VS Gaming Qualifiers | CS:GO Prem & Masters Teams Decided

With yesterday’s VS Gaming Qualifiers drawing to a close for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, there have been a few surprises to say the very least. The Qualifiers determined which teams will be part of the Masters and Premier Divisions respectively.

To plagiarise (read directly copy) my esteemed and rather diminutive colleague Chris “Sargon” House, here is how the competition format worked. The format of the qualifiers were divided into two stages, the group stage and the single elimination stage. Teams who placed in the top two of their group in the first stage progressed to the elimination bracket. Seeds for the group stage were based on tournament results in 2017, which then led into the elimination stage. A number of the teams, having not played in VS Gaming competitions in 2017, were unseeded. This lead to some rather uneven brackets and therefore less than ideal early matchups for the overall outcome. Teams who progressed to a certain point in the elimination stage would subsequently be placed into divisions for the start of the 2018 VS Gaming Leg 1. For instance teams who lost in round 2 of the elimination stage were placed in 1st Division, while teams who lost in round 3 of the elimination stage were placed into Premier Division. Teams who won in round 3 advanced to Masters. You can get all the details here.


  • Sentry Gaming
  • Lore E-Sports
  • Goliath Gaming
  • Big 5 Esports
  • xTc Esports
  • Online Kingdom
  • eXdee Gaming
  • White Rabbit Gaming

Premier Division:

  • BerZerK Gaming
  • ZAG
  • VinCo Gaming
  • Omnius Gaming
  • LeetPro
  • Pulse Gaming
  • Sinister5
  • Ventus

What in the…?

If you’re a little bemused at some of the names to make it into Masters, you’re certainly not the only one. Equally so, some of the names stuck in Premier Division purgatory are teams we’ve come to expect in Masters. Some of the blame could definitely be placed at the feet of the single-elimination competition format. That, along with the randomized seeding, meant that some of the better teams faced off earlier in tournament than would have been ideal. If the objective was to make sure the best teams qualify for Masters, it would have undoubtedly been better to both add seedings to make for better brackets and to introduce double-elimination brackets. The counter-argument is of course the extra time that would have taken.

Sentry Gaming, Lore E-Sports and to a lesser extent, Online Kingdom, are all teams that might not have been thought of as hot prospects to qualify for Masters. However, we should not minimize the achievement of these somewhat less fancied teams. They survived an unforgiving format and prevailed over more highly-rated opponents to get there. Unlike in previous years, there is a clear path to get to Masters in six months’ time through promotion/ relegation. For the teams that didn’t make it into Masters, that would come as some consolation. LeetPro, Pulse and Sinister5 are skilled teams that should be likely to gain promotion at some point.

What of the Season to Come?

Without Bravado Gaming, Energy Esports and Damage Control in the mix for this year’s Masters tournament, I’m intrigued as to how things might pan out. It could very well be the year of Goliath Gaming versus Big 5 Esports for all the big titles in Masters and other major tournaments this year. I’m excited for the regular season to get under way.

*Edited/updated with seeding information provided by VS Gaming.

About @axtremes

Michael "@axtremes" Harmse is one of the more prolific CS:GO Casters and analysts in the SA Scene - he's seemingly everywhere! He enjoys living, eating and breathing CS:GO...as well as real food and oxygen of course...on the rare occasion Zombie lets him outside. And guitar! He likes guitars. Stare in wonder at his magnificent visage at youtube.com/axtremes/ and shake your head at his spectacularly misguided opinions.