By Pavo Jurkic
December 2, 2019
ESL Pro League events are as big as they come in the world of competitive CS:GO. The tenth season is just around the corner, with sixteen teams eagerly anticipating their opening group stage matches. Roughly 24 hours are separating us from the Odense action, so let’s get right to it by checking out the most interesting facts about the ESL Pro League Season 10 Finals, competing teams, prize money, and broadcast talent.
|3rd – 4th||$40,000|
|5th – 6th||$20,000|
|7th – 8th||$17,000|
|9th – 12th||$15,000|
|13th – 16th||$14,000|
As stated earlier, Team Liquid conquered the last ESL Pro League Finals, defeating G2 in what was a proper 47-rounds thriller decider map on inferno. The boys in blue also eliminated Astralis in the quarterfinals, asserting their dominance and establishing themselves as the number one team in the world.
Evil Geniuses, then playing under NRG’s emblem, could’ve gone all the way if it wasn’t for brilliant G2 led by in-form KennyS and electric French fans. Brehze and the fellas dealt the first blow to Astralis in the group stage, which must’ve been the starting point of their quarterfinals’ demise.
Viewership-wise, ESL Pro League Season 9 Finals had an average of 136,723 viewers. The grand finals match between the fan favorites G2 and Liquid brought the numbers up, with astonishing 422,593 unique viewers. Astralis vs. Liquid was the second most popular match on the event, gathering close to 260,000 unique viewers.
Can Astralis continue their stellar track record by winning another ESL Pro League event? Can Evil Geniuses or Team Liquid throw The Great Danes off and snatch a trophy to themselves? Or, perhaps another contender will step up to the challenge and create an upset?
FaZe Clan is always in the equation for the grand prizes, even when they’re in terrible form. With the likes of Coldzera and NiKo onboard, you can never guess when exactly will this FaZe Clan roster start to shine. Who knows, perhaps it will be in Odense.
Their recent performances weren’t that awful. They won BLAST Pro Series Copenhagen precisely a month ago, which was their first proper display since Coldzera joined from MIBR. IEM XIV Beijing saw them play well too, but Astralis was too big of a fish to fry in the semifinals. Overall, if FaZe Clan does an excellent job against MIBR in the first round and keeps going forward in the upper bracket, I wouldn’t be the one to count them out in Denmark.
Ever since the acquisition, Evil Geniuses have been playing extraordinarily well. ESL One New York and StarSeries Season 8 portrayed them in the best of lights, and ECS S8 Finals saw them put up a proper fight against Astralis in the semifinals. Overall, Evil Geniuses are still a top-tier team, well worthy of being ranked as the second-best CS:GO team in the world, right after The Great Danes.
CeRq, Brehze, and Ethan are still the main driving forces of this Evil Geniuses roster. However, I have to give credit where credit is due, and Stanislaw needs mentioning. Even though his stats aren’t exactly brilliant, he contributes to the team’s performances in other ways, ensuring competitive gameplay on virtually every map.
Talking about maps, Evil Geniuses keep working on their map pool, and it’s showing. They are brilliant on Mirage, Inferno, and Dust II, but aren’t failing to deliver on Nuke and Overpass either. There’s still room for development on Vertigo and Train, although they rarely play those maps on the competitive stage. If push comes to shove in the grand finals, I’m certain Evil Geniuses can do a proper Bo5 against any team out there… except for Astralis, that is.
NaVi is, by far, the greatest CIS team out there. However, they can’t seem to find their stride. They haven’t won a single notable event since April (StarSeries Season 7), and the most notable win before that was way back in November last year when they won BLAST Pro Series Copenhagen. And it’s quite surprising, if I may add, considering the fact they have S1mple in their ranks, and we all know what sort of plays he’s capable of executing. On a good day, S1mple can win a match all on his own. Yeah, I’m exaggerating, but only just.
Rumor has it S1mple is back to his raging days, and that’s undoubtedly plaguing the team. Boombl4 seems to be uncomfortable with his IGL role, and the rest of the team keeps failing at the crucial moments. Everyone though GuardiaN is the man for the job, the player that’ll lift NaVi back to the top of the CS:GO food chain. However, that didn’t happen, as the 28-year-old Slovakian AWPer seems out of touch for the most part.
