Details have continue to trickle out from Intel Extreme Masters in the build up to their $100,000 Overwatch debut in Gyeonggi, South Korea one week from today. Three days ago we were introduced to the six teams set to attend and given an outline of the tournament format, but today they have tossed in everything and the kitchen sink.
We queried the organisers (through the conduit of Jason Kaplan) as to how the bracket was seeded and they kindly explained that Rogue and Afreeca Freecs Blue were given a bye into the semifinals for their results at gamescom and APEX, whilst the other four teams were randomly drawn into the two quarterfinal matches.
Lucky for us the two new European superteams are on opposite sides of the bracket, so we can hold on to the all European grudge match final dream a little longer. Misfits have pulled the short straw in facing Korea's most formidable roster in recent months, Lunatic-Hai. Historically western teams with fresh roster changes facing Korean teams have not fared well, as REUNITED and NRG can attest, but the new Rogue and Misfits rosters are built around proven LAN champions - if anyone can do it, they can.
The Overwatch action has to contest with League of Legends and StarCraft II for stage time and as such will be spread out across three play days.
Friday December 16th
- 02:55 EST / 08:55 CET / 16:55 KST - Quarterfinal 1: Misfits vs Lunatic-Hai
- 05:15 EST / 11:15 CET / 19:15 KST - Quarterfinal 2: Luxury Watch Red vs KongDoo Panthera
Saturday December 17th
- 02:40 EST / 08:40 CET / 16:40 KST - Semifinal 1: Afreeca Freecs Blue vs Misfits or Lunatic-Hai
- 02:55 EST / 11:00 CET / 19:00 KST - Semifinal 2: Rogue vs Luxury Watch Red or KongDoo Panthera
Sunday December 18th
- 21:45 EST / 03:45 CET / 11:45 KST - Final
ESL's gentle giant, Jason Kaplan, shared more tournament specifics on Twitter, the main points of which are summarised below.
The restricted map pool sees the removal of Eichenwalde, Volskaya Industries, Numbani and Nepal (and Oasis!) to leave the following nine maps:
- Lijiang Tower
- Route 66
- Temple of Anubis
- Watchpoint: Gibraltar
- King's Row
Control / King of the Hill maps are to be played as best-of-three.
One stage of Nepal will be played to settle any tiebreaker situations.
The map draft system features two rounds of bans, two rounds of picks then the higher seed (or winner of the coin toss) picks the final remaining map. Maps are to be played in the order they are picked with the team who didn't pick the map choosing side.
Update: This map draft system was later replaced by a fixed maps.
Lastly we were treated to news of a stellar talent line up with ESL's finest jetting in from around the globe to put on the english language broadcast alongside OGN's production.
Now is probably a good time begin your Navy Seal style training to prepare your mind, body and soul for 72 hours of gruelling Overwatch spectating with $100,000 tournaments happening at IEM Gyeonggi, MLG Vegas and the ongoing Team Story Chapter 1 next weekend.