ESL Pro League Season 11: Changes, Structure and Favorites
The 11th season of ESL Pro League is set to begin today with a brand new (old) format. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Denver finals and Malta events were cancelled. This means the structure and format of the league had to change in order to keep the event going.
The ESL Pro League Season 11 is going back to the pre-Season 9 format. Matches are to be played online in four competitive groups with two round robin stages followed by LAN Playoffs. The changes and current situation globally, has forced some teams to back out of the event and others to step in and feel the gap.
ESL Pro League Groups
Four groups have been re-seeded to accommodate the changed format and geographical restrictions. Three out of four are going to be played in Europe and one in North America. The EU groups will play two double elimination groups while NA only one. 1st place teams in each group advance to the Stage 2 directly, while 2nd & 3rd place teams will play decider matches. In Stage 2, the 1st placed teams proceed to the Grand Final while 2nd & 3rd go to semis.
The three European groups are as follows:
You probably already noticed teams Heroic and Boom have been replaced with BIG and Spirit respectively. Heroic does not currently field a roster after LoL Champions Fun Plus Phoenix acquired the entire Heroic squad and coach. FPX is currently competing at Flashpoint. Boom decided to return to Brazil due to the coronavirus development and forfeit their spot.
North America has bigger troubles then Europe for the ESL Pro League. Renegades forfeit their spot and were replaced by Swole Patrol, but the group only has five members. Team Liquid, 100 Thieves, Evil Geniuses and FURIA complete the current roster. ESL is currently looking for a 6th team to finalize the North American group. Possible candidates are Bad News Bears, Swole Identity or Triumph or any hidden team that is currently in the USA.
ESL Pro League Favorites
Group favorites are fairly easy to predict in the current format. Group A’s Astralis is already looking forward to post group rematches versus teams they lost to in Katowice. NiP are likely joining the Danes out of Group A. In Group B we have current global number 1 team Na’Vi seeking to continue their dominance this season. They will have to beat Fnatic to secure their 1st place spot, however both teams are likely to make it out.
Finally, the most competitive of the three EU groups is Group C. Mousesports, G2 and FaZe are all hoping to dominate here. It is honestly too hard to call which team comes out first and which two have to play decider.
On the North American side, Liquid, EG and 100 Thieves create another trio which is too hard to call. Although Liquid is still the absolute favorite, we have seen them falter especially against North American counterparts. Luckily the bracket in NA is more forgiving, so we will definitely witness at least two of these teams clash multiple times.
We expect at least 6 out of the global top 10 to make it out of groups and into the later stages of the competition.
With most sports and esports competition cancelled, we are blessed to have the ESL Pro League find a way to give us a CS:GO injection. The entire ESL Proleague Season 11 schedule is available HERE.