Valve scraps invites for ESL One Rio Major; teams to be determined via regional rankings
Valve has announced that all 24 teams competing at the ESL One Rio Major will be determined through Regional Major Rankings (RMR).
The announcement comes in the aftermath of the postponement of the Rio Major because of the coronavirus outbreak. The event will be held in November and will be the only Major of 2020, with an increased prize pool of $2 million (up from the original $1 million) on the line.
By the time the Rio Major begins, it will have been 14 months since the previous Major, hosted by StarLadder in Berlin. To make sure that the Brazilian event will still feature the best teams in the world, Valve will be replacing the direct invitations with a ranking system that has been in the works since January.
Teams will earn points towards the RMR through various competitions that will be held in the months leading up to the Major. There will be two RMR Series, one in the Spring and one in the Fall, both with $255,000 prize money (sponsored by Valve), which will be distributed between six different regions based on the number of slots allocated at the Major.
There will be eight Legend, eight Challenger and eight Contender invitations available for the Major, which are based on each region's performance in Berlin. The slot allocation for the Rio Major will be the following:
Europe: 3 Legends, 5 Challengers, 2 Contenders
North America: 3 Legends, 2 Challengers, 1 Contender
CIS: 2 Legends, 1 Challenger, 2 Contenders
South America: 1 Contender
Asia: 1 Contender
Oceania: 1 Contender
The first RMR Series will be hosted by ESL later this month and will be called ESL One: Road to Rio, featuring 56 of the world's best teams in six different regions. The teams that had qualified for the Major and for the Minors will be invited to participate in their respective region. In future RMR tournaments, a regional ranking will be used to determine invites.
Tournament organisers who are interested in being included in the RMR event list are encouraged to reach out to Valve. For a competition to be considered, it will need to invite the top RMR teams in the region and hold qualifiers to determine the remaining spots. Events can have any format, prize pool or duration, and can be held online, on LAN or a combination of the two.
A detailed breakdown of the RMR points system will be announced at a later time as Valve is still finalising the event list for the year. However, it was announced that the "value of events closer to the Major will be greater than in earlier events" as Valve wants to reward teams who hit top form in the run-up to Rio.