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EUL 2022 Preview: Imports and a geopolitical event shape European League's next stage

EUL is back.

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Image via Ubisoft/@itsmeERROR

After a delay, the European League has returned, but in a drastically different form due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Two teams with heavy Russian ties, Virtus.Pro and Team Empire, are now required to play under neutral banners. Vitality’s abrupt departure has left the team playing under the “LFO” banner. No matter what way you slice it, the EUL is looking extremely different from last year to this year.

Schedule

According to the official Rainbow Six Esports Twitter account, here’s your EUL schedule for 2022.

Talent

Fabian "Fabian" Hällsten joins the analyst desk as Jess “JessGOAT” Bolden departs. Otherwise, no significant changes.

Format

The EUL will be a best-of-one round robin league, similar to last year’s iteration.

Teams

Rogue

A strong end to the year but a massive roster upheaval have left Rogue as a question mark. Leon “Player 177” Giddens moves to the hard breach role on a team that features several veteran players. The biggest move? Bringing Juhani “Player 8” Toivonen back to tier one competition.

BDS

The French juggernaut is unchanged and is looking for another year of regional brilliance. BDS has finished in the top four by the rankings for the past two years in a row, excluding Pro League Season 11. BDS are a wildly successful team in terms of deep playoff runs and regional play, and there’s no real reason to expect 2022 to be any different.

Looking For Org

Ex-Vitality brought on talented youngster Dahmani “Player 2432” Yanis to add to their firepower, but otherwise remain unchanged. Their massive early 2021 roster move has paid off – LFO made the Sweden Major and were close to qualifying for SI as well before Secret knocked them out. A bit more explosiveness with Mowwwgli could be just what the doctor ordered in terms of getting LFO to the next level.

Team Secret

Team Secret are back as well, opting to remain exactly the same after multiple rough stages in 2021. They might have something brewing, though: Secret looked solid in the SI Open Qualifier, and very nearly made SI.

MNM Gaming

The new kids on the block are coming off a solid SI run, and might ride a wave of momentum into the top half of the league. Regional play is different from tournament play, but at points MNM looked downright impressive at SI. In order to get back to where they want to be, they’ll need to show that they can compete with the best on a consistent basis – they’ve proven they can compete on their best day.

G2 Esports

Stop me if you’ve heard this before: G2 are targeting a superteam in an esport. This is G2’s calling card – get the best available. Karl “Player 1738” Zarth is assuredly one of the best available, the Brazilian phenomenon erupted onto the international scene in 2021. Time will tell whether this superteam attempt pays off – but al least the roles look good this time around. Kevin “Player 1594” Pranowitz and Jack “Player 391” Robertson join as well, there will be fearless entries as well as IGL capability on this roster.

“Outsiders” (Virtus.Pro)

Virtus.Pro opted for a rebuild as well, bringing in newcomers Kirill “Player 970” Belozerov and Yaroslav “Player 2936” Kurzin. Outsiders have had high expectations dating back to the Raleigh Major – but that’s coming up on three years ago. It’s time for them to make good on their potential.

Natus Vincere

NAVI brought in Jordan “Player 679” Morley from G2 after sending Doki that direction. NAVI slumped towards the end of the season, and couldn’t make good on expectations in international competitions. This squad is still solid, and can hang with the best when they’re on their day, but will that be enough in the highly competitive EUL?

PWNZ (Team Empire)

There’s no way to describe the decision to move on from 4/5ths of a second place SI roster in favor of an old coach and 1/5ths of the roster other than “puzzling”. Empire might have an extremely rough stage as they adjust to being one of the most disliked teams due to their roster moves as well as multiple new faces. There’s talent here – but the situation is unenviable, and it’s not really this roster’s fault.

Heroic

Heroic might have been the overall winner in rostermania. Cowana Gaming transferred their roster to the Heroic banner – and they added veteran Aleksi “Player 10” Työppönen to boot. This is a solid roster with solid placings that has a chance to flourish domestically under the right circumstances.

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