ESEA announce new MDL moveup process; playoff changes
ESEA have announced a new structure for how they operate the leagues' moveup process from Season 28 onwards. They're doing this to increase the transparency of the system, which is notoriously opaque leaving teams unsure of which division they'll be in until after the season comes to an end.
The original reason for why the system was so shrouded in secrecy was "originally designed this way in order to allow ESEA to be flexible with team numbers", furthering on to state that with teams folding and rebuilding they needed to be able to do as they wished with the system, allowing teams to jump up a few levels if needed. Now there's over 2,000 in the structure, that's less required.
The first major change is that ESEA will be announcing which teams get moved up and down in the divisions ahead of time, following a structure recently published to their website. The number change depending on how many teams sign-up to the divisions, but overall ends the promotion of teams directly to MDL, having to battle through the new Advanced division instead. They have also changed how the playoff brackets work, effectively adding an extra round in certain divisions.
Speaking of MDL, changes have arrived here as well. The major change for season 29 will be in reducing the number of teams that are set to compete in the league to 18, a reduction of six teams from the previous seasons. This way, ESEA intends to allow "each team to play everyone else in the division once for the regular season, eliminating the random element where some teams did not face one another."
Avoiding the near mass-expulsion of teams from the division, there will be a relegation tournament. This will take the form of a 16-team double elimination bracket for North America, allowing teams near the bottom to maintain their place in the league. Although most of the competing teams will be from the MDL and Advanced divisions, ESEA will retain a single invitation slot as they "have still not reached the point where every high level team is involved in the ESEA League structure".
From between Season 28 to 29, this will involve the following:
- The lowest placing team will be relegated directly to Advanced
- The next 7 teams from the MDL will play in the relegation tournament
- The top 8 teams from the new Advanced division will qualify to the relegation tournament
- There will be 1 final slot reserved for an invited team
- The top 4 teams in the relegation tournament will qualify directly for Season 29 of the MDL
The schedules for the new tournament structure will be announced around the same time as the playoffs for the majority of the divisions.