If you’re into watching competitive Starcraft 2, you may have seen this event called the Red Bull Training Grounds, and have been wondering, “What the heck is a Red Bull Training Ground?” The answer is simple enough. Red Bull, in their sponsorship of eSports has set up a sort of scrimmage for professional Starcraft 2 players. It allows players to gain experience at an offline event.
The format is similar to standard tournaments, with eight players first divided into two groups of four players each. Each group plays a best of three, but as opposed to standard tournaments, where games are stopped after the first player reaches two wins, all three games are always played, to give the players competing the most experience possible. To add more realism to the games, the winner of each match receives a $100 prize, and this is in addition to the $2,500 awarded to the 1st prize winner, the $1,250 for the 2nd prize winner and the $625 given to the 3rd and 4th place finishers. The group stages take place on the first and second day of the tournament, with the semifinals and grand finals taking place on the third day.
The Training Grounds serve more purpose than just being a smaller eight person invitational tournament. The games are of course, fun to watch, having been casted by the likes of Day9, HuskyStarcraft, and Mr. Bitter, but it’s also fun to watch the players stream as they practice in the area, as they did at the last Training Grounds at the Red Bull HQ. The highlight of the Training Grounds in Florida so far, have definitely been the bonus stages at the end of each day. The first day showed an absolutly hilarious 2v2v2v2 match using Chaotic Arena, a map that places all eight players in one location sharing a gold mineral base, and the second day had the competitors playing Star Strikers, an incredibly fun Arcade game, followed with another 2v2v2v2 match with a twist – bases were shared not with your opponent, but with an enemy. These Training Ground events are smaller, but are incredibly entertaining, and certainly have a more intimate atmosphere to them, making them a must watch.