With the conclusion of WCS Global Finals, we enter the winter doldrums of the StarCraft II scene. While we all take a moment to breathe, Blizzard and their partners are busy planning for 2019. Today, we got a first taste of what they have cooking as the official details of Intel Extreme Masters (IEM) Katowice have been announced!
A series of online qualifiers for IEM Katowice will be held in January, as well as an offline qualifier for the round of 76 at the ESL studio in Katowice, Poland on February 25–26. From there, winners will be seeded into four groups. The top three players of each group will survive and move on to the playoff bracket. Both the semifinals and Grand Finals will take place on March 3rd on Spodek Arena’s main stage.
Players will compete for their share of the $250,000 prize pool. Proceeds from the StarCraft II: Katowice 2019 War Chest can add an additional maximum $150,000 to the existing prize pool. With $400,000 up for grabs, you can guarantee players will be giving their all at Katowice. The champion of IEM Katowice will also earn a direct seed into the 2019 WCS Global Finals.
Serral returns with a vengeance
Speaking of players, 2018 World Championship Series champion Joona “Serral” Sotala had accepted an invitation to compete. Serral will be seeded directly into the round of 24. Following what can only be described as a historical year of results for the Finnish phenom, he is clearly a favorite going into the weekend. Serral secured a podium finish at last year’s IEM Katowice, losing 0-3 to Classic in the semifinals. He will no doubt be looking to improve on that result and take home another trophy for his collection.