What to Watch: The Week in eSports (March 1-8, 2013)

T.J. Hafer

This week in eSports: the death knell sounds for IPL6, but an announcement from QuakeCon gives us something different to look forward to. Things have come right down to the wire in The Defense 3 and the GSL, and the next MLG is right around the corner. There may be no better time this year to 6 pool or gank your friends into giving eSports a look. gl hf!

IPL 6 officially canceled

Last week, we reported on how the restructuring at IGN had led to the parent company searching for a buyer for the IGN ProLeague. No further announcements have been made in terms of where it might end up, but we can now confirm that this month's IPL6 event has been canceled. Teams from StarCraft II and ShootMania Storm are having to cancel their plans, and GameSpot reports that the League of Legends Korean Qualifiers have been axed. We haven't heard from Riot or the teams themselves when the Koreans will get another shot, but we'll keep you posted.

QuakeCon 2013 announced

In significantly better news, we have dates for this year's QuakeCon in Dallas: August 1-4. This will be the 18th iteration of one of the world's biggest LAN parties, and an epicenter of competitive gaming since before "eSports" was even a word. The announcement page teases more details to come. We'll update you with the eSports-specific announcements as soon as we get them.

StarCraft II

Symbol. RorO. They may not be the most well-known names in Wings of Liberty outside of Korea, but that doesn't matter anymore. They are the only two players left standing in the GSL Code S. Playing for Azubu and Samsung Khan, respectively, the Zerg Ultra-Grandmasters will throw down in a best of seven a week from tomorrow, for possibly the most prestigious crown a single player can earn in eSports.

Watch it: GomTV

As if next week needed even more StarCraft (What am I saying? You can never have too much StarCraft), the Intel Extreme Masters Season VII World Championships go live on Tuesday in Hanover, Germany. 24 of the best players from South Korean and Europe will compete over four days for $100,000 in prizes, leaving off just in time for you to make a run to the store for a case of energy drinks and catch the GSL finals.

Watch it: Intel Extreme Masters

Make sure you're rested up for the week after, though. We've got the Heart of the Swarm Midnight Launch and the MLG 2013 Winter Championship coming up on the 14th and 15th, respectively. New qualifiers for the Winter Championship through the Winter Showdowns series since last week include Mvp, Seed, MarineKing, MC, TaeJa, Polt, Sen, Feast, and, in an upset over DongRaeGu, the relatively unknown jjakji. IdrA vs Minigun is set for this Sunday, one of the more anticpated matches of the series. Suppy, ViBE, Illusion, and HuK also still have their spots on the line.

Watch it online: Major League Gaming

Watch it in person: Passes are still available for the Winter Championships, but it probably won't stay that way for long. You can grab one for $35 .

Other Stuff

The Heart of the Swarm midnight launch events are going to feature some high-profile show matches, and a who's who of the pro caster community. Blizzard has officially-sanctioned events going on in nine countries, and outlets like Team Liquid are organizing even more. If you're going to be in the Irvine, CA area on the 14th, you can join Day[9], Husky, Polt, MC... and myself, as well as several of the senior devs, for the U.S. event.

League of Legends

Dignitas has overtaken Curse in the North American LCS, with a 9-2 record over Curse's 8-2. Dignitas has an opportunity to tie that up tonight at 5 PST if they can topple TSM Snapdragon. A loss would tie them up with TSM (Currently 7-3) for the second place spot. CLG is hanging on in fourth with 6-4. compLexity and GGU still can't seem to catch a break, each with only one win so far.

Watch it: League Championship Series North America

Over on the European side of things, Fnatic holds the lead at 7-1, with Gambit BenQ close behind at 6-2. They face off tomorrow at 19:00 CET (Noon PST), in a match that could close the gap to almost nothing if Gambit pulls out a win (depending on what happens in Fnatic vs Copenhagen Wolves).

Watch it: League Championship Series Europe

Other Stuff

The League of Legends Mac client has gone into open beta, heralding the potential for even more explosive growth for Riot's rising star. You can download the beta and give it a shot for yourself right now.

Patch 3.03 is bringing some changes for Amumu (which is almost as hard to spell as banana), Taric, and Kale. You can check out all the details in the video above.

Dota 2

From the brutal fray, four teams are left standing in The Defense 3. North America's Dignitas and Russia's Virtus.Pro are set to reignite the Cold War in the upper bracket. Both dominated their Round 3 opponents 2-0, and have lost only one game each in the playoffs so far. In the lower bracket, the winner of Evil Geniuses vs Team Liquid (both of North America) will have a chance to face the loser of the upper bracket final for a spot in the championship match. Dignitas vs VP is scheduled for 11 a.m. PST tomorrow, with EG vs Liquid to immediately follow.

Watch it: The Defense

Other Stuff

The Dota 2 client has been updated to include the first part of the new player experience, unlocking a set of single-player tutorials with a loose story that are reminiscent of the old WarCraft 3 scenarios. According to the official blog post , "Dota's a deep game, and there's a lot of things to learn, but we felt it was important that the learning was entertaining in itself, so we've tried to avoid building a dry tutorial."

A lot of things can be said about Dota, but few would dispute the reality of its reputation for being punishing on newbies. If you're relatively fresh to the game and have had a minute to try the new tutorials out, we're curious to hear your thoughts.

That's it for this week, eSports faithful. Let us know in the comments what you think of this week's stories, if there's anything we missed, and what eSports events you're most looking forward to in the coming weeks.

gg!

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