Bulgarian side 500 to participate at Elisa Masters Espoo
The newly-signed roster are due to have their first LAN outing.
500 have become the penultimate team confirmed to attend Elisa Masters Espoo thanks to their placings in two previous Elisa Invitational events, with just one more spot now left to filled by way of a direct invite.
The LAN tournament in Espoo, Finland will play out shortly after the conclusion of the IEM Rio Major from November 16-20 and have a $200,000 prize pool as well as a place in the IEM Katowice 2023 play-in up for grabs.
Nikolay "niki1" Pantaleev and company signed with 500 just last week. The Bulgarians put pen to paper after previously playing under the ex-SKADE tag, doing so following their exit from the Norwegian organisation back in September. During their time under the SKADE banner, the roster won two Elisa-sanctioned events — Elisa Invitational Winter and Elisa Invitational Spring 2021, which qualified the side for Elisa Masters Espoo in the process.
500 have already netted a tournament win despite only being with their new home for less than a week. The niki1-led side took home the first-place prize of $25,000 at Epic GOCL Season 1, where they completed the lower-bracket run before besting Enterprise in a hard-fought 3-2 grand final.
The Bulgarians have suffered a downward spiral as of late even with their aforementioned event victory. The roster has dropped from their 2022 peak of No. 17 in the world ranking to their current placing at No. 48, with the roster hoping to drum up some much-needed momentum in the run-up to the first LAN outing in their new colours.
Elisa Masters Espoo will also be 500's biggest test so far, as the 12-team tournament is set to play host to teams such as MOUZ and ENCE, who are currently in Brazil for the IEM Rio Major, and Astralis, who have recently welcomed Nicolai "device" Reedtz back into the fold.
The current team list for Elisa Masters Espoo is as follows: