ESL has cut the number of Pro League participants in half since 48 teams participated in the last edition. The ESL Pro League used to be played regionally, with the best teams from each region making their way to the finals.
Now, the 24-team league will be divided into four groups of six teams. Every team will play a best-of-three round-robin competition. The group winners will qualify for the last stage of the playoffs and the runner-up and third-placed teams will be seeded in the early rounds of the playoffs.
ESL Pro League season 11 will be played entirely offline, including the regular season, which will be played in a studio. When the tournament is narrowed down to six teams, it’ll move to an arena for a three-day event. The grand finals will still be played as a best-of-five series.
Big organizations like Astralis, Evil Geniuses, Team Liquid, Fnatic, mousesports, Natus Vincere, 100 Thieves, Vitality, G2, FaZe Clan, and Ninjas in Pyjamas are among the 24 invited teams.
ESL said that all of the teams that made it into the ESL Pro League season 10 finals were invited for season 11, but MIBR and Cloud9 either declined or didn’t respond. Those teams will reportedly participate in CS:GO‘s newest league founded by B Site Inc. and produced by FACEIT.
ESL didn’t reveal the criteria used to invite all of these teams. The tournament organizers seemingly used a combination of teams who agreed to the LANXESS agreement, several clauses that teams will have to abide by if they want to participate in the ESL Pro League, finalists from the ESL Pro League season 10 playoffs, the last two winners of ESEA MDL, and ESL’s world rankings.
All of the other teams that attended ESL Pro League season 10 received an invitation for the upcoming ESEA MDL, which will give spots for ESL Pro League season 12.
Here’s the full list of invited teams separated by the four regions.
- Natus Vincere
- FaZe Clan
- Ninjas in Pyjamas
- Virtus Pro
- Team Liquid
- Evil Geniuses
- 100 Thieves