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esports
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

Reminder: The ESL One Cologne qualifier begins tomorrow

16 teams will fight for the remaining eight spots for ESL One Cologne, the million dollar tournament held next month.

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Counter-Strike is always busy. As the Eleague chugs along over in the States, the LAN qualifier for ESL One Cologne begins tomorrow in Katowice, Poland.

ESL One Cologne is, in case you weren't aware, the next Valve-sponsored Major Championship in Counter-Strike. The Majors are about as close to a formal world championship as you get in this game, and feature prize pools of $1 million.

16 teams play in each Major, and the top 8 teams automatically get a spot at the next Major. These are the Legends. The remaining eight teams earn their spot through an offline qualifier tournament, and that is what will begin in Katowice tomorrow.

With the winners and runners-up from each of the four regional Minor championships duking it out with the 9-16th place finishers from the previous Major, MLG Columbus, we're guaranteed to get a competitive field. It's do or die for all of them, as simply participating in a Major comes with a massive economic boost for any team organisation.

Usually, the Major qualifiers have followed a traditional group stage format followed by an elimination bracket, but ESL and Valve are changing things up for this tournament. It'll follow the Swiss format originally developed for chess. After their initial match, teams will be paired with a random opponent they haven't played before, and who has an equal number of wins in the tournament. Lose three games, and a team is out. Win three games, and they're on to ESL One Cologne.

We've included schedule for the tournament below, along with the list of the opening matches.

Thursday, 9th of June
12:30 - Pre-Show
13:00 - Beginning of first match
Round one is played out, a total of eight matches played one after another
22:00 - estimated end of day

Friday, 10th of June
12:30 - Pre-Show
13:00 - Beginning of first match
Round two is played out, a total of eight matches played one after another
22:00 - estimated end of day

Saturday, 11th of June
12:30 - Pre-Show
13:00 - Beginning of first match
Round three is played out, a total of eight matches played one after another
22:00 - estimated end of day

Sunday, 12th of June
12:30 - Pre-Show
13:00 - Beginning of first match
Round four is played out, a total of six matches played one after another, followed immediately by round five with three matches
23:15 - estimated end of day

Initial matches
G2 Esports vs. TyLoo
FaZe Clan vs. Team Dignitas
Gambit Esports vs. OpTic Gaming
Mousesports vs. Fluffy Gangsters
Team ENVYUS vs. Immortals (former Tempo Storm)
Cloud9 vs. Team Empire
FlipSid3 Tactics vs. Renegades
Splyce vs. HellRaisers

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
Photo: Patrick Strack, ESL