ESL has revealed today the eight initial matchups of the play-in stage in addition to the group stage distribution. The $1 million CS:GO tournament will kick off on July 5 and once again feature a total of 24 teams.
Sixteen of these teams will begin the tournament in the play-in stage and face each other in a double-elimination bracket where the opening round will consist of best-of-one series and the rest will be best-of-three series. The eight best teams will then progress to the IEM Cologne group stage where eight of the best CS:GO teams in the world, such as FaZe Clan, Natus Vincere, ENCE, and Cloud9, await.
The play-in stage also features some heavy-hitters in Heroic, Team Spirit, BIG, and Vitality. ESL even revealed that 00 Nation will compete in the slot that belonged to GODSENT, hinting that the reports of 00 Nation acquiring the GODSENT trio of Epitácio “TACO” de Melo, Eduardo “dumau” Wolkmer, and Bruno “latto” Rebelatto may be accurate. None of the organizations have confirmed the deal at time of this writing, though.
Natus Vincere headline IEM Cologne’s Group A, while FaZe spearhead Group B. The play-in stage will run from July 5 to 6 and 16 teams will compete in the group stage starting on July 7. The prestigious CS:GO event will end on July 17 and the winner will take home $400,000.
IEM Cologne’s play-in stage bracket
IEM Cologne group stage distribution
- Ninjas in Pyjamas
- Team Liquid