This is a question no one has yet had the opportunity to answer, but one of the first things I did when I was still just starting out was look at how many professional players there were in each of the professional tiers. I’m going to go through each, from amateur to pro.
Here are the breakdowns:
Amateur – 5
Super amateur – 10
Super pro – 25
Pro – 50
This gives us a clear idea of how many pros are playing online currently – a lot of people will play and win on LAN with relatively minor skill levels. What has been lacking for a while is a solid, high level comparison of how well they compete at the major tourneys.
The pros are playing in a tournament bracket that is almost entirely stacked, they will also be at least in some form of the upper bracket. And they aren’t just competing for $100, but for a slice of the prize pool as well. This means it would have been very challenging for someone to play them in their $100+ bracket if they were not at least as skilled and had similar experience as the pros, so their skillshare is very very low, if their skillshare is $100+ or lower then they shouldn’t be playing.
The top pros in the world, like IMT_ShaKeL, TeamLiquid_Nony, and M5 are not only playing in front of the world’s best fans, but also competing for the $10,000 or more in prizes. I think the first level of these pros is pretty decent, even though they are doing the actual work for those events instead of playing in a bunch of online tournaments.
Now the question still is – what can the average amateurs do in the major tourneys? I would say they are generally in a relatively similar skill level to the pros and can compete on the same grounds (they were just recently eliminated from qualifiers at the biggest tourneys, so they don’t know how to play). So if we look at the top 6 amateurs, they basically have to play like professional players and lose every single live tournament to finish up top after just the first week. However, they have to play like it, because there isn’t any real cash prize from the tourneys anymore.
So for the pros at this level of play – it can probably be thought of like this:
Play well and maybe you win $100 and maybe you get to play in the major