Nick J. March 11, 2020
Even though ESL One Rio is still a month away, fans aren’t that far off from what is considered the tournament’s technical start point in this year’s ESL One Rio’s regional Minors.
Over the past week, teams that qualified through the Rio Major’s open qualifiers finished up the week either taking home one of the limited spots in the Minor or by packing their suitcases, ready to go home and try again next year.
ESL One Rio regional Asia Minor format explained
The minor's easy to understand when it comes to the format. If a team loses two matches, they’re out. All upper bracket matches are played as a best-of-one, while lower bracket features best of threes.
The Asia minor championship offers two direct placements into the ESL One Rio Major for the teams that place first and second. Sweetening the pie is $50,000 prize pool for the top three finishers. The third-place finisher will qualify for the Minors' third-place play in, a second chance to lock down a coveted Major spot.
Below is a list of all the teams that will take the stage for ESL One Rio’s Minor Asia qualifier. The 2020 Asia Minor welcomes teams from five different regions, so fans should expect fierce competition during the tournament.
- Order (Oceania 2)
- Renegades (Oceania)
- ViCi Gaming (Greater China 1)
- TYLOO (Greater China 2)
- Mazaalai (East Asia 1)
- Tiger (East Asia 2)
- Lucid Dream (Southeast Asia)
- Camel RIders (Middle East)
The clear favorites for taking the Major spots in Rio are Renegades and ViCi Gaming. Not only are these two favored by oddsmakers, they both have the potential to steamroll other teams in attendance given their form.
But WIN.gg’s recent expose on Renegades has revealed the organization as a shell of its former self. It's unknown how this turmoil might affect the team's Minor performance.
See below for more on the recent Renegades report.
ViCi missed IEM Katowice when one if its players wasn’t allowed an appointment with the embassy due to the coronavirus breakout affecting mainland China, but had they attended, fans would’ve gotten a glimpse of a team that looks dangerous as they enter the Minor on a seven-match win streak.
Domestic rival TYLOO history on their side, but Vici has beaten TYLOO in all three of their past meetings, signaling a potential power shift in the Chinese scene.
Order is an unknown quantity coming into the Asia Minor. They’re clearly the best team in the region after Renegades, and that organization isn’t in the best place at the moment. If Renegades struggles at the Minor, fans should feel comfortable slotting Order into RNG's spot.
Unfortunately for teams like Camel Riders, who blazed through the Middle East closed qualifiers, an impact here against these teams is unlikely. That said, every year an unexpected team sneaks through. If we were to put money on a team that could do it this year, it’s Camel Riders.
Mazaalai, Tiger, and Lucid Dream round out the list of ESL One Rio’s Asia Minor invitees. While these teams showed some promise in the Minors, the talent gap between these three and the rest of the Minor attendees is too great. It would take a massive collapse from some of the tougher teams for any of these three to have a chance.
To recap, the two teams that finish first and second in their region move to the Challengers stage, where they will face off against the following prestigious teams and to fight for Legend status.
The third-place team will have one final chance to make it to CSGO’s Rio 2020 Major. The Asia Minor starts on April 26, but now is the time to start researching statistics for the eventual tournament Pick’ ems for ESL One Rio.
Who to pick to win the ESL Asia Minor?
That depends. Traditionally, teams outside of China struggle during their first games against Chinese teams. The Asian style of Counter-Strike is much different than the North Amerian or European styles, giving them an potential advantage early in tournaments. We wouldn’t be surprised if ViCi won early at the Asia regional Minor.
For second place, Renegades is a solid pick. If there’s a chance that Renenages players were affected by the recent revelation that its organization lost 90 percent of its operations staff, it could be under control by the Minor. If the situation drags on, however, that’s something to look for.
Taking either Order or TYLOO as the last chance team is a solid choice. Order has looked impressive lately, and TYLOO is still a talented team even without Hansel "BnTeT" Ferdinand on the roster.