After a season full of surprises, we have come to the end of the seventh ESL Pro League. Now with the Finals stage bound starting on May 15th in Dallas we have reviewed the best teams from each region fighting for $750.000.
Different from the previous seasons, we have new challengers. Coming from the new Regional EPL divisions, APAC (Asia and Oceania) and the South American division, MVP PK, Greyhound and Sharks.
Let’s have a look at the match schedule:
Cloud9 and Liquid going to a have a hard time on home soil
Cloud9 and Liquid suffered somewhat in the last weeks from roster changes. Both teams finished their last LAN tournaments in the group stage and coming into Dallas they can’t face another disappointing event.
Liquid kick offs with Grayhounds and we know what ‘DickStacy’ squad can do. Being it a Bo1, everything is possible. Liquid should be concerned if the Australians Grayhounds manage to recreate what they did to SK in Sydney.
Basically, Liquid is again in a quicksand pool. Beating Grayhounds would advance Liquid to a Bo3 against Renegades or Space Soldiers. Teams that also have a giant upset potential. Can Liquid run through this quicksand or will they fail just like in Marseille?
Cloud9 situation is even worst. ‘FNS’ squad will be opening the tournament in a B01 against FaZe. Their opponents just won IEM Sydney 2018 and are full of confidence coming into this event.
FNS, Cloud9’s in-game leader must pull out something to surprise his opponents. More importantly, RUSH and Skadoodle need to perform, or else we will see Cloud9 facing early elimination once again.
OpTic Gaming starring in LAN with an almost impossible starting challenge
Debuting their first LAN will be the Danish OpTic Gaming. However, they didn’t have the luck of the draw. The Danes will be going into a Danish derby against Astralis, the best team in the world at the moment.
As ‘ruggah’, OpTic’s coach said in an interview, the expectations aren’t high fork0nfig and Snappi roster:
‘We are competitive and ambitious, so we always aim to win, of course. If we didn’t have Astralis in out first match, I’d think a spot in the playoffs was a possibility. They’re probably the best team in the world right now, and, if we lose, we only have one more chance in the lower bracket. And with the matchups we see in the first matches, anyone could be dropping down there. So if we can win one bo3 in the lower bracket, I wouldn’t exactly be satisfied with that, but I would say it’s realistic.’
We really cannot see the OpTic force going to the playoffs. It they were lucky enough to face-off SK Gaming, Grayhound or Space Soldiers, they could have pulled off a win.
NiP fight to breakthrough
There’s no doubts that adding dennis as the in-game leader for NiP did wonders for the side. Looking on great form, the team is now competing for a top 7th spot in the world rankings.
Having dennis on board, so far, they have managed to reach the playoffs for each tournament. The issue is they fail to go beyond this point. The team closed every tournament in the quarterfinals. Going into Dallas, dennis must find a way to breakthrough this limitation.
We’ll be keeping out eyes on NiP here. Maybe the NiP’s magic can go from Oakland to Dallas. The biggest factor here will be legendary player GeT_RiGhT. Known for his excellent rifling and AWPing, his fight seems to be on a downwards path. If he can pull some decent stats in at Dallas, NiP could gain a competition edge in a possible encounter with Mousesports later.
SK Gaming still is trying to sort out problems
SK are still working around their language barrier problems. Earlier this year the team decided to change all communication from Portuguese to Englishto compensate for the arrival of Stewie2k.
We also have the added issue of “FalleN” passing his in-game leader title to “coldzera”. While doing mid-round calls isn’t anything new to Coldzera, he is having problems doing it in English.
Going into Dallas SK fans may be concerned. After being amongst the first teams eliminated in Sydney, the Brazilian roster is following in the footsteps of Virtus.Pro.
SK first match in Sydney will be against NiP. The team are used to facing each other in opening matches and so far, NiP had the upper hand. We don’t expect to see big changes now.
Mousesports not satisfied being the 3rd best team in the world
Over the past few weeks Mousesports were almost in touching distance of first spot in the HLTV World Rankings. Nonetheless, since Marseille and Sydney, Mouz has slipped to third but haven’t given up yet.
In the last two tournaments, Mousesports were eliminated by Astralis. For ChrisJ squad right now, Astralis is their main barrier. However, the problem that Mousesports had before Astralis still is occurring.
The international mix still face a dilemma closing games even when at a huge advantage.
In Dallas, Mousesports will start things out against Sharks. It shouldn’t come as a surprise if this game goes to overtime knowing Mouz tendencies but we still believe they will win. The real challenge follows with the winner of FaZe v Cloud9 match, being their next opponent.
While we believe Mouz can beat Cloud9, the same cannot be said for FaZe. Fortunately, in the lower bracket Mouz shouldn’t have any problem. This is, unless Natus Vincere causes upset by MVP or the winner of NRG v Heroic.
Natus Vincere wants revenge
Are S1mple’s squad still recovering from their defeat in the grand final at DreamHack Masters Marseille against Astralis?
The CIS powerhouse have had some downtime ever since and didn’t attend Sydney. Are they ready for Dallas?
In the group stage, Na’Vi shouldn’t experience any problems. Their first opponent will be MVP PK who are levels behind Na’Vi. Following next will be the winner of NRG v Heroic, who also shouldn’t pose a threat.
Winning the first two matches is a given and advances them to the playoffs. From there, the mystery starts. A draw against Astralis is possible right from the bat.
However, Zeus, Na’Vi IGL certainly scrutinised every detail of their match against FaZe which the Danes lost 0 – 3. It all comes down to whether we see a better than average ‘Edward’ than the usual in their encounter.
Na’Vi biggest threats should be the expected top three in this tournament. While they have an advantage over Mousesports, they will be the underdogs against FaZe and Astralis.
Astralis and FaZe fight for best team in the world spot
FaZe Clan took down Astralis in a deceptively close 3-0 final at IEM Sydney. Until this remarkable outcome, FaZe Clan were never considered a treat and everyone actually expected them to fall down the ranks. However, winning IEM Sydney turned the CS:GO Pro Scene Ranking upside down last week.
FaZe are back on top again after beating Astralis 0 – 3 which sends a strong message that ‘Karrigan’ team are ready for everything coming there way.
Gla1ve, Astralis leader won’t be give up their ‘best team in the world’ title to FaZe so easily though. Since their setback, surely the Danish team have been gathering ideas on how to take revenge on FaZe.
Astralis strong points is their chemistry and teamwork. In their match against FaZe both characteristics faded slowly as rounds were going to their opponent.
Gla1ve must break the mental wall against Karrigan to win here. FaZe on the other hand must find a way for ‘rain’ and ‘NiKo’ to perform in top level as they were previously.
FaZe vs Astralis will be one of the most anticipated match of the tournament especially if both mange to reach the final.
Can EPL Season 7 Finals show another contender for the spot of best team in the world?
Winning DreamHack Masters Marseille, Astralis claimed the best team in the world spot and Na’Vi secured second place. In Sydney, FaZe reestablished matters after replacing Natus Vincere’s spot.
Going into Dallas, will we see the resurgence of the North American dream? Maybe Na’Vi will take the tournament by storm. Can NiP replicate their Oakland magic in Dallas? Maybe Mousesports has a hidden trick to show us.
We can’t wait until the tournament start, who are your favorites to win EPL Season 7 and take the $750.000 prize pool?