This year, eSports organisation ESL is helping promote more regional gaming talent with the return of the ESL AU&NZ National Championship. The program will showcase teams from both Counter-Strike:Global Offensive and Dota 2, all competing for a slice of the total $30 000 prize pool up for grabs across the two games.

The 2018 Championship reached over five million people on social media and the program featured 870,000 hours of watched content, and ESL aims for this year to be even bigger. In order to do this, a few new changes to this season’s format have been thrown into the mix.

CS:GO

Season 8 for CS:GO will be reducing its previous 16 teams down to 12; teams will be split six versus six with eight teams being directly invited and four teams needing to compete in the open qualifiers. These open qualifiers will run over four weekends, involve double eliminations, a best-of-one format and will be open to any hopeful teams. So if you think you and your team are ready, qualifier dates and registration links can be found below:

ESL AU&NZ National Championship 2018 CS:GO
(Image Credit: ESL)

Once the normal season starts in March, the 12 selected teams will play once a week in a best-of-three match-up. The two top teams from each group will not only head to National Championship but they will also qualify for the IEM Sydney Derby in April – a direct pathway for qualifying for the Intel Extreme Masters Sydney in May. However, those who place third and fourth place in their groups still have a chance to qualify for the National Championship in the Last Chance Qualifier.

Dota 2

Dota 2 will also see a few new changes at this year’s National Championship. Season 3 will begin in March, have eight teams competing this year and each match in the season will be played on a best-of-two basis. Every teams will compete in the open qualifiers to qualify for Season 3.

ESL AU&NZ National Championship 2018 Dota 2
(Image credit: ESL)

From the regular season, the top two teams of each group will move to the National Championship and those teams placed from third to sixth place will vie for the last spots in the finals through the Playoffs. The champions will also snap up a spot to a regional event scheduled to be hosted in Asia but details of this event have yet to be released.

For more info on the ESL AU&NZ National Championship make sure to check out all the details on ESL’s official website.

When I’m not addressing my addiction to Overwatch, I like to dabble in the odd JRPG with some favourites coming from the Final Fantasy franchise. I’m a sucker for games with great stories and fantastic music but I also love a good nostalgia trip with some oldies but goodies. I’m currently studying Journalism at the University of Technology Sydney and as a video games enthusiast, I love being able to report on them to my heart's content.