Since its inception, the WGL has undoubtedly been dominated by the teams of the CIS region. The most recent Grand Finals only further proved this point with the likes of Na'Vi, Hellraisers, and NSS finishing 1st, 2nd, and 4th respectively. Wombats on Tanks (formerly known as Virtus.Pro) and Tornado Rox each represented the EU region and provided the stiffest competition for the CIS teams outside of their own regional counterparts. Wombats took home 3rd over NSS by a score of 5-2, while Tornado fell to Hellraisers 5-4 in the quarter finals. Meanwhile, North American teams can exhibit brief moments of success even against better competition, but they've always fallen short in the long-run. China shocked everyone in the 2015 Grand Finals as Elong Gaming took home 2nd place, yet they failed to make it out of groups this year. Their CN counterpart, Yato, did succeed in exiting the groups, yet were clearly outmatched as Wombats swept them 5-0 in the quarters. It seems unlikely that CN will ever be able to replicate a run at the Grand Finals such as Elong did, but a sudden shift in meta (looking at you sandbox) could allow them to shine once again.
The worldoftanks.ru website has just recently released details of their upcoming qualifiers for Gold League. See here. These qualifiers operate over three separate stages, the 1st is an open tournament from which 2 teams will move on from. The 2nd stage pits these 2 teams in separate round robin groups of 6, alongside 10 RU silver league teams who varied in placing the previous season. The winner from each round robin group will then proceed to the final stage where they will be matched up in a single elimination game against one of the 7th-10th place Gold League teams (likely the 7th and 8th place), WePlay, Arcade, Brainstorm, and N1ceOne to determine who will play in the Gold League, with the loser from each match-up taking a spot in the Silver League. Meanwhile, the 2 remaining teams (likely 9th & 10th) will be matched up against Wombats on Tanks or Tornado Rox. That's right, the two EU Gold League finalists who each represented the EU server at the Grand Finals are being relocated to the CIS Gold/Silver league.
The change in region stems from the fact that Wargaming now considers the Ukrainian player-base to be part of the CIS cluster, whereas previously they were considered members of both EU and CIS. This change might stem from the statistics showing which server players from Ukraine predominantly play on. Teams are only allowed to have 3 players from outside their server's region, which has now forced Wombats and Tornado to change servers as most of their members were Ukrainian. However, it appears that both Wombats and Tornado have opted to entirely dismantle rather than to try and enter the CIS Gold League without any actual assurances of having a spot. Five Wombats members have found new homes at DiNG, NSS, and 7Plays (now called 7Batmans). The team leader, Kycok, could potentially form a new team under the Wombats name and claim the qualifier spot but it appears unlikely. Meanwhile, 7 members of Tornado have departed to join LOL, 7Plays, HR, Arcade, and interestingly enough, Eclipse. All of these roster changes can be viewed here (left column is any additions, middle column shows departures, right column shows the current roster). Tornado may very well attempt to field a new team to compete in the one-off match for a CIS Gold League position as they have added a former NSS player/caller (beizil), but they're still heavily short. It's not clear how the final qualifier stage format will be adjusted if Wombats and/or Tornado abstain from competing.
What is clear is that a power vacuum has been created in the EU region. The two strongest teams have departed, and of the remaining teams the competition is fairly even. Examining the previous season's standings prior to playoffs, 4 teams finished at 7-4 but with different points based on tiebreaker results. Kazna Kru is arguably the favorite now since they finished 3rd during the previous season, played well as a Wild Card team at the Grand Finals, and they won the ESL Major League Season 1 against DiNG. Kazna has also just taken home the ESL Monthly Finals for June, once again over DiNG. It's pretty clear that DiNG is likely the 2nd strongest team in the league currently, especially since they've acquired 2 former Wombats players and finished 4th last season. A team such as Oops always poses a threat though, winning weekly ESL cups themselves occasionally over Kazna and DiNG and faring well during the Major League. While I won't examine every team, the general appearance is that EU will now be very competitive without the likes of Wombats and Tornado, yet Kazna and DiNG may very well pull away from the pack. Internationally though, EU now seems to compare closer with that of NA rather than CIS competition wise. The CIS region has only been further strengthened by the region shift as the players of Wombats and Tornado have added great skill to various teams throughout the WGLRU. Kung Fu and LOL now appear to be far better than they were and they already finished 4th and 6th respectively during the last regular season. The WGLRU will be quite the slugfest it seems next season. While EU teams might be breathing a sigh of relief that the two great powerhouses have been removed, EU fans may have less to cheer for during coming international competitions unless EU teams can step up their game. It'll be interesting to see how everything plays out over the coming season. But as of now, it seems unlikely that the CIS region will be dethroned anytime soon.
tl;dr - Top 2 EU teams are now dispersed throughout WGLRU teams, CIS too stronk
Update: The Tornado Rox player that was listed as joining Eclipse has now left to join this DiNG squad.
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