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ESL Pro League: The New Way to the Top

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We’re excited to share with you all our plans for the future of the ESL Pro League (EPL) within the ESL Pro Tour (EPT).

Key Takeaways:

  • The ESL Pro League will expand from 24 to 34 teams
  • An additional stage has been added: EPL Conference
  • All EPT Challenger level competitions qualify into ESL Pro League
  • EPL Season 15 will start on 23.11.2021, acting as a transitional season

Our Vision for ESL Pro League

Our vision is to streamline and simplify the path for teams to advance within the ESL Pro Tour. Moving forward, EPL will become the host of all EPT Challenger tournaments.

In order to facilitate this change, ESL Pro League will be extended by an additional week and a new stage created called the EPL Conference. The EPL Conference will act similar to that of the IEM Cologne & IEM Katowice play-in.

Sixteen teams earn their spots into ESL Pro League exclusively via our EPT Challenger Competitions.

  • ESL National Championships
  • ESL Challenger (formerly known as DH Open)
  • ESL Challenger Leagues (formerly known as ESEA Premier).

Bigger & Better - Expanding to 34 Teams

ESL Pro League will increase to 34 teams from its current 24, starting from Season 15. An additional week of competition will be added and an increase in prize pool to $850,000, as well as more EPT points will be up for grabs.

One way to the Top - All EPT Challenger teams into EPL

Simplification is key. We’ve implemented these changes with the goal of simplifying the EPT structure to make it clearer and easier for players and teams to understand how to advance within the EPT system.

Simply put: Win an EPT Challenger competition and qualify for ESL Pro League.

The EPT Connection

ESL Pro League Season 15 - A Transitional Season

The next season will serve as a transitional season as we look to implement our long term vision. What this means is that the EPL S15 slot distribution will honour & respect teams who’ve won or are currently playing for advancement into an EPT Masters competition from 2021.

  • DHO Winners who advanced and have yet to compete in an EPT Masters tournament
  • ESEA Premier S38 teams currently competing for EPL Group Stage advancement
  • ESL National Championship teams currently competing for advancement to the NC: Global Playoff which will be replaced by the EPL Conference moving forward.

EPL Season 15 - Conference Team Distribution

DreamHack Open ESL National Championship ESEA Premier S38

DHO 45 Winner: Team Renewal

5-8x TBD Slots NA Runner-Up
DHO 45 Winner: Extra Salt   EU Runner-Up
DHO 46: ANZ Winner    
DHO 46: SA Winner    
DHO 46: NA Winner    
DHO 47: EU Winner    

EPL Season 15 - Group Stages Team Distribution

Conference Group Stages Play-offs
DHO Winners: 6x ESL Partner Teams: 13x Group Stages: 12x
ESEA Premier S38: 2x ESL World Ranking: 5x  
ESL National Championships: 5-8x ESEA Premier 38: EU 1st  
  ESEA Premier 38: NA 1st  
  ESEA Premier 38: ANZ 1st  
  Conference: 3x  

The Season 16 slot distribution will be rearranged to match the vision described at the top of the article.

The Scheduling

Due to how the CS:GO calendar is currently planned in 2022, we will be unable to have the EPL Conference take place alongside the Group Stages & Playoffs. Therefore in the upcoming seasons, the EPL Conference will take place several weeks ahead during the already scheduled DreamHack festival dates.

The EPL Season 15 Conference will take place online. Starting in 2022 it will transition to become a LAN competition and take place at DreamHack festivals respectively.

Following the implementation of these structural changes to both EPL and the EPT system we’re excited to see which teams will be successful at the Season 15 EPL Conference! There’s plenty of elite tier Counter-Strike coming up within the ESL Pro Tour, most notably Intel® Extreme Masters: Fall 2021 standing out as an RMR event will begin soon!