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Every competitive online project has its main task to become an esports discipline. Esports increase the interest of users and fans about the game, gives money to develop the project and to grow it at the world’s scale.

The Counter-Strike gaming series dealt with that task excellently and became one of the most popular esports disciplines. And while other projects find the organized LAN-tournament as a big achievement, CS:GO gathers world esports grands around it literally on a monthly basis. Hundreds of thousands of dollars, and even pure gold become CS GO tournament prizes.

One should spend several months studying different materials to understand all the nuances of CS GO tournaments. Still, expert from can help you find out the common Counter-Strike competitive structure with just one article. Read the text below to understand types and formats of tournaments, their matches, prize pools, team & player rating system accounting, etc.

So, let’s rock!

CS:GO Tournament Types

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive has several different types of tournaments organized. In most cases, they are interconnected, but some events are separate from the main event bracket. The list of all kinds of tournaments and matches would be huge, so here are main ones:

  • Regular league tournaments
  • “Cycle” tournaments
  • Intel Grand Slam events
  • Minor events
  • Major events

Every event should be discussed separately, as they all have different organization, prize pool, qualification system and overall structure.

Regular Tournaments

In hockey, there is the NHL. In basketball, there is the NBA. In Counter-Strike, there also are leagues for teams of different levels. The most famous among them are FPL, ECS, ESEA, and ESL. The structure of these tournaments is quite simple: teams play in the online mode, their results get recorded into a tournament table, and then the best crews gather to fight for the cup, rating points and prize money at the season finals.

Cycle Tournaments

Those are regular CS GO events that are not parts of Minor or Major tournaments. For example, it is the BLAST Pro Series event. These tournaments are offline, live on esports arenas demonstrated for thousands of fans.

Such events can have different structures, but usually it is the Double-elimination system with BO1 and BO3 match formats. That type of tournaments is the best from the spectacularity viewpoint.

What about the qualification? Mostly, teams get direct invitations from organizers. Remaining free slots are getting filled through open and closed qualifications.

Intel Grand Slam Tournaments

The Intel company (yes, that one manufacturing PC processors) organizes these events. They are more frequent than other tournaments from one organizer, and they place events in different cities every time. Such esports events are: IEM, DreamHack Masters, and ESL One.

Those CS:GO tournaments are very prestigious and have big prize pools. Teams get to such events either by direct invites or closed qualifications. In addition, since 2018 they are parts of the Intel Grand Slam special reward. The team able to win 4 tournaments in a year gets $1 250 000. The first winners to get that reward were Danish professionals from Astralis. They took their price as pure gold ingots of the equivalent value.

In 2019, Team Liquid took the $1 million Intel Grand Slam prize.

Minor CS GO Tournaments

These events are tickets into big esports for teams below top-10 from all over the world. Minor tournaments do not have big prize pools but they give the right to participate in a big Major event with the $1 000 000 prize pool. Every region of the world has its Minors, and the best teams face each other during the main event of the year – Major.

Major Tournament

It is a dream of any pro player and a goal of any esports organization – to win the CSGO Major Tournament. Dates of Majors are known in advance, and their prize pools are much bigger than those of any other tournaments. Teams can make their way to a Major by the direct invitation or through minors.

Major events bring the most rating points, and teams become famous after participating in them. Additionally, such tournaments are interesting for players because of souvenir chests falling during the Major. We’ll talk about them a bit later.

CS GO Tournament Bracket Structures

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Despite the fact that there exist many different CS:GO tournaments, their organization systems, bracket structures and match types are quite similar. Two most popular tournament formats are: single elimination and double elimination.

  • Single elimination – in this system, teams play elimination series at once, and the loser quits the competition. There is no right for any team to make a mistake. However, this system is not too frequent, as the double elimination format is more popular.
  • Double elimination – here, the tournament has the winner and the loser brackets. The team losing for the first time does not leave the event but falls to the loser bracket. It is still possible for the team to get to the final. Still, if that happens, the team from the winner bracket will have a one map handicap at the beginning of the final match.

Match Types of CS: GO Tournaments

Match types of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive competitions have various numbers of map the team needs to win in order to win the whole match. There exist three main formats: BO1, BO3, and BO5.

  • BO1 – One map. This is the most “random” CSGO match format. Teams ban maps, and finally play the remaining one. This format is used on regular tournaments, qualifications and BLAST Pro Series.
  • BO3 – the most popular tournament format. Teams play till two victories, and also ban and pick wanted maps one by one. All big events and playoff brackets use this format.
  • BO5 – the three-win format is rare to be used. Teams don’t play it during group stages or playoffs. The BO5 format works for some tournament finals like ESL. Obviously, these are the most time-taking matches. A BO5 match can last from 3 to 7 or even 8 hours.

To Conclude

The information above is enough to understand CSGO esports tournaments, their organization and formats. Of course, if you plan to earn some money on Counter-Strike as a pro player, analyst or bettor, you’ll need more specific knowledge. Still, the info from here will be your solid basis.

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