Learn the basics of CS:GO Tournaments and Majors
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is one of the most influential games in the ever-growing world of eSports. It is also one of the forefathers that made eSports what it is today with all the mainstream media attention and popularity drawn in. Even after almost 10 years, CS:GO tournaments are still relevant to this day and have one of the biggest viewerships in the industry.
The viewership of this game is currently over the million mark, and it doesn’t seem to come down anytime soon. This sustained growth is due to the game’s activity, with so many tournaments held annually, and its eSports scene has still managed to retain its wow factor.
The amount of regular tournaments has made this game stay relevant and successful all this time, with a still-growing fanbase. Valve has made sure to keep the competitive scene of this game strong and alive by conducting massive tournaments themselves and getting third-party organizers to take part as well. These tournaments feature massive prize pools and bring in the most famed CS:GO teams, such as Na’Vi, Astralis, G2 Esports, Faze Clan, etc.
Even though CSGO is a pretty simple and straightforward game, its competitive and eSports scenes can be a little confusing. The main tournaments of the scene are categorized as Minor and Major tournaments according to their region, organizer, and several other factors.
So identifying which major tournament is an actual Major can be somewhat confusing to most fans. While Majors are always officially backed by Valve, Minors also used to be supported by Valve, but now they are organized by ESL, Intel, and other known organizers.
However, this doesn’t necessarily mean Intel or ESL cannot or does not organize Majors. Valve doesn’t usually organize majors, but Valve sponsors these tournaments and plays a part in deciding who can or cannot play. And Major tournaments are considered the main titles of the year, and now Minors have been replaced by a point-based qualification system called Regional Major Ranking (RMR), which differs from the CS:GO Ranking System itself.
Minor Championships and Regional Major Ranking
The competitive scene used to be divided into separate regions, Americas, Europe, the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), and Asia. Each of these regions had its own Minor championship, and these Minor championships usually paved the way for a spot at Major Championships.
However, these Valve-sponsored tournaments stopped with complications from the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Minor Championship system was replaced with the Regional Major Rankings system in 2020.
The Regional Major Ranking (RMR) System now serves as the qualification system for CS:GO Major Championships. This replaced the former Minor Championship system and the old invite system with a point-based qualification system. Teams in the previously mentioned regions now have to earn points by performing well in different tournaments taking place in the months leading up to the Major.
Any organizer can hold these tournaments. Some of the RMR tournaments that have already taken place include PGL Major Antwerp 2022: European RMR A, Intel Extreme Masters XVI – Fall: Europe, StarLadder CIS RMR 2021, DreamHack Open Fall 2020, and more.
Plenty of tournaments occur in a year, and it is difficult to track all of them. However, Majors only occur once or twice a year, and a Major Championship is a title that matters to a team. But what is a CS:GO Major Championship?
As the title suggests, Majors Championships are the primary tournaments deciding which team should be crowned the best team in the world. All the top-ranking teams from each region get a spot at Major Championships and fight on an international stage to prove who is the best team out of the bunch. These tournaments also feature a larger prize pool, usually exceeding 1 million USD.
A Major Championship usually consists of three stages. Each stage determines the top teams and puts them into a more competitive stage where the best fight for the ultimate title a professional CS:GO team could get. The three stages are namely Challengers Stage, Legends Stage, and Champions Stage, and they were first introduced at the ELEAGUE Major: Boston 2018. The stages have been followed ever since. This helped Valve bring more teams onto the stage and increase the number of teams from 16 to 24.
A breakdown of each tournament stage is as follows;
- Challenger Stage: This is the tournament’s first stage, and 16 teams from previous Minor tournaments get to fight it out to determine which 8 teams advance onto the next stage, the Legends stage.
- Legends Stage: The top 8 teams from the Challenger team joins with the top 8 from the previous Major Championship to fight it out for the limited spots in the final stage, the Champions stage. The top 8 teams out of the 16 advances onto the next Champions Stage.
- Champions Stage: This stage was formerly known as the Playoffs, and the best 8 teams from the previous stage get to fight in a knockout format to become the Major Champion.
Next Major and where to watch it
2022 already had a Major Championship in the year’s first half, PGL Major Antwerp 2022. After some nail-biting action and some crazy outplays and turnarounds, Faze Clan became the champions by beating Natus Vincere 2-0.
However, the fun is not still over for the year; IEM Rio Major 2022 will come in to provide some more action-packed encounters with your favorite teams starting Monday, 31 October. The tournament lasts all the way through the first 2 weeks of November, and it will come to an end on Sunday, 13 November.
You can catch the action live on the official channels of the organizers across all major platforms, including Twitch, YouTube, and even Facebook. Apart from that, you can tune into the main live stream of the tournament in the CS:GO game itself or simply join one of the watch parties of your favorite streamers.