A peculiar situation happened in the StarCraft II World Championship Series: Blizzard, the tournament’s host, can’t set up the groups because one of the players might have to go to the army.
Who is Going to BlizzCon
Eight players will come from the ‘WCS Circuit’ which is everything outside of South Korea. Eight more players will come from ‘WCS Korea.’
WCS Korea season, however, ended just last weekend with the end of GSL Super Tournament 2. The ranking finalized.
The Korean Army
The issue of Korean pro gamers going to the army is not new to the esports world. League of Legends of PUBG fans may not face it too often because the players in those disciplines are usually younger than in StarCraft II. Also, mind that a man in Korea can postpone his military service, so pro players tend to delay it as long as possible. Experienced fans may remember the zerg player Curious who was talking about his military service for a year but kept playing in the leagues.
Classic was referring to his duties throughout the whole season, too, so in the end, the fans became ironic. But it seems that he wasn’t joking. Why do we think so? Because the WCS groups are not locked still, and the question is if Classic will be able to leave the country to attend BlizzCon.
But Ro.16 will be in Korea
The fact that the group stage of the Global Finals will take place in Korea, which Blizzard Korea president announced at the GSL Season 3 finals, only adds more spice to the situation.
Because it meant that Classic would undoubtedly be able to take part in it, and if he did not make it to the playoffs, the case would be closed. But what if he would advance but won’t be able to go to the playoffs in the USA? Is it fairer to give his slot to the player on the 3rd place in his group or the top-9 finished of the WCS Korea ranking, which is TY?
It seems that Blizzard Esports is leaning to the TY scenario because making one group easier to go through feels wrong. But they still can’t lock it, apparently waiting for the Classic‘s final statement. It’s also interesting if there is a rule they can apply to decline him from playing in the Ro.16 — however, they might be able to hold his prize pool if he would not attend to the playoffs.
Why It Sucks
The downside of all this is that the players still don’t know who they are going up against in the core StarCraft II tournament of the year, and it is just two weeks to go until Ro.16 kicks off. Blizzard usually skips this reason because everyone will be under the same condition, but as a pro StarCraft fan for 12 years now, I can tell that it sucks. I want to see my favorite players prepared against their top Korean opponents, but instead of that, they will be like: okay, guys, now go and beat Maru. And you know what? It won’t work, and all we are about to get is low-quality games.
I have a lot of respect for Classic, and I would love to see him on his last BlizzCon. But in my opinion, there is no point in ruining the whole tournament (or at least the Koreans vs. non-Koreans part of it) for the sake of just one player. And if he must figure out the army start and doesn’t have time to prepare, he won’t perform well anyway. So I hope that Blizzard will set deadlines and they will be soon.
Because now it’s only two weeks left and we still don’t know who will be playing against whom.
Update — Oct. 15
Classic will be able to go to BlizzCon as he got permission to travel abroad. He stated it on Twitter. He also mentioned that KeSPA helped him a lot with this, which is nice.
Thus, the Ro.16 groups are finally locked as follows:
Group A — October 24: Dark (Z), ShoWTimE (P), soO (Z), SpeCial (T)
Group B — October 25: Maru (T), TIME (T), Stats (P), Serral (Z)
Group C — October 26: Classic (P), HeroMarine (T), herO (P), Reynor (Z)
Group D — October 27: Trap (P), Elazer (Z), Rogue (Z), Neeb (P)
The matches will be starting at 3 AM GMT (12 AM local time).