ECS returns with a completely new format and overhauled schedule; here’s what happened on week one

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ECS, organized by FaceIT, is one of the biggest online leagues in CSGO. Behind only ESL Pro League, the tournament started its seventh season last week, with a twist.

As announced in February, the online league would follow its competitor and do a overhaul of its format. After all, many teams struggled to keep their schedule between online matches and LAN tournaments on point.

Now, with an new format, ECS is trying to solve all this issues while providing more exciting matches to viewers. Did they managed to do it? And how the online division are being ran with all those changes? Let discover this below.

ECS brings a new format to online leagues

Announced in February, ECS Season VII has a couple of modifications compared to previous season. Firstly, instead of having teams playing a set of two BO1s, games are now a single, BO3 match. This, of course, is not everything that has changed.

Mostly important is how the matches are now scheduled. ECS created five series composed of 8 teams each. Those series are like mini-playoffs, played online, and will be running in different weeks between March 11th to May 24th.

Those series are a single-elimination bracket. Meaning that if you lose your first match of the week, you are already eliminated from the said series. The winner of the three first series are directly qualified for the offline portion of ECS Season VII.

Then, for the last spot, the team with most wins that haven’t qualified yet will be picked at the end of the fifth series. Also, is worth to mention that each series has a $25.000 prize pool, and the winner takes the lion share of $12.000.

Which teams will take part in which series?

If you’re wondering how the teams for each series are picked, is actually fairly simple. Here’s how, according to FaceIT:

“Top eight teams from ECS Season 6 will have priority slots for each series. Any open slots will be filled by the ECS Season 6 ninth and tenth placed teams and the Challenger Teams.”

What wasn’t changed, however, is the regional leagues. ECS still has two divisions, one for European and other for North American teams. You can see which teams are taking part in each below:

Now, we know that the top four teams from each region will be competing for the bigger prize pool of the season in an offline tournament. How are the ruleset and how does this offline portion of ECS works?

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How does the online portion of the tournament work now?

ECS hasn’t done any meaningful changes to the offline portion of the tournament. The four top teams from the online portion from each region will be playing at London in early June for the $500.000 prize pool.

Other than this, the offline tournament will be running on two double-elimination brackets in the group stage. For that stage, the opening matches are going to be best ones and every game after that is a BO3.

Afterwards in the playoffs, all matches are going to be BO3s under a single-elimination bracket.

What happened in the first week at the European division of ECS Season VII?

ECS S7 kicked off with Astralis against LDLC, AVANGAR vs North. While Astralis dominated their opponents, North who started very dominant against the CIS powerhouse ended losing their lead in the first match and followed to lose the game

In the same day, NiP and forZe and Virtus.Pro vs FaZe were played. NiP also shown to be very dominant, even having its focus on WESG 2018. VP had a very successful first map beating FaZe by 16 – 5 but couldn’t hold their lead and lost the BO3.

Going to the semi-finals, we saw NiP struggling to beat FaZe initially but recovering lately to claim the BO3 and taking FaZe off the series. Astralis didn’t break a sweat though, and sent AVANGAR packing.

To close it off, Astralis and NiP faced-off but Astralis didn’t give the Swedes a single chance to breath. Without winning a single map, NiP was the second-place in the first series and Astralis booked their spot to the finals.

What we can take off from this week is that Astralis is basically untouchable now. Teams are rearranging themselves from the Major but we are yet to see a squad promisingly enough to take Astralis off their reign.

What happened in the first week at the North American division of ECS Season VII?

In the Americas, things were more explosive. The division opened with Liquid against Rogue and a Brazilian clash between Luminosity and INTZ. To everyone’s surprise, MSL’s Rogue managed to break Liquid formation and eliminated them convincingly.

Luminosity also finished their match with their heads-up. Afterwards, compLexity and eUnited, Spacestation and NRG. Fortunately for coL, they managed to break their streak of losses and took down eUnited. NRG played to their best with their new player ‘tarik’ and had no issues taking Spacestation down.

In the semi-finals, more surprises were bound to happen. While Rogue upheld their position as favorites against Luminosity, NRG couldn’t do the same. In their match against compLexity, NRG was crushed losing both first maps.

In the finals, compLexity took Rogue to their limit, but thanks to SicK and MSL performances, Rogue kept strong defenses and managed to win their match. Thus, Rogue is the first qualified team from the North Americas.

From the NA region, there’s now a lot of doubts regarding compLexity, Liquid and NRG. Can coL keep up? Is Liquid showing the same faults as SK once TACO left last year?

Still, especially for NRG, they should take this season of ECS as a way to try new things to work on their roster. They’re definitely experimenting things, and while results might not come right away, it will be helpful for them in the long run.

ECS Season VII Week 2 will be starting soon!

The bracket for the second series of ECS S7 is already out and teams are getting ready as the challenge starts on Monday. As always, you can follow our coverage to stay updated and received predictions!

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