ESL Pro League Season XIV Tournament Details, Schedule, Information and Groups Preview

August 9, 2021 | 0 | 248| |

The Counter-Strike: Global Offensive player break is coming to an end. Next week, 24 teams are heading to European servers in order to take part in the fourteenth season of ESL Pro League.

EPL Season XIV not only marks the return of CSGO’s top competitors, but it’s also one of the most important and prestigious tournaments of the year.

So, in order to make sure you’re fully up-to-date with what’s going on, we’ve prepared this guide. Here you will find all information you will need to tune up next Monday, as well as a handy preview for each of the four groups that make up for the group stage of the event. Without any further delay, let’s get into it!

ESL Pro League XIV details

ESL Pro League Season XIV will be starting next Monday, August 16th. The first match, group A’s Heroic v Bad New Bears, will kick off at 11:30 GMT. You can see which time it will start in your time zone through this handy link.

As for the rewards, EPL Season 14 has a packed $750,000 prize pool, and the champions will be taking $175,000 out of it. Moreover, teams will also be awarded circuit points for both ESL and BLAST circuits.

Finally, let’s go through the tournament details. EPL Season XIV features a round-robin group stage with four groups, each with six teams. All teams will be playing each other once, and all games are BO3. The teams that finish first in each group will be advancing right to the quarter-finals, while the second and third places will be playing in the Round of 12.

As for the playoffs, it’s the same old standard format CSGO fans are used to. Single-elimination bracket, BO3 games up to the grand-final, which is a BO5 match. All matches of the tournament are going to be played online.

Lastly, you will be able to watch all games on ESL’s official Twitch channels. Here’s the link for the main stream, and here’s the link for the secondary channel.

Teams and scheduling

Above, you can check the teams taking part in ESL Pro League Season XIV. Below, you can check directly from ESL the full schedule for the tournament’s group stage.

Now that we have all information needed above, let’s take a quick look at each of the four groups of the event.

GROUP A – The Proving Grounds of ESL Pro League

TEAMROSTER [HLTV Rating in 2021]Latest Event Performance
AstralisBubzkji [0.98], dupreeh [1.06], gla1ve [0.97], Lucky [1.13], Magisk [1.05], Xyp9x [0.98]3-4th place at IEM Cologne 2021
Bad News BearsJonji [1.16], junior [1.18], Shakezullah [1.01], Spongey [1.06], Swisher [1.12]13-16th at IEM Cologne 2021 Play-In
ENCEdoto [1.03], dycha [1.13], hades [1.17], Snappi [0.99], Spinx [1.13]9-12th at Pinnacle Cup II
HeroiccadiaN [1.13], refrezh [1.01], sjuush [1.08], stavn [1.08], TeSeS [1.12]7-8th at IEM Cologne 2021
Spiritchopper [1.00], degster [1.19], magixx [1.05], mir [1.21], sdy [1.08]13-16th at IEM Cologne 2021
VitalityapEX [0.96], Kyojin [0.95], misutaaa [1.02], shox [1.01], ZywOo [1.27]9-12th at IEM Cologne 2021

Opening ESL Pro League Season XIV on August 16th, the six teams of group A will be having a packed week, full of games.

If we had to chose three teams to watch out, Astralis, Heroic and Vitality’s storylines are very interesting ones. The first, Astralis, is coming to EPL after a great showing in IEM Cologne, and with a new sixth player too. However, the team is still surrounded by rumors of players leaving and uncertainty. Can Astralis repeat their success from Cologne and successfully introduce the team’s new AWPer?

As for Vitality, the French team hasn’t been the team that fans want it to be this year, that much is clear. While ZywOo is still there putting star-worthy performances, the rest of the team simply can’t keep up. 28-years-old Dan ‘apEX’ Madesclaire, for one, is not having a great year so far, and he’s definitely one of the most underwhelming players of this roster. So, what’s up with Vitality? Can they surprise in EPL Season XIV or this is yet another event for them to disappoint?

Thriving as an underdog

Then we have Heroic, the defending champions. The team that won ESL Pro League Season XIII isn’t quite the same, however. The momentum once built by Casper ‘cadiaN’ Møller is gone. After disappointing in IEM Cologne, the expectations for this squad simply aren’t there anymore. However – being honest here – no one expected Heroic to win ESL Pro League Season 13 either. Looking at them right now, they are back at being underdogs, and cadiaN’s teams seem great at thriving as underdogs.

