Valve has announced that its next $1 million Major will be held at ESL One Cologne.
Scheduled for July 5-10, ESL One Cologne 2016 will take place at the Lanxess arena, the same venue which hosted the playoffs of the 2015 iteration after the group matches were played at the MMC studios.
The top eight finishers from MLG Columbus will be joined by eight sides coming from the offline qualifier at ESL One Cologne, which will once again have $1 million on offer - the same prize fund from the North American Major.
ESL One Cologne returns to the Lanxess Arena
Details about the offline qualifier for ESL One Cologne have not yet been revealed by the German company. The event will feature the teams who crashed out of MLG Columbus in the group stage plus the top two finishers from each of the four Minor events that will be held in the coming months, which will be hosted by the following companies:
Each Minor event will continue to have $50,000 at stake, but Valve has announced a key change to its rule on player eligibility: players who competed at the most recent Major are now allowed to participate at a Minor event, "provided their team does not consist of three or more players who played together in that event (such teams would already be directly invited to the qualifier or Major)."
The Counter-Strike community had asked for Valve to change the eligibility rule for the Minors. Players like Jacob "Pimp" Winneche, Aleksi "allu" Jalli, Markus "pronax" Wallsten and Ricardo "boltz" Prass were all barred from competing in these tournaments after joining new teams in the months that followed DreamHack Open Cluj-Napoca.
Luminosity Gaming are the current Major champions after beating Natus Vincere 2-0 in the grand final of MLG Columbus, picking up the top prize of $500,000.
Tickets to ESL One Cologne can be purchased via eventim.de, with prices ranging from €41.90 (upper rank ticket) to €2,999 (private lounge for up to five people). Regardless of the ticket option, visitors can only access the Lanxess arena on the final three days of the event.