With the New Year barely underway, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive’s elite are already preparing for their first shot at glory, with the ELEAGUE Major 2018 Boston set to kick off the esports calendar.
Gambit Esports, Fnatic and SK Gaming will be competing for a $1m prize pool. The eventual winner will take home $500,000, providing the perfect start to 2018. 100 Thieves, Astralis, BIG, North and Virtus.pro will be joining them in the later stages of the tournament.
These eight teams automatically qualified for the ELEAGUE Major 2018 Champions Stage due to their performances at the PGL Major Krakow CS:GO tournament back in July. However, they will be joined by an additional eight teams by the time the main stage gets underway.
Due to the series’ reception in Atlanta, hosts Valve have decided to expand the format in order to increase the number of teams taking part at the ELEAGUE Major 2018. A total of 24 teams will be competing over three stages, up from 16 in 2017.
The tournament will get underway with the New Challengers Stage on 12 January. This part of the competition will be staged in Atlanta’s ELEAGUE Arena behind closed doors.
The top eight performers in the New Challengers Stage will proceed to the New Legends Stage. The ELEAGUE Arena will host this part of the tournament between 19 to 22 January. They will compete against the current Legends for a place in the ELEAGUE Major 2018 Boston finals.
Eight teams will qualify for the New Champions Stage at Boston’s Agganis Arena. The champion will be crowned at the grand final on 28 January.
ELEAGUE Major 2018 teams
ELEAGUE Major Boston: teams to watch
The PGL Major Krakow taught us that it’s pointless to speculate on winners. Nobody expected Gambit to win the top prize. However, they prevailed over the likes of Fnatic, Astralis and Immortals to win their first premier tier tournament.
All competing teams have earned their place at the tournament and would be worthy winners. However, esports fans are tipping the usual crowd to produce wins in Boston.
Bookmakers have made FaZe the early favourites, closely followed by SK Gaming and Astralis. The esports community has predicted a similar result.
However, despite winning three of the four major tournaments that they have competed in since October, few rate the chances of SK. The team will be forced to play Felps for the first time since he was replaced with Immortals’ Boltz. The Brazilian gamer struggled to adapt to SK’s style of play and poor form ultimately saw him dropped to the bench. However, will get the chance to redeem himself at the ELEAGUE Major 2018, as Valve’s roster lock rules mean that Boltz is unavailable.
ELEAGUE Major 2018 stickers
Valve released a set of ingame items ahead of ELEAGUE Major 2018 to commemorate the event.
The video game giant has released a sticker and graffiti for each of the 24 teams involved. Likewise, there is also a sticker and graffiti set for the tournament. In total, there are 50 items for players to collect. Players can place these items on their weapons to show support for their favourite team.
Half of the proceedings from sticker sales will go to the organisations involved, offering yet more revenue to competitors.
View the set and find out more in-game or on the official Counter-Strike website.
ELEAGUE Major 2018 tickets
The final stage of the tournament will be open to spectators. Three-day tickets for the New Champions Stage at Boston’s Agganis Arena are currently available at a cost of $120.
All ticket-holders will receive access to the venue between 26-28 January. Likewise, attendees will also receive a goodie bag containing a beanie, fidget spinner, luggage tag and battery pack.
Click here to grab a ticket via Ticketmaster.