In an email sent to the main tournament organizers, Valve has expressed its plans to replace the current Major invitation format with a ranking system, which will utilize two extra tournaments leading up to the Fall Major.
The system explained by Valve in the email revolves around a combination of points earned from the spring Major — ESL One Rio, taking place in May — and from two other events leading up to the second Major of the year (November 2-15).
The three events will determine a ranking, according to which the top-eight teams will be invited to the Fall Major as Legends and the next eight as Challengers, with the remaining eight teams coming from the already existing Minor system in the four main regions.
The developers have asked the main tournament organizers for proposals for the two additional ranking tournaments — pre-existing or new — and listed several requirements, which you can see below:
- The event will be between July and September.
- The event will result in a LAN portion with a minimum of 8 teams. The portion of the event preceding the LAN competition can be online or LAN.
- The event will include a minimum of 24 teams, of which 16 slots are available to teams by Major ranking, and 8 are selected by a process of the TO's choosing.
- The event results will differentiate between the top 16 performing teams and the remaining teams.
- Initial seeding for the event will be done by Major ranking.
- Valve will match up to $250k in prize money.
The email also states that the primary goal of these events will be to identify teams who will be invited to the Major, with Valve stressing that they will not place any constraints on the format, size, and location.
The chosen timeframe collides with the summer player break set up by the Counter-Strike Professional Players' Association, which falls on July 15-August 15 this year.
The invitational system for the Majors has largely remained the same ever since the offline qualifier was added ahead of ESL One Katowice 2015. Slight changes were introduced at the FACEIT Major, when the bottom two teams in the New Legends Stage stopped receiving Challengers status and instead had to go back to the Minor system, with a new "Play-in" tournament determining the two extra spots.