The first GSL StarCraft 2 tournament of 2013 begins tomorrow at 11 AM GMT / 5 AM Eastern with Group A of the Up & Down round to determine which players will make it into Code S and thus be in contention for this season and who will be relegated to Code A. You can watch it live on GOMTV if you have a pass.
Ordinarily we don’t cover the Up & Down rounds of the GSL, but a glance through the schedule shows just what a stacked field is fighting to get into Code S this season. Tomorrow you’ve got Jaedong, MC, and Flash playing in Group A, while later this week, stars like DongRaeGu, Grubby, Symbol, Hero, and others compete in other groups. Each group round commences shortly after 9 AM GMT /4 AM Eastern from Sunday morning through Thursday, followed by the wild card round on Friday.
The top two finishers in each six-player group will advance to Code S, while the third place finishers compete in a wild card group where the top two finishers will be elevated to Code S. The Up & Down round is important because it tends to be easier to stay in Code S than to fight your way back into it through Code A (where there’s a real risk of being dropped from the GSL entirely). With so much star power in the Up & Down round, it’s possible we’re about to see a changing of the guard in the Code S this season.
Ilyes “Stephano” Satouri is competing in Code S this season as well, taking over Polt’s vacated spot as the Korean Terran has gone abroad to study and will not be able to compete in the GSL. Between Stephano’s slot in Code S, and his Evil Geniuses teammate Jaedong competing in the Up & Down along with Liquid players Hero and TaeJa and Dutch Protoss Manuel “Grubby” Schenkhuizen, Western teams and players have an excellent chance of a strong Code S performance this season. With Evil Geniuses and Team Liquid competing together in Proleague as well, 2013 is could be a landmark year for Western teams and players competing in Korea.