Tonight marks the start of the $10,000 Eurocup tournament hosted by Lethamyr. We’ll take you through what happened in the qualifiers and what to expect for tonight’s matches…
Four of tonight’s participants received direct invites to the Eurocup, skipping the qualifying stage. Dignitas, Renault Vitality, FC Barcelona and mousesports obtained places after finishing in the top four of EU RLCS last season. However, three of these teams are not the same now as they were in the Regional Championships just over two months ago.
To fill the remaining four spots, two open qualifiers were held, pitting European and Middle Eastern sides against one another. Oxygen Esports and the newly signed Vodafone Giants made it through Qualifier 1, beating out established teams such as Sandrock Gaming and Servette Geneva. Although still far from favourites, the Giants asserted their right to play in tonight’s Eurocup by beating Oxygen in five games to take the first of the two spots in their qualifier.
Qualifier 2 saw a similar amount of upsets. While Team BDS had arguably the clearer route through the upper bracket of the top 24, they lost just three games across the four series they played to qualify. The Monkeys had a much harder route after being sent to the lower bracket in the first round. However, they took down both Triple Trouble and Team Singularity on their way to qualification. Both Scrub Killa and Metsanauris miss out on a further chance to play with their new sides in tonight’s tournament, as Endpoint were also unable to make it through.
In the first round of a two-day double-elimination bracket, each of the invited teams will face off against a team from the qualifiers. Arguably the key matchup in this first round will be Dignitas vs. Oxygen, with both AztraL and Joreuz having particular points to prove on each side of the ball. AztraL’s exit from Dignitas was not exactly amicable, and he will look to prove his decision was right while Joreuz fights to fill his shoes.
Mousesports saw an opportunity to try something new in the Eurocup and drafted Oxygen’s previous third, Fruity. Even if Fruity is not made a permanent member, it seems likely that Arju’s time with the team is over. Mousesports will be looking to make a splash in the Eurocup with their new lineup, after a tumultuous Season 9. A first-round match against the Spanish side Vodafone Giants gives them the perfect chance to do just that.
Renault Vitality will be facing off against the Monkeys in their first match, and the first game in the tournament. Although without an org, Vitality would do well not to underestimate a side comprised of Eekso, Tahz and Mittaen; the problems Echo Zulu caused Vitality at DreamHack Leipzig last year will doubtless be fresh in their memory.
Barcelona hope to show that they are more than just a support structure for Flakes, who left the side last month. Playing with Moroccan stand-in itachi, they face the Swiss organisation BDS in Round 1. As with mousesports, Barcelona will hope to get any jitters out of the way against BDS and look to make a deeper run into tomorrow’s games.
Of course, future matchups in such an evenly-matched bracket are almost impossible to predict. Both Vitality and Dignitas would expect themselves to make the Winner’s Finals; however, Oxygen and mousesports provide big roadblocks to each of their paths. Despite valiant performances in the qualifiers, sides like Giants Gaming and Team BDS face uphill battles from here on out.
Round 1 matchups in such a short tournament are going to be crucial in setting the tone. A Monkeys upset would set them up very nicely for a push deeper into the tournament. With many of the top teams trying out new rosters, the qualified teams should not view a match against RLCS stalwarts as unwinnable.
Prize money is not guaranteed for these teams. The winner of the Eurocup takes home $4,000, while second place takes $2,500, leaving spare change for much of the rest. There are bound to be upsets and big teams leaving the tournament disappointed. Be sure to tune in at 4pm BST to catch all of the action on Twitch.