RMR standings breakdown: Where teams need to place to qualify for the Major
Natus Vincere are the first team qualified for PGL Major Stockholm, but what about the rest?
With the full team lineups for all IEM Fall divisions set, there is now a limited number of teams who can potentially qualify for and compete at the PGL Major in Stockholm. In this breakdown, we will go through each region and preview which teams can still claim a spot, how well some teams would have to do to lock themselves in, how badly some teams would need to do to not qualify, and more.
To quickly break down the overall format for IEM Fall, each region has an even number of teams, half of which were invited from the current RMR (Regional Major Ranking) standings, with the other half being determined using a closed qualifier. For the Fall series of RMR events, the number of placings that award RMR points is tied to the number of spots that region has at the Major, or four for the small regions. This means that the top 11 teams in the Europe division will receive points, the top 5 teams in North America and CIS, and the top 4 teams in South America, Asia, and Oceania.
Small regions - only two teams in the running in each
The small regions (South America, Asia, Oceania) are unfortunately trivial when it comes to which teams can still qualify, as only the current top two placed teams in each region have a chance to make it to the Major. In South America, this includes MIBR and Sharks, in Asia, TYLOO and ViCi, and in Oceania, Renegades and ORDER.
The reason for this is twofold: First, that each of the events feature only four teams in their main stage, and second, that all four placings in the main stage will award RMR points. This means that the teams invited by RMR to the main stage will get a minimum of 2031 RMR points, no matter what. This fact makes it difficult for any team other than the top two from each region to find motivation to play well in this event, as no matter how well they do, it is simply impossible for them to qualify.
To add another perspective of the issue that is created through this, we can look at how the top two teams were determined for the regions. For every region, there must be at least two RMR events, with a third optional one taking place in the summer. So, in the first of potentially three qualifying tournaments, Renegades, ORDER, TYLOO, and ViCi all placed top two in their regions. Thus, as a result of no summer series events taking place and the format decision for IEM Fall, any team other than those four were immediately locked out of Major qualification in May.
The final example would be from South America with Bravos. This upcoming Brazilian team placed fourth in the spring event, and grabbed first place in the summer event, both of which were tournaments with 16 participants. However, they weren't able to place in the top two of the SA RMR standings going into the fall event, being only 335 points behind the second team before any roster changes.
Tangents about the format aside, the teams from South America and Asia that will qualify for the Major will simply be determined by which of the two top teams places higher in IEM Fall. The difference in points given for first and second place is 156, and the difference in points between MIBR and Sharks and TYLOO and ViCi are both less than that, meaning that whoever places higher will be the one to advance.
Things are slightly different in Oceania, as the difference in points between Renegades and ORDER is 180, which is greater than the difference in points awarded for any two adjacent placings. This means that for ORDER to qualify for the PGL Major they would have to place at least two placings higher than Renegades at IEM Fall. If Renegades place within one spot of ORDER or higher, then they will advance to the Major.
Large Regions - it's all to play for
The three larger regions are much more interesting when it comes to which teams can make it to the Major, as many teams in all the divisions still have a chance to qualify if they place high enough.
North America - top 5 is the goal
Every team in the North American division still has a chance to qualify, even those who currently have zero points. Contrary to the divisions for the smaller regions, no one is guaranteed to earn points, as the number of teams at the larger events exceeds the number of placings that will award RMR points.
First, we'll look at how high each team has to place in order to guarantee themselves a spot at the Major, and how high a team has to place to have a chance at making it to the Major (as in, placing lower would eliminate them from contention).
