With the ESL Professional League Group Stage over, we check out the upcoming playoffs.
A whopping 16 seasons on, ESL Professional League is as synonymous with Counter-Strike: World Offensive because the World Series is with baseball. With the overwhelming majority of the $850,000 prize pool in tow, the playoffs of this version of the event are undoubtedly scintillating. Held on the lovely Salini Resort in scenic Malta, the playoffs will function 12 of the strongest CSGO groups on the earth — to not point out the innumerable superb performs they at all times deliver.
Copyright: Adela Sznajder/ESL
The State of affairs So Far
The Group Stage contained every little thing from useless rubbers to nail-biting thrillers, and we bore witness to loads of surprises and a few massive upsets. With twelve groups locked and loaded for the second spherical, the stakes are larger than ever, and the competitors will likely be tight. For these of you who haven’t been following the Group Stage, right here’s a brief abstract of what went down.
The primary group contained a good few surprises, with essentially the most distinguished being that Natus Vincere, one of many event favorites, barely scraped by way of by the pores and skin of their tooth. They struggled closely towards not simply massive groups but additionally the smallest of the lot. Consequently, they may have a tough street ahead.
One of many group’s most inspiring and stunning finish outcomes was the qualification of Fnatic. The Swedes have been struggling for a really very long time, however a couple of current modifications appear to have made one thing click on.
Vitality appeared ironclad all through their run, solely dropping one map every to Na’ Vi and a resurgent Fnatic. They are going to be seeking to shake off a 12 months of poor performances with a win right here.
The elimination of Ninjas in Pyjamas is one other surprising end result from this group. Nonetheless, after a really tough begin, the Ninjas will a minimum of go house with some dignity after successful their final two matchups, which included one towards Na’ Vi.
Group B was essentially the most easy of all teams, with the variety of wins, losses, and factors in excellent ascending order from the underside up. G2 topped the group with not simply 5 wins out of 5, however a flawless run with out dropping a single map — even besting FaZe Clan alongside the way in which.
FaZe beat everybody besides G2, however did drop maps towards MIBR and Outsiders, who haven’t been in the very best kind. They are going to be bummed out having their number one HLTV staff standing questioned, and can look to bounce again sturdy.
Lastly, Outsiders will likely be seeking to make a deep run on the event with their comparatively younger staff. They haven’t received an S-Tier occasion since Flashpoint Season 2 on the finish of 2020, and the final time they received an offline S-Tier occasion was all the way in which again in February 2017 with DreamHack Masters Las Vegas.
It was one other in a string of disappointing outcomes for BIG, and they’ll almost certainly make some much-needed modifications to their staff. The exits of neither MIBR nor FTW Esports got here as a lot of a shock.
By far essentially the most messed-up group so far as outcomes are involved. MOUZ have been sturdy as of late, however few anticipated them to win the group within the method that they did, solely shedding to Astralis on the way in which.
Heroic started the event by shedding to MOUZ, however bounced again strongly to win the remainder of their video games. That being mentioned, there have been actually seen cracks within the staff’s armor, with the Danish facet dropping maps towards HEET and Astralis.
The qualification of Complexity is arguably the second-biggest shock of the group, with the American facet making it by way of with three sturdy performances towards the three eradicated groups. Loads of work to be completed for the staff to be sturdy sufficient to go toe to toe with the very best groups on the earth, however this can be a good begin.
The elimination of ENCE might have been anticipated on account of their forever-fluctuating kind, nevertheless it nonetheless got here as a shock to many. What was a far larger shock, nevertheless, was Astralis’ lackluster marketing campaign. The four-time Main winners not solely misplaced to the likes of HEET, COL, and Heroic, however at all times appeared to take action from a place the place that they had the benefit. For a staff with such massive names in it, Astralis has fallen on some robust instances.
Earlier than the event, individuals might have been forgiven for pondering that Group D was essentially the most accessible group, however issues went proper all the way down to the wire for the groups in it. Crew Liquid had essentially the most attention-grabbing expertise of the groups, shedding to Everlasting Fireplace and FURIA on consecutive days to have their event lives in jeopardy. Fortunately for them, they beat C9 on the final day to remain alive.
FURIA have been surprisingly good in some matches, and surprisingly weak in others. That being mentioned, that has just about been their description since their formation, and it’s about time some consistency grew to become a part of their staff credo.
