About the StarCraft II World Championship Series (WCS)

The StarCraft II World Championship Series is a three-season event with matches broadcasted in local primetime from each region on StarCraft2.com/WCS. The WCS Leagues feature a total $1.6 million prize pool in 2015; additional cash prizes from partners are also available in Global Events. Players compete all year in WCS Leagues and Global Events, and their race to accumulate WCS Points is tracked in the WCS Standings. The top 16 players at the end of the year compete in the Global Finals for major cash prizes and the title of World Champion.

WCS Premier League Format

The World Championship Series competition is a global league bringing together the world’s leading StarCraft II pro-players living outside of Korea. The WCS Premier League spotlights and rewards the best performing players around the world and tests their skills against each other in a live studio environment. By bringing together 32 players from multiple regions and introducing on-site competition for the round of 32, the unified Premier League has truly become a global gathering of skill with intense competition for the enjoyment of players and viewers alike.

In order to compete in the WCS Premier League, players must first compete in two separate stages:

WCS Regional Qualifiers – Any players who were not in the WCS Premier League in the previous season must begin their journey in the WCS regional qualifiers. If a player succeeds in a qualifier, they will move on to compete in their region’s WCS Challenger.

WCS Challenger – Players who make it through the WCS regional qualifiers go on to compete in their region’s WCS Challenger. There, they face off against their region’s other qualifying members, as well as the players who represented their region in the previous season’s Premier League. Those who prevail move on to the unified global WCS Premier League.

The WCS Premier League carries the largest stakes of WCS Points in the World Championship Series and begins with the Round of 32 Group Stage.  Four groups play in the Electronic Sports League (ESL) studio in Burbank studio in the US, and four groups play in the ESL Cologne studio in Germany. The 16 Players who advance from the Round of 32 compete onsite at a live venue location for the Season Finals.

Format_WCS_PREMIERLEAGUE_2015_2_KP

For information on broadcasts times, refer to our Schedule.

For tournament results, visit our Brackets hub.

Global Premier Leagues in Korea

As the acknowledged leader in eSports infrastructure and legacy, Korea will have two individual leagues connected to the WCS system: GSL and the StarCraft II StarLeague (SSL). In an effort to increase the opportunities to compete in Korea, players are able to participate in both GSL and SSL simultaneously. This system also offers global openings to professional players looking to play in the most competitive region. With more opportunities to earn WCS points and more high profile matches, the competition in Korea’s two leagues will reach a new level of intensity.

GSL operated by GOM eXP (3 Seasons)

format_2015_gsl

StarCraft II StarLeague operated by SPOTV Games (3 Seasons)

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For information on broadcasts times, refer to our Schedule.

For tournament results, visit our Brackets hub.

WCS Global Events

WCS Global Events are independently licensed StarCraft II Tournaments that participate in the World Championship Series by awarding WCS points. These points determine 16 players who compete at the WCS Global Finals.

You can view the current WCS Standings for the points system on our Standings page. Visit a player’s profile to view a breakdown on how that player earned points through WCS League or Global Events.

Below you’ll find the list of currently announced WCS Global Events, their point totals and other relevant information.

Event Date City WCS Points
2014 Hot6ix Cup Nov 18 – Dec 7 Seoul, South Korea 4000
IEM San Jose Dec 3 – Dec 7 San Jose, California 4000
IEM Taipei Jan 28 – Feb 1 Taipei, Taiwan 4000
IEM World Championship Mar 12 – Mar 15 Katowice, Poland 7000
Gfinity Spring Masters I Mar 27 – Mar 29 London, England 1800
Copenhagen Games Spring 2015 Apr 1 – Apr 3 Copenhagen, Denmark 1800
Gfinity Spring Masters II May 1 – May 3 London, England 1800
2015 KeSPA Cup Season 1 May 3 – May 5 Seoul, South Korea 4000
DreamHack Open: Tours May 8 – May 9 Tours, France 4000
Hong Kong eSports Tournament May 31, Jun 13 Taiwan 1800
KeSPA Cup Season 2 Jul 6, 11-12 South Korea 4000
DreamHack Open: Valencia July 16 – July 17 Valencia, Spain 4000
IEM Shenzhen July 16 – July 20 Shenzhen, China 4000
ASUS ROG Summer July 30 – July 31 Helsinki, Finland 1800
Gfinity Summer Masters II Aug 7 – Aug 9 London, England 1800
IEM Cologne Aug 5 – Aug 9 Cologne, Germany 4000
MSI Masters Gaming Arena Aug 28 – Aug 31 Seattle, WA 4000
Dreamhack Open: Stockholm Sep 24 – Sep 25 Stockholm, Sweden 4000

For a breakdown of how points are determined for each event see “Become a WCS Partner” below.

