The eight qualifier and four wildcard spots for the upcoming Intel Extreme Masters Season IX event at Fan Expo in Toronto have been set. Over 200 StarCraft II players tried to enter the biggest SC2 tournament in Canada this year but only eight qualified straight through to the group stages.
Prior to the Stage 1 dual tournaments, two Canadians will be going for the title in Toronto. Root Gaming’s MaSa had an epic run through the Canadian qualifier. He dropped three maps out of 13 played, going through the likes of Scarlett, desRow and Kane (twice), to secure the win in the qualifier. Acer eSport and Canadian superstar Scarlett went through the Americas qualifier. She went 7-2 through the double-elimination qualifier to secure a spot in the top two of three transfer spots.
The remaining qualifiers were all Korean. MajOr had qualified through the Americas qualifier, having only dropped one map from eight played, but visa issues forced his withdrawal. Fourth-placed viOLet took his place in Toronto. Fan favourite Polt was the other qualifier from the Americas qualifier.The two European qualifiers have an interesting history. YoDa and First qualified from the stacked EU qualifier. The two actually met in the IEM Season VII World Championship final that saw YoDa win 4-0 for $30,000. And the Asian qualifier saw two Proleague champions make their way to Canada. KT Rolster’s Flash, 2014 Proleague Finals MVP, and Zest, 2014 GSL Season 1 and GSL Global Championship champion, both powered their way to the final qualifier spots.
Even the “wildcard” invites are a who’s who of top SC2 competitors. Roccat’s HyuN, the current WCS points leader, and MC, fan favourite and #2 in WCS points, will make the trip to Toronto and look to add to their lead. Team Liquid’s TaeJa will make a rare IEM appearance as an invitee. Rounding out the four wildcard entrants is the biggest of big game players, the Million Dollar Man, the defending IEM and WCS World Champion, sOs.
There are still four more group stage spots available from the two Stage One dual tournaments. Each is an eight-man double-elimination tournament which see the last two standing from each bracket go to the group stages. Usually, players from the region attempt to qualify through these tournaments. Sometimes, though, top level international players make a last attempt at qualification through these tournaments. While IEM Sao Paulo saw mostly Brazilian players in these dual tournaments, IEM New York, Cologne and Shenzhen all saw a mix of local, Korean and foreign talent battle for the final four spots. Hopefully, this time we see mostly Canadians trying to qualify.
We’ll have more coverage of IEM Toronto around tournament time and it sure looks like it’s going to be a spectacular event.