It’s time! 2012 is here! It seems like just yesterday that Leenock was hoisting the trophy and big check at the 2011 MLG National Championships in Providence. We hope the off-season has been a time of productivity for you, but unfortunately – that’s all about to change. The first details on the 2012 MLG Pro Circuit are below. It’s not everything (we’ve gotta save some juicy details for Sundance to spill on Twitter) but it’s the first reveal of the new 2012 Pro Circuit.

StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty Returns to the Pro Circuit

Blizzard’s hit RTS StarCraft 2 is back for the 2012 Pro Circuit. Shocking, we know. Additional games and details will be announced as soon as possible.

A Well-Seasoned Experience

MLG fans of old will notice things in 2012 are going to be a little… different. The 2012 MLG Pro Circuit will be made up of four distinct Seasons, each with their own Live Championship Event. We wanted to move to a season-based Pro Circuit for a couple of reasons. First, it allows us to make changes to our format and game lineup easily throughout the year. Second, it enables us to maintain a steady stream of competition throughout the year for our players and fans to enjoy. Finally, it helps to ensure that the best of the best are winning prizes on the Pro Circuit, and that every player has a chance to make it big. While we’re not ready to reveal everything about our season structure for the entire year, here’s what we can tell you (WARNING: information overload ahead).

Winter 2012 Season

139 of the best SC2 players in the world (based on the results of all notable 2011 SC2 competitions) will be invited to compete in their choice of three regional double-elimination online tournaments (North America, Europe, and Korea/Taiwan). Competition dates are as follows:

  • January 31-February 2 (Europe)
  • February 3-5 (Korea/Taiwan)
  • February 6-8 (North America)

Details on MLG’s video coverage of the regional online tournaments will be announced in the coming weeks.

The Top 8 finishers from MLG’s 2011 National Championship in Providence will be invited to join the Top 8 finishers from each regional online tournament (24 total players) for the MLG Winter Arena in New York City on February 24-26. 

All 32 players will receive all-expenses-paid trips to the MLG Winter Arena, where a $26,000 prize pool will be up for grabs. The full prize breakdown is as follows:

  • 1st – $10,000
  • 2nd – $6,000
  • 3rd – $3,600
  • 4th- $2,200
  • 5th/6th – $1,400 (no consolation matches will be played)
  • 7th/8th – $900 (no consolation matches will be played)

While players can choose which of the three regions they wish to compete in, there are a couple of things to keep in mind:

  • All matches in a specific regional online bracket must be played on that region’s server.
  • Players will only be eligible to receive MLG-paid travel if they request a flight from an airport located in the region they competed in. If a player is not eligible to receive MLG-paid travel, they will instead receive a $400 stipend. All players, regardless of eligibility for paid travel, will receive MLG-paid hotel accommodations.

In addition to the lovely prizes that will be awarded at the Winter Arena, the Top 16 will also receive spots in Pool Play at the Winter Championship. The bottom 16 finishers in the Arena will receive byes into Open Winners Bracket Round 5 at the Winter Championship. Furthermore, the Top 16 finishers at the Winter Arena will also receive an all-expenses paid trip to the Winter Championship. That’s two all-expenses paid trips for 16 of the world’s best players!

The Winter Arena will be live streamed for your viewing pleasure, but there will not be a live spectator component.

The Winter Championship will be a massive, open, live competition in Columbus, Ohio at the Columbus Convention Center on March 23-25. Spectator passes will be available and the Championship will be streamed live. Further details will be released in the coming weeks, including the full tournament format and prizes.

The Top 8 players from the Winter Championship in Columbus will qualify for the MLG Spring Arena.

More to Come

That’s all we can talk about for now, but there are still a lot of details to be released for both the Winter Season and the remainder of the 2012 MLG Pro Circuit. It’s hard not to get excited about 48 all-expenses paid trips for the world’s best StarCraft 2 players, a $26,000 prize pool for a pre-Championship Event, and the return of MLG to the site of one of our most successful events in 2011, Columbus, Ohio. More details in the coming weeks; stay tuned!