BlizzCon 2019 esports primer: Overwatch, StarCraft and Hearthstone

Can the U.S. pull off a miracle in the Overwatch World Cup? (1:43)

Arda Ocal and Jacob Wolf break down the USA team's chance to medal at the Overwatch World Cup at Blizzcon 2019. (1:43)

Blizzard Entertainment's BlizzCon will kick off Friday at the Anaheim Convention Center and will feature an abundance of news along with highly anticipated events across titles.

What to watch for from BlizzCon 2019


South Korea will seek to win the World Cup for the fourth time in as many years as the event has been held.

This year's team features Minho "Architect" Park and Hyo-bin "ChoiHyoBin" Choi from the San Francisco Shock roster that recently won Season 2 of the Overwatch League. South Korea also boasts Hyojong "Haksal" Kim and Hyeon-Woo "Jjanu" Choi from the Vancouver Titans, whom the Shock beat in the finals.

The United States is the only other team fielding a roster on which all players also competed in the Overwatch League this year. The squad includes Shock star Jay "sinatraa" Won and teammates Matthew "super" DeLisi and Grant "moth" Espe.

Thirty teams will compete in the World Cup preliminaries on Thursday, fighting for five available berths in the main group. The main group stage, which will include the qualifiers as well as South Korea, Canada, China, France and the United States, will begin on Friday, followed by the Ceremony of Nations, the quarterfinals, semifinals and finals on Saturday.

Overwatch World Cup schedule (all times ET)

  • Online preliminaries: Thursday, 12:30 p.m.-1:15 a.m.

  • Welcome & pre-show: Friday, 3-3:15 p.m.

  • Group stage: Friday, 3:15-11:45 p.m.

  • Ceremony of Nations: Saturday, 1-1:30 p.m.

  • Quarterfinals: Saturday, 1:30-5 p.m.

  • Semifinals: Saturday, 5-8:30 p.m.

  • Bronze medal match: Saturday, 8:30-10:15 p.m.

  • Finals: Saturday, 10:15 p.m.-midnight

  • Medal ceremony: Sunday, midnight-12:30 a.m.


The $500,000 Hearthstone Global Finals will feature eight players who emerged from Grandmasters competitions around the globe.

The players:

  • Asia-Pacific -- Kim "Surrender" Jung-soo

  • Asia-Pacific -- Chen "tom60229" Wei Lin

  • Americas -- Francisco "PNC" Leimontas

  • Americas -- Brian "bloodyface" Eason

  • Europe -- Chris "Fenomeno" Tsakopoulos

  • Europe -- Kevin "Casie" Eberlein

  • China -- Xiaomeng "VKLiooon" Li

  • China -- Gao "Leaoh" Yang

The competition will begin at 3 p.m. ET on Friday with the Shield-Phase Conquest format through dual tournament groups and conclude with a single-elimination bracket. All matches will be best-of-three until moving to best-of-five for the semifinals and finals. Saturday's action begins at 1:30 p.m. ET.

StarCraft II

The $600,000 StarCraft II World Championship Series Global Finals will continue with the eight players advancing from the opening week in Seoul that began with 16 competitors.

Opening matches:

  • Joona "Serral" Sotala vs. Eo "soO" Yoon-soo

  • Riccardo "Reynor" Romiti vs. Cho "Trap" Sung-ho

  • Lee "Rogue" Byung-ryul vs. Kim "Classic" Doh-woo

  • Cho "Maru" Seong-ju vs. Park "Dark" Ryung-woo

All matches will be single-elimination best-of-fives leading up to the best-of-seven finals.

Defending champion Serral won both the WCS Spring and Fall, finishing with 10,200 points. Reynor was second (7,365). Dark led the Korea Points list with 10,875 points, followed by Trap with 8,175.

Prize pool:

  • 1st: $210,000

  • 2nd: $96,000

  • 3rd-4th: $51,000

  • 5th-8th: $24,000

  • 9th-16th: $12,000 (ShoWTimE, TIME, HeRoMaRinE, Elazer, SpeCial, Stats, herO, Neeb)

The quarterfinals will begin at 3 p.m. ET on Friday, with the semifinals (5 p.m.) and finals (6 p.m.) taking place on Saturday.

World of Warcraft

The World of Warcraft Arena World Championship and the Mythic Dungeon International Global Finals will each feature record $330,000 prize pools.

The early rounds for the AWC & MDI Global Finals will take place Thursday and determine who will advance to the upper and lower brackets.

The MDI competition will begin immediately following the opening ceremonies on Friday, with the AWC running through Saturday.

AWC: Cloud9 took first place at the Spring Finals and Summer Finals, beating Europe's Method Black both times. Other dangerous teams include Unitas White from Australia and their sister team from Latin America, Unitas Blue.

Wild Card Gaming includes four players who have each competed at multiple BlizzCons, including Martin "Loony" Pettersson, a world champion in 2014.

Cloud9 will open the AWC against Unitas Blue while Wild Card Gaming will face Unitas White. The other half of the bracket will include Method Black against Time to Take Medicine and The Gosu Crew vs. Aztech.

MDI: Method EU and sister team Method NA have been the dominant teams thus far in 2018. Other strong contenders include Abrakeydabra, the second seed from the West, along with Games Revolted and Team D. Buff Warrior Nerf Rogue from Taiwan is one of two teams from the East.

The winner of Method NA vs. Team D will advance in the upper bracket to face Method EU, while Buff War await the winner of Abrakeydabra vs. Games Revolted.

--Field Level Media