ZOWIE have announced the qualifying format for the 2019 edition of their flagship grand Asian event EXTREMESLAND. There has been a visible change in the format from previous iterations. But, perhaps, the most worrying one for Indian fans is the removal of a separate qualifier for India.
Instead of a dedicated qualifier for India, a single slot has been allotted to the South Asia Region. This means that teams from India will have to compete against teams from Bhutan, Nepal, Srilanka, Bangladesh and Maldives.
This perhaps also hints at a deviation from the LAN qualifiers format. If indeed it becomes an Online Qualifier, the major question that would arise in the minds of the Indian fans and players alike will be the obvious server choice, which is likely to be Singapore, with some of the aforementioned countries at a ping disadvantage on the Indian servers.
While this will be a blow to an Indian scene that is showing encouraging signs, ZOWIE might have taken this step as an after-effect of the forsaken incident, which saw the player qualify under the Optic India banner from the Indian Qualifiers undetected before being caught at the 2018 LAN event in Shanghai.
With just one slot being allotted to a gamut of countries, it will be interesting to see which Indian team makes it to the Main Event of EXTREMESLAND, 2019, in Shanghai from 14th-17th November, if any; and whether they are able to redeem the reputation of the Indian CSGO scene.