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The finish line is almost upon us. After an incredible year of intense, elite competition, the Global Finals of the ESL Pro Tour 2022/23 arrive in Katowice. Concluding on February 12, the IEM Katowice 2023 tournament sees a collection of the world’s best StarCraft II players compete for a piece of the bumper $500,000 prize pool. Most importantly, they will also be fighting to lift both the IEM Katowice 2023 and StarCraft II ESL Pro Tour Championship trophies.

How IEM Katowice works

As the last stage of the ESL Pro Tour 2022/23, it’s no surprise the Global Finals will see it go out with a bang. Across five tournament days, 36 competitors will battle it out in an effort to show they are the best StarCraft II player on the planet. Here’s how the tournament is structured: 

Round of 36

Despite its name suggesting otherwise, this Round involves just 16 players in total. These are players that didn’t directly qualify for the Global Finals. The other 20 players that did directly qualify await in the next stage. 

The Round of 36 features a single double elimination bracket. The early matches in this Round are played best of three. The final qualification matches are a best of five. At the end of this Round, four players will remain, and they advance to the Round of 24. 

Round of 24

With all remaining players now involved in the competition, they are split into four groups. Each group features six players, and they participate against each other in the group in a round-robin format. All matches are best of three. 

For those that top their respective group, they advance directly to the Round of 8. Those in second and third place enter the Round of 12. Everyone else is eliminated. 


The playoffs are a simple-elimination bracket. The Round of 12, Round of 8, quarterfinals, and semifinals are all a best of five. The Grand Final is, fittingly, a best of seven.

Prize pool

With a $500,000 prize pot, there is significant money to be won for these elite StarCraft II players. This is how it is divided up: 

PlacePrize (dollars)
29th-32nd $1,000

In the Round of 24, an extra $300 is also offered for each win. 

The players to watch out for

Although the 36 players have yet to be finalized at the time of writing, there are some players that have guaranteed their spot at IEM Katowice. These include strong contenders that are fancied to go all the way. 

Maru, the number one ranked global StarCraft II player, is understandably seen as the favorite. However, Reynor (world #4), herO (world #2), and Serral (world #6) are other proven, elite talents that will be pushing for the title. 

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