Cover Image Courtesy: ESL Gaming - Helena Kristiansson | Thumbnail Image Courtesy: Liquipedia
ESL has taken a step towards giving teams from Oceania and Asia more number of slots to compete at the ESL Pro League. The changes will come into effect starting ESL Pro League Season 12, which will likely take place during the last quarter of 2020.
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The changes have not been made to the main event but rather to the ESEA MDL tournament, which acts as a qualifier for ESL Pro League. Previously, till ESEA MDL Season 32 teams from Europe, North America, and Oceania used to participate in the Global Challenge after qualifying through their respective regional qualifier but starting Season 33 this will change, as the Asia-Pacific region will be getting a slot in the Global Challenge.
Due to the addition of a new region, the total number of slots for the North American region will decrease to a total of 3 in contrast to 4 which were granted earlier. Hence the 8 teams that qualify for the Global Challenge will be divided as such,
Top 3 teams from Europe Final
Top 3 teams from North America Final
Winner of Asia-Pacific Final
Winner of Oceania Final
The above-mentioned change enabled teams from Asia-Pacific to gain entry only into the ESEA MDL: Global Challenge but did not give them a path into the Pro League, so a second change was mandated by ESL.
Earlier the winners of both Europe and North American Finals used to directly qualify for their respective regional closed qualifiers of ESL Pro League but from the 12th Season onwards the following promotion will seize to exist, as the qualification process will instead move on to the Global Challenge, where the top two teams will directly qualify for the league’s main event.
The main reason behind introducing these changes was Vitality taking a laid-back approach during ESEA MDL Season 31: Global Challenge. As the French team had already qualified for ESL Pro League Season 10 - Europe Closed Qualifier by winning the ESEA MDL Season 31 - Europe Final, it seemed as if they were not vested enough while playing the Global Challenge.
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While it might have been the primary motive behind ESL making these changes, but they seemed to have taken care of two birds with one stone, ensuring the integrity of the tournament while giving the Asian and the Oceanic regions better opportunities to compete at a higher level.