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ESL have announced the decision to raise the number of participants in its European division of the ESL Pro League. The region will now feature 16 teams over the previous 14.

This move will see the Swedish duo of fnatic and Ninjas in Pyjamas moved to safety, avoiding the potential of relegation for falling to the bottom of the league.

People have questioned the timing as the ESL Pro League Season 9 finals are just days away but Senior Vice President of Product at ESL, Ulrich Schulze has attempted to put worries to rest in a tweet.

“The change to 16 teams in EU is part of a pretty significant and far reaching change in format of Pro League which we have been working on for several months. We will release more details after the finals in Odense,” the post read.

World Champion Astralis player Andreas “xyp9x” Højsleth wasn’t completely sold though and shared his concerns in a follow-up tweet.

Now things get exciting for a scene complaining about too many online matches as the ESL executive expresses a new format that will please Xyp9x.

The format change will see OpTic get their shot at making Pro League along with 3DMAX, Virtus.pro, AGO, and Kinguin. These matches will take place at the MDL Global Challenge with the following format.

EU relegation:

  • The winner of the MDL play-in match 3DMAX vs. Virtus.pro directly qualifies for Pro League Season 9
  • AGO, Team Kinguin, OpTic Gaming and the loser of 3DMAX / VP play relegation for the two remaining spots
  • Relegation is a 4-team BO3 double-elimination bracket

On the other side of the pond, Swole Patrol will take on cantwinalan for a spot in the prestigious division with the loser pinned against Envy, Rogue, and Singularity.

NA relegation:

  • The winner of the MDL play-in match Swole Patrol  vs. cantwinalan directly qualifies for Pro League Season 9
  • Team Envy, Rogue, Singularity and the loser of Swole Patrol / cantwinalan play relegation for the two remaining spots
  • Relegation is a 4-team BO3 double-elimination bracket

You can read the full announcement here.

(Photo: ESL)

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