The EU Masters, a tournament that brings together the top teams from Europe’s regional leagues, has seen the groups drawn for the 2022 Play-In stage.
The Play-Ins are held with 16 teams, with four moving on to the main event. This is decided through an initial group stage, with four groups of four, after which the first seeds will face the second seeds in head-to-head qualifiers to decide the teams that move on.
The 2022 EU Masters Play-In group draw was seeded for the first time in the tournament’s history, a change that was made after fan backlash to previous iterations where play-ins would frequently see uneven group strength, leading to strong teams being eliminated early on while some weaker teams were allowed to advance.
Pools one and two include accredited leagues SuperLiga, LFL, Prime League, Ultraliga, and NLC as well as Italy’s PG Nationals, while the teams from the other unaccredited leagues were in pool three.
Amongst the favorites to progress are Spain’s Barça eSports, Germany’s UOL Sexy Edition and the French duo of Vitality.Bee and Karmine Corp, though all other pool one and two organizations will still expect progression.
Holders Karmine Corp start life in the 2022 EU Masters Play-Ins
France’s Karmine Corp took the ERL ecosystem by storm last year by dominating both their national league as well as both European Masters tournaments. They enter the 2022 EU Masters as the reigning champions.
After some off-season changes, including the signing of former G2 Esports bot laner Martin “Rekkles” Larsson, KCorp suffered a surprisingly early exit in the LFL Spring Split Playoffs after losing to both eventual winners, LDLC OL and BDS Academy. This earned KC a third-place finish for the split, meaning they did not gain a bye to the 2022 EU Masters Main Event and must now work their way through the play-ins to have any chance of retaining their title.
The schedule and matchups for day one of the 2022 EU Masters Play-Ins were revealed on the tournament’s official Twitter.