The day has come. No more Striker spreadsheets. No more dead rubbers.
The last pillar of round robin, ESL Pro League, has fallen. Instead of six six-team groups, there will now be four groups of eight teams.
Well, ‘groups.’ Instead of GSL, Swiss, or anything familiar ESL are wheeling out a brand new triple-elimination format for each of the four groups. We basically get a mini-tournament each week.
Yep, that’s 32 teams — who gave Infantino the keys? MORE TEAMS, WE NEED MOOOORE
Anyway. The earlier you qualify, the later you start playoffs from. So win the initial group bracket, you start in the quarters. Lose the final of bracket one or win second bracket, ro12. Win third, ro16. Simple, right?
Now, multi-elimination brackets come with their own problem. We can see from BLAST that giving big teams lots of lives means that they don’t really try until they’re on their last one.
But, whatever. It’s EPL, it’s not like ESL even wants this to be a good event. That would just steal eyeballs away from Katowice and Cologne.
It’s designed to be on stream for as many hours as humanly possible for as long as humanly possible. And the new format achieves that without the nonsense that comes with round robin. It’s a win.
Meanwhile, Valve have continued their spree of Christmas presents by announcing their regional standings. The whole formula will be public soon, so stay tuned, but for now, we’ve got you sorted with a Twitter thread.
The TLDR of that TLDR is that it is broadly a similar ranking to HLTV and ESL that will be used to generate invites for the closed qualifiers before the RMRs.
Is it going to be better than using open qualifiers? The Major will have better teams for sure, but watching Astralis in the open qualifiers was as good as any Major final if you ask us.