ESL is set to host one of the biggest Counter-Strike tournaments outside of an official major in Dubai on Sep 10. Some of the best teams in the world will battle it out for a slice of the quarter-million dollar prize pool—except for Team Solomid. And that’s raising serious questions about ESL’s new ranking system.
The event in Dubai will feature Fnatic, Ninjas in Pyjamas, EnvyUs, Virtus.Pro, Na’Vi and Cloud9. But SoloMid is considered one of the best teams in the world—few would rank them outside of the top three.
ESL determined the invites with a new ranking that was supposed to invite the top five teams from Europe and the number one team in North America. But the Danish team comes out at sixth. While SoloMid does tend to miss out on a lot of events due to other commitments, it seems impossible for the team to be considered sixth in the world by any sort of ranking system.
So how exactly did ESL get it so wrong? It turns out the system gives greater weight to points earned by organizations as opposed to players. This means that when three of SoloMid’s current members battled to a third-fourth place finish at ESL One Cologne 2014, the majority of points went to Team Dignitas, the organization they represented at the time. SoloMid isn’t the only team strangely affected by this ranking system: Team LDLC sits at 15th. So thanks its previous lineup’s success, the French organization is now ranked higher than many teams, despite not achieving nearly as much. IBuyPower, meanwhile, places at 31st despite not fielding a team for the entirety of 2015.
SoloMid players have taken their complaints to Twitter, lashing out at ESL and Ulrich Schulze, one of the ESL staffers behind the rankings, claiming that their previous victories under the Dignitas banner should be added to their points total. In fact, if just their third-fourth place finish at ESL One Cologne been added on, they would have ranked ahead of Ninjas in Pyjamas, claiming fifth spot—and an invitation to Dubai.
Responding to the criticism on Twitter, Schulze said that ESL was open to “refining” the rankings based on “constructive feedback.”
Update Aug. 3, 11:35am CT: Shortly after this story’s publication, Schulze floated the idea of inviting Team SoloMid and expanding the tournament to eight teams following a torrent of complaints on social media.
Image via ESL