will be offered to the next-highest placing player.
  • Several unnamed players will be warned for their activity on ladder, and Blizzard and tournament administrators will examine their records closely during future ladder competitions.

Additional Comments

We know account-sharing does occur at the highest level of ladder, but we want to make clear that it is against the End User License Agreement for StarCraft II, and will not be tolerated during ladder competitions run or sponsored by Blizzard Entertainment. Rule-breaking or other malfeasance that occurs on shared accounts will be taken as evidence against all parties with access to the account, regardless of who directly took the action in question. We take this stance to prevent pro-level players from ranking up accounts and then distributing them to third parties to manipulate the standings.

Blizzard Entertainment will continue to monitor all esports competitions, especially ones we sponsor or run directly. As a core part of the StarCraft II experience, we take behavior on the ladder very seriously. We reserve the right to escalate our responses to these issues in order to discourage future ladder manipulation. Ladder-integration into the World Championship Series this year has had many positive effects for viewers and players alike, but in order to keep the ladder as a method of qualification, we must remain vigilant against unfair manipulation.

Lessons Learned

For future seasons of WCS, we will ensure there is enough time to conclude a full investigation of player behavior after ladder competition has concluded, so we do not have to issue preliminary results. We will consider additional rules about replay saving, and match forfeits for future competitions as well.

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WCS Circuit Summer Championship To Take Place At DreamHack ZOWIE Open Montreal!

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This post was cross-posted from the DreamHack website.

DreamHack Montreal from August 12-14 will feature the second North American stop of DreamHack ZOWIE Open, and will host the $150,000 StarCraft II WCS Circuit Summer Championship where the winner will earn a direct seed into the WCS Global Playoffs!

DreamHack is making its first ever stop to Canada this August 12-14 with an event in Montreal, in what is sure to be the fiercest StarCraft II competition to date with the WCS Circuit Summer Championship! The event will see 32 of StarCraft II’s best and brightest gather to face off for their share of the $150,000 prize pool and a chance to earn some of the 11,000 WCS Circuit points up for grabs.

With DreamHack coming to Canada for the first time this is sure to be an event to remember, as we crown the final WCS Circuit Champion before the Global Playoffs leading into BlizzCon.

Come watch as players from all around the globe join to fight for honor and glory, and the North Americans attempt to grab a title on their home soil.

Slot Distribution

Regional Challenge

Two for Europe, Africa, and the Middle East
Two for North America (USA and Canada)
One for Latin America
One for China
One for Oceania, Southeast Asia, and Japan
One for Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau

Server Qualifiers

Eight for European Server Qualifiers
Six for North American Server Qualifiers

Host National Qualifier

Two for Canadian Qualifier

We will release dates and sign-ups for all qualifiers soon.

WCS Standings

Eight players from the WCS Circuit Standings.
In order to compete in the WCS Circuit Championship, players must be citizens or residents of one of the eligible regions listed above. Details for Regional Challengers and all additional qualifiers will be released soon.

Format

The format of the WCS Summer Championship will be single elimination with best-of-five matches and a grand final best-of-seven series.

DreamHack Montreal

All matches will be played live at DreamHack Montreal 2016, happening from August 12–14. If you’re a North American be sure to stop by to watch matches in person in our first event in Canada! More information is available on www.dreamhack.ca.

For those who can’t make it to the event, all matches will be broadcast live and streamed on www.dreamhack.tv, so be sure to mark your calendar to see who will become the WCS Circuit Summer Champion!

For more information about the StarCraft II WCS, be sure to visit the official site and follow @StarCraft on twitter. For more information about DreamHack ZOWIE Open, be sure to follow @DreamHackOpen on Twitter and visit open.dreamhack.se.

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The WCS Global Finals at BlizzCon 2016

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2016 is in full swing, and with it comes the return of the StarCraft II World Championship Series Global Finals at BlizzCon. There, the world’s best players will take the stage to battle for the title of WCS Global Champion and the $200,000 first place prize that comes with it.

Last year, in front of a global audience reaching into the millions, Kim “sOs” Yoo Jin became the first ever repeat StarCraft II WCS Global Champion, etching his name onto the Gosu Trophy for a second time. This year, a new champion will be crowned, and the journey to find them has only just begun.

Across the globe, players have started to battle for a chance to compete at this final event, and the first of 16 seats at the prestigious Global Playoffs has already been awarded to the victor of the WCS Winter Championship: Polt.

In the coming months, six more slots will be awarded to players who secure major tournament victories, while the remaining nine invites will be granted to those players who accrue the most WCS Points in their system.

Players can accrue points for performing well in any official WCS Tournament. These tournaments include the Global StarCraft League (GSL), the StarCraft II StarLeague (SSL), and all events in the WCS Circuit. The four players who earn the most points from the GSL and SSL will be granted a seat at the Global Playoffs, while the top five point earners in the WCS Circuit will be invited as well. Points for each system are constantly tracked and can be viewed at any point in the WCS Standings.

The Global Playoffs are a more forgiving round of 16 this year, with double-elimination groups that advance players to the Global Finals. The ability to prepare and study is crucial for this event, after which half of the players will be eliminated. From there, the eight most elite players will move on to the Global Finals at BlizzCon, where they will compete in a single-elimination bracket over two days for the chance to be crowned the WCS Global Champion – the title belonging to the best StarCraft II player in the world.

While the Global Finals are the pinnacle of StarCraft II competition, the story is already beginning through these initial events. Across the year, over $2 million USD is up for grabs, and players from around the world are flocking to show their skill and claim their share. To follow the action or participate for yourself head on over the StarCraft2.com/WCS for more details.

Review the full rules of the WCS Global competition in 2016 here (note: partner and third party tournaments designated WCS events will still maintain their own rulesets and administration).