After a few months off, it's back! Welcome back to This Weekend in Esports, a brief overview of what to watch in the world of competitive gaming for the coming weekend.
For this weekend, CS:GO puts up another million dollars up for grabs, Hearthstone gets its final four competitors for Worlds, and the Overwatch League regular season continues!
Intel Extreme Masters Katowice 2019
Game: Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Fortnite, StarCraft II
When: March 1-3
Where to watch: ESL TV
The folks at Intel and ESL added extra spice to what's already one of the most intense esports games in the world with the Intel Grand Slam. Kicking off in mid-2017, if any CS:GO team won four of the ten most recent Intel Grand Slam tournament majors, they would receive a $1 million grand prize. Astralis clinch the Intel Grand Slam back in December with their ESL Season 8 chamionship victory.
Now the Intel Grand Slam is ready to kick off its second season, beginning with IEM Katowice. And as one would expect, the top CS:GO teams in the world are ready to get to work. Astralis is among the teams back in action, as are other top teams like Natus Vincere and MIBR. The prize pool for IEM Katowice itself isn't too shabby either, with the winner taking home $500,000 out of a $1 million prize pool.
If CS:GO doesn't intrigue you, Fortnite is further developing its esports scene with this weekend's ESL Katowice Royale. There are 200 players in attendance competing for a $600,000 prize pool, with duos and solos set to take place throughout the weekend. Meanwhile, StarCraft II's top players are competing for a $400,000 prize pool, with defending world champion Joona "Serral" Sotala among the final 24 competitors set to compete this wekend. There's something for almost everyone this weekend, so be sure to tune in!
Hearthstone Winter Championship 2018
When: March 1-3
Where to watch: Twitch.tv/PlayHearthstone
The pros of Hearthstone are in action this weekend and there's more than just the $250,000 prize pool on the line. This weekend's Winter Championship will also determine the final four names to advance to April's Hearthstone World Championship tournament in Taipei.
Rastakhan's Rumble has shaken up the pro meta, with Hunters, Mages, Paladins, and Priests taking firm control. But it's The Witchwood that continues to cast a shadow over the Hearthstone world, with Odd and Even decks continuing to make up a large percentage of decks.
All four groups already competed on Thursday, with Friday determining who moves on to the next stage. We're seeing some top decks in play, but we're also keeping an eye out for a few outside the box decks over the course of the weekend.
Overwatch League - Week 3
When: March 1-3
Where to watch: Twitch.tv/OverwatchLeague
The Overwatch League's third week is already off to a wild start. The Boston Uprising bounced back from last week's loss to the Shanghai Dragons by beating the Seoul Dynasty. Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Fusion kept the Washington Justice winless and the Guangzhou Charge and San Francisco Shock stayed in the hunt for the Stage playoffs with their own Thursday victories.
Friday will be an interesting night, with the unbeaten New York Excelsior getting tested by the Toronto Defiant and the Shanghai Dragons looking to follow up their first win against the Chengdu Hunters. Speaking of first wins, the Los Angeles Valiant will look to secure theirs against the Vancouver Titans.
The Overwatch League is already almost halfway to the Stage 1 playoffs. That means the action is about to intensify, so be sure to tune in for some of the best Overwatch play in the world.
What will you be watching this weekend? Join the conversation and let us know in the comments.