Road to Rio CIS

ESL One: Road to Rio CIS

ESL One Rio was scheduled to be one of this year's total two majors for CS: GO, but as the situation looks now due to the outbreak of the corona virus, it will be the only one for the year. The plan is for the major to take off in Rio de Janeiro from November 9-22. Under the current situation, it is not possible to guarantee that the tournament will be playable, but the qualification for the tournament will be played online, which changes parts of the program. The qualification is divided into six regions (Europe, CIS, North America, South America, Asia, Oceania) and in all regions the law on points will be fought which will later lead to places for the major, which will contain a total of 24 teams from all over the world. These locations will be distributed as follows between the regions:

  • Europe: 10 teams
  • North America: 6 teams
  • CIS: 5 teams
  • South America: 1 team
  • Oceania: 1 team
  • Asia: 1 team

The CIS region has a total of five places for ESL One Rio, which is a lot since Natus Vincere can be seen as the only world team, with forZe, Team Spirit and Virtus.Pro as clear favorites to take part of the remaining places. Two of the places will go straight to the Legends stage, giving a team in addition to Natus Vincere an excellent chance to secure a position among the top already through the qualifying. In addition, one team will go to Challengers and two to Contenders, making the CIS qualifications very important.

The Teams

Group A

  • Forze
  • Gambit Youngsters
  • Nemiga Gaming
  • Team Spirit
  • Team Unique
  • Winstrike Team

Group B

  • Hard Legion Esports
  • Natus Vincere
  • Pro100
  • Syman Gaming
  • Virtus.Pro

Prize Pool



Group stage

  • Two groups of 6 teams each
  • All teams meet once (Round Robin)
  • All matches are best of three
  • The group winners advance directly to the semi-finals
  • The group fools advance to the quarterfinals


  • Single elimination
  • All matches are best of three


Natus Vincere

There is no other team in the favorites category than Natus Vincere, they are simply too dominant in the CIS region. Their results this year speak for themselves. The win in IEM Katowice was one of the most dominant we have ever seen in CS: GO and their efforts in the ESL Pro League finished in fourth place, which in itself may be disappointing, but the opposition was also of the highest rank. That teams like Virtus.Pro, forZe or Team Spirit could rely on Aleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev and Denis “electronic” Sharipov sounds next to impossible and anything but a first place for this team would be a scare beyond the ordinary.

Finals Candidates


As I said, no other team in this CIS qualifier can be put in the favorite category, but with four places to fight, and above all one to the Legends stage, there is a lot to play for. Virtus.Pro is one of the teams that should definitely make it to the playoffs, especially since only Syman Gaming looks like a full-fledged challenger to those in the group, apart from Natus Vincere. The team's efforts lately have been like a roller coaster and the days when this five-played major final is like blown away. Virtus.Pro is still used to playing against the world elite and against this kind of resistance there are chances that we will see them even in a final.


forZe has grown as a team incredibly much this year and players like Evgeny "FL1T" Lebedev, Bogdan "xsepower" Chernikov and Dmitriy "facecrack" Alekseyev have looked really good. Especially FL1T has proven to be a real world player, especially considering that he is only 19 years old. ForZe stood for a fully acceptable effort in the ESL Pro League where they won against North, Complexity and BIG, but had to give way to FaZe in the decisive tiebreaker match. For the moment, we must say that forZe looks like the second best team in this CIS qualification and anything but a place for ESL One Rio would be a huge miscalculation.

Team Spirit

The last team that stands out as a possible candidate to go really far in the Road to Rio CIS is Team Spirit, who also stood for a respectable effort in the ESL Pro League. Wins against ENCE and Team Vitality reached until the team lost the remaining three games, but the team did what we would expect, and maybe a little more. The team has been together since last fall and it is starting to produce clear results. It's hard to say which team of the three finalists is the best, but Team Spirit is at about the same point as both forZe and Virtus.Pro. It will simply be a tough battle for second place, as long as Natus Vincere does not do away completely.

Where do I watch ESL One: Road to Rio?

ESL One: Road to Rio will be broadcast through ESL's official English channel on Twitch.

Cameron Carr image

Cameron Carr

8 May 2020

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