Valve has partnered with Chinese distributor and event organiser Perfect World to run the final CS:GO Oceanic qualifier to November’s Rio Major, the Perfect World Oceanic League Fall (POL), which is set to begin August 28.
The current Regional Major Rankings (RMR) top four – Renegades, ORDER, Ground Zero Gaming & The Chiefs Esports Club – will be joined by the four qualifiers from the two-day open bracket, with the final eight battling it out over a five-day double elimination stage for the lion’s share of $50,000 USD.
Crucially, the top four at POL Fall will earn the last RMR points ahead of the November Major. The squad with the most points following POL Fall will earn Oceania’s single Contenders spot at the premier event, and while it is technically possible for an unranked team to sweep their way to Rio, it’s largely a two horse race between Renegades and ORDER.
Just 100 points separate qualifier favourites Renegades and upcoming challengers ORDER after May’s opening RMR event. With the increased number of points up for grabs at POL Fall, ORDER can snatch the spot away from Renegades if they finish ahead come the playoffs in September.
Ground Zero and The Chiefs sit third and fourth respectively on the RMR leaderboard but roster changes between both squads have seen point reductions, with The Chiefs’ points reset entirely after the departure of Chris ‘Jinxx’ Moseley, Jordan ‘Skullhunter’ Newland & Daryl ‘Mayker’ May following the May Road to Rio event.
With the player break coming to an end this week ahead of DreamHack Open Summer, the gap at the top has all but closed entirely. Chris ‘dexter’ Nong’s Renegades remain favourites heading into the start of the season but the gap has all but closed following a surprising end to the previous season. ORDER proved that Renegades could bleed with a victory at the ESL ANZ Championships Season 10 finals, whilst also taking out close rivals AVANT Gaming at the ESL Pro League Season 12 qualifier.
AVANT Gaming were on the rise after a roster rebuild in March – three series wins over ORDER at Season 10 of ESL ANZ Championships and improved results against Renegades had them knocking on the door of the number one Oceanic squad in April.
But a shock loss at the Asia Minor Qualifier to The Chiefs meant missing out on the opening Road to Rio tournament and, most importantly, missing RMR points entirely. Back-to-back second place finishes soured AVANT’s end of the season, and Chris ‘ofnu’ Hanley’s departure has left the squad relying on coach David ‘Kingfisher’ Kingsford in the short-term.
As is, there has been no official change in date or location of the November Major in Rio de Janeiro. However, with the worsened COVID-19 situation in Brazil, compounded with long-distance travel difficulties, it is unclear yet if Valve and organiser ESL will continue as planned.
Riot Games has already announced changes to the premier League of Legends Worlds tournament, with the regional tour scrapped for a single location ‘bubble’ in Shanghai, China, while Valve opted to outright cancel Dota 2’s The International in Stockholm, Sweden this year.
POL Fall begins with the open qualifier on August 28, with the final eight hitting the server on September 2 to decide Oceania’s representative at the November Major. Stay tuned to Here’s The Thing for more esports news, updates, commentary and more in and around Oceania.