The 2019 StarLadder Major is just around the corner, but before we can enjoy another intense CS:GO tournament with a one-million dollar prize pool, there are still eight open slots left to be played for in the Main Qualifier.
The main event begins August 28th through September 8th, but before then, starting on August 23rd, sixteen teams play in a ‘Swiss System’ format. For those unfamiliar with the system, there are five rounds. The first three rounds are played as a best-of-one format where the two teams with the best record will automatically qualify – and the two teams holding the worst record will be eliminated.
After the initial three rounds the format stays fairly similar, with an extra team eliminated for rounds four and five until eight teams qualify. After qualification those eight teams will join the ranks that already qualified for the main event.
Let’s take a look at the sixteen teams playing in the Main Qualifier, in descending order by their world ranking:
With only eight slots available its important to follow along with the Qualifiers to see how these teams really stack up to the competition. After qualification however, the eight teams will move on to the New Legends Stage. After another Swiss System, the remaining teams are slotted into a quarterfinals Bracket Stage (called the New Champions Stage) based on seeding.
Breaking down these sixteen teams is fairly simple, Vitality, NRG, G2, mouse, and FURIA are in the top ten, though not all of them are explicitly solid in those rankings. It is safe to assume that Vitality and NRG will move on with relative ease, as they are statistically and historically better than the other fourteen teams.
G2 and mouseesports have a good shot at victory, but if they drop a few key matches or face tougher opponents than they had planned on, they could miss out indefinitely. TYLOO and INTZ may be ranked lower than most of the other teams, but have been known for causing upsets and are some serious fan favorites. North is sixth on this list, but can definitely go toe-to-toe with any qualified team. The same goes for Grayhound, though they have been looking down on their luck recently.
Everyone else will need major upsets and decent luck of the draw with their matchups to make it far in the tournament. This isn’t to say they couldn’t possibly skate by, but their odds are low. The CIS team Syman is the biggest underdog in the qualifier, and unfortunately for them it seems unlikely they will see the main stage. That in mind, it’s still nice to see another CIS team show up to a Major qualifier.
For anyone who’s been missing some Major’s action in the Counter Strike: Global Offensive scene, the qualifiers will be a breath of fresh air. Make sure to tune in to https://www.twitch.tv/starladder_cs_en on August 23rd and every day after until the 8th of September.