Big shifts in eSF accompany the new GSTL
It was announced today that teams IM, MVP and Prime will be leaving eSF. The still sponsorless SouL join in their place to participate in a five-team GSTL starting September 3rd.
As announced on GomTV's page, the new season of their team league - the GSTL - will commence in two days time. A total of five teams - namely Axiom-Acer, Azubu, StarTale, FXOpen and SouL - will participate in the new edition of the tournament, going through the following format (all matches Bo7):
- League stage (Bo1 series):
Round 1: All-kill format
Round 2: Proleague format
Top 3 teams advance to playoffs
- Playoffs (Bo3 series similar to Proleague playoffs):
#1 team receives a bye
#2 and #3 fight for a spot in the grand final. In the series, the first and third matches will be in all kill format, the second in Proleague format
- Grand finals
The first match is in all kill format. The second match is in Proleague format. If the score is tied 1-1, a final ace match will be played to determine the champion.
The tournament will last two months, the champions to be crowned and awarded 45,000,000 KRW (~ $40,500) on November 29th. A bonus, all-stars match will also be played for 5,000,000 KRW.
The announcement of the season came hand to hand with even bigger news and that was the departure of three teams from eSF, namely last season champions IM, last season runner-ups and ATC champions MVP and 2012 GSTL 1 winners Prime. They've also declined to participate in the new GSTL season (although it is possible for non-eSF teams to partake) and in an interview with Thisisgame, the coaches of the three teams explained their decision.
According to LG-IM coach Kang Dong Hoon, the team is not leaving eSF in order to join KeSPA, despite acknowledging association's help during team's conflict with sponsor LG in early August. The possibility of a LoL Proleague is also said to not be the reason.
In the words of coaches Park (Prime) and Choi (MVP), the departure from eSF and the GSTL is mostly dictated by the desire for a change, a change that cannot be carried out while the teams are engaged in a team league environment. Coach Choi additionally refuted the speculations of MVP's StarCraft 2 roster disbanding, saying such rumors are groundless considering the successes of both the team and its individual players in recent leagues.
Whether or not the three teams in question will indeed join the ranks of KeSPA remains to be seen but recent news about the Korean association changing its ways and becoming more open towards new members strongly indicates that this might happen.