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ESL Pro League

Teams to keep an eye on in the ESL Pro League Season 13

A new year of course means that it is time for a new ESL Pro League season. 24 teams will partake in this tournament at the highest level, but who should you have your eye on?

The large number of teams attending this premier tournament is easily noticed. The 24 teams are divided into four different groups to at least make it a bit easier for the viewers to understand what is going on. The winner of each group will qualify for a play in a tournament, a kind of mini playoffs. This in part brings forth a major advantage looking at the actual playoffs, as the winner will instantly be put into the semi finals of the eventual brackets.

The loser of this play in will be dropped to the third round match, which in itself is already quite the shortcut. The second and third placed team of every group will be placed at the start of the bracket, which means they have a longer path to take to the finals.

A tall task for Renegades

Observant viewers will quickly notice that Renegades will be taking part in group A. The mainly Australian roster is in Europe to take part in events at the highest level and improve their world ranking. Being the number 41 in the world already shows it’ll be a tough battle for them to compete with the best, as it also means they are the worst ranked team in this event.

Renegades obviously isn’t the favourite, but group A does hold teams like BIG, Heroic and Complexity. Looking at just the ranking those are three top teams, each being in the top 10 of the world. Heroic has had some recent player swaps, which might mean inconsistent results.

Will Vitality rise once more?

One of the world’s best teams has had quite the struggle as of late. Vitality can’t compete with the other top teams but is still ranked as the best team of group B. The French team will have a tough battle ahead with some strong international rosters being among their group. Mousesports and FaZe Clan are on a collision course with Mousesports trying to show they can beat their former player Finn ‘Karrigan’ Andersen.

A strong NiP and a disappointing G2 Esports might also impress in this group. The Swedes could build on their positive performance in recent events and possibly make it to the playoffs. G2 Esports might be in the way however, but with Kenny ‘KennyS’ Schrub being benched there is a big question mark if they will actually perform at all.

Cloud9, CIS and the Brazilian scene

When looking at group C we come across an interesting display. It is the only group where there is no majority European roster, but there are three Brazilian teams, two CIS rosters and Cloud9 which is a crazy mix of Americans, Brits and a Dane. Despite this, group C seems to be the most predictable of the bunch.

TeamOne and MIBR are relatively low on the world ranking, just like Cloud9. If logic dictates these teams should be the ones losing out in the group, with FURIA left alone to save face for the Brazilian scene. Gambit and Natus Vincere are at an all-time high and could possibly come through unscathed with both teams recently taking wins at the highest level of Counter-Strike.

The group of death

Looking at the previous teams mentioned, there are of course some big names still missing. For instance the world’s number one team Astralis. The Danes are in a slump just like Vitality and with the group they are playing in it might come to hurt them. Liquid and Virtus Pro are improving by the day and could put themselves up for a spot in the playoffs. There are however three more teams which could surprise as underdogs.

The new kid on the block Endpoint could take some maps in the first days with their roster that has stuck together for some time now. It will be their first season in this premier league, which could make it hard for them to retain their spot with the world’s best lurking at every corner. Fnatic and Evil Geniuses could come to surprise as well, but there are some factors which weaken these teams. Evil Geniuses is making changes to the roster and Fnatic has had some recent changes as well. All contributing to possibly some inconsistency.

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Image credit: ESL