ESL One: Road to Rio – North America Preview

ESL One: Road to Rio – North America is one of the six qualification tournaments for ESL One: Rio 2020, which will be the biggest CS:GO event of the year. The Rio Major is scheduled to take place in November, so there’s still a long way to go till then. But the qualifiers have started and in this article I will take a brief look at the North American one.

ESL One Road to Rio North America Preview

© ESL / Team Liquid

ESL One: Road to Rio – North America Details

ESL One: Road to Rio NA is scheduled to take place between April 22nd – May 10th. Like all the other qualification tournaments for ESL One: Rio, it will take place online. The total prize pool is only $60,000 but that’s not exactly important, given that the teams that will take part in the Major will have much better opportunities to make some money. As you probably know by now, after the cancelation of the 1st Major of the year, ESL decided to double the prize pool of the 2nd Major. As a result, ESL One: Rio 2020 will offer a total of 2 million dollars in prizes.

A total of 12 teams will be present at this event. Practically, the best competitors in the region. But only around two thirds of them are well-known, even though by looking at the rosters themselves you will quickly see that even the lesser-known teams have plenty of popular players.

Some of the teams are more than likely to advance to the Playoffs, while others are just as likely to be eliminated in the Group Stage. Among the favorites I would name Evil Geniuses, Team Liquid, 100 Thieves, FURA and MIBR. Among the underdogs I would bet on Yeah Gaming and Triumph to fail.

Competitive Format

ESL One: Road to Rio North America will take place in two stages. For the Group Stage, the 12 teams will be divided into two groups of 6. Each of these groups will use the round-robin format. The winner of each group advances to the Semifinals. The 2nd and 3rd place teams go to the Quarterfinals. Throughout the event, every single match is Bo3.

Groups

These are the two groups of the first stage:

Road to Rio North America Preview

© ESL

Team Analysis

Here’s a brief analysis of the best three teams at ESL One: Road to Rio NA.

Team Liquid

Liquid is currently ranked 6th globally but its top 5 rivals are not present at this tournament, because they’re from Europe and CIS. So the North American juggernaut is free to smash opponents left and right without any real worries. Liquid’s most recent result was the 1st place at ESL Pro League Season 11 North America. They simply dismantled EG in three different matches at that tournament, winning 7 maps and losing just 1. It was painful to watch after a while. But at least it gave us the certainty that Liquid is by far the number 1 team in its region.

Going into ESL One: Road to Rio NA, I fully expect Liquid to at least play in the Grand Final. Normally they should win the tournament with ease. But if anyone turns out to be exceptional even though statistics don’t really point towards such a competitor, the least that Liquid should do is play in the Grand Final.

Evil Geniuses

EG is the second best team in the region, being ranked 7th overall. This rank is deceptive, simply because it suggests that EG is right below Liquid in terms of skill. And that’s simply not the case. But that aside, Evil Geniuses is a strong team with 5 well-known players, including tarik (former Cloud9 member) and stanislaw. By the looks of things, this team looks ready to either win or at least get a top 3 result in Group A. Its main rivals in this group are 100 Thieves and Cloud9.

FURIA Esports

FURIA is slowly but surely climbing the global charts again. The Brazilians have a solid roster that decided to stick together until 2024, which is unheard of in esports. Usually, players sign 6-12 months contracts. Signing a multi-year contract is like signing your career away. But it looks like for them, this is what they desired and this is what gives them peace of mind. FURIA is currently ranked 12th globally and is one of the big favorites to win this tournament.

Read next: ESL One Road to Rio – Europe Preview