CS:GO eSports Tournament System and How Does It Work?

Counter Strike: Global Offensive eSport discipline has a broad ecosystem of online and offline major and minor tournaments. Nowadays, a newly created team has to go through several hell circles to qualify for a big event. So what are the formats of CS:GO Major and Minor tournaments? How to qualify for a Minor? How does CS GO Major work? Let’s take a deep breath and try to understand the CS:GO ecosystem and answer the question ‘Does Valve need to introduce the League and Ranking system?’.

CS:GO Major and Minor tournaments conducting

How does CS GO Major work?

The Majors were initially introduced by Valve in 2013. Firstly, they had a $250K prize pool, but it was changed to $1 mil not long ago. Worth mentioning that previously CS:GO already had Majors, however, they were not supported by Valve.

Starting from January 2018, Valve made a bold attempt to change the Major system. They introduced Offline Qualifier to Major as a first stage of the tournament. This allowed to increase the number of teams in a CS:GO Major from 16 to 24, create bigger and more structured Majors Stages.

Challengers Stage replaced Offline Qualifier. 16 teams compete for 8 spots in the next stage.

Legends Stage replaced the normal Major group stage. 8 teams from Challengers stage and 8 directly invited teams compete for 8 spots at Champions Stage.

Champions Stage replaced normal Major Playoffs. At this stage, 8 best teams fight to define the Major Champion.

*Top-8 teams from every Major get direct invites to the Legends Stage of the next Valve Major.

*Top-6 teams from Legends stage get direct invites to the Challengers Stage of the next Valve Major.  

CSGO Minors system

Minor Championships or simply ‘Minors’ serve as qualifiers to Majors and professional tournaments for tier2, tier3 and new teams. The Minors have $50K prize pool. They are held in 4 regions: Americas, Asia, CIS and Europe.

As a new team, to get to either offline or online Minor, you have to start with regional open qualifiers. By winning the open Quals you advance to the Closed regional qualifiers where you face the other teams from your region that either earned the place in Closed Quals due to their ranking, results in the previous events or advancing from the Open Quals. The quantity of teams that go through the Closed Quals differ depending on the Minors format.

Check out CSGO events calendar to watch your favorite teams and players climbing for the Olympia of CS:GO professional scene.

CS:GO Majors and Main Tournaments

CS:GO Major Championship

Unfortunately, Valve had to postpone the Major Championship Spring to May 2021. The event is planned to be held with the above-described Major Format. However, both event Organizer and Location are yet to be discovered. 


ESL One is still holding its Major tournaments with the old format. Group stage with 2 groups, 8 teams in each. Top-3 from each group advance to single-elimination bracket playoffs. The upcoming Majors in Rio and Cologne were postponed to November and August respectively. 


This CIS tournament organizer holds both Major and Minor events. In 2019 they organized Minors for the 4 most significant CS:GO regions: CIS, Asia, Europe and Americas. The Minors served as qualifiers for the main StarLadder event of the year – Berlin Major 2019. The Major was held with the new Valve Major format in August-September 2019.  


The event is organized by FACEIT in a league format. Flashpoint features 8 ‘Founding Members’ and 4 teams qualified from LAN Qualifiers. The Founding Members include: Cloud9, c0ntact Gaming, Dignitas, Team Envy, Gen.G Esports, MAD Lions, MIBR and FunPlus Phoenix. The league has 2 phases and playoffs. It starts with 3 GSL groups, each of them has 4 teams. The groups are seeded in GSL-style a day before the event starts. 8 teams who earn the most points qualify for the playoffs. 

Valve plans to change the Major system

Starting from the Fall, Valve plans to introduce a complete ranking system which is meant to replace direct invites. According to Valve’s email to the leading tournament organizers, the initial ranking system will be based on the Spring Major (ESL One Rio) and two other events prior to the second Major of 2020 in November.

Due to the ranking standings, top-8 teams will get invites to the Legends Stage of the Fall Major. The teams, ranked between 8-16 place will get invites to the Challengers Stage. While the other 8 participants of the Challengers Stage will still qualify from Minors in 4 main regions: Americas, CIS, Europe, Asia.

The new ranking system is positively estimated by the fans. The dedicated CS:GO audience is expecting that the new system will be more fair to the teams and provide more value to CS:GO global rankings. We also think that the ranking system will make Counter Strike: Global Offensive as an eSport discipline more transparent and fun to watch.

Bookmark BuffHub CS:GO to read all the latest Counter Strike Global Offensive news, previews, overviews and match predictions.

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