ESL Pro League Season 9: The most promising finals to date
Occitanie in Montpellier, France is the ground on which the new ESL CS:GO champion will be crowned on Sunday. Until then, the crème de la crème of CS: GO will battle to become the champion of the longest standing league in competitive play. Of course there is also the $600,000 prize pool incentive.
Seven of the eight previous ESL Pro League Champion teams are present at this year’s event. If we count MIBR as just a name swap with Season 6 Champions SK Gaming then all 9 are present, but then we could do the same with Luminosity and things get messy quickly. Regardless, 16 teams are presented with two double elimination brackets and a long road of best-of-threes to reach semis and finals. As per usual, the teams are divided in two groups of eight with the bracket winners each going directly to the semifinals, while the 2nd and 3rd placed teams will advance to the quarterfinals. Both of the brackets seem to be equality distributed with teams based on their relative strength and recent performance, something which is not always the case.
The group division is listed below:
Three key facts about the teams (not) attending:
1. Several of the best performing teams in 2019 are not in attendance. Powerhouses ENCE, Natus Vincere, Vitality, FURIA, Ninjas in Pyjamas did not make the cut (qualifiers).
2. Global seeds #1 Liquid and #2 Astralis will once again be at the same event after an “eternity” in the competitive season. The biggest rivalry of 2018 might be reignited once more this week.
3. The bracket setup favors FaZe Clan the most into being crowned champion.
Today’s matches are going to set the tone for the entire competitive week. Let us take a look who meets who and how things stack up.
12:00 – G2 vs. Grayhound
12:00 – fnatic vs. NRG
13:10 – Astralis vs. Cloud9
13:10 – Heroic vs. DETONA
14:20 – FaZe vs. TYLOO
14:20 – North vs. Liquid
15:30 – mousesports vs. MIBR
15:30 – HellRaisers vs. Luminosity
If one can visualize the bracket from the match listings, it is evident that Astralis and fnatic have a solid chance to upper bracket their way to quarters/semis. The current state of either team is not “great”, but considering NRG is playing with a stand-in and Astralis got the lucky pick in underperformer Cloud9, both teams are set to advance easily.
In the second bracket it is all about FaZe and Liquid. Unluckily they are both set in the upper part of their bracket so they will have to meet in the first bo3 phase. This also means that there is a higher chance to see one mousesports advancing out of the elimination bracket ahead of these two teams.
The variations possible outcomes are endless. Best we can do is watch and enjoy the glory of peak Counter-Strike performance over the next week. Matches kick-off soon at Twitch.tv/esl_csgo