Top Auto Chess players in the Oceania and Asia regions will soon have the chance to compete in a multi-stage tournament environment during the first ever APAC Rivals invitational, featuring a finals event between the top three players to be held live in Shanghai, China in September of this year.
The 32 highest ranked players on the Auto Chess ladder in each eligible region will first be invited to the initial pool of 128, and they will then compete in online regional qualifiers. These are divided into regional Japan, Southeast Asia, Oceania and Wildcard Asia (essentially encompassing the rest of the continent) brackets. The tournament will ultimately narrow down the pool of players to three, who will be selected for the final Auto Chess Invitational round in Shanghai.
$10,000 will be divided up from the total prize pool among top players, rewarding the top two from each regional qualifier, and the winner of the final tournament with $5,000. While the qualifying rounds will be played on personal mobile devices, as per the official rule book, the final matches will be played on PCs with emulators built to mimic the mobile game experience, presumably meant to prevent any potential cheating that could result from players bringing their own devices.
The original Auto Chess mod for Dota 2 ultimately led to a split between mod developer Drodo Studio and Dota 2 developers Valve. Whereas Valve retained all the original Dota 2 characters featured in the game and mod for their own Auto Battler, Drodo Studio kept their gameplay elements but were requited to introduce new, original characters. Auto Chess was released in April earlier this year, at the front end of the Auto Battler craze that the original mod helped usher in.
Before the game's release, Drodo announced their partnership with Chinese production company ImbaTV, presaging their eventual China-based esports scene. During the days of the Dota 2 Auto Chess mod, ImbaTV also co-hosted a tournament for the mod with a $5,000 prize pool. No plans for Auto Chess Rivals tournaments in other regions have been announced, but if the current trajectory of the Auto Battler genre keeps up (which is a big "if," as with any trend), the breadth of Auto Chess tournaments could expand very soon.