StarCraft II will make its return to Intel Extreme Masters (IEM) as it’s on the billing for next year’s IEM Katowice.
The tournament is slated to begin on February 24th, culminating in a live showing at the Spodek Arena in Katowice, Poland on March 1st.
The event will feature a pool of 76 players and a $400,000 (£309,670) prize pool. The inclusion of StarCraft II on the playbill of IEM Katowice 2020 marks the 10th anniversary of the title as a leading game on the Intel Extreme Masters circuit, and will be the 33rd ESL-organised StarCraft II event.
Michal Blicharz, Vice President of Pro Graming at ESL discussed the decision in a release: “For ten years, StarCraft II has delivered some of the most legendary moments on our stages. Blizzard titles have always been a part of the Intel® Extreme Masters DNA, and legacy is something that’s incredibly important to us to maintain and develop. SC2 helps us cultivate a living thread back to the very first years of Intel Extreme Masters.”
IEM Katowice will host online qualifiers for the tournament in January based off the 2019 WCS World Ranking, pitting 11 online qualifying players alongside the 2019 WCS Global Champion in the round-of-24.
Sam Braithwaite, Global Director, Esports- Hearthstone, World of Warcraft, and Classic Games at Blizzard Entertainment also commented on the event: “StarCraft II ushered in a new era of esports, and Intel Extreme Masters has been an essential partner in the growth of the StarCraft II global scene over the past decade. Katowice is the only place we could imagine beginning 2020 to celebrate the legacy and continued impact of StarCraft II on the past, present, and future of live competitive entertainment.”
Esports Insider says: StarCraft is a fabled name in the world of esports, serving as an early adopter of competitive gaming and helping give birth to the scene we live and breathe today. IEM Katowice is a leading destination on ESL’s tournament circuit and thus the inclusion of StarCraft II on this stage is a great sign for enthusiasts of the title.