Esports World Cup Closed Qualifier set to begin tonight

One team will earn a spot in the $1m event in Riyadh.

The Esports World Cup North America Closed Qualifier is set to start soon tonight. Liquid, M80, Legacy, and Elevate will battle for a single spot in the $1m Saudi event alongside Complexity and several other international top teams.

Liquid head into this qualifier as the likely favorite to snag a spot in the main event. The international squad have recently returned from IEM Chengdu 2024, where the team showed renewed form in a 5th-6th place finish. After missing out on the PGL Major Copenhagen, the team seems to finally be clicking, with Casper "cadiaN" Møller and co. showing considerable improvement against tier-one opposition out in China. This experience will be vital as they face off against the tier-two opposition present in the EWC Closed Qualifier tonight.

M80 are the debutantes of this event as they are set to play for the first time with their complete roster after largely sorting out Elias "s1n" Stein and Fritz "slaxz-" Dietrich's visas. While their lack of experience with their full lineup will likely complicate M80's efforts to win the qualifier outright, the team looked in strong form without s1n so there is the possibility of a honeymoon period for M80 in the qualifier. However, this event will more likely that not simply serve as a litmus test as M80 prepare for ESL Pro League Season 19.

Legacy are the sole Brazilian squad in the qualifier, having earned a somewhat controversial invite just weeks after arriving in North America. However, their results at the PGL Major Copenhagen cannot be entirely overlooked even if they have since swapped
Marcelo "coldzera" David and Jacky "Stewie2K" Yip. Speaking of Stewie, this qualifier will be the former Liquid player's first proper matches almost two years to the date since being benched by Evil Geniuses. Some level of ring rust can be expected. Still, Legacy's run in this qualifier may determine whether the squad begin to consider him for a permanent spot or relegate him to the history book of odd stand-ins.

Finally, Elevate are the dark horses of the closed qualifier as the lowest-ranked and least-experienced team in the qualifier. Wyatt "snav" Phillippi will have his work cut for him as the sole American IGL in the qualifier, especially as Elevate has had mixed results in recent weeks. The team topped the open qualifier with wins over Wildcard and Nouns, however the team were recently dominated by Nouns in ESL Challenger League Season 47 and dropped a map to LAG. As such, it all depends on what version of the team arrives to the server tonight.

The Esports World Cup North American Closed Qualifier will begin at 05:30PM with the following matchups:

World Liquid v. Legacy Brazil at 05:30PM

United States Elevate v. M80 at 05:30PM

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