ESPORTS TOURNAMENTS: ELEAGUE

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FROM CS:GO TO STREET FIGHTER

The last decade has seen a massive surge in the volume of esports competitions and professional esports leagues. The vast majority of new esports competitions have been set up in the last five years, with the Eleague being one of them. Originally a competition dedicated solely to Counter-Strike: Global Offensive gameplay, the Eleague brought together the greatest CS:GO players from around the world to compete in a 24-team season-playoffs-championship competition. 

It was first established in 2016 and has since become one of the biggest names in CS:GO and Street Fighter V– which it began to include on its program in early 2017 – professional play. In its relatively short lifespan, the Eleague has made some serious waves in the world of esports. Working with live streaming companies and Valve, the developer of CS:GO, this professional gaming expo has already proved itself worthy of the name.

Season 1 and 2 of the competition were a huge success, and with the addition of Street Fighter V to the program of video games, Eleague is certain to grow in popularity as the seasons go by. Although still very much in its infancy, if the Eleague keeps pulling in the same kind of CS:GO and Street Fighter talent as it is doing now, it’s sure to be on the top of everyone’s list before much longer.

THEY'VE GOT THE CONSOLES COVERED

The Eleague is one of the only competitions we offer odds on to take advantage of the console market. Professional esports competitions are an industry dominated largely by PC games. Titles like Counter Strike, League of Legends and StarCraft II pull in an absolutely staggering audience to most mainstream gaming tournaments.

While CS:GO is definitely the most popular video game on the tournament’s roster, with a wide variety of markets offered here, the latest addition of Street Fighter V has started to capture the attention of many console based gamers. While you’re more likely to find a large range of Street Fighter odds at the Capcom Cup, we will offer various markets for Street Fighter throughout the duration of the Eleague.

Intense rivalries and heated exchanges

Players make lasting rivalries, show infinitely less composure during play, and even taunt their opponents during their fights. These battles are often heated and as such makes the outcome of these events unpredictable. Kenneth ‘K-Brad’ Bradley and Joshua ‘Wolfkrone’ Philpot are well-known for their intense hatred between one another and will be sure to provide some sparks at this year’s Eleague. 

It gives them a personality for viewers to relate to, and expands the information you can easily gain about gamers you wish to back even more. For example, if you’ve acutely observed that a certain player seems to crumble when he’s being verbally slapped by his opponent, you have more of a chance of bagging yourself a cool win with esportsbetting.com.

SEASON ONE

The first season of the Eleague ran from May 24 to July 30 in 2016, and was broadcast live on cable television. 24 teams from all around the world came together to compete in the 10 week tournament – culminating in a single season and finale playoffs. 

The competition was ridiculously fierce in the debut season of the Eleague tournament, as these 24 top class gaming teams battled tirelessly for a chunk of the $1.4 million prize pool.

Esports tournament regulars FaZe, Luminosity Gaming and OpTic will have definitely been hoping to steamroll their opponents with ease, but as usual, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive professional play is unpredictable and unforgiving. FaZe are a firm favourite with esports bettors, but with the wide and varied odds available here, you have plenty of variety.

In addition to this, the format of the Eleague is comprehensive and thorough, so many teams will have been on unfamiliar ground throughout.

Live games every single day

The Eleague invites more professional esports teams to their tournaments than most other competitions, so it’s not surprising that they had to come up with a more creative format to separate the best Counter Strike teams in the world.

The 24 teams were separated into six groups of four in the first Season, and in the first two days of the extended tournament the group standings were decided.

Everyone plays everyone in their group twice, receiving one point for a win and zero points for a loss – so the goal would be to top the group with six points.

After this, the top team in each group plays the bottom team, while the middle two also play each other in what was called “the group semi-finals”. The winner of each of these semi-finals then play each other in a best of three game. Once the winner of that has been decided, they are sent to the knockout rounds of the competition.

The loser of the group finals went into a Last Chance Qualifier bracket, where the best of the rest battle it out for a chance to join the winners in the knockout rounds. Six group runner-ups and the two highest seeded third place finishers were entered into the Last Chance bracket, which saw Virtus.pro and Mousesports rescued from elimination and sent through to the knockout rounds.

A tournament not shy from scandal

Unfortunately, the team who completely decimated the group stages by outright winning every single one of their matches – Luminosity – were disqualified after the initial stages due to a last minute roster change that was perceived to be a marketing stunt.

As a result, the results of this stage in Season One were completely unforeseeable, although it did prove that Luminosity were a strong team and one to watch out for in the future.

After only qualifying through the Last Chance Qualifier, it was Virtus.pro who eventually claimed the ultimate prize by beating Fnatic in the final. They bagged an impressive $400,000 for their efforts, and automatic qualification into the next Counter-Strike: Global Offensive major tournament.

