Many Roads to ESL One Rio 2020

For the first time since the creation of the 2-Majors-per-year policy, the professional CS:GO scene will see a big change. The first Major of the year has been cancelled due to the recent global events and its prize pool will be used to boost the second Major. So instead of two one million dollar Majors we will have one two million dollar Major. In that sense, ESL One: Rio 2020 might just be the most hyped tournament in the history of CS:GO. Of course, if it takes place.

Many Roads to ESL One Rio 2020

© ESL One

ESL One: Rio 2020 Worries

ESL One: Rio 2020 is scheduled to take place between November 9th – 22nd in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. That’s seven months from now. Seven months may sound like a long time, but keep in mind: many experts say that the current situation may last for 12-18 months.

In addition to this, Brazil’s president has advocated a relaxed policy with regards to his country’s prevention measures for the disease, which may result in a situation similar to the one we’re seeing in the US. Brazil is currently a developing situation day by day. And so we ask ourselves: is Rio the right place to hold an event like this? And is seven months enough time for things to settle down.

In traditional sports, big events such as the European Football Championship and the Olympic Games have been delayed by an entire year. You may argue that esports does not fall in the same category. But for live events, and especially live events of this grandeur, it actually does. A CS:GO Major is not supposed to be a tournament held in an empty arena. The evolution of the current esports tournaments and how they are held, may very well force ESL to abandon all of its plans for this year.

Competitive Format

ESL One: Rio 2020 will use the same competitive format that has already been successfully used for previous Majors. The event will have three stages: The New Challengers Stage, The New Legends Stage, and The New Champions Stage. Each of these stages will last for four days. The first two will use the 16 Team Swiss System Format. The 3rd will use the Single-Elimination format: Quarterfinals, Semifinals and Grand Final, all of them Bo3.


The participants for ESL One: Rio 2020 are yet to be determined. Normally, the top 14 teams from the previous Major would get direct invitations and only 10 tournament spots would be made available for qualifying teams. But with the first Major of the year being cancelled, and we are left in a situation where the rules change and the participants are determined based on a combination of qualification results and global rankings. So far, none of the ESL One: Rio 2020 participants has been announced, but the potential candidates are known.

Regional Qualifiers

A total of 56 teams will compete in six regional qualifiers to determine initial points towards ESL One Rio. Each region is given a different amount of invite slots for the Major as well as a different share from the $255,000 prize pool. The invite slots and prize pools are pictured below:

Many Roads to ESL One Rio 2020


The events roughly begin in two weeks’ time across all six regions. The dates are as follows:

EU 16 teams – 22nd April – 17th May
CIS 12 teams – 30th April – 17th May
NA 12 teams –  22nd April – 10th May
SA 4 teams- 22nd April – 26th April
OCE 4 teams – 6th May – 10th May
Asia 8 teams – 6th May – 10th May

An initial list of teams invited has been announced by ESL. The organizers are aware that some teams might be stuck in a region they are initially from and are willing to make accommodations. Teams will earn qualifying points across events leading up to Rio, but they will get penalized at cost of 20% if they change up to two members of their roster.

The points teams earn in their region are only compared relative to other teams in the region. If a team changes a region during the qualification points period their Major Ranking points will reset. This would mean those teams stuck in a region currently are wisest to stay in the region if they aim to qualify for Rio.

Finally, we will cover each competitive region and their qualification runs as the events near closer.

Read next: Ongoing CS:GO Tournaments Recap – Flashpoint & ESL Pro League Season 11



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