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2016 WCS Challenger is coming to ladder for EU/NA

Hans Oelschlägel
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Big changes are coming for the 2016 WCS Challenger! For the first time in StarCraft II history the WCS will utilize the in-game ladder to determine 2016 WCS Challenger qualifier slots for the WCS Circuit Winter Championship. Not only that, but top finishers can also look forward to cash prizes from a US$10,000 prize pool, based on their performances.

How it works

The ladder competition will start today, February 1st, and will last until February 12th, 12:00 am PST for America and 12:00 am CET for Europe.* Once concluded, the top sixteen EU and NA Grandmaster* ladder players will be invited to a regional double elimination tournament run by ESL, where they will compete for the following prizes:

  • 1st place - US$1,400 & direct qualification to the WCS Circuit Winter Championship
  • 2nd place - US$1,200 & direct qualification to the WCS Circuit Winter Championship
  • 3rd-4th place - US$800
  • 5th-8th place - US$600
  • 9th-16th place - US$400

The double elimination tournament is set to take place from February 13th to 14th, to provide the winners ample time to acquire the necessary travel documents for the trip to the Winter Championship in Poland. The following rules apply for the WCS Ladder qualifiers:

  • Grandmaster League in America and Europe will open up at 9:00 CET/3:00 EST/0:00 PST on Sunday, February 7th.*
  • Players will be required to play under the name that they wish to use during the WCS Circuit Winter Championship. A free character name change was provided to every account on January 29th. Player's account names have to be recognizable (no 'barcode' or otherwise unknown alias) once Grandmaster League opens. Any later namechanges will render that account ineligible for the respective top 16 final.*
  • Players must have their Battle.net account registered to one of the eligible countries or submit other proof of citizenship or residency to esportsteam@blizzard.com. ESL and Blizzard will identify the top sixteen players in both regions at 12:00 am PST for NA and 12:00 am CET for EU on February 12th.
  • The double elimination tournament seeding will work as following, 1vs16, 2vs15 etc.
  • All matches will be Bo5. The champion of the upper bracket will receive first place, and the lower bracket champion will receive second place
  • Players already qualified for the WCS Circuit Winter Championship at Intel Extreme Masters Katowice will be eligible to play in their Regional Challenger, and the next eligible player will be invited should they secure a first or second place.
  • For the North American Challenger tournament, only residents and citizens of North America (Canada & U.S.) will be eligible to qualify.
  • EU players have to be citizens or residents* of countries in Africa, Europe or the Middle East

These are only the first step with the new WCS Ladder qualifier format and ESL will work closely with Blizzard to optimize future competitions. Best of luck!

*Highlighted in bold are updates made to the article on February 5th.