Strife replace paiN at upcoming EPL Conference
Today ESL have announced that Strife will be travelling to Jönköping in June for the ESL Pro League Season 16 Conference stage, replacing paiN who have withdrawn from the offline event. Dust2.us has also learned that Strife will be bootcamping in Europe for a minimum of one week prior to the event.
The Conference stage which takes places from June 15th to 20th will play host to the 16 teams which have qualified from numerous ESL Pro Tour Challenger events over the last 6 months. paiN initially received the call-up to play in the qualifier after ChocoCheck were sanctioned for forfeiting the grand final versus Extra Salt in ESEA Premier Season 39.
ChocoCheck themselves were not the initial team set to play in the Conference, as Extra Salt were the winners of Season 39 but due to their core being signed by Complexity, an ESL Partner Team, their slot became vacant and was offered to the second-place team from that season. After ChocoChceck were handed their sanction, the slot was then transferred to paiN as ChocoChceck were essentially placed third rather than second after their sanction.
Although it would seem logical for ESL to find the new replacement team from Season 39 again, which would happen to place ChocoCheck first in line, the organizers have opted to field the replacement team from the most recently concluded season instead, Season 40. As MIBR are already taking part in the Conference, the slot was then offered to Carpe Diem but was declined by them. paiN were next in line but since they are the team being replaced, it was then passed onto Strife who finished in fourth place.
Since Season 40, Strife have made a number of roster changes which involved the removal of Paul "aris" Wilson, substitute player Matthew "D4rtyMontana" Paplawskas, as well as their coach Christian "crisby" Schmitt. Following the removals, the new additions have been the Estonian Kristjan "fejtZ" Allsaar and American Ethan "reck" Serrano. The team also added Anton "ToH1o" Georgiev as their new coach.
The new roster has not been without drama already though as earlier today reck's former team, BHOP, made allegations that Strife has not paid his buyout. Dust2.us has learned that the public dispute appears to have been caused by poor communication between the two organizations in regards to the paying of the buyout.
The 16 teams the the EPL Conference will be played out in a BO3 double-elimination bracket with the top 6 teams qualifying to EPL Season 16 proper. The group stage is set to take place from August 31st to late-September at a yet-undisclosed location in Europe. The group stages already houses North American power-houses Liquid, Complexity, and Evil Geniuses, as ESL partner teams.