ESL Pro League Season 13 Event Preview & Team Power Ranking

by in CS:GO | Mar, 5th 2021

ESL Pro League Season 13 starts next week! Monday, March 8th – make sure you etch that date in your calendars, boys and girls! It’s going to be another massive ESL festival, shortly after the IEM Katowice World Championship. 24 teams eagerly await the kickoff, with $750,000 in total prize money!

No sir, CSGO is not dead! Even though the esports industry is still experiencing difficulties with LAN events, game devs and third-party event organizers are doing their best to keep the pro scene afloat. ESL Pro League Season 13 is the perfect example of exactly that, bringing forth AAA production quality, all relevant teams, and a whopping prize pool. No worries, this doesn’t mean there’s yet another Major-less year ahead of us. On the contrary, CSGO majors are set for a comeback this year!

ESL Pro League Season 13 Preview | Interesting Facts

Broadcast Talent

Plenty of top-tier broadcast talent are set to narrate the action starting next week. Stunna and JKaplan are going to be our desk hosts, with YNk and Pimp as the go-to analysts. Machine, SPUNJ, JustHarry, and Hugo Byron are in charge of the commentating. And, as you’d expect, Frankie is there to bring us closer to the action with her informative interviews (and trash talk, you gotta love it).

Non-Monetary Awards

The winner of ESL Pro League Season 13 gets a direct spot on the Global Final plus 2800 BLAST Premier circuit points. Add to that 1300 ESL Pro Tour points and you’ll realize just how important this event is. The $175,000 grand prize isn’t the only valuable reward out there, that’s for sure!

Will We See Another Bo5 Thriller?

Astralis are the reigning European ESL Pro League champions. Yep, the last ESL PL iteration panned out across several regions. Long story short – Astralis took the big W following one of the best grand finals in the game’s history. Astralis were one map down because of the lower bracket and NaVi went on to take Dust 2. Astralis then won three consecutive maps, one going to full thirty maps, and another going to double extra time.

Prize Pool Distribution

3rd – 4th$30,000
5th – 6th$15,000
7th – 8th$12,500
9th – 12th$10,000
13th – 16th$7,000
17th – 20th$5,000
21st – 24th$3,000

Tournament Format

ESL Pro League S13 features 24 teams divided into four round-robin groups. Each team plays all of their group opponents once. The top four teams go to the fancy play-in stage where they have a shot at jumping straight to the semifinals. The losers drop to the quarterfinals, which isn’t half bad considering second and third-place teams start off at the ro12.

BIGTeam Vitality
HeroicG2 Esports
OGFaze Clan
RenegadesNinjas in Pyjamas
FunPlus PhoenixENCE
Natus VincereAstralis
FURIATeam Liquid
Cloud9Evil Geniuses
Team OneFnatic
  • Group A:  8th – 12th March
  • Group B: 13th – 18th March
  • Group C: 19th – 24th March
  • Group D: 25th – 29th March

The playoffs will be played in a single-elimination bo3 bracket. The grand finals, however, will be the classic bo5 setup we all know and love. There’s no room for errors in the playoffs – one mistake and you’re out!

Team Overviews | Power Rankings

Recent events have definitely skewed the situation at the very top of the food chain. Gambit and are both top four, just behind Astralis and NaVi. Who would’ve guessed CIS will have four top ten teams this year, huh?

However, our ESL Pro League Season 13 power ranking isn’t identical to the latest HLTV world ranking table. We’ve mixed things up a bit, focusing more on raw roster potential than the form. Why? Well, these last few events were off the charts in terms of upsets… perhaps things will finally go back to normal on this one!

#1 – Astralis

Astralis - Wikipedia

Astralis is the first team we’re going to talk about here. Despite recent failures, the Great Danes are still labeled as the best team in the world. We’re talking about their OG roster, all five first-team players – when they get their thing going, no one can beat them!

But, we’ve seen them fail several times over the last few months. Poor consistency, average map depth, and general lethargy are their biggest issues. ESL Pro League S13 is an important event, for several reasons, and they’ll have to get their act together if they want to turn a new page. It won’t be easy, though. Group D is the so-called “group of death” and, if not careful, Astralis could have a major slip up very early on.

