ESL has announced the details around its Australia and New Zealand qualifier ahead of its ESL Sydney event.
The qualification process will come in two parts, an open and closed qualifier. The first portion, the open qualifier, will begin this Sunday, March 19 with a best-of-one single elimination bracket with the winner earning a spot in the closed qualifier. The second open qualifier will go by the same rules and begin on March 26.
IEM Season 12 will kick off its two-day event in Sydney, Australia on May 6 and run through May 7. The event will take place in the 18,000 seat Qudos Bank Arena and feature a prize pool of AUD$260,000, the largest Australian and New Zealand to date.
The Sydney event will see the world's best Counter-Strike: Global Offensive teams compete as six invited teams compete against locals with big dreams.
ESL revealed the first two invited teams in a press release along with announcing the start of season 12 and gave the following statement.
"The line-up of top CS:GO teams invited to compete at Intel Extreme Masters Sydney is headed by SK Gaming, the best team of 2016 and winners of two $1,000,000 CS:GO Majors, including the ESL One Cologne Major in August, and runners-up at the ESL Pro League Finals in Sao Paulo in November and Intel Extreme Masters Oakland in November. Local heroes Renegades, who are widely considered to be Australia and New Zealand’s most successful team, will return to the region to compete in front of a home crowd."
SK Gaming had an unexpected performance at IEM Katowice where the Brazilian squad went out in the group stages with a 2-3 record. Renegades has been struggling to find wins as of late, dropping eight of its last ten matches prior to this week's ranking.
The No. 1 team in the WWG CSGO Team Rankings received invite number three. The Danish squad of Astralis has shown dominance since its rise back to the top at the end of 2016 and through the start of 2017. Along with Astralis, two other Danish teams made it to the playoffs at Katowice, showcasing the countries level of Counter-Strike currently.
A crumbling green wall, No. 8 OpTic Gaming was the fourth invited team.OpTic has not had a good time as of late, losing Peter "stanislaw" Jarguz has hurt the squad tremendously and seen them make a steady move down the rankings, just a bad week away from falling into the middle of the pack. Currently sitting at No. 8, the team came into 2017 ranked as high as No. 4. Coming into this week OpTic has gone 1-9 in its last ten games and will need to find a fix quickly as there are already rumours amidst about players seeking a new organisation to call home.