ESL have announced significant changes to the structure of the Global Challenge and the overall path to promotion from MDL to ESL Pro League.
Season 33 will feature a significantly different #MDL Global Challenge event format which gives teams from Asia and Australia a chance to qualify for the ESL Pro League.— ESEA (@ESEA) January 3, 2020
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The most notable change sees the removal of the direct promotion spots for the European and North American MDL season, instead offering two spots to the winner and the runner-up of the Global Challenge. The Global Challenge's overall format will also be overhauled to make it more strenuous with more best-of-three matches now that it offers two spots in ESL Pro League.
As a result of this change, there is a chance that no North American team is promoted to EPL from MDL if they do not make the Global Challenge finals.
Additionally, North America has seen it's number of Global Challenge spots reduced from four to three as one of the spots have been redistributed to Asia-Pacific Open. Historically, North America originally only had three spots in the Global Challenge with the spot previously being allocated to the Brazilian or South African Open divisions.
Overall, these changes seem to suggest that major format changes are coming to EPL as the post describes the league as a single unified event. And while many details are still yet to be revealed these changes may be a potential response to the upcoming B Site franchise league, which is reportedly set to run during EPL and will see reportedly see Astralis, MIBR, and Cloud9 leave EPL to play in the league.