The final WCS Circuit event of the year represents the last chance to earn WCS points—so, for many players, the early rounds of competition in Quebec should be fraught with tension as they scratch and claw for the points they need.
With two spots at the WCS Global Finals at BlizzCon secured by the top two players in the WCS Circuit standings –Serral and SpeCial—that leaves six spots for the taking via WCS Montreal. The math is still fuzzy, with some 11 players clustered around the cutoff line for the top eight. What’s clear is that all of the players outside the top eight—including names like Snute, uThermal, Elazer, MaNA and TRUE—will most likely need a run to the WCS Montreal quarterfinals to even be in the Global Finals conversation.
The elephant in the room is Serral and his absolutely terrifying 2018 form that effectively removes the big 3000-point top prize from the equation. For this discussion, it’s fair to assume the Finnish superstar will take that jackpot and complete the first WCS Grand Slam because he feels like it. This leaves the 1,400 WCS points awarded to the WCS Montreal runner-up as the most reliable and available prize for all the BlizzCon hopefuls. This is where a quarterfinal finish at the tournament becomes so important and why WCS fans will have to stick to the broadcast and WCS site like glue this weekend. The 600 points awarded to the top eight players in Montreal would be enough for a player like Lambo to sneak into the WCS Global Finals… assuming all 12 players ahead of him in the standings don’t earn anything this weekend. That’s highly unlikely at a live event, with so much on the line and so many veterans ready to pounce. Nonetheless, the point, so to speak, stands: you win or you die, as an evil queen once said.
At the other end of the standings, things are only a little less tense. Neeb and ShowTime find themselves in similar situations: high enough in the WCS Circuit standings to be happy but still within shouting distance of the drop zone. We know four players will take at least 900 points out of this event and we know that’s right around the number of points separating No. 3 ShowTime and No. 4 Neeb from ninth-place Snute and tenth-place MaNa (ShoWTimE is 915 points ahead of Snute and 990 ahead of MaNa, while Neeb has an 855-point lead on Snute and is up 930 points on MaNa). That’s without one single map of WCS Montreal being played. The conventional wisdom is that advancing to the round of 16 is the bare minimum the current top eight Circuit players need out of this event to be in the BlizzCon conversation by WCS Montreal’s championship Sunday.
Whether they’re on the outside looking in or nervously peeking over their shoulders, all competitors at WCS Montreal will see enemies turn into allies and vice versa as the tournament moves from the open signup stage to the group stages. WCS fans will want to have access to the WCS site Friday evening as the Round of 16 will be drawn in Montreal that night. By then some of the messiness will have be cleared up, certain hearts will have been broken, and a long shot or two will still be in the hunt. Come Saturday, the stakes will be clear, and it’ll be every Zerg, Protoss, or Terran for themselves.
We wouldn’t have it any other way.