So far four swiss-style qualifier events has taken place in each region over the last four weekends to determine the best contenders to join Challenger League leading to a final 16 being found. These 16 teams will now play in a double elimination best-of-3 tournament over the next week to find a the top 4 teams to join Challenger League.
The final 16 in Europe sees many recognisable names from across various other competitions including XboxMasterRace, Edenity, Method and Planetkey Dynamics who all compete in the European league of the Cyber-athletic Championship Series (CCS), Outplayed who recently finished 3rd in the ESL Italia Championships and Solid who finished joint 7th during the Coupe de France tournament last month under the organisation EnerGiz eSports.
By far the favourites going into the tournament will be Edenity as the core of this team previously played in the 2018 Six Invitational under ROOM FACTORY and, most recently, were just two maps away from qualifying for the Paris Major after defeating the Pro League teams of Team Vitality and Chaos and the Challenger League teams of ENCE eSports and T3H eSports in the process. The team will be hoping to rectify past mistakes after they got disqualified from Challenger League Season 7 following a miss-understanding of the roster change rules and will be one of the favourites to take the automatic Pro League promotion spot at the end of the season.
Some of the other favourites involved will be the British teams of Method and #XboxMasterRace who have both shown promise in recent weeks; Method defeated Millenium 2-0 during the One Game Agency (OGA) Pit tournament after a disappointing Season 7 of Challenger League while XBMR stands with Method currently in line for a CCS playoff spot and recently defeated the Challenger League teams of EnD Gaming and DeathroW in the Paris Major Open Qualifiers
NA however, unlike EU and LATAM, offers 5 qualification spots in these Challenger League playoffs due to the disbanding of the recently demoted Counter Logic Gaming roster. Furthermore, despite there being two clear favourites in these playoffs, the remaining 3 spots are largely up for grabs and will be competed over by a number of unknown rosters mixed in with a few recognisable CCS teams.
The number one favourite team going into the tournament will clearly be Elephant Gang as it is made up of a number of ex-Pro League and Challenger League players who, according to Supr “feel slighted and overlooked by other teams who have picked up replacements with less of a track record, less experience and frankly, less skill, due to personal and other reasons and we hope to prove a point”. The team has seen a number of roster changes in recent weeks with both MarktheShark and Benji leaving to join Pro League teams to be replaced by Trippen and GhxsT which may cause problems due to a lack of practice with the new roster.
Another favourite would be the newly acquired roster of Disrupt Gaming, previously known as BitterSweet, which includes a number of well-known players in the scene including Remorce, who played in Pro League during Year 1 on various teams including on MiLSPEC eSports alongside Serenity17, and Spades who won Season 7 of Challenger League alongside Noble esports. The team saw huge success just last week as they won the very first US Nationals qualifier defeating the ex-Pro League team of Motiv8 Gaming in the process and now are just one victory away from the US Nationals LAN in December.
Unlike the other two regions, however, LATAM lacks any real exposure of lower-level teams as Challenger League games aren’t streamed and there are no community leagues such as CCS available for these smaller teams to play in meaning that many of the up and coming teams in the region are hard to identify due to the lack of coverage of them.
Despite the lack of player recognition, there are a few well known LATAM organisations the made it into the final 16 with their newly picked up rosters. These include YeaH Gaming, INTZ e-Sports Club and Encore E-Sports all of which previously were represented in Pro League over the last few months with their old rosters. They’ll be hoping their new pickups can be as successful as their old teams and make it to Challenger League and then Pro League once again.
Also notable is the appearance of two non-Brazilian teams as there has never been a non-Brazilian Pro League team and just two non-Brazilian Challenger League teams; Nocturns Gaming from Argentina and Rip manitos from Chile represents a very small LATAM player base in a region dominated by Brazil to such an extreme extent. These two teams will be hoping to firstly qualify for Challenger League and then do what just Dynasty Gaming has done before and see a non-Brazilian LATAM team win a game in the tournament.
The games begin tonight at 7PM local time and will continue throughout the week before the finals on Thursday and Friday. The games won’t be streamed on any official channels however many community casters will be taking up games.