What to Watch: The Week in eSports (March 8-14, 2013)

This week in eSports: the Swarm approaches, and vengeance is upon us all! By this time next week, we'll have a champion for the GSL and IEM, Heart of the Swarm will be burrowed on our hard drives... and that's just StarCraft. Get off one last inject on your hatch, then 1-A your way down into this week's eSports news. gl hf!

DreamHack is back!

The premier European eSports event (and one of my personal favorites) has announced its 2013 competition: the Dreamhack Eizo Open 2013 will commence in Stockholm on April 26, with the Summer Championships to follow in June. StarCraft II players will compete for a total of over $190,000 in prizes.

Check out the official DreamHack site for more.

Heart of the Swarm launch gets its own heading in T.J.'s eSports Column

How stoked are you for HotS? How loud did you groan when I actually just used the word "stoked"? The answers don't really matter, because StarCraft II's first expansion will be here in just a few short days, bringing with it a (swarm) host of new units and features, and some massive shifts in the competitive meta. I'll be on the ground at the midnight launch party outside Blizzard HQ in Irvine to snag some interviews with devs, pros, and casters about the expansion. Watch this space for more.

As if that wasn't exciting enough, we're about 10 hours away (from the writing of this post) to the GSL 2013 Season 1 Code S finals. To put that into layman's terms: The Super Bowl of StarCraft. Korean All-Stars Symbol and RorO, both making their first apperances in a Code S final, are set to compete for the honor of being the 12th player in the game's history to be crowned Code S champion. My fellow North American eSports fans, stock up on caffeine now. It's going to be a ZvZ to remember.

Watch it: GomTV

Oh yeah, there's also a little thing called the Intel Extreme Masters VII World Championships well underway in Hanover, Germany. The Semifinals are primed for tomorrow, with a number of high-profile players having already been eliminated. You should have just enough time to catch your breath and head out for a stimpack run after the GSL finals. It's going to be a long weekend...

Watch it: Intel Extreme Masters (Currently rebroadcasting the Round of 16)

Things are not going to slow down next weekend. MLG's Winter Championships are ready to drag you away from the HotS ladder to watch players who will make your greatest successes in the opening days seem childish and half-hearted. The Winter Showdowns have concluded, with Goswser, Minigun, State, ViBE, Suppy, KiLLeR, and HuK qualifying for the main event. DIMAGA has expressed that he is unable to attend, and was replaced by Feast in a consolation bracket made up of some of the other losing players from the Winter Showdowns series.

Watch it: Major League Gaming

Other Stuff:

Day[9] has revived the King of the Beta tournament from the pre-Wings of Liberty launch days, and only two players remain. Get caught up, and see who will claim a title that can only be awarded once an expansion.

Watch it: Day[9]TV

League of Legends

Dignitas has held onto the lead in the North American LCS, having not dropped a match since the GGU upset on the 27th. Curse still trails one win behind, with TSM Snapdragon and CLG tied for third. The North American teams are on a two-week break at the moment, but will resume on the 15th with TSM vs GGU at MLG Winter.

Watch it: LCS North America

Across the Atlantic, Gambit BenQ has overtaken Fnatic with a 9-2 record, over the latter's 8-3. SK Gaming hangs onto third at 7-4. The European season will continue on the 16th, with EG vs Dragonborns. (Note to whoever named that team: I'm pretty sure the plural of "Dragonborn" is just "Dragonborn.")

Watch it: LCS Europe

League also has a presence at the Intel Extreme Masters VII World Championships, with only three teams remaining: CJ Entus (formerly Azubu) has seen both their teams—Frost and Blaze—mow through the bracket. Only SK Telecom T1 remains to challenge the Entus Hegemony.

Watch it: Intel Extreme Masters

The MLG Winter Championships will play host to three League events: an international exhibition featuring Dignitas, Curse, Gambit, and KT Rolster B; the Summer Promotion Qualifier, and 12 (count 'em!) North American LCS matches. The action starts with TSM vs GGU in an LCS match on March 15th at 2:30 PST.

Watch it: Major League Gaming

Dota 2

The Defense 3 has left only four survivors: Virtus.pro has knocked Dignitas into the lower bracket, where they will face the winner of Team Liquid vs Fnatic.EU for one last chance to dethrone the Russian powerhouse in the Grand Final. The winners will walk away with 10 grand, and the first major tournament victory of 2013.

Watch it: The Defense

In just six days, DreamHack will begin the online DreamHack Dota 2 Invitational, with a $6000 prize pool and an invite to Dreamhack Summer (in Sweden this June) on the line. The eight invited teams are Dignitas, Empire, Evil Geniuses, Fnatic, Mousesports, No Tidehunter, QPAD Red Pandas, and Team Liquid.

Watch it: DreamHack

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.