WCS Standings and Prizes

WCS Premier League, GSL, SSL, and WCS Global Events all participate in the World Championship Series Standings by offering points for each event. A player’s place in the Standings is based on total accumulated points from the WCS system. Each WCS League awards WCS points based on a player’s final placement in each season. WCS Global Events offer different point totals  based on the scale of the tournament. The top 16 players in the WCS Standings at the end of the year will compete in the Global Finals.

WCS_GSL_Points

WCS_GSL_Prizes

You can view the current WCS Standings and visit a player’s profile to view a breakdown of how that player earned points through WCS League or Global Events.

Global Finals

After three intense seasons of competition, we will lock the WCS Standings and invite the top 16 players in the world to compete in the Global Finals.

The field of players compete in a ruthless single-elimination bracket, where they are seeded 1 through 16 based on where they finished in the WCS Standings. The championship round is a best-of-seven series, while all other matches are best-of-five. The winner will be crowned the WCS Global Champion and earn $100,000 and the admiration of the entire StarCraft II community.

Become a WCS Partner

Blizzard Entertainment requires WCS Global Events to meet specific requirements to ensure a standard of quality and to promote broadcasting standards.

Requirements

WCS Global Events

Map Pool

WCS Season Maps (same as ladder during the WCS season)

The qualifiers should use the same map pool as the actual onsite event. If this is not possible due to the timeline of the qualifier and a map pool update, the live map pool should be used for the qualifier. This is not a requirement during the WCS off-season.

Number of players

  • 16+ Tournament Players
  • Players from Qualifiers (that did not Qualify to the actual Tournament) do not count towards Tournament Players

Global Qualifiers

  • WCS Events with 32 or more players: At least 25% of the total spots must be attainable through an open qualifier
  • WCS Events with less than 32 players: At least 8 spots must be attainable through an open qualifier
  • Global Qualifiers cannot be other WCS Global Events
  • Global Online Qualifiers must not have a cap or limit to players
  • Global Onsite Qualifiers must have a minimum of 64 players
  • The Global Qualifiers dates must be published in English at least one week prior to the start of the qualifier tournament

Format

  • In addition to the required Global Qualifiers, WCS partners may invite additional players at their discretion
  • Any player in the tournament that did not qualify through a Global Qualifier will be considered an invitee
  • Invitees may not be seeded into the Top 8 and will only earn points after advancing a round
  • Players participating in all stages of the qualifiers cannot be eliminated from a single game loss
  • WCS Events must use pre-approved tournament formats as listed in the WCS Handbook
  • Other formats may be approved by Blizzard during the application process

Points

  • WCS points can only be awarded after advancing at least one round within the tournament (as defined in the WCS Handbook).
  • Different formats will have different definitions of a round.

Player Rights

Conform to the WCS Global Events Player Bill of Rights and Responsibilities

Branding

WCS and Blizzard Branding
Total WCS Point Pool

7000

4000

1800

WCS Points for 1st place

1500

750

300

Prize pool minimum

$75,000

$25,000

$10,000

No. of players on-site

8+

8+

4+

Global Stream/Broadcasting

Free 720p in English

Free 720p in English

Free 480p in Local Language

On-Site Casters

Required

Required

Optional

Sound Dampening

Required

Required

Required

Live Audience

Required

Required

Optional

If you’re hosting a StarCraft II event and are interested in awarding WCS Points, we’d love to work with you. Fill out the appropriate tournament form to get started:

General Tournament Form | EU Tournament Form

** Note that meeting the requirements listed above does not automatically grant WCS partner status — Blizzard would like to work with you directly to ensure your event fits well into the overall WCS system.

For additional information on the World Championship Series, review our Handbook and Policies, or read the latest News.

Looking for information about a previous year’s tournament?

  1. About WCS 2014
  2. About WCS 2013