#2 – NaVi

Natus Vincere - Wikipedia

Is it true; could it be; is NaVi no longer the CIS champion? There’s not just one but two tough competitors – Gambit and And while S1mple and the boys still are the highest-ranked CIS team according to HLTV, a poor result on this event could backfire… assuming Gambit or reach the final stages.

But, we have to give credit where it’s due… and the fact of the matter is that NaVi is still the most consistent team in the world at the moment. IEM XV World championship is the first event in more than half a year that NaVi failed to reach the top four on. That level of consistency is superb and suggests they ought to have another good run on ESL Pro League. Perhaps they’ll finally win it!

#3 – Vitality

Team Vitality - Liquipedia Counter-Strike Wiki

Despite poor displays on IEM XV WC and BLAST Premier Spring Groups, Vitality is still among the favorites for ESL Pro League Season 13. They have ZywOo, and that’s always a massive plus no matter who’s on the other end of the battleground.

Even though we haven’t seen the Brilliant Frenchmen strut his stuff during the Katowice show, he’s still a proper threat. His mechanical skills are second to none and he can explode at any given moment. Vitality will definitely need a bit of firework a la ZywOo if they are to have a successful group stage.

#4 – - Wikipedia were supposed to be the CIS team that stands up to NaVI’s dominance. And while they definitely have improved through the last few months, another CIS side stole the show from them – Gambit!

But, let’s not jump to any conclusions here. is in excellent form, having won three consecutive events, and reached the grand finals of the IEM XV World Championship… all in a three-month span. YEKINDAR and Jame are the most responsible players here. Their splendid performances pushed the team forward, and I doubt they’ll stop anytime soon. Group D is going to be tough for them, that’s for sure, but if they play as they’ve played on the last few contests, they have a good shot at reaching the playoffs.

#5 – Gambit

Gambit Esports - Wikipedia

Next up, Gambit! Needless to say, Gambit executed a massive upset on IEM Katowice World Championship. At the start of the event, no one really saw them as title-winning material. To be honest, I didn’t even think they’d go through to the group stage. But, they played some of their best CSGO in years, snatching one big upset after another, and closing the tournament with style following a superb win over in the grand finals.

Sh1ro is the standout player here. The 19-year-old Russian AWPer has that magical clutch touch that helped Gambit rise to the challenge. The rest of the team played well too, but young Sh1ro has to be pointed out, if not for his superb individual performance, then surely for his numerous clutches that pushed Gambit to a whole new level.

#6 – G2

Welcome | G2 Esports

The sixth spot goes to G2. I know, I know, they haven’t been at their best lately… but we just can’t count them out because of their sheer roster potential. First of all, NiKo – still one of the most dangerous players out there. Next up, huNter and nexa, two potent fraggers who don’t take long to snowball. KennyS and AmaNEk are there to wrap the story up, showing glimpses of brilliance every now and then, typically in times of need.

But, things haven’t been going very well for G2 lately. They have a sick roster, but no proper results to showcase. They haven’t had a single notable event since NiKo’s arrival, even though their first few matches suggested great things to come for the European giants. They won’t have an easy job on ESL Pro League S13. Group B is a tough one, but they’re still going to be in an uphill struggle.

#7 – Liquid

Team Liquid - Liquipedia Dota 2 Wiki

And finally, Team Liquid! The final team on this list actually has solid form coming into this contest. Better than the likes of G2 and Vitality, if we’re being honest here. Runners-up on IEM XV Global Challenge, fourth spot on BLAST Premier Global Final, and semifinal finish on the recently finished IEM XV Katowice. True, they did have issues on BLAST Premier Spring Groups, but so did all other notable teams too.

Considering all that, Team Liquid definitely deserve to be in the top seven ESL Pro League Season 13 contestants. Plus, EliGE and NAF have been playing well over the last few events, FalleN is settling in too. Liquid could be a potent contender… assuming they manage to squeeze through group D, that is.

Wrapping Everything Up

We’re all done here, boys!

Once again, ESL Pro League Season 13 starts next Monday with the first group A matches. The first day has a proper treat for us – BIG vs. OG at 7 p.m. CET. Make sure you tune in via the Twitch ESL CSGO channel.


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