StarCraft 2 might not pull in the massive viewer numbers of Overwatch or League of Legends, but a tournament in Poland this past week proved that Blizzard's real-time strategy game is still thriving as an esport.
Photo: Rogue (left) takes the grand finals in a 4-0 rout of Classic (right) (via YouTube)
Zerg player Rogue took home the $US150,000 ($193,487) grand prize at the Intel Extreme Masters (IEM) tournament in Katowice, Poland, which featured 76 players and a total pool of $US400,000 ($515,966). Although the grand finals were disappointing - Rogue was just too dominant, beating Protoss player Classic in a 4-0 rout - the tournament was full of great, varied matches. There were short cheese-filled games, long macro-heavy games, and everything in between. As one fan pointed out, the tournament was a "revelation" thanks to good production values, top-notch commentary and really, really good play.
Eight years after release, StarCraft 2's metagame - that is, how pro-level players plan and strategise - is just as interesting as it's ever been.
You can find all of IEM Katowice's SC2 matches here, but let me highlight a few of the better ones I saw, if you're looking for some good watching:
Trap (P) vs. Serral (Z) [game 1 starts at 6:10]:
Maru (T) vs. Solar (Z) [game 1 starts at 5:09]:
Trap (P) vs. Dark (Z) [game 1 starts at 20:20]:
Bunny (T) vs. Special (T) [game 1 starts at 4:04]: