Riot Games and FACEIT have announced a collaboration for the upcoming Scouting Grounds event. The new format, called the Scouting Grounds Circuit, will see teams play through the circuit to earn spots at Scouting Grounds in November. The first four stages of the circuit will be through third-party tournament organizers. FACEIT will hold four qualifiers afterward, with the top two teams from each qualifier going to playoffs of the event.
The four organizations hosting the qualifiers are Dark Star Gaming, Upsurge Esports, Paleo Gaming, and Player One Esports. These stages will take place from June to August with varying prize pools. Teams will be able to play in multiple stages simultaneously, and players are not locked to the same team between stages. However, players may not play on multiple teams within a single stage. If a single team wins multiple stages, a representative will be chosen through trickle down until sixteen unique teams are selected for the Scouting Grounds Circuit playoffs.
The Bloody Invitational Gaming League, hosted by DSG, will run from July 1 to August 29, with open qualifiers on the two last weekends of June. Twelve teams will be directly invited after an application process, with four coming from Open Qualifiers. The B.I.G. League will host a Swiss bracket tournament with eight teams going to playoffs, all playing for a piece of an $8,5000 prize pool. The top two teams at the end of playoffs will obtain seeds in the FACEIT Scouting Grounds Circuit.
Upsurge Esports will organize two tournaments to qualify for the Scouting Grounds Circuit. The first is the ongoing Upsurge Premier League, of which the top eight teams will get into playoffs. The winner will qualify for the Scouting Grounds Circuit as well as receive a $3,000 prize pool. The second tournament will be an open qualifier starting August 3 for the second spot into the Scouting Ground Circuit.
Paleo Gaming will host the Imperial Esports Pro League, with open qualifiers starting on July 20th. The tournament will have sixteen teams, eight from applications and eight from open qualifiers, playing for a $3,000 prize pool, with finals on August 30. The top two teams will go on to the Scouting Grounds Circuit.
Player One Esports will feature seven invited teams and one team from open qualifiers in an eight-team league with a $2,500 prize pool. The league will start open qualifiers on July 6, with finals concluding on August 29. The top two teams will proceed to the Scouting Grounds Circuit.
FACEIT will hold four two-day open qualifiers starting on July 13, August 10, August 17, and August 31. Each qualifier will have a $2,500 prize pool and will see the top two teams proceeding to the Scouting Grounds Circuit.
The sixteen teams that win through the eight qualifiers will play in a playoff from September 6 to 15. Just like the B.I.G. League, the first stage of playoffs will use a Swiss system. The top eight teams will proceed to knockout stage, where they will vie for a $30,000 prize pool and one of two spots at Scouting Grounds in November.
What does this mean?
No longer will Scouting Grounds be based purely on solo queue, and life will be breathed back into the North American League scene. Tournaments like Bloody and Upsurge have filled the gap in the time since Challenger ended, and now they have legitimacy from Riot. This should increase interest not only in that tier of League of Legends play, but also exposure for players looking to make it into Academy.
Speaking of the players, this also provides them a great avenue other than just the solo queue path of the old SG format. Players won’t be left out purely due to not playing enough ranked. Instead, they can show what they have at Scouting Grounds.
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