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Watch day 1 of the group stage for the CS:GO ELeague Major: Boston here

16 of the world’s best teams are ready to kick off the 2018 tournament season

After last weekend’s grueling qualification stage, the ELeague Major: Boston is finally ready to begin. The first big Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament of the year, the ELeague Major will pit 16 of the game’s best teams against each other for their share of the $1 million prize pool.

The major will kick off with its group stage this weekend — called the New Legends stage — with the top eight teams moving on to compete in the tournament’s playoffs — called the New Champions round — which will be held live at the Agganis Arena in Boston.

The group stage starts on Jan. 19, and every match will be broadcast live on the ELeague Twitch channel.

Why you should watch

This being the first major group stage of 2018, every team is likely to have a few cobwebs to shake off after their month-long break from competitive games. But with a break that long, it’s also fair to assume that most of these teams will also come with entirely new tricks in mind and new strategies on familiar maps. And today will be the perfect place to show a few of those off.

It’s rare that the first day of a group stage looks this competitive on paper. While some of the first day’s matches have two teams of similar renown facing off, like Cloud9 vs G2 Esports or Fnatic vs. FaZe Clan, other matches pit titans of the CS:GO scene that have been stumbling recently against relative newcomers like Virtus.pro vs. Quantum Bellator Fire.

Perhaps the most lopsided match up of the day is the last one, which has SK gaming taking on Space Soldiers. But even that match offers a bit of intrigue. For SK, who ended last year as the undisputed kings of the CS:GO scene, this will be the first real break the team has had since adding Ricardo “Boltz” Prass to their roster, giving them a few weeks to finally form new strategies rather than just having Prass step into someone else’s shoes.

Schedule

  • North vs Vega Squadron, 9:00 a.m. EST
  • Virtus.pro vs Quantum Bellator Fire, 10:15 a.m. EST
  • BIG vs Team Liquid, 11:30 a.m. EST
  • Fnatic vs FaZe Clan, 12:45 p.m. EST
  • Astralis vs Mousesports, 2:00 p.m. EST
  • Cloud9 vs G2 Esports, 3:15 p.m. EST
  • Gambit vs Natus Vincere, 4:30 p.m. EST
  • SK Gaming vs Space Soldiers, 5:45 p.m. EST