Phil Taylor has been drawn against Mervyn King in the first round as he bids for a record-equalling fifth successive Betfair World Matchplay title.
'The Power', who has won the event 12 times in total, is looking to match his unbeaten run from 2000-2004 when he returns to the Winter Gardens for the event, which starts on July 21.
But he faces a big test first up as though King as slipped out of the world's top 16, he reached the semi-finals of the European Darts Open at the weekend.
The 2007 World Matchplay winner James Wade, who lost 18-8 to Taylor in last year's final, will play resurgent Welshman Richie Burnett in the first round, while Colin Lloyd - the 2005 champion who is the only other previous winner in the 32-man field - takes on number nine seed Mark Webster.
World champion Adrian Lewis, the number two seed, has drawn recent Speedy Services UK Open champion Robert Thornton in the first round, while world number four Gary Anderson plays newcomer Dean Winstanley, who only joined the PDC circuit in January.
Wes Newton, the number five seed, has been paired with emerging teenage star James Hubbard in the first round, with the PDC Unicorn World Youth champion having secured qualification for the World Matchplay by reaching the quarter-finals of the European Darts Open.
The winner there, Raymond van Barneveld, meets another debutant, Michael Smith, while in-form Dave Chisnall - who has reached two successive European Tour finals - takes on Blackpool favourite Ronnie Baxter.
Number six seed Simon Whitlock faces Michael van Gerwen, World Championship finalist Andy Hamilton plays Brendan Dolan, two-time World Matchplay finalist Terry Jenkins drew Belgian debutant Kim Huybrechts and Kevin Painter meets Steve Beaton.
World number 12 Justin Pipe takes on another young star Joe Cullen, while Mark Walsh plays Colin Osborne, who won his place in the World Matchplay by reaching the quarter-finals, alongside Hubbard, in Dusseldorf.
Paul Nicholson meets Andy Smith, and number 16 seed Vincent van der Voort drew Stoke's Ian White, who is another new face on the Blackpool stage.