IEM Katowice 2020 Preview

Post 14.2.2020

From the start of 2020, the ecosystem changed drastically, as ESL stepped in to the driver’s seat and announced the ESL Pro Tour. This means that the old WCS format, which the game used to have is in the past, and it now runs a circuit combining ESL and DreamHack tournaments. Each year ends in a Masters Championship, taking place at the IEM Masters Katowice. Instead of the StarCraft 2 yearly calendar ending in November, it will last until the 2021 Katowice tournament. This circuit has been confirmed to run for at least the next 3 years, which brings a lot of stability and job security for the players and talent alike.

This year Katowice isn’t yet a World Championship competition for SC2, but nevertheless it’s one of the most esteemed and important tournaments of the year. So far Serral has yet to claim a IEM trophy for himself, even if his shelves are filled with many other ones. We sat down with him to hear some thoughts about the upcoming competition.

With the start of a new decade, the StarCraft 2 tournament system format was restructured. What benefits are there for this new system?
I think most of the stuff is going to be around the same as before. Biggest benefit for players is just simply knowing SC2 will continue for another 3 years, which is great! Also ESL has always organized great events, but overall the structure of the tour stays similar with the addition of the online cups.
With the new system established, do you have any tips for aspiring new players to get into the competitive scene?
Just keep practicing and try to get your name out there with the online cups! Eventually you are going to have a breakout at a offline event.
How do you see the upcoming 3 years in your career?
I’ll try my best to keep performing well and I don’t see myself stopping anytime during these next 3 years.
Do you think it makes a difference that the World Championship will be held in 2021 Katowice, Poland, instead of BlizzCon 2020?
IEM Katowice has always been one of the high points for the year, so it being the Global Finals feels natural. The season lasting more than a year feels a bit odd though, and there probably won’t be longer breaks coming at the end of the year.
You have won almost all other Championship titles except an IEM Championship. What has been the hardest part of IEM tournaments to you?
Katowice being the first event for the year effects my level there a bit I feel like. Especially last year I took a long break and didn’t play in anything because I got invited everywhere. This time I took a slightly shorter break and had to play at least the Katowice qualifiers. Obviously it’s still the first offline event and there might be some excitement and rust coming into play.
How eager are you to complete your trophy collection?
Katowice is one of the most, if not the most, prestigious tournaments and winning it at least once would feel great. Winning it already this year is the goal and that would be a great start
for the year.
Which opponents are you on the lookout for in this particular tournament?
Korean Terrans are always scary especially with the meta shifting a bit. Other threats have stayed around the same from last year.