Year two of the Proving Grounds season is finally upon us. The first qualifier to determine which teams will take the next step towards the Proving Grounds tournament kicks off Monday. That means the 32 teams playing in the Unified Proving Grounds Circuit Qualifier #1 have been determined. Over the past week, teams have sent in applications in hopes of making the cut for the 32-team invitational.
Those teams were revealed in a live stream on Saturday. After the dust settled, a mix of collegiate teams, League of Legends Championship Series organizations, and Proving Grounds veterans were selected. The 32 teams will fight for 16 spots in the Proving Grounds circuit which is the next step to qualifying for the Proving Grounds tournament later this year. The criteria for their selection were based on the ranks of each team’s starting roster.
LCS representation dominate top seeding
It’s no surprise that some of the LCS teams would be fielding their own amateur teams into the first Proving Grounds qualifier. What is surprising is that one organization in particular decided to throw their actual academy team into the mix. Golden Guardians Academy are the first overall seed playing in the first Unified Proving Grounds Circuit Qualifier #1. No other LCS organization is fielding their academy team. However, three other organizations are fielding amateur teams.
100 Thieves were one of the first LCS organizations to look into the amateur team to develop talent. It’s no surprise that their amateur team, 100 Next, are playing in this event. 100 Next are the second overall seed.
Then there are Immortals. In a recently announced partnership, Immortals and AOE Esports joined forces to help develop talent in the North American amateur scene. Immortals AOE are the first step in that process and the team they are bringing into this event was good enough to net the fourth seed. Finally, the last LCS organization competing is Evil Geniuses. Their EG Prodigies roster will enter the tournament at the fifth seed.
Collegiate on the rise
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the 32 team bracket is the number of collegiate teams competing. Out of the 32 teams, eight of them are colleges squads. Even one of the non-collegiate teams, Supernova, has a roster of primarily former Arizona State University players. Last year there was a similar event that included two 32-team qualifiers that ended up feeding into a 16-team league. The first qualifier for the Challengers Uprising Season 3 league only had two collegiate teams participated. This year there are four times as many. For a complete list of teams and rosters, fans can check out the Unified Twitter page for updates.