StarCraft® II & Warcraft® III competitions are set to return in May 2021, with qualifiers starting in April, for the lead up to the next ESL Pro Tour Championship of 2022. Today’s announcement confirms the full calendar for both titles, an advanced planning for combating the dynamic COVID-19 status as well as the removal of region lock which will see South Korean players able to compete on a regular basis in international SC2 tournaments since 2016.
Before diving in, we’d like to take this opportunity to announce our prospective tournament planning but want to be transparent with the community that these plans are subject to change. If COVID-19 remains a major barrier to safety for mass gatherings, then we will need to scale our plans accordingly. However if things progress positively then there’s a good chance that we will all be able to get back together fans, players, and community alike in 2021.
The 2021/2022 season will have four EPT Masters competitions ahead of the EPT Championship in 2022.
DreamHack SC2 Masters: Summer 2021 - $170,000
Qualifiers: May 11 - 16
Regionals: May 19 - Jun 6
Finals: Jul 1 - 4
DreamHack SC2 Masters: Fall 2021 - $170,000
Qualifiers: Jul 20 - 25
Regionals: Jul 28 - Aug 15
Finals: Sep 9 - 12
DreamHack SC2 Masters: Winter 2021 - $170,000
Qualifiers: Sep 21 - 26
Regionals: Sep 29 - Oct 17
Finals: Nov 12-14
DreamHack SC2 Masters: Last Chance 2022 - $40,000
Qualifiers: Dec 14 - 19
Finals: Jan 13-16, 2022
EPT Championship: IEM Katowice 2022- $500,000
These tournaments will continue to operate similar to 2020, each with a regional component which culminates with a 16 player Season Finals that sees players from each part of the globe competing. Keeping in mind our dynamic planning status, the biggest change we are making is our hope for players to meet face to face. Our Plan A is that each of these tournaments are to become an in-person studio show from Europe.
If COVID-19 remains a barrier, we will be required to revert these competitions back to global online tournaments the same we saw in 2020. If we feel more positive through 2021, our hope is that we will be able to take one of these back to a DreamHack festival. In that case, the tournament formatting would adjust to our familiar format from festivals of recent years with an 80 player tournament. The 16 players who would have previously qualified for the online/studio finals would now be deep seeded into Group Stage 3, skipping the first few rounds of the competition.
Similar to 2020, there will be reserved slots for South Korean players to compete in each of the respective tournaments. Another change we are happy to announce is that upon the return of DreamHack festivals South Korean players will be able to sign-up, travel & compete within the open bracket of these offline tournaments.
This tournament will operate slightly differently to the three core seasonal pillars with it’s own server based qualifier structure and as the final opportunity in early 2022 for all players to shuffle their EPT standing and more importantly offer one final direct invitation ahead the EPT Championship. In this event if the winner already has earned a slot in the EPT Championship then it will travel downward, with players needing to break a tie with a playoff live at the event
Planned to take place at Intel Extreme Masters Katowice 2022 as the World Champion crowning competition, this tournament will once again feature the best players across the globe with it’s $500,000 prize pool. With the hope of returning to in-person competition in 2021, the slot distribution matrix has been tweaked to reflect these changes:
The cups will continue to operate almost identical to 2020 and will begin from January 4th. These will continue to award the same prize pool and EPT Points the same as through the 2020 calendar year, however we will stop awarding EPT Points after the January 11 Cup, looking ahead to the EPT Championship. Points awarding will resume again on April 5th, one month following our winner being crowned for our 2020-21 season.
For a full distribution of prize money and ESL Pro Tour point allocation please visit HERE.
While being optimistic that a return to the original design of the ESL Pro Tour is close, we want to remain realistic and transparent on our planning. What we are telling you about today is our latest planning and could change depending on how the world looks in the coming months. We aim to remain flexible in our plans similar to how we saw this year unfold, 2020 has been a complicated year for us all and we thank you for your patience as we navigate a quickly changing landscape.
We hope you are you enjoying our first year of the ESL and Blizzard partnership and we’re excited to bring you two more, starting next year and going through our season in 2022-23. We want to wish you all a happy holiday season and we will return in early 2021 to keep you informed on our latest planning.