IEM Katowice Seeding and Format Changes Announced

The IEM Katowice Major will feature a new seeding style and format, organizer ESL announced Monday.

The new format affects both the Challengers and Legends stages of the first Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Major of the year, and ESL describes it as the most balanced Major format in the game's history.

Competition at the Major begins with the Challengers stage, featuring two teams each from the Americas, Europe, CIS and Asia Minors. An additional two teams will qualify through the Minor Play-in from among all the third placing teams at the previous Minors. The final six teams in the Challengers stage will be those who placed 9-14 at the FACEIT London Major in September.

The stage will be played using a redesigned Swiss system that begins with crowdsourced seeding. Each team is asked to rank the other 15 teams based on skill, with anomalies in rating being discarded to avoid collusion. Those ranks are aggregated to seeds, which are then converted into ELOs.

Each Swiss round's seeding will be determined by the participating teams' ELOs, and ELOs will be adjusted after each round based on performance. Repeat matches cannot take place, and all advancement and elimination matches will be best-of-three.

The new system is designed to prevent comparable teams from having wildly different degrees of difficulty in their paths to advancement. It also corrects differences in perceived skill and actual performance over time.

The Legends stage, which features the top eight teams from the Challengers stage and the top eight teams from the FACEIT London Major, will also use the new Swiss format. The first two days of each stage's five will feature concurrent streams to facilitate the increased number of best-of-three matches.

The Champions stage remains unchanged from its previous iteration.

Katowice action kicked off Wednesday with the Europe and CIS Minors. Upsets abounded in Europe, where top seeds OpTic Gaming and mousesports were both eliminated from the tournament entirely. Play continues at the Americas and Asia Minors starting Tuesday.