This is it! We have finally reached the pinnacle of Starcraft 2 competition – after a year filled with exciting games, tournaments, and players cementing their legacy in the franchise, Blizzcon 2017 is finally upon us.
Professional gamers from every corner of the world battled amongst themselves throughout the entire year to earn the right to play in this event, the biggest one in Starcraft’s history – The total prize pool is set at $700.000 US Dollars, with $500.000 coming from Blizzard (the developer and publisher of the entire franchise, and also organizer of the event) and $200.000 crowdfunded by the userbase through in game cosmetic purchases – Blizzard released an entire set of skins for each race, and a fixed percentage of each sale helped fund the prize pool.
The tournament will be held in Anaheim (the city Blizzard’s office is located), starting October 27th and ending with an epic Grand Finals in front of a massive audience on November 4th. In this article, we are also going to give you some betting predictions for the group phase of the Blizzcon 2017 WCS.
About the qualifying process
For the WCS Finals, there were no direct invites – every single player attending the event earned their ticket the hard way. Here’s a breakdown:
– 3 players earned their spots through the GSL, the hardest and most competitive tournament of the scene: The champion of each of the 3 seasons was guaranteed to attend the global finals.
– 4 players got their seeds by winning the Circuit Championships. 4 events were held during the year and the champion was directly qualified to the WCS Finals. Only foreigners were allowed to participate in the Circuit Championships, a measure Blizzard took to guarantee diversity on the finals, otherwise, we’d be seeing a line-up of 16 (or close to) South Koreans.
The last seed given out based on a single tournament performance was handed out to the IEM World Championship. This was a global event that allowed the South Koreans to attend. The result shows the dominance of the region: 10 players out of the top 12 are Koreans (the only 2 foreigners were Serral in 5th – 8th and Nechio in 9th – 12th).
Since Blizzcon is a 16 man tournament, there were still 8 spots left to be filled. They were given out based on the yearly performance of the pros. All the tournaments we listed above (and a few others that happened during the year) awarded players with Circuit Points depending on their final placement (better results meant more points).
The WCS Rankings were divided into 2: South Korean rankings and Foreigner (rest of the world) rankings. The top 4 from each division at the end of the year earned their qualifying spots for Blizzcon.
Now that we are familiar with the structure, and how the spots were distributed, let’s take a look at the players who managed to qualify:
- The 3 GSL spots were taken by Stats (Season 1), Gumiho (Season 2) and INnoVAtion (Season 3).
- The WCS Circuit Championship spots were claimed by Neeb and Elazer. Since Neeb won 3 events (and a player can only claim one spot), the top 6 players on the WCS Ranking qualified for Blizzcon (instead of the original 4).
- The IEM World Championship winner was TY, also guaranteeing himself a place in the finals.
- From the Korean leaderboard, these 4 pros got through: herO, Dark, soO and Rogue.
- From the Foreigner leaderboard, the 6 (as explained above) were: Serral, Snute, Nerchio, Kelazhur, TRUE and Special (previously known as Major).
These are the 16 best Starcraft 2 professionals over the course of 2017. The hype and excitement for the upcoming series are extremely high, especially regarding the South Korea vs the World rivalry. On the biggest stage ever, can one of the foreigners finally step up and conquer the trophy? Most people’s hopes are in Neeb, who dominated the foreign scene (3 trophies out of possible 4 on the major events) and has showcased the potential to go toe to toe with some Koreans in past series.
The competition will be played in a format similar to the GSL and the Circuit Championships: 4 groups of 4 players each, where they play against each other on a dual format:
Blizzcon 2017 WCS Group Phase Betting Predictions
This is going to be a very interesting event if you’re into eSports betting – plenty of exciting series and matchups across the entire board. In this section, we’ll go through each group and give our predictions for the first 2 matches (and the 2 players that are more likely to advance to the playoffs).
Group A: Stats, Special, TY, Snute
Stats vs Special
TY vs Snute
In division A, the two Koreans are clear favorites to advance, so we should expect both Stats and TY to win their first series. The odds will probably be very low for these outcomes, but probably still profitable.
In the winner’s match, TY will probably be the favorite, but Stats shouldn’t have much trouble winning the final match against either opponent to make his way into the top 8.
I don’t see Special making it through in any scenario here, so I would bet against him in every single matchup. Snute is a guy well known for his strong macro and mindset, so if any upset does happen, he’ll probably be the cause of it.
Group B: soO, Nerchio, Rogue, Neeb
soO vs Nerchio
Rogue vs Neeb
This group is harder to call out than the first one. The first reason is because there are 3 zergs, and ZvZ is known to be a very volatile (and unpredictable) matchup. The second reason is the Neeb factor: he has the potential to take down a Korean and advance to the top 8, but can he pull it off on the biggest stage ever?
With that being said, I’m going with soO and Neeb wins for the first games, with soO qualifying in 1st position. To go through, Neeb will have to beat Rogue once again (and I think he has a good shot at doing it), as he’ll probably defeat Nerchio easily if they face on the loser’s battle.
Be a little more careful with your Blizzcon 2017 bets on this group as it isn’t as predictable as some of the others. Maybe a good strategy would be to avoid Neeb’s series as they could go either way and bet against Nerchio in all the series he plays.
Group C: Dark, herO, Kelazhur, Elazer
Dark vs Kelazhur
herO vs Elazer
This division shouldn’t bring many surprises to the table. Kelazhur is almost guaranteed to be eliminated in 4th place – although he had a great year and improved a lot based on his former level of skill, he can’t hold a candle to the Koreans and he’s not quite yet on Elazer’s level (top tier foreigner bracket). This way, betting against him on all his matches should be a relatively safe way to profit (not much because the odds will reflect how much of an underdog he is here).
Dark and herO are heavy favorites for their battles, but the encounter between themselves is up in the air – It could really go either way and will depend on how hard they are preparing for this particular matchup. In any case, whoever loses should have no problem beating Elazer (or Kelazhur if he pulls a major upset) in the final series of the group.
Group D: INnoVation, TRUE, GumiHo, Serral
INnoVation vs TRUE
GumiHo vs Serral
These should be 2 easy bets on INnoVation and Gumiho. The Korean terrans are miles ahead of their zerg opponents and should have no problem eliminating them in quick and swift manner. I also predict that Inno will top the group beating Gumiho in a Terran vs Terran winner’s game.
Between Serral and TRUE on the loser’s side of things, it can go either way (it’s a ZvZ between very evenly matched players, after all) but I would put my money on Serral if I had to. TRUE hasn’t been showcasing the best performances lately and he’ll have to step up his game by a lot if he wants a chance to advance to the playoffs.
The tournament will be streamed for free in English over at Starcraft 2’s official Twitch TV channel. All series will be cast by the best personalities we have on the scene, such as Artosis, Tasteless, Nathanias, TotalBiscuit, Rotterdam and many other fan favorites. It’ll be a blast, so don’t miss out on any of the action, starting this next weekend!
Thanks for the read, and I will see you next year for more Starcraft 2 event previews and betting predictions – 2018 will be a great year!