Although the world has been in something of a standstill since the spring, the professional eSports season for CS:GO has shown no signs of letting up. Fully online regional leagues have been launched instead of pre-planned LAN events, as teams across the globe continue to do battle to reach the next CS:GO Major – the ESL One Rio Major – which was delayed until November. Given that it will be the only CS:GO Major of 2020, the prize purse has been doubled, ramping up the importance of the regionalized CS:GO leagues.
Qualification for the Rio Major has also been revised, with all qualification places now due to be determined by Regional Major Ranking (RMR) points only. Put simply, those teams who qualified for the last Major are only given a modest ranking boost towards their quest to reach the next Major. How has this affected the regional CS:GO leagues in 2020 so far? Read on as we round-up the headlines around the globe.
Already Team Vitality appear to have booked their place in November’s ESL One Rio Major. The French team, captained by apEX AKA Dan Madesclaire, has swept all before them so far in the European standings, sitting almost 1,000 points ahead of second-placed G2 Esports. Finishing runner-up in the European CS_Summit 6 Online event bagged them 1,875 RMR points and $22,000 of the overall $125,000 prize purse. Poor performances at this latest ranking event by teams such as Astralis and Ence mean that the likes of overall event winners BIG, Heroic and OG are all breathing down their necks for qualification.
In North America, Team Liquid and Evil Geniuses appear to be coming good at just the right time after solid performances at the North American CS_Summit 6 Online event, finishing third and first respectively. The inclusion of their 600 RMR points from 2019’s Berlin Major keeps them firmly in the driving seat for the Rio Major as the pressure and interest builds. The North American CS:GO league continues to enjoy growing audiences and coverage from leading sportsbooks across the US and Canada, many of whom operate markets on the “Race to Rio”. Sports Interaction is one of the oldest licensed and regulated North American operators and despite its penchant for traditional sports, it too offers a range of eSports betting markets, including CS:GO and League of Legends.
In the CIS League, Virtus.pro would be top of the pile had they not suffered a 380 RMR points deduction for replacing Timur “Buster” Tulepov with Latvian, Mareks “YEKINDAR” Galinskis. Nevertheless, Team Spirit hold the top spot at present with two impressive performances at the recent Road to Rio and Clutch Island events. Natus Vincere also find themselves in great shape for Rio qualification after winning the Clutch Island event outright. One of the oldest established CS:GO teams from eastern Europe, Natus Vincere are still the first CS team in history to win all three Majors in the same year.
Asia and Oceania
It looks a little more cut and dried in the Asian league, where TYLOO rule the roost after a runner-up finish at the Road to Rio event and an outright victory at the PAL Summer Summer event. The last remaining PAL Fall event will be critical for the likes of TIGER, Beyond Esports and D13 to remain in contention. In Oceania, Renegades look like the best equipped of all four times in the Oceania league to reach the Rio Major.
Despite the offline turbulence and uncertainty, it’s clear that none of the leading CS:GO teams have taken their eyes off the Rio Major prize. With the quality of each regional league seemingly improving month on month and the level playing field of online-only events there is still a feeling that many teams can storm from the back of the field to secure their ESL One Rio Major berth