As Europe’s regional leagues finish up for the split, their top sides are now set to meet in European Masters to prove who is the best team outside of the LEC.
Occurring twice per year, EU Masters has consistently provided a platform for the region’s emerging talent; with a number of players having earned LEC spots after solid performances since the tournament’s inception in 2018.
Despite previous iterations having a live audience final, Spring’s EU Masters is set to be played out entirely online (due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic) with each side playing from their homes/gaming houses. The Main Event’s teams have been placed into 4 groups and each will compete in a double round-robin. Group stage games begin on Wednesday 22nd April and, with a three-day rest between 26th-28th, finish on Saturday 2nd May.
The top two sides from each group will move on to the knockout stage, where the quarter-finals and semi-finals will be played over best-of-three series while the grand final will be a best-of-five. Quarter-finals will be played on Tuesday 5th and Wednesday 6th May, while the semi-finals and grand final will play out on Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th respectively.
Surprisingly, both of last years European Masters winners (Misfits Premier and BIG) have failed to qualify for the Spring 2020 tournament, while other previous winners Origen and MAD Lions now compete with their main sides in the LEC (though the latter’s academy side did feature in the Play-In stage).
Each group contains a team from each pool of seeds, with seeding decided based both on the teams’ positions in their respective leagues as well as the leagues’ overall performance levels. Much like the UEFA coefficient used to determine how many sides each football leagues sees qualify for the Champions League, EU Masters spots (and seeding) can change depending on the results of teams from said leagues. For example, the UKLC had previously seen 1 team enter the Play-Ins and another enter directly to the Group Stage, however a rise in their EUM performances has meant that both BTXL and Fnatic Rising qualified directly to the group stage this time around.
Of all groups, Group A is undoubtedly the group of death. Featuring sides from the LFL (GamersOrigin), Prime League (Team GamerLegion) and UKLC (BT Excel) means that Group A hosts teams from some of the top ERLs (with the LVP SLO completing the big 4).
Other fierce teams that will be looking to contend for the tournament include France’s LDLC (sporting legendary former Fnatic support YellOwStaR), DACH’s Schalke 04 and mousesports, Spain’s Vodafone Giants and Movistar Riders and the UK’s Fnatic Rising.
|BT Excel||UKLC||UK & Ireland|
|Team GamerLegion||Prime League||DACH|
|YDN Gamers||PG Nationals||Italy|
|Vodafone Giants||LVP SLO||Spain|
|FC Schalke 04 Evolution||Prime League||DACH|
|Movistar Riders||LVP SLO||Spain|
|eSuba||Hitpoint Masters||Czech R. & Slovakia|
|Fnatic Rising||UKLC||UK & Ireland|
The Prime League is arguably the most stacked of all ERLs, and mousesports’ roster is no exception. Mid-laner LIDER was part of the Spring 2019 Misfits Premier roster which won EUM and he even went on to have a solid showing for their LEC side (being unlucky to find himself back in the regional leagues this split).
Their bot lane also boasts familiar names in Jeskla (formerly of Excel) and promisq (formerly of G2) in what is likely the strongest side on paper in the tournament. Despite this, Schalke Evolution (with the ever infamous Gilius in the jungle) beat them to the top spot of the Prime League in a 3-1 final series win. Impressive as that victory was, their side’s relative lack of experience at this higher level may open the door for mouse, whose LEC vetted players can step up and guide their team through the tournament.
I’m tipping mouse to take the trophy as their roster will be as hungry as ever to earn their places back in the LEC and prove that they deserve spots at the highest level. While they will need to compete closely with Schalke, they will also have to keep a close eye on every side from the top 4 regions who will all be expecting nothing less than to be crowned champions themselves.