The European Masters gets underway again on April 8, and even though it’s only in its third iteration, it’s already becoming one of the most exciting, and one of the most important League of Legends tournaments in the region.
The EU Masters sees the top teams from around Europe competing across a three week tournament for their share of the €150,000 prize pool. For 2019 there are 13 regional leagues, and the first place team from each one will automatically be invited to the EU Masters.
The second placed team from Spain, France, UK, German, Balkans, Nordics, and Poland will go through to the Play-In Stage, running from April 8-11 to compete for the three remaining spots. There will be a single round robin bracket, with the top team going straight through, and the two final spots being decided by matches between the second and fifth placed teams, and the third and fourth placed teams.
From April 15-18, the Group Stage will run, featuring all 16 teams split into four groups. This stage will feature another single round robin competition, with the top two teams from each group going through to the Knockout Stage.
The Knockout Stage will be a single elimination best of 3 bracket starting on April 20, culminating in the live Finals in the Leicester Haymarket Theatre on April 27-28. Tickets for the third European Masters, taking place in the Leicester Haymarket Theatre, are available now!
So, why is the EU Masters important? All you have to do is look at the two winners so far.
The EUM storylines that matter
Origen burst back onto the scene at the first ever EU Masters tournament in Spring 2018. Their win with a lineup of veteran players paved the way for their return to the top of European competition with a brand new roster in the LEC in 2019.
Summer 2018 saw MAD Lions win in Katowice, with a now very recognisable lineup of players. Oskar “Selfmade” Boderek, Jorge “Werlyb” Casanovas, and Juš “Crownshot” Marušič are all making a name for themselves on SK Gaming, while Tim "Nemesis" Lipovšek has replaced Rasmus “Caps” Winther at Fnatic.
Other EU Masters alumni playing in the LEC now include Splyce mid laner Marek "Humanoid" Brázda, as well as Excel’s Patryk "Mystiques" Piórkowski, Joran "Special" Scheffer and Jesper "Jeskla" Klarin Strömberg.
The regional leagues for League of Legends are becoming better all the time, and we’re seeing more and more players make the step up into the LEC as time goes on. The European Masters is a tournament where you’ll see all the top prospects competing together, so not only will it be good for the fans, the LEC teams will also be keeping a close eye on proceedings. The players that do well at EU Masters will most likely be seen on an LEC stage sooner rather than later.
Two can play that game
Of course, this time around, the LEC teams already have investments in the tournament. All 10 teams also have a secondary squad competing in various regional leagues around Europe. These players will not only be competing for the glory of winning the competition, they’ll also be trying to make a case to be brought up to the main roster. Plus, the top teams will certainly want the bragging rights of having both an EU Masters and an LEC champion.
The regions which will be sending teams to the EU Masters are as follows:
Ligue Française (France): Misfits Premier made their less succesful LEC team proud by beating Vitality.Bee in the Playoffs, leaving them in contention for a spot at the EU Masters. The winner from the regular season, Team LDLC, finished the split with an impressive 12-2 record and has qualified directly as France's first seed.
Ultraliga (Poland): Rogue Esports Club are performing better than their LEC counterparts in the Ultraliga, claiming the title of Champions in the Finals. They've qualified as Poland's first seed in EU Masters, with devils.one qualifying to enter the Play-In stage.
PG Nationals (Italy): The PG Nationals are close to completion as well. It’s going to come down to either Sparks or Samsung Morning Stars to see who’ll qualify for EU Masters Spring.
Esports Balkan League (Romania, Serbia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia, FYROM, Albania, Montenegro): Crvena zvezda have already made it to the Play-Ins, with Random 5 qualifying to the EU Masters main event.
LPLOL (Portugal): For The Win Esports have made it through to the playoff finals. Doxa Gaming, Electronik Generation, and K1CK eSports Club are the other teams in the running to challenge them.
Superliga Orange (Spain): G2 Heretics have already been knocked out of contention for the EU Masters this split, and it was fellow LEC secondary team Splyce Vipers who did it. Meanwhile Origen BCN beat out the Penguins to join Splyce Vipers in the Superliga Orange Finals, the winner of which will join the MAD Lions in the EU Masters and taking the first seed from Spain.
Premier Tour (Germany, Austria, Switzerland): It’s going to be SK Gaming Prime and BIG progressing to the EU Masters, but the Premier Tour uses a slightly different system to most other leagues. BIG have progressed to the main event, while SK Gaming Prime are locked into the Play-In stage.
Benelux Premier League (Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg): Defusekids are awaiting either Sector One or Brussels Guardians in the grand final of Benelux Premier League Spring.
UKLC (UK, Ireland): The UKLC is another league with a different system to the others. Each week has an eight team single elimination bracket, with the winner going on to face the “tower champion” from the previous week. Teams gain points according to results, and the top team will be going to EU Masters.
Hitpoint Masters (Czech Republic, Slovakia): AS Trenčín eSports claimed victory over second place eSuba in the Finals, becoming the first football team in the region to qualify for EU Masters.
Nordic Championship (Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland): The Nordic Championship is all done and dusted. Ventus Esports came out on top in the playoffs and are going straight through to the EU Masters main event. NYYRIKKI White are off to the Play-In stage in the hopes of also qualifying.
Baltic National Esports League (Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia): Baltic National Esports is also in the books. eNsure overcame Žalgiris Esports 3-1 in the grand final to book their spot at EU Masters.
Greek League (Greece, Cyprus): Future Perfect WLGaming have run away with the regular season in the Greek League, but it’s still going to come down to the playoffs, with a lot of teams in close contention with each other for that important spot at EU Masters Spring 2019.