Road to IEM Rio Major is set to begin*
Hundreds of teams will compete in their respective regions' qualifiers for a shot at advancing to the Regional Major Rankings, and ultimately IEM Rio in November.
Update 18:35 : As a result of Copenhagen Flames vacating their RMR spot, there has been a change from the original team list for the Europe 1 and Europe 2 RMR groups, with Cloud9, G2, and Bad News Eagles making their way to EU 1, swapping places with BIG, Heroic, and Outsiders who are now in the second EU RMR group.
The open qualifiers for seven regions namely Europe, North America, South America, Oceania, Central Asia, the Middle East, and the Rest of Asia are fast approaching, with a mix of teams all fighting for the same goal — making it through to the Regional Major Ranking events taking place in October and eventually to November's IEM Rio Major.
Each region will have a different number of slots at the RMR up for grabs, with Europe offering the most for teams coming from the open qualifiers at 20, South America handing out seven spots, North America granting six, and each of the four remaining regions giving out one each.
The first round of qualifiers will start next week on August 15 for every region and will run until early September when the final North American open qualifiers will be taking place.
It's worth noting that there have been a few changes to the qualifier schedule since ESL's original announcement, with the second Europe open qualifier being moved to August 20-22 due to a timetable collision with another tournament organizer, and the second Oceania qualifier shifted to August 22-23.
The Regional Major Rankings will determine the teams from each region, namely Europe 1, Europe 2, the Americas, and Asia, that will advance to IEM Rio. Both European RMRs will see eight teams each make it through to the Major in Brazil, six from the Americas and two from Asia for a grand total of 24 teams.
The top 16 teams at the PGL Major Antwerp have all received direct invites to their regions' RMRs, with majority of the squads coming from Europe such as the last Major's grand finalists FaZe and Natus Vincere, along with those who reached the Legends stage in the likes of Imperial and Bad News Eagles. The only exception to this list are Copenhagen Flames, who have let go of nearly all their players from the Antwerp Major thus forfeiting their automatic spot at the RMR.
Perhaps the biggest omission from the aforementioned list are four-time Major winners Astralis, who missed out on the top 16 at the Valve-sanctioned competition for the first time in the organization's history in Antwerp. Lukas "gla1ve" Rossander's crew will now have to go through the European qualifiers to secure their spot at the RMR.
Another notable team that have to go through their region's open qualifiers are Movistar Riders, with the Spaniards looking to improve on their disappointing Antwerp Major open qualifier run where they failed to reach the RMR altogether, this time with a number of strong results against the world's strongest teams to their name.
A number of distinguished teams will have to go through the qualifier stages featuring new rosters from those they fielded at the Antwerp Major RMRs, such as Evil Geniuses, Complexity, MIBR, and OG, with IEM Cologne quarter-finalists MOUZ also required to go through their region's qualifier. Due to Asia having no direct invitees, some of the region's most accomplished teams in TYLOO and ORDER will also need to fight for their RMR spot.
The team distribution for each region's RMRs are as follows:
Middle East Closed Qualifier
Central Asia Closed Qualifier
Oceania Closed Qualifier
Rest of Asia Closed Qualifier
Teams that make it through the Regional Major Rankings will compete as either Legends, Challengers, or Contenders in the IEM Rio Major depending on where they placed. Those who qualify as Legends will receive an automatic Legends stage berth, while the Challengers and Contenders will face off against one another in the Challengers stage of the competition.
In Europe 1, the top four teams of the RMR will qualify as Legends, 5-6th place as Challengers, and the last two teams as Contenders. Meanwhile, Europe 2 will see only the top three teams move on as Legends, with 4-7th qualifying as Challengers, and the eighth placed team as Contenders.
As for the Americas RMR, only the first-placed team will qualify as Legends with places 2-3rd advancing as Challengers, and 4-6th as Contenders. Finally, the Asia RMRs will only see two out of four teams advance, both as Contenders.
For sign-ups, rules, and more information about qualifiers visit the ESL website.