GROUP B – Plenty of opportunities to succeed, plenty of opportunities to fail

TEAM ROSTER [HLTV Rating in 2021] Latest Event Performance
ComplexityblameF [1.18], es3tag [1.02], jks [1.02], k0nfig [1.13], poizon [1.04]13-16th at IEM Cologne 2021
G2AmaNEk [1.00], huNter [1.13], JaCkz [0.96], nexa [0.99], NiKo [1.16]2nd at IEM Cologne 2021
OGAleksib [1.02], flameZ [1.11], mantuu [1.14], niko [1.00], valde [1.13]9-12th at IEM Cologne 2021 Play-In
RenegadesaliStair [1.09], Hatz [1.05], INS [1.22], malta [1.04], Sico [1.06]13-16th at IEM Cologne 2021
Sinnersbeastik [0.99], NEOFRAG [1.19], oskar [1.19], SHOCK [1.03], ZEDKO [1.02]3-4th at Pinnacle Cup II
Virtus.Probuster [1.03], Jame [1.18], Qikert [1.02], SANJI [0.92], YEKINDAR [1.14]5-6th at IEM Cologne 2021

Our three interesting situations in group B come from OG, Sinners and Complexity. G2 are the favorites of the group by a wide-margin, so we will instead focus on teams in not-so-great situations.

First, we have OG. The European squad headed to Cologne with their hopes up, and left with their heads down. The band couldn’t even qualify for the main event in Cologne, and they were eliminated by Renegades, a team that was held in Oceania due to the pandemic, facing little to no competition to advance. EPL Season 14 is OG’s chance of redemption, but considering their recent form, this won’t be easy at all. Can OG finally deliver what’s expected out of them, or it’s time to start studying roster moves? OG’s situation is so uncertain that not even a win in their rematch against Renegades is guaranteed at this point.

Next, we have to talk about Sinners. The Czech powerhouse has been performing well in Europe’s lower-tiers competitions, and it’s time for them to show what they can do against the big names. For Sinners, ESL Pro League Season XIV is the golden ticket. They have shown to do well against lesser competition, but no one’s expecting them to blow up here against the likes of G2 or Virtus.Pro. It’s their chance to prove many wrong and make the best out of this opportunity.

No rush for a juggernaut

To close group B, we have Complexity. The project which was planned to end as a juggernaut in Counter-Strike hasn’t fared very well lately. For this tournament, however, Complexity is bringing up changes. Announced during the player break, Complexity has benched William ‘RUSH’ Wierzba. In his place, Complexity has brought in ex-Cloud9 Patrick ‘es3tag’ Hansen. Hopefully these weren’t the only changes, though. Complexity issues went deeper than a single player, but if the team felt that this move was the right one, then all we are able to do is hope that they were right. If they are, and this project start hitting its targets, then Complexity will make this half of the year much more interesting.

GROUP C – No mistakes allowed

TEAM ROSTER [HLTV Rating in 2021] Latest Event Performance
BIGgade [1.08], k1to [0.98], syrsoN [1.12], tabseN [1.08], tiziaN [0.94]7-8th at IEM Cologne 2021
Evil GeniusesBrehze [1.04], CeRq [0.97], daps [N/A], MICHU [1.02], oBo [1.07]9-12th at IEM Cologne 2021 Play-In
FaZebroky [1.09], karrigan [0.88], olofmeister [0.97], rain [1.00], Twistzz [1.13]3-4th at IEM Cologne 2021
FNATICALEX [1.00], Brollan [1.10], Jackinho [1.00], KRIMZ [1.02], mezii [1.17]13-16th at IEM Summer 2021
MousesportsacoR [1.04], Bymas [1.02], dexter [0.97], frozen [1.15], ropz [1.20]13-16th at IEM Cologne 2021
Natus VincereB1T [1.08], Boombl4 [0.98], electronic [1.12], Perfecto [1.03], s1mple [1.35]1st at IEM Cologne 2021

The groups of EPL Season XIV are overall well-balanced, but when you have so many teams, it’s hard to not have that one group that promises a more heated competition compared to others. Our group C looks like a perfect example of this.

Our most interesting stories here are coming from FaZe, FNATIC and Natus Vincere. Let’s start with FaZe, the biggest surprise of IEM Cologne, which you can read more about here. Coming to EPL again, FaZe is now seen in a different light. The team that struggled for most of the year so far finally came together, and fans are extremely excited to see them bring their Cologne form into EPL. It’s a different format, though, and they are in the most packed group of the event. FaZe is heading to another challenge that seems extremely hard to overcome. But we wouldn’t even be mentioning them if they hadn’t proven that they can be a contender for the top.

New roster in the block

After FaZe there’s FNATIC. The Swedish team isn’t packing a fully Swedish line-up anymore. During the player break, FNATIC brought in two English players, Alex ‘ALEX’ Meekin and William ‘mezii’ Merriman to the team. They are replacing ‘Golden’ and ‘JW’ in the team’s main roster and will be having their first matches wearing FNATIC’s colors in EPLXIV.

