The Europe Minor Closed Qualifier is set to take place in an online event on March 7-8. There will be 16 teams battling it out in a double-elimination bracket in an attempt to secure eight spots in the Europe Minor Championship.
A Closed Qualifier with big names
For a Minor Closed Qualifier the competition is surprisingly stacked with many exciting teams, 6 of which are currently ranked within the top 20. These include MAD Lions, NiP, and Fnatic, who is ranked 4th in the world and had an impressive showing at IEM Katowice, making it to the semi-finals.
OG are also in the Closed Qualifier who only entered into the Counter-Strike scene in early December last year. In this short time, they have had an impressive performance, especially in Group C at the BLAST Spring Series coming second to G2 and securing a spot at BLAST Premier later in the year.
Not a smooth ride
This doesn’t mean it will be an easy journey for these teams, as there are still well-known organizations competing, some with new rosters and high profile players.
BIG, Sprout, and Dignitas, who are returning to CS:GO and have signed the legendary NiP quintet, with Robin “Flifflaren” Johansson taking on the role of coach instead. The fifth player, Håkon “hallzerk” Fjærli, is new to the lineup and hoping to bring something which the original NiP lineup was missing.
They are currently ranked number 48 in the world but haven’t had a chance to prove themselves, only participating in the Europe Open Qualifier which mainly consists of low-tier teams. The Closed Qualifier will be their first real test to see if the quintet can get back to their legendary 87-0 form in the NiP era of CS:GO.
Sticking with the trend
Viewers and fans will also be pleased to hear that ESL is continuing the trend of utilizing best-of-three matches and omitting best-of-ones.
This format intends to show the true skill of a team by taking away the unpredictability that a best-of-one provides where underdogs usually thrive. This will ensure that the 8 spots for the Europe Minor Championship go to the most deserving teams.
With that in mind they are fighting for a place in the major in which anything can happen, so make sure to tune in on March 7-8.
Archie is a freelance designer based in London. He has been playing CS:GO since 2014 and has followed the pro scene closely. In his spare time he likes to write about the game and contributes to Level Push's CS:GO section.