SEASON TWO

Eleague puts on two seasons of the competition per year, and the second season of the competition was held later that year. The format of the tournament was changed significantly to reflect that of the ESL One Cologne. 120 teams in total played for a chance to qualify for the initial group stages, while the top eight finishers in MLG Columbus major qualified automatically. Closed qualifiers were held in Europe and North America, supposedly resulting in a much more balanced in a much more interesting line up for the final competition. Having said that, the teams that were ultimately placed in the Eleague groups were exactly the same as Season One’s line-up, but included German esports team ALTERNATE aTTaX.

Introduction of seeded groups leads to fast-paced action

This time, there were much fewer group matches played. Teams were seeded based on HLTV’s top 20 rankings at the time, and the top seeded team in each group played the bottom seed.

The other two teams also played each other, and the winners of both these matchups then battled to see who would progress to the knockout rounds of the tournament. After that was decided, the loser of that game then played the winner of the other matchup, resulting in two teams in each group going through to the eventual knockout stage.

In an unsurprising turn of events, all of the regular esports names managed to progress. FaZe, Astralis and the previous Eleague champions Virtus.pro all progressed from their respective groups, resulting in a knockout stage consisting of the absolute cream of the crop in Counter Strike talent.

The ultimate retro matchup

Legendary esports team OpTic Gaming, who will have almost certainly been plenty of gamers first encounter of professional gamers back in the Call of Duty 4 days, did considerably better than their shock group stage knockout in the previous season.

Few could have predicted such an occurrence, although as we mentioned before, for many amateur gamers OpTic are a symbol of retro professionalism, so this could have been an excellent wager to make early on.

As a matter of fact, we’d go as far to say that it could have been the PERFECT wager, as OpTic gaming not only decimated their previous finish in the Eleague, but actually went to claim the whole championship by demolishing Danish outfit Astralis in the final two games of the last round.

It was iconic players like RUSH and NAF who took OpTic to victory on that day, taking home the $400,000 in prize money and successfully restoring the OpTic gaming name to the top of the rankings.

ELEAGUE MAJOR 2017

Ensuring the Eleague’s place as one of the most important institutions in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive professional esports, Valve worked with the event in 2017 to create the first ever Eleague major tournament featuring, of course, CS:GO gameplay.

Being a completely different style of tournament, the Eleague major had a different structure to the previous seasons of the competition.

Four regional qualifiers were held, from each of which two teams progressed to the main qualifier. The top eight teams from the precious major tournament received byes into the ultimate Eleague major, while the top eight teams from the main qualifier also went through to the final rumble.

The new teams that qualified from the regional tournaments were:

  • Ty Loo (Asia Minor)
  • Vega Squadron (CIS Minor)
  • Team Spirit (CIS Minor)
  • GODSENT (EU Minor)
  • Hell Raisers (EU Minor)

The Swiss tournament format

The main qualifier for the major took the form of a sixteen team Swiss Tournament, where after the first day of matches, teams would play others with similar win-loss ratios to them.

No team plays the same opponent twice, and three wins automatically sends the team through to the major. Three losses however, and that team is eliminated. Regular destroyers of worlds FaZe were one of the first teams to qualify in this fashion and OpTic soon followed.

This fashion of qualifier, while certainly alternative, was particularly exciting to watch live. Because of the three-win auto-qualification rule, it kept even the very best teams on their toes, and was perfect for placing live bets if you were watching through live stream. 

It was a real step forward for Eleague, and if you were one of the lucky punters who managed to predict the unprecedented upset that new guys Vega Squadron put on tournament regulars Ninjas in Pyjamas, you’ll definitely have a fond memory of the Swiss style.

More exciting clashes

Thankfully, the Eleague major continued to use the Swiss format in the group stages of the final tournament, resulting in even more intense gameplay where every team got to have a crack at everyone else.

To ensure absolute fairness, the teams were carefully seeded, although it was clear to anyone watching closely that Natus Vincere were the strongest team in the group stage, making them hot favourite going into the knockout rounds.

Meanwhile unequivocal world number one team Astralis were off-pace in the early rounds. When these two teams met in the first knockout round however, Astralis swept away Vincere – clearly an opportunity for any savvy gamers to bet wise with just the most basic of gaming knowledge.

Astralis then went on to win the entire competition, which proves how an opportunity this tournament could have been for gamers in-the-know who were taking their first step into esports betting.

As Eleague had taken the step up into major territory, the prize money Astralis took home - $500,000 – was considerably higher than previous events.

THE STREET FIGHTER V INVITATIONAL

It was after the massive success of their major tournament that Eleague decided to expand their audience. The organisers added Street Fighter V to their list of games catered to, and started to form an identity.

As the 32 best Street Fighter players in the world came together for one of the biggest fighting-game tournaments yet, Eleague’s live streams became a source of entertainment not just for fans of Street Fighter and CS:GO, but for gaming fans in general.

Competitors began trash talking on stage and putting real heart into their matches. It became more of an exhibition of gaming fun rather than just a show of skill, meaning 2017 was an absolutely massive year for Eleague.

Hopefully, there’s more to come from this soon-to-be iconic esports competition – and if you’re thinking of checking out some of the action, make sure you keep an eye on esportsbetting.com’s amazing bonus offers and odds so you don’t miss out on the fun.