Stop stuffing that bird and listen, dammit. You may have thought this was a holiday weekend or, if you’re from the UK, a week where Americans celebrate their Pilgrim forebearers and appropriate Native American symbols while indulging in a little familial gluttony. Maybe you thought you’d do some holiday shopping.
Well listen up: eSports doesn’t care about what you thought this week was about. It cares about one thing and one thing only: making sure that this final weekend of November is packed with round-the-clock eSports. Tonight, IEM Singapore strikes under the cover of darkness at 3 AM GMT / 10 PM Eastern. Then the World Cyber Games follow at 5:30 AM GMT / 12:30 AM Eastern. Then, just when you’re recovering from that, DreamHack Winter bursts on the scene tomorrow at 12:30 GMT / 7:30 AM Eastern..
What madness is this? What should we watch? I’ll tell you.
We should watch all of it. But that’s plainly crazy, so we’re going to make an executive decision and throw World Cyber Games under the bus.
Don’t look at me like that. I know it’s a good tournament, with a $30,000 prize and a wonderfully diverse field of players. It’s not just Koreans playing at WCG, it’s packed with StarCraft hopefuls from around the globe. It’s the kind of international event we always want StarCraft to be!
But I’m a hypocrite. I can admit this to myself, but can you? Ordinarily I’d be happy to watch and would cheer on these foreign hopefuls but... have you SEEN the DreamHack Winter lineup? I can only be awake for so much StarCraft, and I’m afraid I can’t let myself miss that.
DreamHack Winter has two things going for it: it’s usually both some of the best production in eSports, and also the most lighthearted. It’s worth watching just for the bizarre stream-of-consciousness music playlists and Youtube videos, but the StarCraft rarely disappoints. On the other hand, last year’s DreamHack Winter was a bizarrely flat event, as the championship played out over a series of lopsided beat-downs that denied the event most of its drama. Looking at this field of competitors, assembled from among the top finishers of the rest of the DreamHack circuit, there should be some tough competition this time around.
Personally, I’m going to watching for Lee Jae Dong as he continues his search for a major championship victory. But he’s in a group with an American hopeful Michael “Goswser” Dobler, who has the potential to be another breakout American star. He looked great at DreamHack Valencia earlier this year, and it would be amazing to see him do well here.
DreamHack Winter is way, way more than just a StarCraft tournament, however. The ASUS ROG Dota 2 DreamLeague has its playoffs at DreamHack, with a grand prize of $25,000. That may not mean a whole lot to International champions Alliance, but there’s also a lot of pride on the line as they take on Fnatic, while Na’Vi and Team Liquid compete in the other semifinal.
There’s also an interesting League of Legends tournament, though it was racked by late cancellations by some its most notable participants. DreamHack Winter also features a CSGO championship.
Finally, there is IEM Singapore, which has three things going for it. Their names are Sasha “Scarlett” Hostyn, Choi “Bomber” Ji Sung, and Park “DongRaeGu” Soo Ho. Scarlett just had an epic clash with Bomber at Red Bull Battle Grounds, and DRG showed some signs of life in the last GSL season. While I’m not sure I’ll make time to catch the qualifying tournaments tomorrow, the group stage and playoff bracket should be tremendous.
So for now, enjoy this eSports explosion. But perhaps for 2014, we should try and avoid doing it all at once?