North America RMR Standings
1. EXTREMUM - 1880 RMR points (Legend spot)
2. Liquid - 1840 RMR points (Legend spot)
3. FURIA - 1584 RMR points (Legend spot)
4. Evil Geniuses - 1310 RMR points (Challenger spot)
5. 00NATION - 1300 RMR points (Contender spot)
6. Extra Salt - 1200 RMR points
7. paiN - 1100 RMR points
8. Bad News Bears - 570 RMR points*
9. TeamOne - 0 RMR points
10. GODSENT - 0 RMR points
11. ATK - 0 RMR points
12. Triumph - 0 RMR points
* Bad News Bears will lose 20% of points they earn at the event in case they use their coach/substitute, madcow, instead of Jonji
UPDATE: Following the release of the article, it was confirmed that Jonji would be playing the RMR event with Bad News Bears after all
In NA, any team that currently has more than 5 RMR points will be immediately qualified for the Major by placing in the top 5 of the event. The minimum number of points a team can win by placing top 5 is 1875, with the top-ranked team, EXTREMUM, currently holding 1880 points. So, anyone other than the bottom four teams will automatically qualify as long as they place within points.
Likewise, any team other than EXTREMUM must place in the top 5 to even have a chance at qualifying. This is because EXTREMUM are the only team that currently have points greater than the points awarded for placing fifth.
At the end of the day, the top 5 teams at IEM Fall North America are going to be the five teams that attend the PGL Stockholm Major, with only a small potential for an exception. All of the teams will be under a lot of pressure, making for a quite competitive event.
CIS - NAVI are the first team guaranteed to qualify
The CIS region features the same format as North America for IEM Fall, with 12 teams competing for five spots worth of points. The difference from NA is that CIS had a summer series event, putting the top teams from that event in a much stronger position to qualify for Stockholm.
CIS RMR Standings
1. Natus Vincere - 3680 RMR points (Legend spot) - guaranteed to qualify
2. Spirit - 3530 RMR points (Legend spot)
3. Gambit - 3475 RMR points (Challenger spot)
4. K23 - 2575 RMR points (Contender spot)
5. forZe - 2450 RMR points (Contender spot)
6. Virtus.pro - 1600 RMR points
7. Akuma - 1120 RMR points
8. Entropiq - 1100 RMR points
9. Nemiga - 192 RMR points
10. Unique - 0 RMR points
11. AVE - 0 RMR points
12. INDE IRAE - 0 RMR points
With zero points, Unique, AVE, and INDE IRAE can technically still qualify for the Major in the fifth spot, as the top four teams all have more than 2500 points, which is the largest amount awarded in the fall RMR tournament. However, the conditions that need to be met for this to happen however are extremely specific. A team with zero points must win the tournament completely, and on top of this, any team that currently has between 625 and 2500 points cannot place in the top five. The final rule is that Nemiga can't place second. This, like the previous rule, would result in Nemiga passing the zero points team, as 2344 + 192 > 2500. These are absurdly unlikely scenarios.
The other extreme end of the equation relates to Natus Vincere, who as a direct result of the group seeding have already secured qualification to the PGL Major. Even if NAVI place last in their group, no team other than the other four teams already in the top 5 could pass them. In order to surpass NAVI's 3680 points, the minimum amount of current points a team would need to have is 1180. The four other teams in Group A aside from Spirit all have less than that, and while Virtus.pro does have enough in Group B, only three teams have the potential to earn points in that group.
As for the remaining teams in the middle, any of Spirit, Gambit, K23, and forZe, placing top 5 immediately qualifies them for the Major, as their final points will be insurmountable by more than four teams. Virtus.pro would also be guaranteed qualification by placing top 4. Interestingly enough, Virtus.pro would qualify in almost all situations by placing fifth, except for the case where Gambit go out in groups. In this situation, both Virtus.pro and Gambit would have 3475 points, and a tie-breaking match would be played to determine who would advance to the Major as a Contender. There is no way for any of the remaining teams to fully guarantee themselves a spot, although obviously placing higher will still increase their chances.
As for how well each team would have to do to make sure they have a shot at qualifying, the current top five teams have it a lot easier than the ones in North America did. All of the top five ranked teams here could still advance to the Major if they went out last, they would just need to rely on the teams with much fewer points playing well.