Cloud9 arguably had the strongest run, successful all however considered one of their matches with out a lot opposition till they misplaced outright to Liquid. They need to iron out any weaknesses earlier than dealing with tougher opponents.
Of the three groups that have been eradicated, Everlasting Fireplace and EG each confirmed sporadic bursts of Promise, however Movistar Riders could have a world of rebuilding to do after solely displaying any type of struggle of their very first match, the place they took a map off of Liquid.
ESL Professional League Season 16 Playoff Fixtures
The playoffs will function two Bo3 matches a day till the Grand Closing, which will likely be a Bo5. In contrast to typical 16-team brackets, this one could have 4 matches every in Spherical 12 and the Quarterfinals, the place the 4 group-topping groups will likely be ready. The Semifinals and the Grand Closing will likely be like some other competitors.
Spherical of 12
Though CS is a sport of unsure outcomes, Complexity could have a area day beating the likes of FaZe except one thing goes horribly fallacious for the reigning Main champions. The staff of multinational megastars is extremely sturdy when it comes to each technique and particular person talent, and appears to feed off of each crowd assist and saltiness. Helvijs “broky” Saukants, Russel “Twistzz” Van Dulken, and Ádám “torzsi” Torzsás would be the gamers we anticipate to excel on this match.
Copyright: Adela Sznajder/ESL
Fnatic has proven great resilience, however so have Liquid, so this one ought to supply some edge-of-your-seat motion and may even turn out to be an encounter for the ages. Liquid has much more fundamental stage expertise than this younger Fnatic, however in the long run, nothing’s not possible. Count on Jonathan “EliGE” Jablonowski and Mareks “YEKINDAR” Gaļinskis to shine for the US squad, whereas Nico “nicoodoz” Tamjidi and newcomer Dion “FASHR” Derksen struggle again for the Swedes.
Heroic vs Na’Vi will almost certainly be essentially the most eagerly-awaited conflict of the spherical. The Danes have had robust luck towards the Ukrainians at offline occasions, however the latter hasn’t appeared as mortal as they do now in years. This will likely be an unbelievable conflict, and we predict Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev and Denis “electroNic” Sharipov will shine for Na’ Vi, whereas Rasmus “sjuush” Beck and René “TeSeS” Madsen step up for theirs.
Copyright: Adela Sznajder/ESL
The ultimate match of the Spherical of 12 will function two potential darkish horses of the event. FURIA are wanting like the higher staff up to now, however FURIA are additionally very a lot able to beating FURIA (sure, you learn that proper) — maybe extra so than Outsiders. It’s extremely doubtless that Kaike “KSCERATO” Cerato will proceed his crispy kind alongside Andrei “arT” Piovezan, with Aleksei “Qikert” Golubev and Evgeniy “FL1T” Lebedev rising for the Russians.
If Complexity pulls off a miracle and meet Cloud9, one would most likely fancy C9’s possibilities towards the Individuals. That being mentioned, if a staff can beat FaZe, they will beat some other.
MOUZ’s current kind has been spectacular, and it’d be secure to say that they’re ready to beat both of the groups which will qualify to face them. Liquid are the extra doubtless candidate, however the Individuals must be extra constant if they’re to beat MOUZ.
Copyright: Adela Sznajder/ESL
Irrespective of who meets who on this subsequent matchup, it’s going to have all of the makings of a basic. G2 are in very good kind, however so are Heroic and Na’ Vi are a staff reworked as soon as they’re on the principle stage.
Vitality versus Furia will likely be a tremendous conflict of kinds and talent. Each groups have glorious gamers, and will likely be desperate to show their doubters fallacious. If Outsiders come by way of, will probably be a sport of persistence, with last-minute executions being the order of the day. Plus, numerous rounds will likely be misplaced as a result of there’s no time to plant or defuse due to the period of time these groups spend deliberating.
Semifinals and Grand Closing
At this level, it’s tough to foretell which groups will make it to those levels, but when the group levels have been an indication of issues to come back, we predict Cloud9, MOUZ, G2, and Vitality right here, with Cloud9 and G2 going by way of to duke it out within the ultimate. Don’t @ us, it’s only a prediction.
Regardless of the ultimate outcomes could also be, one factor’s for positive; we’re in for six days of unbelievable CSGO.
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