What to Watch: The Week in eSports (February 22-28, 2013)

This week in eSports: EVE Online gets its first ongoing, competitive league. The IPL could be changing hands. And only the final four remain in the GSL Code S. Get ready to face-check your weekly helping of competitive gaming news. gl hf!

EVE launching Syndicate Competitive League

Organized, competitive spaceship scraps have been around for quite a while in EVE Online. Now, for the first time ever, the Syndicate Competitive League is framing structured PvP in an ongoing format with regular, live streamed tournaments, commentators, and rankings. The prize pool will be drawn from sponsors within the EVE community, such as Monocle Madness and EVE-Bet.

You can check out the official site for more.

IGN ProLeague looking to change hands

As part of the restructuring that was announced for IGN and its affiliated sites this week, Ziff Davis CEO Vivek Shah has announced his intentions to sell off the IPL. He revealed in an e-mail (via Polygon ) that Ziff is "actively engaged with parties interested in acquiring IPL. IGN's role going forward will be to broadcast and cover a variety of eSports events."

IPL is a relative newcomer to the eSports scene, having launched in 2011 with a focus on StarCraft II. Their most recent season offered a $100,000 prize pool, with the top spot claimed by Leenock. If you havee a chunk of change sitting around and want to own an eSports league, this kind of opportunity probably isn't going to come around terribly often.

We're not sure how this will affect the IPL Season 6, still tentatively scheduled for March 28-31 in Las Vegas. We'll let you know as soon as we know more.

StarCraft II

Blizzard released its final preview video for Heart of the Swarm this week, focusing on eSports-centric features . Resuming games from the exact moment of a hardware failure and fully-customizable observer UIs are sure to change the way we watch StarCraft II over the course of the next year. And it's all coming just in time for some of the most intense events of 2013.

Upcoming Events

Four players remain in the GSL Code S : Symbol, Curious, TaeJa, and RorO. By this time next week, only two will stand. The most prestigious match in all of competitive StarCraft, the GSL Code S finals, are scheduled for March 9.

Watch it: GomTV

MLG's Winter Championship Showdowns have qualified five more players for the main event in Dallas on March 15: Ret, Creator, Mvp, Seed, and MarineKing. We're more than halfway through the Showdowns series, with the qualification matches of prominent players such as MC, TaeJa, IdrA, and HuK still on the line. MC vs aLive, this Sunday at 2 p.m. PST is a particularly anticipated match.

Watch it: Major League Gaming

Other Stuff

In a cosmic twist of fate, Day[9]'s recent Funday Monday ( focused on Terran drop harassment ) featured players "TheButcher" and "[QUAD]DaMilkMan," two current roommates who went to school with yours truly. In Johnson County, Kansas. Where Day[9] also went to school, a couple years earlier and a very short drive away. And here I am writing about it.

He also released a Heart of the Swarm-focused Newbie Tuesday , for those of you looking to jump in/jump back in when the expansion releases in a few short weeks.

In StarCraft, I constantly have this problem where I'm trying to engage something, but I've forgotten the rules for doing so. Axslav has us covered again this week, as usual, with Rules of Engagement . Check out the high-level breakdowns of the ongoing Winter Championship Showdowns. MVP vs Curious is particularly interesting, showing off how a top-tier player uses Reapers in their new (and probably finalized for HotS at ship) role.

League of Legends

Curse is currently leading the LCS Season 3 with an undefeated 6-0 record, followed by Dignitas at 5-2 and TSM Snapdragon at 4-2. You can check out the full match schedule on Riot's eSports Pro Site . Check out some highlights from Week 2 put together by theoveNTV in the video above.

Other Stuff

New player looking to get in on the competitive LoL action but aren't sure where to start? Have a look at long-standing community resource site MobaFire . It's continually updated with guides for specific characters that are voted on by the community, and generally does a pretty good job of making sure things relevant to current patches and metagame strats are easy to find.

Dota 2

Eizo, prominent sponsors of DreamHack (possibly Europe's biggest eSports event) have announced a partnership with joinDOTA to bring their Eizo Cup to Valve's MOBA. 16 teams will compete every month for €1,750 in prizes. joinDOTA has announced coverage in English and Czech, with more languages provided by "all other streamers who are interested in broadcasting the matches." The fight begins Monday.

Watch it: Eizo Cup

The list of surviving teams in The Defense 3 is shrinking. Only Dignitas, Virtus Pro, Team Liquid, Mousesports, Evil Geniuses, and Fnatic remain. The next match is Liquid vs Mousesports in the lower bracket, scheduled for Monday.

Watch it: The Defense

Other Stuff

Valve has announced the addition of user-submitted Hero Guides to Steam. You'll be able to create, share, and browse strategies for specific heroes right from the Steam client, with more functionality than currently exists with the standard Steam Guides. You can read more in this blog post .

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 to add, and what eSports events you're most looking forward to in the coming weeks.