FACEIT has unveiled its brand new look and format for Season Seven of their premier CS:GO tournament, the Esports Championship Series (ECS). The total prize pool for this season, including the finals, stands at $750,000 (£579,000).
The new format will build on the success of Season Six by shifting to a more player-friendly schedule that rewards consistent high-level play. On this, FACEIT Co-Founder Michele Attisani stated: “It’s vital that players can perform at their highest level without burning out.”
Along with a fresh new design, FACEIT has worked closely with players, tournament organisers, and other stakeholders to produce a new schedule with more teams, but fewer matches. Attisani noted that everyone at FACEIT has “worked extremely hard to determine a format and match timings that suit the players, the community, and that helps the CS:GO ecosystem.” The main motivation behind this has been to reduce player fatigue and reward teams throughout the regular season with cash on the line.
The new season will be broken up into four stages. Open Qualifiers begin on 16 February, with teams signing up for single elimination tournaments over 12 days. The entirety of the online season will be knockout matches, with teams who accrue more wins and play well will play fewer games.
Each of the top eight teams from EU and NA will progress to the Challenger Cup where they will face eight invited teams, including champions Astralis. Cup teams will compete in best-of-threes in a Swiss format to determine their ranks for the regular season. The Regular Season will run from 11 March to 9 May and will consist of five eight-team elimination tournaments. Every tournament will have a $25,000 (£19,326) prize up for grabs in each region.
With money on the line no matter the league standings, every team we expect will be bringing their best throughout the season.
The ECS Season will start out hot, with the winners of the first three tournaments automatically qualifying for the LAN Finals at SSE Arena, Wembley. The top-earning sides from EU and NA will join them in the final eight knockout competition to determine the Season Seven ECS Champion.
It all kicks off with the Open Qualifiers on 16th February, and you can sign up and find more information about the competition here.
Esports Insider says: If the changes to the competition structure prove successful, it could serve as a model for other tournaments. Player burnout is a common issue that rarely seems to be talked about. Helping (often young) people stay mentally healthy can only be a good thing. The prize money throughout is a cool change that incentivises competition no matter your standing. It also disincentivises successful teams sandbagging for finals. Season Six was a hit and this looks like it will be too!