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'Starcraft II' finals will skip BlizzCon in favor of new ESL Pro Tour

Rachel England
Contributing Writer
DeepMind

Starcraft II matches at BlizzCon are no more. Thanks to a new three-year partnership between ESL, DreamHack and Blizzard, we'll now be getting brand new ESL Pro Tour formats for both Starcraft II and Warcraft III: Reforged, and it'll come with a hefty prize pool of over $4.6 million.

Previously, the tournament featured two regions, World Championship Series Korea and World Championship Series Circuit, with World Championship Series Global events featuring players from both regions. Players would work their way through the ranks before heading to the grand finals, held every year at BlizzCon.

The ranking and qualifying format for the new ESL Pro Tour StarCraft II is largely based on Blizzard's existing World Championship Series system, with the first season comprising seven tournaments in total, including both Katowice 2020 and Katowice 2021, to allow new players to make their way to the top. Two IEM competitions and four DreamHack tournaments will lead up to the Masters Championship, which will be held at Intel Extreme Masters Katowice 2021.

On the Warcraft III side of things, we'll see on ESL competition and three DreamHack tournaments, culminating in a championship tournament in 2020. As well as the Pro Tours, ESL Open Cups will be held for more casual players. The move follows the introduction of ESL Pro Tour for CS:GO in September 2019 -- the start of a competition model that ESL says is designed to create a "complete path" for aspiring players.