Taking all that into consideration, I doubt we’ll see Natus Vincere progress to the playoffs. They are in group A with the likes of FaZe, Fnatic, and Evil Geniuses, and I’d put all three of them ahead of NaVi as far as reaching the playoffs is concerned.
Even though they failed to win against Astralis in the grand finals, Team Liquid put on a great show in Arlington, during last week’s Esports Championship Series S8 Finals. Overall, Twistzz and the boys swept through the opposition, effectively dealing with everyone except their fiercest rivals, The Great Danes. Can they turn things around and get right back at them, and in Denmark, of all places?
Well, if we’re judging by NAF’s and EliGE’s form, they definitely can. These two have been pulling all the strings in Team Liquid for quite a while. If the boys in blue get far in this competition, it will be on the two of them to lead the charge.
Stewie2K and Twistzz, on the other hand, have been showing off a ton of lackluster performance ever since Astralis took TL down from the pedestal. Especially Stewie2K who’ll need to turn a new page in his gameplay if he wants to be the key contributor to Team Liquid’s style of play.
From the looks of things, Mousesports, the fallen European giant, is back in business. It took a while for this new roster to sync up properly, but now that they have, they’re looking pretty good. Need I remind you, just two weeks ago, ropz and the boys conquered CS:GO Asia Championships 2019. Woxic took the MVP award after having a proper blast from start to finish.
Coming into this event, Mousesports will have their eyes set on the playoffs. However, reaching the Jyske Bank Arena will be no easy task with the likes of Team Liquid, Astralis, G2 and North playing alongside them in group B.
On a brighter note, mouz’s opening match is against ATK and, realistically speaking, it should be a mere formality for woxic and the boys.
However, they’ll most likely be going up against Team Liquid next, and they’ll need to win that match too if they want a worry-free trip to the playoffs. Otherwise, they’ll be in a world of hurt because the lower bracket is going to be packed with nasty contestants.
Don’t worry guys; we saved the best for last! Astralis, The Great Danes, are coming into this event after a fantastic performance in Arlington, where they won Esports Championship Series Season 8. Even though they had a shaky start against Sharks, device and the fellas pulled themselves together and finished off with style.
Hosted in Odense, Denmark, ESL Pro League Season 10 Finals will see the best CS:GO team in the world compete on home soil, which should push them to perform even better. Or, perhaps it won’t.
You see, Astralis doesn’t have the best overall record on home soil. First, they lost the grand finals of BLAST Pro Series Copenhagen 2017 against SK Gaming, followed by even worse performances on BPS Copenhagen 2018 and 2019. A quick reminder – Astralis failed to get out of the group stage on both occasions. And that’s not even the worst of it.
ESL Pro League S6 Finals in Odense, Astralis finished the event with just one win. The only success Astralis had in front of their fans was ESL Pro League Season 8 Finals, played in Odense, when they defeated Team Liquid and won Intel Grand Slam Season 1.
Yeah, that’s basically what I wanted to tell you guys about Astralis playing in Denmark. While they are coming into this event as the main favorites, I wouldn’t bet my money on them winning it considering all the flops they made in the past.
In addition to the six teams portrayed above, other notable figures include 100 Thieves and Fnatic. At the moment, Fnatic is ranked as the third-best team in the world, following excellent performances in recent months. I’m mainly referring to their DreamHack Masters Malmo triumph and outstanding performances on the eighth seasons of StarSeries and Esports Championship Series.
100 Thieves are in stellar form too, enjoying a respectable IEM XIV Beijing display where they finished off at the second place after losing to Astralis in the grand finals. The ex-Renegades lineup, SPUNJ’s favorite team ever, will fancy their chances of going through to the playoffs, but it’s going to be an uphill task considering the quality of teams in their group.
The final piece of our ESL Pro League Season 10 Finals puzzle is the event schedule. There are several outstanding matches right off the bat. For example, FaZe Clan is going up against MIBR in one of two opening matches. Additionally, Fnatic vs. EG is also going to be a splendid contest. Whichever of these four teams ends up losing their opening matches, they’re going to spice things up in the lower bracket!
Here’s a brief overview of all eight opening matches: