The ESL Pro League Season 8 culminates with the LAN Finals in Odense, Denmark. One of the biggest esports leagues at present, we will see a total of sixteen teams participating in the LAN Finals. The tournament will feature a prize pool of $750,000 spread across the teams. ESL Pro league will play host to the best teams in the world. They are placed into two groups which will see Best of One opening matches. The subsequent matches are all Best of Three and provide for a very fair Group stage.
For many teams, the ESL Pro league feature the best teams in the world. The winner of the Pro league finals represents the end of a season for many. With the balanced tournament format along with the lengthy qualification procedure for the same, ESL ensures that the best talent is at the top. At the same time, there is a balanced representation for multiple regions. With the global nature of the tournament along with the huge prize pool, this event is one of the premier stops in the Counter-Strike calendar.
The teams in Group A are:
The first group has some of the better teams in Counter-Strike. Led by Astralis, who currently don’t seem to have much competition this Group will see intense competition for the second Playoff spot.
There are many teams who are capable of putting up a great show on paper. But not all of them are at their peak or anywhere close to defeating Astralis. The likes of Team Liquid, G2 and BIG Gaming have some of the bigger names in Counter-Strike. However, their inconsistency and the lack of any form currently proves to be the real complexity here.
In addition to this, there is also Hellraisers who is perfectly capable of upsetting many of these teams. The roster includes young fresh faces who have a lot of firepower. They might not have the tactical approach of some of the veteran teams. However, the BO1 opening match & one more Best of three series means that could qualify for playoffs.
This group will be a way for teams to analyze the performance of BIG Gaming and G2. BIG has been extremely inconsistent with their own performances. They rely too much on the individual prowess of multiple members. There are also times when it does feel like Gob B is a bit stagnant in his shot-calling. However, once they find their synergy, and it often comes late in a match, they look menacing and extremely strong.
G2 esports on the other hand recently made some changes to their roster. The expectations of this team are very low, especially due to these changes. They might have some of the biggest French names on their team yet they have always failed to disappoint. The roster will take time and with a new direction under Shox, they will have to reinvent their playstyle.
The teams in Group B are:
Despite including many relatively weaker rosters, Group B is by far the more interesting Group in this tournament. It houses the likes of NRG, Natus Vincere, Made in Brazil, North Gaming as well as Mousesports. The level of competition amongst these premier Tier one team is bound to be intense and fierce. Most of these teams have a heavy dependence on their In-Game leaders.
So it will be always interesting to see how the teams use the map veto to their advantage. Despite being one of the best teams in the world, Na’Vi has seen itself struggle immensely. At the same time, we saw MiBr’ pick up its form and provide some really quality Counter-Strike. After several months under YNK’s guidance, MiBr looks ready to launch itself on the International stage They even defeated Astralis in a Best of One, however, they filed in the Grand finals at ECS Season 6 Finals.
There are multiple tournament contenders from this Group. Coming from a relatively tougher group will only prime these teams for the future playoffs. They will have to face Astralis at some point before winning the tournament and this group will be great preparation.
ESL Pro League LAN Finals will stream live on Facebook as part of their two-year deal. This means that you will need to go to fb.gg in order to watch these matches. However, there also alternatives available such as those on HLTV as well as the ESL official website.