Esports Championship Series Season 5 Underway in Europe and North America

Posted on March 14, 2018 - Last Updated on January 20, 2023

Many of the top CS:GO teams across Europe and North America began their journey toward the Season 5 Finals of the Esports Championship Series this week.

Those finals take place June 8-10. But before that, a lengthy qualifying process sees 10 top teams in each qualifying section battle it out for:

  • A place in the ECS Season 5 Finals (top four),
  • A place in the ECS for Season 6 (teams finishing 5th-8th)
  • A Challenger Cup contest against an emerging Challenger contender for the right to play in the ECS Season 6 (bottom two teams from the qualifying stage)

The qualifying process spans seven weeks. In this time, each team plays all others in their sections in two consecutive best-of-one matches. That means teams play a total of 18 games throughout the process.

Esports Championship Series details

  • Series – ECS
  • Organiser – FACEIT
  • Sponsor – Alienware, YouTube
  • Type – Online
  • Qualifying Sections – Europe and North America (10 teams in each)
  • Prize Pool for Qualifying – $45,000

ECS Championship Series Roll of Honour

In Spring 2016, the ECS developed the format for its initial league. There have been some slight tweaks, notably to the prize money on offer, since then.

The series held four previous events, two per year. Here’s the ECS’ Roll of Honour:

ECS Season Finals Winners & Runner-Up

Event Date Winner Runner Up Prize Pool
Season 1 Apr-Jun 2016 G2 Esports (EU) Luminosity Gaming (NA) $765,000
Season 2 Oct-Dec 2016 Astralis (EU) OpTic Gaming (NA) $660,000
Season 3 Apr-Jun 2017 SK Gaming (NA) FaZe Clan (EU) $660,000
Season 4 Oct-Dec 2017 FaZe Clan (EU) Mousesports (EU) $660,000

ECS North America Qualifiers Winners & Runner-Up

Event Date Winner Runner-Up Prize Pool
Season 1 Apr-May 2016 Luminosity Gaming Cloud9 $90,000
Season 2 Oct-Nov 2016 SK Gaming Cloud9 $45,000
Season 3 Apr-Jun 2017 Cloud9 SK Gaming $45,000
Season 4 Oct-Nov 2017 Cloud9 OpTic Gaming $45,000

ECS Europe Qualifiers Winners & Runner-Up

Event Date Winner Runner-Up Prize Pool
Season 1 Apr-May 2016 Astralis G2 Esports $90,000
Season 2 Oct-Nov 2016 Astralis Team EnVyUs $45,000
Season 3 Apr-Jun 2017 FaZe Clan Astralis $45,000
Season 4 Oct-Nov 2017 Fnatic FaZe Clan $45,000

Esports Championship Series competitors

Outlined below are the 20 teams competing in the North American and European qualifiers over the next couple of months.

North America

Last season saw the demise of Counter Logic Gaming, who forfeited their place in the ECS Qualifiers. They were unable to field a roster for Season 5. A third team qualifying via the Season 5 Challenger Cup, eUnited, therefore earned a spot in these qualifiers.

  • Cloud9 – Winners of the last two NA Qualifying Series and runners-up in the first two, they recently landed first place and a $500,000 prize winning the ELEAGUE Major Boston 2018.
  • Team Liquid – Team Liquid have qualified for the finals three out of the four attempts. But they’re yet to do any better than a 5th/6th placed finish in the event.
  • NRG Esports – NRG have played in each of the four North American qualifying campaigns but are yet to finish in the top four to reach the finals.
  • OpTic Gaming – After missing out on the finals in the first two qualifiers, OpTic Gaming made it through to the next two, finishing 7th/8th in Season 3 and then a creditable 5th/6th in Season 4.
  • SK Gaming – SK Gaming qualified for the ECS Qualifiers by winning the Season 2 Promotion match. They then won the NA Qualifying in Season 2, finishing 4th in the finals, before qualifying again in Season 3 when they defeated FaZe Clan in the final to win the top prize. However, they failed to qualify from the NA section for Season 4, surprisingly finishing 5th in the qualifying stage.
  • Renegades – Renegades earned their spot in the ECS by winning the North American Development League for Season 3. They have since finished 8th in NA qualifying in Season 3 and 7th in Season 4
  • Luminosity Gaming – Winners of the first NA Qualifier and then runners-up in the Season 1 Finals, LG then failed to qualify for the next two finals. They then reached the Season 4 Finals where they finished 7th/8th.
  • compLexity Gaming – After finishing 7th in the first NA qualifying, CG lost playing rights after finishing bottom in Season 2. After failed attempts to get back into the NA section, they won the North America Challenger Cup this month to regain their spot for Season 5.
  • Rogue – This is Rogue’s first season in the NA section. They earned a spot by beating Splyce in the North America Challenger Cup just a few days ago.
  • eUnited – This is the former Rise Nation squad that earned a spot in the North America Challenger Cup a few days ago. This is their first season in the ECS North American qualifiers.


  • Astralis – Twice winners of European section in Seasons 1 and 2, and once the overall winner (Season 2), Astralis have qualified for every finals event so far in the ECS. Their worst finish in the finals was 7th/8th back in Season 1.
  • Team EnVyUs – EnVyUs have competed in every European Qualifier since the ECS began. However, they qualified for the finals just once, in Season 2, when they earned a 3rd/4th place finish.
  • FaZe Clan – These runners-up in the Season 3 Finals became the winners in Season 4. FaZe Clan are arguably the team to beat in this year’s tournament. They have only failed to qualify for the finals once, back in Season 1.
  • Fnatic – After finishing 3rd/4th in the Season 1 Finals, Fnatic needed to win a Promotion game to retain their place in Season 3 after finishing 10th in Season 2. They did just that and then made the finals in Season 3 (finishing 7th/8th) before winning the EU Qualifier in Season 4 and following that with a 4th place finish in the finals.
  • G2 Esports – Winners of the very first ECS Finals event, G2 reached the finals one more time in Season 3, finishing 5th/6th. They finished 5th and 6th in the Season 2 and Season 4 European section.
  • Mousesports – Coming in second to FaZe Clan in the last finals was by far mousesports’ best performance in this event. They logged two 7th place and one 5th place finish in the EU section previously.
  • Ninjas in Pyjamas – NiP qualified for the finals in Season 1, earning a 7th/8th spot finish in that event. Since then, they have retained playing rights for the European section but not broken into the finals.
  • – One of the biggest names in esports, have not enjoyed much success in the ECS EU qualifiers. They lost out at the group stage three times and were forced into a Promotion match with Star Soldiers in Season 3.
  • Gambit Esports – Gambit Esports lost a qualifier in Season 1, and it took them until the Season 5 Challenger Cup to finally earn a spot in the ECS European Qualifying League. This will be their first full season in the tournament.
  • GODSENT – GODSENT competed in the European League in Seasons 2, 3 and 4. But they needed a playoff to retain their spot for Season 5, which they duly won to take their place in the qualifying stage once again.

We will follow the fortunes of these teams at various intervals during the coming weeks. Be sure to keep up!

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Ian John

A lifelong poker fan, Ian is also well-versed in the world of sports betting, casino gaming, and has written extensively on the online gambling industry. Based in the UK, Ian brings fresh insight into all facets of gaming.

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