After an extensive qualification period, eight teams earned places alongside the eight Legends teams, who qualified by virtue of their performances at the EL Major Atlanta 2017 back in January.
The winners of that event, Astralis, and beaten finalists Virtus.pro are back to try again for a prize pool set at a massive $1,000,000. It’s one of the richest prizes on the CS:GO tournament calendar.
The tournament will take place at the TAURON Arena in Krakow, Poland on July 16-23. Seven maps will be used for the tournament:
Let’s now take a closer look at how the tournament is organized.
The PGL Major Krakow structure
Opening Stage – Swiss System
The start of the tournament is a best-of-one group stage played in the Swiss System format. That means once a team wins three matches, they qualify for the playoffs. Once a team loses three matches, they are eliminated.
The initial matchups are devised based on previous results, which ensures that teams only play teams with the same record as them at each stage of the competition. That means Round Two will pit the eight teams with 1-0 records against each other, while the eight 0-1 teams will also play each other.
In Round Three, the four teams with 2-0 records play, as do the four teams with 0-2 records. The eight teams with 1-1 records also play, but no team will see repeat opponents.
The two teams that emerge with 3-0 records automatically qualify for the playoffs. The six teams with 2-1 records play each other, as do the 1-2 teams, and the winless teams are eliminated at this point.
By now, we hope you’re getting the picture: the 3-1 teams also make the playoffs; the 1-3 teams are eliminated, and the six remaining 2-2 teams play once more. The winners make the playoffs and the 2-3 losers go home.
At this point, it’s a straight knockout format. The eight teams are drawn into four quarterfinals; the winners advance to the semis; those winners contest the final. There is no Losers Bracket.
Each series in the playoffs is a best-of-three contest, except for the the best-of-five final showdown.
The Round One draw
The draw for the first round has already taken place. Legends teams (listed first below) will initially play the qualifying squads. We have also listed the Match Winner 2-way betting odds currently on Bet365:
- Gambit Esports (5/4) vs. mousesports (4/7)
- Fnatic (3/10) vs. Flipsid3 Tactics (12/5)
- pro (4/11) vs. Vega Squadron (2/1)
- SK Gaming (1/7) vs. PENTA Esports (4/1)
- FaZe Clan (2/7) vs. BIG (5/2)
- North (4/7) vs. Cloud9 (5/4)
- Natus Vincere (11/8) vs. G2 Esports (8/15)
- Astralis (1/3) vs. Immortals (9/4)
There are many appealing options among these matches. Of the qualifiers, only mousesports and G2 Esports are projected to have much chance of winning their opening games.
However, I think Flipsid3 Tactics (12/5) have a decent chance against a Fnatic side that have not been at their best of late. I also reckon Cloud9 (5/4) have a very good chance of upsetting the odds and defeating North.
When it comes to the outright winner, Bet365 currently offers odds on all the teams competing:
- Astralis – 3/1
- SK Gaming – 7/2
- FaZe Clan – 5/1
- G2 Esports – 7/1
- Natus Vincere – 8/1
- North – 10/1
- Mousesports – 12/1
- Fnatic – 14/1
- Virtus Pro – 16/1
- Cloud9 – 16/1
- Immortals – 25/1
- PENTA Sports – 40/1
- BIG – 40/1
- Flipsid3 Tactics – 50/1
- Gambit Gaming – 60/1
- Vega Squadron – 100/1
A couple of bets stick out like sore thumbs here. The first is that SK Gaming are surprisingly not the favorites to win. They have recently won two massive CS:GO tournaments (ESL One Cologne and the Esports Championship Series Season 3 Finals), earning $350,000 in the process. Before that, they won the CS_Summit and Intel Extreme Masters XII in Sydney and looked pretty much unbeatable.
However, they did struggle initially last time out, and I project FaZe Clan and G2 Esports, which both have recent victories over SK Gaming, are worth a flutter to win it all.
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