EPT 2022/23 Circuit Announced by ESL & DHby Olli
ESL have today announced their plans for the third and, as it stands, final season of its three-year EPT circuit. Significant changes to the circuit include the removal of one Masters season and the Last Chance tournament. In their place, TakeTV and Team Liquid's tournaments — HomeStory Cup and the Team Liquid Starleague — will be more closely integrated into the circuit and supported financially. The Season Finals events will also see a change in format, with DreamHack's classic Open Bracket returning to replace the 16-player format. The same 16 players will now instead be seeding into the third group stage.
The third season of the ESL Pro Tour will therefore feature these five events:
- DreamHack SC2 Masters: Summer 2022 — $338,000
Qualifiers: May 3 - 8
Regionals: May 18 - Jun 5
DreamHack Valencia: Jul 1 - 3
- HomeStory Cup XXIII
- TeamLiquid StarLeague 9 — (E/N: full announcement to follow soon!)
July 29 - September 4
- DreamHack SC2 Masters: Winter 2022 — $338,000
Qualifiers: Sep 13 - 18
Regionals: Sep 28 - Oct 16
DreamHack Atlanta: Nov 18-20
- IEM Katowice 2023 — $500,000
Current plans are for Season Finals events and IEM Katowice to be held offline and with an audience, but this is naturally subject to health guidelines and regulations.
Partner Events Integrated for the "Longevity" of StarCraft II
The biggest change to the 2021/22 circuit sees HomeStory Cup and TSL officially integrated into the EPT circuit, rather than being normal third-party events. ESL have announced that these tournaments would therefore receive a boost in EPT Points and financial support from ESL and Blizzard of up to $100,000 in total. The specific prize pools of these three tournaments remain unspecified as of yet.
The inclusion of TSL and HomeStory Cup into the official EPT circuit does not prohibit third parties from potentially adding further EPT events to the schedule, as NeXT or ASUS ROG did in 2021/22, for example. But these tournaments would not be supported financially and would award comparatively fewer EPT points.
EPT Extension Talks with Blizzard are Underway
ESL's announcement is particularly interesting on partner events, as it declares their inclusion "an important step for the longevity of competitive StarCraft II" — 2022/23 is, after all, the final season in ESL and DreamHack's EPT contract with Blizzard as things stand. Asked about this, Matt "Heyoka" Weber, lead product manager of the EPT for StarCraft II, confirmed that this was part of the consideration behind boosting the status of TakeTV and Team Liquid's tournaments:
"This is the third year of our announced partnership with Blizzard, so we're looking ahead to 'how can we work together to make sure players can compete'. And the way we see it is to work closer with people already doing it, instead of just kind of having our thing and their thing."
Asked about the likelihood of Blizzard continuing to sponsor the EPT circuit after the expiration of the current 3-year contract, Heyoka confirmed that talks with Blizzard were underway and that he was optimistic.
The full announcement can be found on the ESL Pro Tour website. They also released this YouTube video of Heyoka explaining their changes to the 2022/23 season.
Credits and acknowledgements
Written by: Olli
Written by: Olli