The new B Site league is called Flashpoint, features team drafts
Nick J. February 6, 2020
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive was introduced to Flashpoint today, the official name of the new B Site league. This is according to the tournament circuit's website and its Twitter account. Released today, the website and accompanying videos showcase Flashpoints main selling points as its talent and team-centric format.
No participating teams were yet revealed.
Flashpoint will have 12 teams, 10 of which are franchised into the circuit while the remaining two come from its regional qualifiers in North America, South American, and Europe.
There doesn't seem to be a way for teams outside of those regions to qualify for Flashpoint.
The span of the tournament is unknown, but the group stage seems to be two weeks long, identified by the [W1] and [W2] in the image. The playoffs will be held in studio, with the loser's bracket match for a grand final spot and the grand finals themselves open to the public at what the graphic calls a "stadium."
Flashpoint declined to reveal the location of the final two matches of its inaugural season.
The announcement ends the rumor mill that started in September 2019 saying that North American esports organizations were assembling their own circuit to compete with ESL's Pro Tour.
Flashpoint consists of four stages: mini-tournaments, regional qualifiers, a two-part group stage, and the playoffs. The regional qualifiers are ongoing, hosted by Flashpoint producer FACEIT. Ten of Flashpoint's twelve teams are franchised into the circuit, while the remaining two slots are filled by teams from the open qualifiers.
Flashpoint's selling point is its novel group stage format the organizer is calling "phases." It will use what the organizer says is a "GSL-like" format.
Flashpoint's team draft, team swaps introduce strategy to CSGO's tournaments
Flashpoint's main novelty is the participating teams will draft their own groups. In a live broadcast, captains from all twelve teams will partake in a group draft to determine group compositions and the stage matchups by proxy.
The top three seeded teams will draft teams to their group. Once the three seeded teams have each picked a team for their group, the last team selected will pick a new team for the next group. The process then continues, with the last team chosen picking a team for the last group.
The final team in each group can then propose a "swap," consisting of either changing the order of teams inside a group or moving a team from one group to another. A team is allowed to move itself by the same rules.
Flashpoint mentions a Counter-Strike Professional Players Association-approved ranking system to determine the top three seeds, but declined to provide more information on this system.
In a complicated twist, the three seeded teams can veto a swap by a two-thirds majority vote. The swap mechanic adds another layer of strategy to Counter-Strike: Global Offensive's already tactical focus.
Functionally, it works like this:
Swapping two teams inside the same group will change the starting matchups, potentially giving a team an advantage or putting an opponent at a disadvantage
Swapping teams between groups can put certain teams at a disadvantage
There are limits to both vetoes and swaps in the document released by Flashpoint available here. The official rules regarding swaps are listed below:
A team may not “undo” a previous swap, meaning that if two teams have already been swapped they may not return to their initial Group assignments from the Group selection. However, a team may be swapped multiple times as long as it does not also include a team with whom they have been swapped previously;
If a swap is vetoed, it may not be proposed again by any team;
If a team has had two swap attempts successfully vetoed, they must pass their opportunity to swap.
There are also restrictions on vetoes, concerning literal cards labeled "Yay" and "Nay" to add visual intrigue to the broadcasted group stage show.
Part two of the group stage is identical to the first, but the initial three teams are based on placements in phase one of the group stage instead of on rankings.
Flashpoint teams chase points for 8 playoff spots
Each team earns points through both parts of the group stage. The points are awarded based on where a team places in their groups and will determine if a team makes the playoffs. Points are cumulative and do not reset between phase one and phase two of the group stage.
In total, eight teams will proceed to Flashpoint's playoffs, while the bottom four teams in the point standings are eliminated.
The playoff format is a standard double-elimination bracket, and teams are seeded by point totals from the group stage and the starting matchups are standard as well.
Seed 1 vs Seed 8
Seed 4 vs Seed 5
Seed 2 vs Seed 7
Seed 3 vs Seed 6
Flashpoint declined to mention a start date for the circuit, but the team-owned tournament is expected to start sometime around the start of ESL Pro League on March 16.