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Counter Strike: Global Offensive

ESL Pro League playoff format reworked ahead of Season 14

ESL has announced the new format for the Pro League playoffs, doing away with the play-in that previously saw the top teams in each group battle it out for spots straight into the semi-finals.

What won’t change is the number of teams making the playoffs, three from each group, with the second and third-placed squads going into the Round of 12, as they did before, while the top teams will be seeded straight into a full-fledged eight-team quarter-finals — a consolidation of the previous Round of 8 and the four-team quarter-finals where the play-in losers awaited.

The changes come following community feedback and are implemented in agreement with the teams and players ahead of Season 14, set to kick off when the player break comes to an end on August 16 with Group A, which features Heroic, Astralis and Vitality.

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Counter Strike: Global Offensive

ESL Pro League Season 14 team list set

The 24 teams that will compete at ESL Pro League Season 14 have been set in stone with the addition of the top squads in the ESL World Ranking, as the final seven invites to the tournament were handed out to the highest placed teams outside of those already qualified.

The IEM Cologne quarter-finalists, Gambit, were the first to be included, followed by Heroic, Virtus.pro, BIG and FURIA, four top 10 teams in the ranking used to hand out invites, with Spirit and OG remaining as the last two to make the cut.

Gambit were first in line to get an ESL Pro League Season 14 spot

Previously, the first to be confirmed had been the 12 partnered teams that don’t change season to season: Natus Vincere, G2, Astralis, FaZe, NIP, Vitality, mousesports, Liquid, Complexity, Evil Geniuses, ENCE and fnatic.

Five teams had then found their way to ESL’s flagship league through ESEA Premier in three different regions. Entropiq and Sinners won seasons in Europe, TeamOne and Bad News Bears did the same in North America, and Renegades made it through the Australia and New Zealand division.

ESL Pro League Season 14, which was originally scheduled to be played on LAN in Malta but will finally have to be played online, will kick off after the player break from August 16 to September 12.

The ESL Pro League Season 14 roster is:

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Counter Strike: Global Offensive

ESL Pro League Season 14 to take place online

ESL Pro League Season 14, which was meant to take place in Malta, will be run entirely online due to COVID-related travel restrictions, it has been announced. All 24 participating teams, seven of whom are yet to be revealed, will play the tournament remotely from within Europe.

The organizers have cited “different conditions compared to IEM Cologne” stemming from the rise of the delta variant of COVID-19 across Europe and the lack of local governing support as the reasons for the return to an online setting following a successful and in large part problem-free running of the German event.

ESL has noted that it will continue to work towards bringing their last two Masters-level competitions of the year back to a LAN environment: IEM Fall, planned to run from September 28-October 10, and IEM Winter, which is currently scheduled to take place on December 2-12 at an undisclosed location in Asia.

The 14th season of ESL Pro League is set to kick off shortly after the summer tournament break ends, on August 16, and run until mid-September. The participants consist of the twelve partnered organizations as part of the ‘Louvre Agreement’, five teams qualified via ESEA Premier in Europe, North America, and Oceania, and seven coming from the ESL World Ranking (as of July 19).

The following teams have been confirmed so far:

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Counter Strike: Global Offensive

WePlay Academy League Season 1 talent announced

WePlay have announced the on-air crew that will be walking viewers through the action in the inaugural season of their academy league, the online stage of which will take place from July 19 through to August 8.

On-site hosting duties on the desk will be headed up by James “⁠BanKs⁠” Banks, with Alex “⁠Mauisnake⁠” Ellenberg, Halvor “⁠vENdetta⁠” Gulestøl, and Jacob “⁠Pimp⁠” Winneche joining him as a trio of analysts that will provide insight into the upcoming talent featured on the academy rosters.

BanKs will host the desk, where he’ll be joined by three analysts

Hugo Byron and Harry “JustHarry” Russell are the sole casting duo that will commentate all of the action, which will consist of four best-of-one matches per day until the conclusion of the round-robin group stage on August 1.

The academy league, which features the likes of Young Ninjas, mouz NXT, and NAVI Junior, will require four out of five players on each team to be between the ages of 16-20, and will conclude with an offline playoff stage at the WePlay Esports Arena in Kiev from August 27-29.

The complete broadcast lineup consists of:

United KingdomJames “⁠BanKs⁠” Banks – Host

United StatesAlex “⁠Mauisnake⁠” Ellenberg – Analyst
NorwayHalvor “⁠vENdetta⁠” Gulestøl – Analyst
DenmarkJacob “⁠Pimp⁠” Winneche – Analyst

United Kingdom Harry “JustHarry” Russell – Caster
United Kingdom Hugo Byron – Caster

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Counter Strike: Global Offensive

WePlay! announces $100,000 academy league

WePlay! has announced the creation of an academy league in partnership with eight top organisations, with the event featuring a $100,000 prize pool and an offline playoff stage. Included among the invited teams are NAVI Junior, mouz NXT, and Young Ninjas, as well as Fnatic Rising, whose roster will be announced in short order, HLTV.org has learned.

WePlay Academy League Season 1 will solely feature teams that have at least four players between the ages of 16-20, and kick off with an online round-robin group stage on July 19, from which the top three teams will advance directly to the double-elimination playoffs.

The bottom-placed team from the group stage will be eliminated, while the remaining four will enter a gauntlet stage for the final spot in the playoffs. The bracket stage will take place at the WePlay! Esports Arena in Kyiv from August 27-29, with the winner walking home with the lion’s share of the prize pool.

“The league provides an excellent platform for the young prodigies to show themselves, competing against their counterparts from other clubs,” NAVI’s COO Aleksey Kucherov states in the announcement. “There’s also the process of getting ready to play against certain opponents and the long-term planning of roster changes for playing certain roles.

“There will be media days and interviews, the players will develop as individuals. In general, there will be everything that’s already present in Tier 1 CS:GO, everything you need to get used to at the very early stages of your career as a pro gamer.”

The eight teams who will take part in the inaugural season WePlay!’s academy league are:

The emergence of the league comes in the wake of a number of top organisations creating academy rosters to pull players from, most notably with NIP promoting both Erik “⁠ztr⁠” Gustafsson and Linus “⁠LNZ⁠” Holtäng from Young Ninjas, as well as Natus Vincere adding Valeriy “⁠B1T⁠” Vakhovskiy from NAVI Junior.

The academy teams offer organisations the chance to educate talent from a young age in the mould of a professional player while offering an alternative to buying out players from other organisations. The league will allow for further development in the shape of formal tournament appearances and interviews, giving players an early experience of attending more professional events.

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