By Pavo Jurkic
October 4, 2019
We’ve all seen what happened in New York last week. We’ve all witnessed the fall of both Astralis and Team Liquid. These two CSGO giants, overwhelmed by their rivalry, failed to capitalize on a significant event, a crucial part of the third Intel Grand Slam season. On another note, Evil Geniuses managed to get their first trophy in the first event featuring their recently acquired NRG roster. The CSGO scene is going through a massive turmoil, and I can’t wait for the next ESL Pro League iteration to kick off.
Today, though, we won’t be talking about last week’s CSGO spectacle in the Big Apple nor the dramatic start of DreamHack Masters Malmo. Instead, we’ll be focusing on the upcoming ESL-based extravaganza with our in-depth approach to ESL Pro League Season 10 Americas Preview.
So, without further ado, let’s dive right on in!
Now that we’ve seen the most significant facts related to this event, it’s time to dig deeper into the format.
This time around, there are no surprises format-wise. Everything has stayed the same when comparing to the ninth ESL Pro League season. The regular season features four regions with the two biggest ones (Americas and Europe) having whopping fourteen participants in the Finals. Yes, that means Asia and Oceania only get to feature a single contestant per region.
As for the Americas’ regular season format, everything will feel familiar. Sixteen participants are fighting for six spots in the Finals. The regular season consists of two round-robin format groups with all group stage matches featuring only best of three contests.
The first round will have four groups with four teams in each. The best team in each group advances straight to the ESL Pro League Season 10 Finals, and the bottom teams are eliminated right off the bat. Second and third place team advance to Round 2 that consists of two groups with four teams in each. The best team in each group will get their hands on the last remaining Americas’ tickets.
In this part of our ESL Pro League Season 10 Americas Preview, we’ll be going through the most prominent teams, ones that are most likely to come out on top and qualify for the Denmark-bound spectacle in December.
As always, the Americas is a fierce region with some of the best teams in the world. That said, it’s no surprise to see a fair bit of competitiveness, especially with out-of-form Team Liquid that’s struggling to win matches even against “easier” opponents.
Just like I already mentioned above, there are six Finals tickets on the line. Sixteen teams are set to compete for them, so there’s bound to be a massive dose of competitiveness on display.
Here are the teams that are most likely to snatch them:
There’s a meme circulating the internet claiming Evil Genius is the only CSGO team in the world that’s undefeated in eight years. And it’s true, sort of!
Be that as it is, you must admit EG’s performance in New York was brilliant. Not only did they conquer Astralis once in the group stage (along with FaZe Clan), but they also did it again in the grand finals. It was a proper spectacle with Brehze and CeRq as the main protagonists.
The USA and Bulgaria links proved to be crucial in the grand finals. Nothing unusual, seeing as the dynamic duo led the ex-NRG roster for quite some time already. They were the deciding factors in their massively successful StarLadder Major Berlin campaign, where they ended up with a semifinals finish. Need I remind you – Astralis defeated NRG in the semifinals, so that win in New York must’ve felt great for Brehze and the boys.
Coming into this event, the newly-formed Evil Geniuses are looking like the strongest contenders in the Americas region. I dare to say they look better than Team Liquid at the moment. Their map pool seems much deeper, their composure is on a whole new level, and their aim and dueling capabilities are second to none.
Evil Geniuses are in group B with Cloud9, Complexity, and eUnited. It’s a tricky group, no doubt about it, but considering the fact we’re talking about bo3 contests from start to finish, EG’s map pool depth superiority should sway the odds in their favor.
FURIA’s summer was amazing! First, they had a semifinal finish on Dreamhack Masters Dallas, then won a silver medal on ECS S7 Finals, and then had two consecutive titles on EMF World Invitational and Arctic Invitational. Even though the latter two aren’t exactly top tier events, a trophy is a trophy. Plus, both of these events featured quite hefty grand prizes (upwards of $60,000 each).
So yeah, you could say FURIA’s youngsters made a proper statement this summer. However, they don’t want to back down! Yes, their StarLadder Berlin Major performance was a disappointment, but they redeemed themselves by winning the aforementioned Arctic Invitational, beating CR4ZY in the grand finals.
That said, KSCERATO and the rest of Brazucas will be hoping to qualify for the finals, be it through the first or second round of the regular season. That will depend on how they square up against MIBR, seeing as they’re the biggest contenders in group A. SWOLE and Team Envy aren’t to be taken for granted either, but in-form FURIA that’s coming into this event with high spirits bound to be too much the USA-based wannabes.
Unfortunately, that’s as far as this ESL Pro League Season 10 Americas Preview will go in terms of FURIA. Let’s move on to the final two teams that will, in my opinion, reach the ESL PL Season 10 Finals without having to battle their way through the second round.
Yes, I believe Renegades will finish on the top of group C even though Team Liquid, the world’s “best” team, is there alongside them. Yeah, quotation marks on best since I believe this out-of-form Team Liquid doesn’t deserve that flattering title anymore.
