Two weeks before the Galaxy Battles Major was set to take place, Valve has rescinded the tournament's Major status, thus lowering the prizepool from $1,000,000 to $500,000 and removing any Pro Circuit points. "New government regulations" would supposedly infringe on "the privacy of players", so Valve. Multiple news reports and a clarification from the Filipino Games and Amusement board suggest that the mandatory drug testing was the deciding factor in removing the tournament's Major status.
Following the announcement by Valve, many teams are expected to pull out of the event. Virtus.pro have already announced to do so to focus on Pro Circuit events and more official announcements are to be expected soon.
Eight of the 16 teams for the ESL One Katowice Major have been confirmed. Virtus.pro, Team Liquid, Newbee, Mineski, Evil Geniuses, Vici Gaming, Team Secret and Na'Vi have been directly invites to Poland. Eight more teams will be determined through qualifiers.
All details surrounding the event can be found on the official website official website. ESL One Katowice is set to take place from February 20th-25th.
North-American powerhouse Evil Geniuses have made drastic roster changes following a rather lackluster start into the season. Despite going into the holiday season as the 5th rank, EG saw it necessary to adjust their roster yet again. The team chose to remove long-term offlaner and TI5 champion Universe and added former Optic Gaming player MiSeRy. MiSeRy will take over the support position, forcing Fear into the carry role and rotating Arteezy to mid, which means that SumaiL will now play as the team's offlaner.
The new line-up had its first showing at the Captain's Draft Minor.
North-American organization Immortals has parted ways with offlaner Forev and welcome former Digital Chaos player MSS as their new team member. The Korean squad hasn't fared well in this season thus far, qualifying to only two events and only placing among the top 4 in one of them.
Following a disappointing Pro Circuit season thus far, PSG.LGD saw themselves forced to make changes to their roster. After extensive, and publicly announced, tryouts, LGD settled for Malaysian player xNova and former Team MAX offlaner Chalice. Going forward, fy will captain the team as former captain Yao has been removed from the active roster.
[Editor's Note: Correction, both Ritsu and Sneyking chose to leave the team] North-American organization VGJ.Storm has added two new players to their line-up, former Leviathan players BSJ and monkeys-forever. The team had let go of Ritsu a while ago, playing with a variety of stand-ins since. Now they have found a permanent solution, while also replacing long-term member and offlaner Sneyking.
Following the conclusion of The International 2017, former OG midlaner ana had taken a break and initially set out to sit out the entire season. Now he looks to return in Team World. As the name suggests, the team unites a variety of nationalities under one banner. The team will be led by former Evil Geniuses coach SVG, who'll play support alongside former MidOrFeed captain Saksa. Ana is set to be the team's carry, while the midrole will be filled by former HellRaisers/Planet Dog midlaner Keyser. Lastly, former Immortals offlaner Forev rounds out the line-up. The team will compete in Europe.
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