Amid COVID-19 outbreak which put most of the esports scene to a stop, some of esports competitions and leagues are slowly returning with an online format, one of which is European Masters, which is confirmed to begin next month, on Monday, April 6, with €120,000 in the prize pool.
European Masters has played a huge role in the rise of the European League of Legends scene, as it's widely regarded as a league which fosters some of the best young talents, some of which are bound to develop and become future European LoL stars.
The tournament will begin on Monday, April 6, thus re-opening the proving grounds for rising European talent, who strive to get their names out for LEC teams to notice and give them a chance to prove their worth at the highest level of the LoL competitive scene.
Official schedule for 2020 European Masters:
April 6 to 9 - Play-In stage
April 13 to May 2 – Group stage
May 4 to 5 - Quarter-finals
May 9 - Semi-finals
May 10 - Finals
As revealed by Riot Games, the Play-in stage won't be broadcasted by Riot, but will instead only be available on the Riot's partnered broadcasts. That said, the rest of the tournament, including group stage, quarter-finals, semi-finals and the finals will be available on the official European Masters Twitch channel.
European Masters format:
The play-in stage will kick off with 16 teams in attendance, who will compete for a spot at the main event. The group stage will divide the participating teams into four groups of four, where a double round-robin format will be in place. All fixtures will be played as best-of-one (Bo1), with only top two teams from each group advancing into the knockout stage.
The knockout stage will feature eight teams, where first seeded teams from the group stage will face off against the second-placed teams. Unlike how it was in the group stage, however, all fixtures in the knockout stage are played as Bo3. The four winners of the Spring Play-In will then advance into the Spring Main Event.
At the time of writing, 11 teams are already confirmed to compete in the European Masters Spring Play-In stage. Those teams are: mousesports, Team GamerLegion. Vodafone Giants, ŠAIM SE, Racoon, YDN Gamers, Kenty, PIGSPORTS, Intrepid Fox Gaming, For The Win Esports and Electronik Generation.
Attending the European Masters Main Event will be 16 teams, four of which will advance from the Play-In stage, while the remaining spots will be awarded to 12 prequalified teams from DACH, Spain, France, U.K., Poland, Nordics, Balkans, and Italy.
The European Masters main event will kick off with the group stage, where 16 teams will be drawn into four groups based on seeding. Each group will be composed of one "Pool 1" team, two "Pool 2" teams and one "Pool 3" team. The groups also cannot have more than one team from the same region.
The group stage will be played in a double round-robin format, with all matches played as Bo1. Top two teams from each group will then advance into the knockout stage, where eight remaining teams will compete in a single-elimination bracket, with all matches besides the grand finals (Bo5) will be played as Bo3.
The grand finals are set to be played on May 10, 2020, with the champions taking home €40,000 in tournament winnings, while the runners-up will pocket €25,000 consolation prize.
At the time of writing, FC Schalke 04 Evolution and LDLC OL have already qualified for the event via Prime League 2020 Spring Playoffs and LFL 2020 Spring Playoffs respectively.
Although a lower-tier competition, European Masters never fails to amaze LoL fans with the quality of players that participate in it. Many of individuals who compete and strive to prove themselves at European Masters later become members of LEC squads, seeing how Misfits Gaming's roster is made up of several players who competed in Misfits Premier (Misfits academy team) in 2019, while Matyáš “Carzzy” Orság, who was formerly a member of 2019 European Masters Summer champions BIG signed for MAD Lions, who are currently vying for a playoffs spot in the 2020 LEC Spring Split.