Valve announces ranking points will replace direct invites for the CS:GO Rio Major

Astralis with the Starladder Berlin Major trophy

To ensure only the top teams in the world have a chance of grabbing a seat at this year’s first and only Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Major, Valve is changing the rules. Now all 24 teams competing at the tournament must earn their place through a Regional Major Rankings system, with different regions given different opportunities.

The announcement follows the decision to postpone the Major, which was due to take place later this month, due to spread of coronavirus worldwide. With the tournament pushed back to November, making it a full year since the last Major, Valve wants to make sure only the best teams in the world get a chance to play for the $2 million prize pool.

To do that, the developer has replaced the direct invites system with a ranking system, where teams will battle it out to earn points over a series of regional tournaments. The first tournament that’ll give out RMR points will be ESL One: Road to Rio later this month, where 56 teams will participate. Teams that were classed as legends and challengers will be given some RMR points to start out, although Valve hasn’t disclosed how many just yet.

Like a standard CS:GO Major, 24 teams across six regions will book a place at the Major in November. There will still be eight legends, eight challengers (returning), and eight contenders (new), but each region has been allocated invites for these slots depending on their performance in the previous Major. The invites for the regions are as follows:

EU CIS NA SA AS OC
Legends 3 2 3 0 0 0
Challengers 5 1 2 0 0 0
Contenders 2 2 1 1 1 1

This system means that there will not be Minors for the Rio Major. The teams that had previously qualified will be invited to play in their region’s respective competition. The $225,000 prize pool for the cancelled Minor will now be divided across the May and Fall Regional Major Ranking series, meaning regional tournaments will have a minimum of $10,000 set as their prize pool.

It’s also worth noting that Valve has specified that a team’s region is determined by their current location. With travel restrictions in place worldwide, some teams might have to adapt quickly. Roster changes will also be penalised by Valve. Up to two members of a team can be switched out, but it will cost the team involved 20% of their points per player.

A detailed RMR points breakdown will be published by Valve at a later date.