When ESL relegated half of the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive teams from Pro League last week, teams that were ready to compete in the ESL Pro League are now faced with a tough decision.
When ESL announced the 24 invited teams for Pro League, they failed to notify those teams that weren’t included ahead of time. Those teams that ESL moved down to the Mountain Dew League have two options. The first is staying with ESL and play in MDL, while the second is to try their luck in B Site’s open qualifiers.
When ESL released its invite list for EPL Season 11 prior to telling 24 teams that they wouldn’t be participating, the community felt like the tournament organizer had made a serious error. That failure emboldened B Site, North America’s new circuit partially owned by teams like Cloud9 and Immortals Gaming Club. B Site then announced that they had added money to the B Site prize pool in an effort to lure in teams upset with ESL to participate in B Site.
Below is a list of all teams affected by the Pro League changes, as well as the teams invited to Season 11 of EPL, B Site, and this week’s BLAST Premier.
The teams listed under BLAST Premier can participate in more than one league, unlike teams confirmed to B Site or those who choose to accept EPL invitations. Since BLAST’s dates won’t overlap with B Site or EPL in March, BLAST has avoided this latest controversy.
Those under B Site or EPL, however, can only be in one of those two leagues. The tournament organizers have made sure of that through soft exclusivity in which teams aren’t explicitly prohibited from playing in the opposing league, but cannot due to the tournament dates.
The Asian regions were hit hardest by ESL’s decision, but all regions were affected. Known teams like Swole Patrol, BIG, and Vici Gaming all lost their ESL Pro League spots due to the changes.
ESL announced yesterday that there are ways for teams left behind by the Pro League changes to make their way back to EPL, but did not detail what those ways were.
ESL extended invitations to the teams listed below to attend Season 11 of ESL Pro League. As of now, none of these teams have confirmed they will participate in the league.
B Site has either ten or twelve slots, depending on which reported number is correct. Either way, several teams have paid the league’s $2M buy-in and are marked as “confirmed” below. The rest of the slots will be filled through the league’s open qualifiers.
While BLAST won’t conflict with ESL Pro League or B Site, seeing the teams that are attending shows what either of those leagues could have looked like if not for the feud between the two tournament organizers. BLAST has avoided any conflicts for its spring season, but the latter half of the year could see BLAST overlap with its competitors and create another controversy in the process.
BLAST Premier starts on Friday, January 31 with a match between FaZe Clan and Ninjas in Pyjamas at 10:30 a.m. EST, followed by Team Liquid versus MIBR 1:30 p.m.