The Closed Qualifiers for the next CS:GO Major, ESL One Rio 2020, are underway worldwide.
South American teams have all to play for as even the Americas Minor will be an offline tournament in Brazil that will provide crucial experience in their home nation.
Across the rest of the world, Closed Qualifiers are taking place in Asia, CIS, North America and Europe. Many notable names will have to battle through their respective regions including the new Renegades coming off of their IEM Katowice 2020 run that was cut short by Fnatic and FaZe Clan.
Europe remains the most competitive region and seven top 30 teams will be fighting against other teams well within the top 100 over just eight spots at the European Minor.
All 16 teams are listed below with a brief description and full team profiles will be published throughout the week ahead of the initial Closed Qualifier games including everything you need to know about each one from history, ranking and their respective standout players to watch.
The heavy favourites in the region, Fnatic will be fighting against strong competition of the familiar and unfamiliar varieties.
With veterans and young blood on their side, it would be tough to bet against the fourth best team in the world in this online Closed Qualifier.
Going up against the above heavyhitters in their first match, SMASH Esports will be looking to break away from the pack to give themselves the best possible start.
While SMASH's old lineup is now under GODSENT, the new lineup will be hoping to outdo the old one and be one of the teams through to Brazil.
The breakup of the iconic Ninjas in Pyjamas core looked to be the end of an era, but the four man dynasty that ruled early CS:GO has returned under the Dignitas banner.
After storming through one Open Qualifier online, the Closed Qualifier should be the place in which the experienced players show the younger teams that NiP magic never left the players, even if the players left NiP.
Spain's champions in this Closed Qualifier, Movistar Riders will be looking for a good result after an underwhelming Champions Cup Finals LAN result in Malta at the end of last year and a disappointing FLASHPOINT Europe Closed Qualifier result that saw them miss out on the Global Qualifier for the new league.
With PGL Krakow Major finalist Lucas "steel" Lopes on the roster, Movistar Riders will be hoping that the Brazilian player will bring good luck that takes them all the way to Rio.
Initially founded by iconic Swedish in-game leader Markus "pronax" Wallste, GODSENT relaunched late last year and signed the former SMASH Esports roster in November.
The squad formerly known as NoChance made it to the Europe Minor for the StarLadder Berlin Major 2019 and started with a strong upset over STYKO's former team mousesports in a best-of-one before the team eliminated them in the decider best-of-three.
The rise of MAD Lions has been impressive under the leadership of Nicolai "HUNDEN" Petersen. With young talent that is now secure (for now) from the larger organisations that have poached from HUNDEN, the promising lineup is one to watch.
As another FLASHPOINT team, a strong showing before the start of the league and qualifying for the offline Minor in Brazil would be great for the Danish squad.
The LAN Finals of ESL Meisterschaft Winter 2019 saw the old Sprout lineup finally overcome domestic rivals ALTERNATE aTTaX, who had to settle for second without their former AWPer Mateusz "mantuu" Wilczewski, before signing two non-German players in the form of Tomáš "oskar" Šťastný and Paweł "dycha" Dycha.
While Sprout have slipped out of the top 30 at the moment, they are a team that could definitely surprise many, claim a top eight spot in the Closed Qualifier and remain a contender during the Minor.
Heroic qualified for DreamHack Open Leipzig 2020 and had a solid run to the semifinals before falling to eventual winners BIG.
With so many Danish teams exuding talent, Heroic has often been overlooked in recent times but they will need to conquer more than domestic challengers to reach the European Minor.
It is likely that KOVA Esports wins the title in terms of lesser-known teams, as an ESEA Advanced roster with three players not even listed on Liquipedia.
With a low average age of just 20.7, the online playground of the Closed Qualifier could work to the advantage of the biggest underdogs left in European contention.
OG's debut CS:GO roster was a long time coming, but it has certainly arrived now. While the ICE Challenge 2020 result wasn't what the team hoped for, a strong showing during the final week of the BLAST Premier Spring Season saw them through to the Spring Finals in Moscow this June.
The rise of the European mix teams was witnessed in London and OG will be hoping that streak continues throughout the Major cycle as they progress further than the likes of Complexity Gaming, one of the many teams claimed by the unforgiving Open Qualifiers.
French Counter-Strike looked poised for a renaissance in 2020, with some big names retiring and international options being explored by top teams and players.
Team Heretics has some names of its own but even the two-time Major champion on the roster will need to dig deep to give Heretics a chance of making the European Minor as they only narrowly made it in the Closed Qualifier via invites thanks to the ESL World Ranking.
While Denmark and Sweden are the usual suspects you expect to find representing Scandinavia, Nordavind is one of two Norweigian representatives hoping to finally put the nation on the CS:GO map.
Ruben "RUBINO" Villarroel has been replaced by Haris "H4RR3" Hadžić as the experienced player is out due to illness that previously saw Spanish free agent Oscar "mixwell" Cañellas take over for a period of the current MDL season.
Ninjas in Pyjamas
The pressure is on to not only make the European Minor but to do it in impressive fashion to show that the new era of Swedish Counter-Strike can outshine the legends if given the chance.
While IEM Katowice 2020 wasn't the best result to enter the Closed Qualifier on, NiP will be hoping the magic is with them to cruise through the upper bracket and into the European Minor.
Norway's second hope comes in the form of Apeks. Another big underdog in the Closed Qualifier, their side of the bracket is wide open for potential upsets.
The addition of Torbjørn "mithR" Nyborg as a temporary coach gives the Apeks side an unexpected boost that many teams might not expect.
Currently competing in the FLASHPOINT Global Qualifier, making it through there could improve confidence and morale or possibly exhaust the squad ahead of their start in the Major cycle.
Having battled through the first Open Qualifier alongside Dignitas, the online format shouldn't be as much of a hindrance as to other teams who may slip up due to being away from online tournaments for some time and BIG enter as an experienced team with a lot to prove.
Roster changes ahead of the Closed Qualifier looked like a risky move but Copenhagen Flames had the belief that bringing back Rasmus "HooXi" Nielsen and Ismail "refrezh" Ali would be worth it.
As the only other team besides BIG attending the FLASHPOINT Global Qualifier in Los Angeles, there will be just a day of rest regardless of the result before Copenhagen Flames have to take on the rest of Europe for one of the spots in the Minor.