1. As you all know, GSL in 2011 consists of Code S, Code A and an offline preliminary. Each league is considered major, minor and just an offline preliminary respectively.
Good News: 4 spots of Code A are guaranteed for top foreign players who has won recent big tourneys or shown considerable performances in non-Korean competitions.
Nothing has determined yet regarding what kind of support system GSL could provide with (could be really nothing, otherwise it would be announced soon)
Bad News: The number of Code A has shrunk to 32.
2. Code S
The Code S league divides 32 players into 8 groups. Top 2 in each group advance to Round 2.
Round 2 also divides 16 players into 4 groups. Top 2 in each group advance to Round 3 (quarter final). The disqualifiers in Round 2 stay in Code S for next season
The quarter final (from this point on) is a single elimination tournament. Whoever wins, advances.
Now, the 3rd and 4th ranked players in Round 1 have to face elimination challenge with top 8 Code A players. 16 players from 3rd and 4th ranked players in each group of Code S + 8 from Code A, so 24 players in total, fight for 16 spots of Code S next season.
Interestingly, top 2 of Code A players can choose who they want to play against (each one of 3rd and 4th ranked players).
The rest are randomly grouped and they will play for the Code S spots.
The Code S determination matches give the 3rd ranked players a bit of an advantage.
That is, 3rd ranked player vs Top 8 Code A takes place first. Then, whoever loses will play against 4th ranked player. The loser fails to stay in Code S and belongs to Code A for next season.
This system seems complicated, but no player would give up so early when he goes 0-2 in Round 1. The system motivates players to play hard in order to keep the advantageous spot during the Code S determination period.
3. Code A
16 Code A players stay or have a chance to advance to Code S. In other words, Top 8 Code A will play Code S determination matches as explained above. The rest 8 of Top 16 stay in Code A.
The lower 16 players in Code A have to go through the offline preliminary for 12 spots of Code A.
The 4 spots are guaranteed to top foreign players.
- This is awesome. As far as I know, players in Code S get paid generously (minimum $900?) + huge prizes that GSL is proud of.
I don't know how much professional gamers get paid in their team but if you can play well in GSL, it's not that bad to spend some time in Korea playing SC2.
This is only for GSL. I did not include other 7 big competitions organized by Blizzard: Ladder tournament (Feb, May, Aug, Nov), World Championship (June, Oct) and Blizzard Cup (Dec)
EDIT: Top 8 of Code S (players who advance to quarter final) get seeds for next season. For example, Top 8 in GSL 4 will be seeded into each 8 group of GSL 5.