Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is one of the best-represented esports around. It’s a fixture of tournaments across the globe, but it’s the CS:GO Major Championships where the real action can be found. More commonly referred to as the Majors, these tournaments are sponsored by Valve itself.
In the past, prize pools were relatively modest, but in recent years it’s not uncommon to find winnings of more than $1 million up for grabs. With so many active teams, securing a spot in the Majors can be a tall order. For audiences, understanding how the selection process works can prove confusing. Thankfully, we’ve put together a handy guide that hammers out all the basics for your reference.
Major Qualification Rules
Before we delve into the specifics, it’s worth pointing out that Valve recently changed its qualification process. These changes were introduced in 2020, after the ESL One Rio Majors were delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nowadays, teams looking to participate in a Majors competitions will need to be shortlisted by Regional Major Ranking tournaments. These regional tournaments are designed to ensure the very best teams from each corner of the globe are given their time in the spotlight. This approach is certainly the right way to go. By forcing teams to compete throughout the year, it’s less likely that a fluke win will see a relatively poor team catapulted into the limelight.
The downside of this approach is that certain regions can only select one team for entry into Majors tournaments. In places like South America and Asia, only one team can be picked from the regional tournaments to play on the world stage. Teams also need to think carefully about team rosters. If teams decide to make any changes to their line-ups after qualifying for the Majors, they’ll be dealt significant penalties.
How Are Groups Determined?
Major tournaments typically include 24 teams from various regions. These 24 teams are then split into three key groups: Legends, Challengers, and Contenders. Group assignment is ultimately determined by how well teams perform in Regional Major Rankings.
Teams who have placed highly in regional rankings are assigned to the Challenger or Legend group. Meanwhile, those who fall short of the top regional spots will be relegated to the Contenders group.
In recent years, it’s been European teams like Heroic and FaZe Clan that have dominated the Legends group. By contrast, Asian teams have been poorly represented, with the IHC Esports and Renegades rosters being the only ones to place in the Contenders category.
Are Regional Rankings a Good Indicator of Outright Winners?
If you’re looking to wager on the outcome of a CSGO Majors tournament, regional rankings and group assignments are good guidelines to use. However, things can change very quickly in the professional esports sphere. A single change in a team line-up can make all the difference when it comes to an established team winning or losing at the final hurdle. If you’re looking for a surer bet on an outright winner, it’s worth looking over the current team roster. You can find a list of the best CSGO player of all time here. If any competing teams have at least one of these names on their books, you can all but guarantee they’ll place in the tournament top three.