Back to Renegades, the Aussies made a historical attempt in Berlin, reaching the semifinals and almost going all the way. However, Jame and the Kazakh boys ruled supreme, winning the semifinals contest 2-0 even though both maps were pretty tight (despite the score lines suggesting otherwise).
But still, is that enough for me to put them above Team Liquid in group C? A good reason not to put them above TL is that they haven’t played a single competitive event since that disheartening loss against AVANGAR in the StarLadder Major semifinals. Yep, not a single competitive game for an entire month. That’s bound to leave a toll on their performance, right?
Yes, that’s true. However, I still believe that not playing competitive matches is better than getting your ass kicked by the likes of OpTic and Grayhound. I’m not trying to belittle these two teams, but let’s be realistic here for a second. The “best” team in the world should be able to defeat tier-B teams nine times out of 10.
If jks and AZR kickstart their Danish campaign on the right foot, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Renegades overcome Team Liquid in the final round of group C and qualify straight to the ESL Pro League Season 10 Finals, sentencing the boys in blue to the second-round hassle.
You might’ve noticed MIBR isn’t a part of our ESL Pro League Season 10 Americas Preview. But don’t you worry South American fans, there’s another potent Brazilian side powered by up-and-coming South American talents!
Sharks is the name, and you’ve probably heard about them not that long ago. Yep, Sharks is the team that knocked Team Liquid out of the first ECS event. Yes, the Brazilians did end that campaign with a loss in the very next match, but a win against Team Liquid is still a resounding one. Plus, they lost to NRG (now EG), which are in the form of their lives.
Much of my expectations from Sharks are based on that surprising win against Team Liquid. And it’s not exactly the most convincing win ever. TL was one or two maps away from overtime on both occasions, to be more precise. However, I was still impressed by the sheer mechanical superiority of the Argentinian duo, meyern, and Luken, who led their team across both maps and showed utmost composure.
If they show up for the occasion in Denmark, I reckon Sharks can easily top their group. Isurus, Infinity, and DETONA can all be tricky. But, if Sharks taste blood in the opening fixture against their fellow Brazilians, they have the potential to snowball straight to the Finals.
Moving onto teams that probably won’t win their groups but have the best chances of going through via the second round. Of course, this part of the competition is pretty tricky to predict since there lots of variables affecting the end results. It all depends on which teams win their groups. If the so-called heavy-hitters like EG, FURIA, and Team Liquid fail to deliver in the first round, teams such as Complexity will have lots of work in the second round.
The biggest competitor for Complexity in group B isn’t EG. Let’s face it, EG players are playing their best CSGO out there. I doubt the likes of Complexity, Cloud9, and eUnited can do much to threaten their superiority. That said, I expect a fierce three-way battle for the two tickets leading to the second round.
Many of you must doubt my sanity considering the fact RUSH, and blameF just joined this Complexity roster and are yet to play a proper competitive match together. Still, I have respect for both players. I’m sure they have what it takes to bring Complexity back to where they belong – to the top of the NA rankings.
They’re on the right way, that’s for sure. HLTV ranks Complexity as the third-best NA team, but I’m afraid that’s as far as they’ll go as long as Team Liquid gets out of their slump.
As far as their chances of qualifying for the ESL Pro League Season 10 Finals are concerned, if dephh and ShahZaM finally find their form, I wouldn’t be surprised if this heavily altered Complexity roster finds their way to Denmark.
Yep, this ESL Pro League Season 10 Americas Preview just couldn’t go without Team Liquid in the team overviews section. Yes, boys in blue aren’t in the best of forms, but they’re still a remarkable team that won seven notable trophies in as little as three months. And that was just a few months ago.
Their recent performances are concerning. Liquid’s post-Major track record bolts four wins and four losses, three of which were in best of three contests, and three of which were against opponents that aren’t in the top 10 CSGO teams.
The Pinnacle of Astralis’ slump is yesterday’s DreamHack Masters Malmo loss against Grayhound that saw them exit the competition. They lost on both Nuke and Mirage and showed a lack of composure and lousy decision-making throughout the game.
On the bright side – it can’t get any worse than it currently is!
Jokes aside, I expect a much better performance from Team Liquid during the ESL Pro League America’s regular season. While I don’t believe they’ll top the group and advance straight through to the Finals, I’m sure they’ll find their way through the second round.
EliGE is still a force to be reckoned with. I expect great things from him cometh the opening bo3 contests in group C. They’ll have to start strong against Ghost but will have to finish stronger since they’re set to face off against Renegades in the third round. It’s going to be tricky, that’s for sure, with good chances of tiebreakers having to decide the group placements.
Finally, the last portion of our ESL Pro League Season 10 Americas Preview is the event schedule. Since we’re talking about a round-robin group stage, all group stage matches are known before the start of the tournament.