Battle Grounds North America: The Format

Something bold, something new.
Battle Grounds is back. © Marv Watson / Red Bull Content Pool
By Coty Levandoski

As good as it is, and as it’s been, even the typical heads up, seed-centric bracket play of competitive Starcraft can benefit from the spice of life, so Battle Grounds North America is bringing a different approach to the table.

Three lives, 17 challenges, and cold hard cash. “Interesting” just won’t do these three days justice.

The Rule of Three

Come 11am Pacific Standard Time, players, in order of their post-qualifier seeding, will be able to issue a challenge a competitor to a best-of-three series – an invitation which must be accepted. At the end result of each series, the loser will lose one of three lives that they start the tournament with and will be eliminated from the field once, or if, their lives are depleted. In scenarios where a player issues the knock-out blow to their opposition, the victor will then be able to choose which competitor issues the next challenge.

In terms of collusion or safeguards when it comes to ganging up on one finalist or another… there are none. Alliances will be forged, friendships will be tested, and trust is just a five letter word. In a contest where nothing is certain, will virtue lead to victory, or will the ruthless rule?

The Juice is Worth the Squeeze

At the conclusion of each day of play, a $3,000 pot will be divvyed up among the surviving contestants. As the player pool dwindles, so too will the warm smiles and good-natured ribbings. Taking their place: poker faces and greetings.

$3,000 split among five or six (or less?) isn’t a terrible payday, but by Day Three, the lion’s share will become the whole share, which the winner will take home along with their all-expense-paid trip to the Grand Finals in September.

All this, though, only after having stared down the prospect of elimination daily – possibly more than once – and playing their heart out against five of the best talents that North America has to offer.

Will heart be enough, though? Or will they be forced to play into a game of politics, of loyalties and trade-offs?

Sometimes, being the best isn’t enough.

Stream this week's action, June 17-19, at

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