There’s no bigger event on this week’s busy esports calendar than the ELEAGUE Boston Major 2017. It kicks off Friday, Jan. 12 and runs through Jan. 28.
On Dec. 13, ELEAGUE and Valve announced they had rebranded the different stages of the tournament. Namely, they’ve incorporated the Offline Qualifier into the main tournament.
That stage is now dubbed the New Challengers Stage. The group stage became the New Legends Stage, and the playoff section is the New Champions Stage. Furthermore, these changes resulted in an increase in the number of teams participating: 24 as opposed to last year’s 16.
Rebranding and new teams
- Challengers Stage – Jan. 12-15 at the ELEAGUE Arena in Atlanta (no spectators). The bottom eight teams are eliminated. The top eight teams qualify for New Legends stage.
- Legends Stage – Jan. 19-22 at the ELEAGUE Arena. The bottom eight teams are eliminated. The top eight qualify for New Champions Stage.
- Champions Stage – Jan. 16-28 at the Agganis Arena in Boston. This is a single-elimination bracket played over best-of-three format.
The total prize pool for the event is $1,000,000.
The event splits its 24 teams into three groups of eight. The Current Legends include:
- Gambit Esports
- 100 Thieves
- SK Gaming
The New Challengers comprises two sub-groups. Eight teams qualified by virtue of their performances at the PGL Major Krakow 2017. These are:
- G2 Esports
- Natus Vincere
- FaZe Clan
- Vega Squadron
The Minor Champions — who each won a minor tournament to earn their place at the Boston Major 2018 — include:
- Space Soldiers
- Team Liquid
- Team EnVyUs
- Quantum Bellator Fire
- Flash Gaming
The New Challengers Stage is a 16-team Swiss System format. Each of the 16 plays the others in the group once in a best-of-one format. The top eight progress, and the bottom eight head home.
The eight qualifiers then move into the New Legends Stage where they join the eight Current Legends in another 16-team group. This group is a mirror image of the first stage of the tournament. Each game is a best-of-one match. Again, the top eight earn places in the New Champions Stage.
The New Champions Stage is a single-bracket knockout format. Those knocked out in the quarterfinals receive $35,000; semifinal losers receive $70,00; the runners-up earn $150,000; the winners get $500,000.
Finally, the eight teams that qualify for the New Champions Stage receive the coveted Legend status for the next ELEAGUE Major event.
Betway offers a chance to bet on the Outright Winner market for the ELEAGUE Major Boston. The betting is very tight between the top teams.
- SK Gaming – 3/1 favourites
- FaZe Clan – 7/2
- Astralis – 6/1
- G2 Esports – 7/1
- 100 Thieves – 8/1
- Team North – 10/1
- Mousesports – 12/1
- Cloud9, Natus Vincere – 14/1
- Fnatic, Gambit Esports, Virtus.pro – 16/1
- Team Liquid – 20/1
- Space Soldiers – 25/1
- BIG, Team EnVyUs – 50/1
- Flipside3 Tactics, Sprout – 80/1
- Renegades, Vega Squadron – 100/1
- Misfits – 150/1
- AVANGAR, Quantum Bellator Fire – 250/1
- Flash – 300/1
While SK Gaming and FaZe Clan stand as the form choices here, my tip is Astralis at 6/1. The Danish team has been there or thereabouts at several top tournaments throughout 2017. Plus, they were victorious at the ELEAGUE Major in Atlanta 2017, before finishing 3rd/4th at the PGL Major Krakow 2017. They are due another big win at a top event.
Rocket League added to DreamHack Leipzig
The popular PC and PlayStation 4 game Rocket League is now part of the DreamHack Open series of events. Leipzig hosts the first $50,000 tournament scheduled for Jan. 26-28.
The game can be played in several different modes (each based on a specific sport, including hockey, basketball, or the the default soccer variation). Players compete solo or as part of a two- or three-person team. At for esports, the most common form of the game involves three-person teams.
That’s the format for DreamHack Leipzig’s Rocket League foray. In the default game, players use their cars in a variety of arenas to try and propel a giant football into a goal. The winning team scores more goals during the five-minute match.
Although Rocket League is an emerging esport, it is not yet as popular as games like Dota 2, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, or League of Legends. However, with $50,000 up for grabs in Leipzig, $20,000 of that for the winner, it is easy to see why established teams such as G2 Esports and soccer club Paris St Germain’s esports team have already earned invitations.
Other big-name esports organizations to have their own Rocket League teams include:
- Europe: Fnatic, Team EnVyUs, Team Secret, Epsilion eSports, and Flipsid3 Tactics
- North America: Cloud9, NRG Esports, Renegades, and Rogue
Some big-name organizations have expanded into Rocket League gaming but have since disbanded their teams including SK Gaming, Penta Sports, NoX Gaming and Team Infused.