The StarCraft 2 2019 competitive season has a rough start
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The 2019 competitive season of StarCraft 2 started with WCS Winter as one of the WCS Circuit events. The competition is divided between the European and American regions (the competitors from Asia play in Americas) with a $60.000 prize pool each. Blizzard decided to incorporate a complex qualification system that includes a Ladder stage.
Historically the ladder qualifiers have always had grey areas in StarCraft 2. For example, players who practiced and lived together would find it hard to prove that they weren’t trading games intentionally. In some cases, when matched against each other, competitors even stopped any activity on the game start to force a tie. On the other side of the spectrum, there have also been players intentionally trading games to rank in the qualifier.
During the WCS Winter ladder race qualifiers, a high ranked player named Route intentionally lost matches to Cyan, JieShi, and Nice. As a result, Blizzard banned them from participating in any competitions organized by the company till May 31, 2019.
Soon after the ruling, the main character of the controversy has been expelled from his team Infinity Gaming.
The Korean Circuit is about to begin
StarCraft 2 WCS Circuit is divided between North Korea and the rest of the world. The qualifiers for the first season of GSL (the flagship WCS Korea tournament) will be held on January 23rd and 24th.
The community was a little bit worried about this year’s GSLs because the Blizzard and Afreeca (the main GSL organizer) officials kept a long radio silence on that matter.
The new ladder maps
Blizzard recently announced new maps roster that will be used on the ladder and in tournaments after WCS Winter. Here is the full list of 1v1 maps:
- Port Aleksander LE
- Kairos Junction LE
- Automaton LE
- Year Zero LE (new)
- King's Cove LE (new)
- New Repugnancy LE (new)
- Cyber Forest LE (new)
King's Cove LE has created a controversy because the entrance to the natural bases has a very tricky wall off.
This version of the wall doesn’t stop Zerglings and requires a fourth building to work correctly, which severely limits the build order choices in vZ matchups. The author of the map tweaked King's Cove with Collapsible Rocks, but for some reason, Blizzard chose an earlier version of the map.
By the time the map makes it to the official ladder, Blizzard might swap the map to make it work properly.