The next bracket of teams, Virtus.pro, Akuma, and Entropiq clearly need to place in the points to have a chance at qualifying, and luckily enough simply making top 5 will ensure they have a shot. Nemiga at least doesn't have as hard of a time as the teams with zero points, and would only need to place a humble second to give themselves a chance at making it to Stockholm.
To wrap up the CIS region, I would expect that the five teams to advance to the PGL Major will comprise some subset of the current top 6 teams: Natus Vincere, obviously, Spirit, Gambit, K23, forZe, and Virtus.pro. They are all simply too far ahead and it would require some extraordinary circumstances to have them fail to qualify.
Europe - it's wide open in the biggest region
As the largest region with the most teams and parity, I have left Europe for last. Fortunately, though, Europe shares many similarities with North America when it comes to possible outcomes for the RMR. Both regions only had two RMR events and will have just under half of the participants receive RMR points in the end.
Europe RMR Standings
1. Heroic - 1660 RMR points (Legend spot)
2. G2 - 1640 RMR points (Legend spot)
3. MOUZ - 1600 RMR points (Legend spot)
4. Ninjas in Pyjamas - 1488 RMR points (Challenger spot)
5. Vitality - 1480 RMR points (Challenger spot)
6. BIG - 1200 RMR points (Challenger spot)
7. FunPlus Phoenix - 1040 RMR points (Challenger spot)
8. Astralis - 1024 RMR points (Challenger spot)
9. DBL PONEY - 720 RMR points (Challenger spot)
10. Sprout - 480 RMR points (Contender spot)
11. OG - 430 RMR points (Contender spot)
12. Complexity - 420 RMR points
13. fnatic - 294 RMR points
14. FaZe - 248 RMR points
15. Copenhagen Flames - 0 RMR points
16. SKADE - 0 RMR points
17. Dignitas - 0 RMR points
18. Movistar Riders - 0 RMR points
19. SINNERS - 0 RMR points
20. Endpoint - 0 RMR points*
21. ENCE - 0 RMR points
22. Fiend - 0 RMR points
23. MAD Lions - 0 RMR points
24. AURA - 0 RMR points
* Endpoint will lose 20% of points they earn at the event as a result of their use of a substitute, Allan Hender
This makes finding the minimum placing that any team must reach in order to guarantee themselves a spot at the Major quite simple. Using the same logic that I used with EXTREMUM and North America, any team with more than 722 points — Heroic, G2, MOUZ, Ninjas in Pyjamas, Vitality, BIG, FunPlus Phoenix, and Astralis — will automatically qualify for the Major simply by placing in the top 11.
Any team with more than 566 points, currently only DBL PONEY outside of the aforementioned eight, will be automatically qualified by placing top 10. Teams with over 410 points — Sprout, OG, and Complexity — need to place top 9. Teams with more than 254 points, fnatic, must place top 8. Teams with over 97 points, FaZe, must place top 7. And then any other team participating with fewer than 97 points would need to place top 6 to guarantee a spot at the Major.
Keep in mind that the aforementioned scenarios only refer to where a team must place in order to guarantee a Major spot, regardless of any other results at the tournament. It is still possible for teams to qualify while placing lower in the tournament.
Looking at the lowest placing a team could land in and still potentially qualify, the top 7 teams once again have a marked advantage. Those seven teams can still qualify for the Major should they exit in the group stage. Then, for any other team that has points (from Astralis to FaZe), they simply need to make it to the top 11 to have a shot. Then, the teams with 0 points must place in the top 10 to have a shot at qualification with the exception of Endpoint, who will lose 20% of points they earn at the event due to Allan "Allan" Hender substituting in for Mohammad "BOROS" Malhas and need at least a top-eight finish to have a chance to qualify as a result.
Much like North America, Europe is extremely wide open. The pressure is on for all 24 teams participating in IEM Fall EU, and with the event set to be held on LAN, the stage is set for a very intense tournament.
The first day of RMR action will be September 29, when the Europe, CIS, South America, and Oceania divisions kick off. The other two divisions, North America and Asia, will begin on October 5, with all six regions concluding by October 10.