Running from September 8th to October 13th, the ELEAGUE Premier 2017 is now firmly underway with 16 teams competing for a share of $1,000,000.
The tournament will begin with group stages before leading onto the single-elimination, Bo3 playoffs. While the majority of the tournament is played online, the finals will take place in Atlanta, Georgia, similar to previous years.
Competing teams and group makeup
Out of the 16 teams competing, 5 have entered through qualifying stages while the remaining 11 are invited.
OpTic found themselves disqualified from the tournament due to recent roster changes misaligning with the ELEAGUE rules. The rules don’t allow teams to change more than two players on their roster. OpTic has swapped three players as they have only kept Keith “NAF” Markovic and Óscar “mixwell” Cañellas.
Gambit failed to qualify after losing 14-16 on Train to the Polish squad AGO in the qualifiers. This comes as a disappointing blow for the recent PGL Major Krakow winners. Since their failure to qualify for ELEAGUE however, they managed to take home $22,000 and 3rd place at DreamHack Masters Malmö.
- Natus Vincere
Despite the recent addition of Olof ‘olofmeister’ Kajbjer (formerly Fnatic) and Ladislav “GuardiaN” Kovács (previously in Na’Vi), FaZe have slipped in the overall rankings. After losing 1-2 to Gambit, FaZe failed to make it out of the group stages of DreamHack Masters Malmö.
It will no doubt make an exciting match when GuardiaN plays his former team, Na’Vi as they begin in the same group. Na’Vi will be feeling confident against at least one team in their group as they recently defeated Renegades 2-0 on Cobblestone and Train. They’ve also managed to pick up wins against G2 and FaZe, but given recent roster changes, it’s unsafe to assume that momentum will be carried forward.
The Brazilian side of Immortals fought their way into the event by winning every map handed to them during the North American qualifiers. However, they’ll stand against tougher opposition in Group B. Knowing this, and with a string of bad results at ESL Pro League, Immortals will need to seriously step up their game if they want to make out of the group stages.
If DreamHack Masters Malmö is anything to go off, Immortals might find a win against Fnatic as they managed to take them down 2-0 in the group decider match of the tournament. Fnatic has only played two games since Malmö, both being wins against the French side, EnVyUs.
North proved many analysts wrong during their performance at Malmö and has had plenty of games to practise on in the meantime at ECS Season 4 and ESL Pro League. Also in group B is the European squad of Mousesports who have struggled to make headlines recently following a lack of any consistent map wins.
- Virtus Pro
The Swedish squad of NiP have certainly picked up momentum in recent months and boast 3rd place finish at Malmö and wins against teams such as Na’Vi, Gambit and FaZe.
Things aren’t looking good for the EnVyUs team after only winning 3 of their last 10 maps. It’s a slightly better story for Virtus Pro who have won 5/10 of their most recent maps. Interestingly, this includes a win against fellow Group C members, Cloud9. The American squad struggled to get past SK during Malmö and have since won and lost a map to Immortals.
After making it through their respective qualifiers, Heroic and Liquid have arguably got the most unlucky group placement. Up against seasoned veterans SK and Astralis, it’s unlikely they’ll make it out of Group D.
Astralis will play Liquid in the first match of Group D, followed by SK vs Liquid. Assuming an SK vs Astralis winners match takes place, the Danish side of Astralis should feel quietly confident after beating SK 2-0 in the quarterfinals of PGL Major Krakow on Cache and Overpass.
With $500,000 going to the 1st place winners of ELEAGUE Premier 2017, the winners will be the highest paid team of ELEAGUE history.
To put it into perspective, seasons one and two of ELEAGUE guaranteed $400,000 each!