As esports is a global phenomenon, it is worth remembering many parts of the world don’t actually celebrate Christmas or the new year at this particular time. For them, December and the start of January are just standard days of the year and life rolls on as normal.
That means we have an international schedule to keep up when it comes to esports. Let us help catch you up through the start of 2019.
Given that most major CS:GO teams are based in parts of the world that have holidays around Christmas, there are no key CS:GO tournaments scheduled from the end of the BLAST Pro Series in Lisbon last weekend (which saw Astralis claim another outstanding victory) until ESEA Season 30, which gets underway in North American and Europe on Jan. 14.
That said, the first big event of 2019 begins on Jan. 19. That’s the iBUYPOWER Masters IV in Hollywood, California. It will see the current world’s best team, Astralis, plus Fnatic and Luminosity Gaming, take on five further, as yet undisclosed teams.
The Cup of Russia tournament ended this past weekend. This means the next big tournament is the National Electronic Sports Open beginning Jan. 4. This is the first of a series of three big tournaments in China throughout January. The GPL 2018 Grand Finals and the NeXT 2018 Winter events follow in the weeks after.
The world’s best teams are building up to the first two big events of 2019. These are the Intel Extreme Masters Season XIII tournament in Katowice, Poland from Feb. 25 to March 3. Then, there’s the World Electronic Sports Games 2019 tournament in Chongqing, China in March.
The Dota 2 season is still very much in its early stages at the moment, but there is still plenty of action coming up. Last weekend, the UCSP Major and MegaFon CL Season 2 came to an end, but currently, four Dota 2 tournaments are ongoing.
The China Hope Series #2 is running from Dec. 16-20. The Tricolor TV Tournament is taking place in the CIS from Dec. 10-20.
However, the biggest shortly forthcoming tournament is the Dota 2 Professional League Season 6, which has been in action since Nov. 21. It’ll peak on Dec. 30. The teams competing have finalized the initial Group Stage of the tournament with six teams moving through into the playoffs, which begin Dec. 28.
The 2019 campaign gets underway with a small ESL Katowice 2019 Chinese qualifier, but then things get interesting with Dota Pro Circuit points up for grabs at the Bucharest Minor on Jan. 9. That tourney will see teams able to qualify for the first Major of 2019, the Chongqing Major. That runs Jan. 19 to Jan. 27. It will have the usual $1,000,000 prize pool available, as well as more Dota Pro Circuit points to be won by the top teams.
Most major Overwatch teams are based in North America and Europe, so the Overwatch season largely comes to a halt over the holidays. The LSC 2018 in Hangzhou finished on Dec. 16, and although the Overwatch Contenders 2018 Season 3 tournaments are ongoing, the seven different regions competing are on a break from just before the start of Christmas through to the new year.
The Overwatch League regular season gets underway at the Blizzard Arena in Los Angeles on Valentine’s Day. It’s scheduled to run until Aug. 25 with an expanded 20 teams competing, 10 each in the Atlantic and Pacific divisions.
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League of Legends
If you are looking for good quality esports action over the festive period, League of Legends may well be your best bet. The KeSPA Cup begins Dec. 18 and is scheduled to run until Dec. 31.
With teams such as KT Rolster, KING-ZONE Dragon X, Afreeca Freecs, SK Telecom T1, Jin Air Green Wings, and Gen.G all in action, it promises to be a busy Christmas time for the top Korean League of Legends players.
There is also the Demacia Cup taking place in China from Dec. 20-23, which features a number of top LPL teams. This is followed in mid-January by the start of the different Spring 2019 qualifying events across the globe.