Considering the group, they are in and the roster changes, it’s excusable for FNATIC to not perform greatly. However, it’s in these kinds of situations, when fans don’t expect much out of a team, that the best rosters come up to light. If ALEX want to start his journey with FNATIC with a bang, the fourteenth season of ESL Pro League is the perfect place for it.

Being the favorites doesn’t mean they have it easy

Closing up C, it’s time to discuss Na’Vi. After winning IEM Cologne 2021, Natus Vincere has also reached the top of the world rankings. They’re the team to beat. This is the best Na’Vi we have seen in CSGO. Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev, the team’s star, is putting incredible performances almost every game. The team seems to have an untouchable synergy. Everything is going well for Na’Vi – but that’s when pressure hits the most.

Being in group C, Na’Vi has fallen into a nest of vipers. To keep up with expectations, Kirill “Boombl4” Mikhailov, Natus Vincere captain, and Andrii “B1ad3” Gorodenskyi, the team’s coach, are going to have to fire all cylinders to keep this team on the top while everyone else aims for them. Can they do it, though? They definitely can.

GROUP D – Americas Gambit in ESL Pro League

TEAMROSTER [HLTV Rating in 2021]Latest Event Performance
EntropiqEl1an [1.26], Forester [1.10], Krad [1.05], Lack1 [1.05], Nickelback [1.04]9-12th at Pinnacle Cup II
FURIAarT [1.04], honda [0.87], KSCERATO [1.15], VINI [0.99], yuurih [1.11]9-12th at IEM Cologne 2021
GambitAx1le [1.19], Hobbit [1.19], interz [0.97], nafany [1.07], sh1ro [1.23]5-6th at IEM Cologne 2021
LiquidELiGE [1.16], FalleN [1.01], Grim [0.99], NAF [1.12], Stewie2K [1.01]9-12th at IEM Cologne 2021
NiPdevice [1.13], hampus [1.05], LNZ [0.93], Plopski [0.96], REZ [1.11]9-12th at IEM Cologne
TeamOnemalbsMd [1.04], Maluk3 [0.96], pesadelo [0.96], prt [0.95], xns [0.93]13-16th at IEM Cologne 2021 Play-In

Group D features three teams coming from the Americas out of five in total present in this event. In the other side of the group, we have Gambit, Entropiq and Ninjas in Pyjamas, all which have a fair chance of advancing from the group stage.

So, who we will be talking about? The most interesting storylines from D seem to be coming from Gambit, Liquid and Ninjas in Pyjamas. After all, these are quite the big names in CSGO, with Gambit and NiP particularly being in the headlines recently lately.

Gambit, of course, took the place of best CSGO team in the world for quite some time before the player break. That’s it, until they were dethroned by Natus Vincere. Now, the team is on a quite different situation. After Cologne, Gambit’s formation didn’t look as strong as it once did, and more teams seem to be able to challenge them right now. However, with the player break, Gambit had enough time to do changes, and if the team’s captain, Vladislav ‘nafany’ Gorshkov, managed to get the right moves in, we could see an extremely dangerous Gambit back on track to the top.

Two different struggles

In the other hand we have Liquid. The North American team is far from the peak they reached under their previous captain, Nick ‘nitr0’ Cannella. Since then, Liquid simply isn’t able to compete on the same level. With the team is struggling seriously, and the reason not being completely clear, changes were somewhat expected. Then, it was revealed that Liquid will have Gabriel ‘FalleN’ Toledo as its IGL post player break. This move hasn’t inspired much confidence, though. Can Liquid overcome their issues to deliver good results in EPL? The stakes are high for Liquid as they are one of the last North American teams remaining in the top-level of Counter-Strike. It’s an uphill battle for sure, and it’s one that will either make or break this team.

Lastly, it’s Ninjas in Pyjamas time. Since adding 4-times Major champion Nicolai ‘device’ Reedtz to the team, NiP results have been mixed. The team finished in second in Flashpoint 3, but couldn’t reach the playoffs in either IEM Cologne and IEM Summer. However, NiP is far from reaching their ceiling, and hopefully the off-season time-out allowed the team to get closer to it. Considering that the team seemingly didn’t do any roster changes during it, a stronger-looking NiP is likely to show up – will it be enough to reach what’s expected of a team featuring device, though?

One week until the action returns in CSGO with ESL PL!

It has been a while since we last watch a CSGO match featuring the best teams out there, but this break ends next week. Plus, you now have all information you need to keep up with EPL Season XIV next week!

As always, thanks for reading! If you want more content about EPL, then make sure to follow our predictions page here. Make sure to also follow us here as in-depth group previews are coming in the next days and weeks. The preview for group A is coming later this week!

The author

My name is Marcos, I have been following the CSGO pro scene since 2015 but really got into in following games and pro teams in 2016. Used to bet a lot, stopped a bit but never stopped following the esports scene. I'm a student right now so I got a lot of time to keep with it and discover new things.

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