While it may have fallen out of the news cycle during the beginning of 2019, the administrative team behind FACEIT and the ECS Pro league have not forgotten. Much of 2018 was dominated by the topic of over saturation in the Counter-Strike scene due to the sheer amount of tournaments and the travel associated with attending. All that may soon be changing.
Today, FACEIT revealed a new format for the Esports Championship Series (ECS). In an unprecedented move, FACEIT and other tournament organizers have gotten together and will reduce the number of matches to help alleviate the strain placed on players. Feedback was solicited during and after the Season 6 playoffs and FACEIT has been working with teams and processing other feedback from the community to determine the best format and schedule. 2019 will see more teams compete with fewer games played for each team and best of three introduced so each game will offer higher stakes making this the most competitive CS:GO tournament in the calendar.
From the release:
To kick off the start of the new season, FACEIT is also pleased to reveal the brand new look for ECS. An updated logo, along with an updated typeface and colour scheme have been created with the aim of expanding the possibilities of the ECS brand, and allowing it to adapt to new formats and creative ideas more easily.
The new brand marks the start of an epic new competition. The entirety of the online season will offer knockout matches making it all the more exciting for fans as every game will count. Teams who play well will play less and the introduction of best-of-three means only the consistently strongest teams will advance.
Each season will still consist of four phases; the Open Qualifiers, Challenger Cup, Regular Season and LAN Finals. Open Qualifiers start on February 16th with teams from NA and EU competing in single elimination brackets, which teams can sign up for at http://fce.gg/ecs. Eight teams from each region will progress to the Challenger Cup on March 5th along with eight invited teams who will compete in a best-of-three Swiss format which will determine their ranking for the Regular Season.
The Regular Season starting on March 11th will then consist of five eight-team single elimination tournaments with each week offering a prize pool of $25,000 per region to maintain a consistent and high-level of competition. Each Regular Season tournament will be filled by the ECS Season 7 teams available for that week, with empty slots filled by Challenger Cup teams. The winners of the first three weeks of competition will head straight to the Finals, with the fourth spot per region filled by the team with the most overall prize money won over the five Regular Season cups.
“We have worked extremely hard to determine a format and match timings that suit the players, the community and that help the CS:GO ecosystem,” said Michele Attisani. “It’s vital that players can perform at their highest level without burning out and it’s fantastic that as an industry we recognize the benefit in working together towards a long-term goal. At the same time we’re excited about what the new format means for fans- every game will matter.”
The live Finals will once again head back to SSE Arena, Wembley on June 6-9th but for the first time the finals will take place across four days instead of the traditional three.