Seventy-six of the world’s best StarCraft® II players will once again travel to Poland to compete for a share of more than $250,000 USD.
ESL, the world’s largest esports company, together with Intel® and Blizzard Entertainment will host StarCraft II (SC2) at Intel® Extreme Masters (IEM) in Katowice, Poland. This competition will be the 36th ESL-hosted SC2 competition since the inaugural StarCraft II Intel® Extreme Masters competition at gamescom in 2010. The tournament is once again taking place at the legendary Spodek Arena, deep within the heart of European professional gaming, Katowice.
From February 25 through to March 3, 76 of the world’s best StarCraft II players will battle it out for the largest tournament prize pool outside of the StarCraft II World Championship Series. The base prize pool will start at $250,000 USD, with the potential for a further $150,000 USD to be added via player purchases of the StarCraft II: War Chest.
“We are incredibly excited to be bringing SC2 back again to Katowice for what we expect will be another world-class event,” said Shaun Clark, Senior Product Manager for IEM at ESL. “Together with Blizzard, we’ve decided to run a similar tournament to the previous two years as we believe the competition structure plays a vital role in the StarCraft ecosystem. All parties involved have put a tremendous amount of work into building IEM Katowice as a pinnacle for esports competition and this event will be no different.”
After a record-breaking and history-making year in 2018, the WCS Global Champion Joona “Serral” Sotala has accepted his invitation to compete at IEM Katowice live in Poland, and he will be seeded directly into the round-of-24 Group Stage. Similar to last year, players around the globe will have their opportunity to join Serral by battling through online qualifiers held on the European, North American, and Korean servers.
Competition begins on February 25 and 26 for the round of 76, which will be broadcast in studio at ESL Arena Katowice. Players will be invited to sign up to compete in qualifiers for this phase of the tournament, giving them the opportunity to advance to the Group Stages which will be held February 28–March 1 in ICC Katowice (Auditorium). On March 2, those who emerge from the Group Stage will battle it out for the lion's share of the more than $250,000 USD prize pool. Both the semi-finals and the Grand Finals will take place on March 3 on the Spodek Arena's main stage.
The winner of the tournament also will earn a direct seed to the 2019 WCS Global Finals. Premium tickets to the event go on sale November 29, perfect for the most passionate SC2 fans, which includes a goodie bag, dedicated entrance, and premium seating.