The regional online portion of the ESL Pro League is a gargantuan beast, where teams play huge numbers of online matches over several weeks, often trying to work around appearances in other tournaments. Finally, the end is in sight. With one more week of matches left to play, the teams qualified for the Season 6 LAN Finals will be determined for certain on Nov. 11.
The format of the online league has each of the 14 teams in the region play two best of 1s against each of their opponents. Out of the field, six will get invites to the LAN Finals set to take place in the Sparekassen Fyn Arena in Odense, Denmark, on Dec. 5-10.
NA Online League
Prior to the last week of play in NA, we have SK Gaming, OpTic Gaming, CLG, Team Liquid, Cloud9, and Luminosity Gaming in the first six spots in the standings, though teams like Misfits, NRG Esports, Immortals, Renegades, and Splyce are on their heels.
While some might be able to fight through to advance to the LAN Finals, it’s much more likely that what we see is what we will get in NA. Over the next week, three truly interesting matches will take place.
The first match between Liquid and Cloud9 is a long-standing rivalry match between two of the best purely NA CS:GO organizations. While Team Liquid has had a slight edge for a while in the past, Cloud9 has come back in a major way recently. They’ve made it to the Semifinals of the ELEAGUE CS:GO Premier 2017, ESL One: New York 2017, and DreamHack Montreal 2017. Team Liquid, on the other hand, made it to the Finals of ESL One: New York 2017. Still, Cloud9 seems to have a better chance of winning this match.
The next interesting match will be between OpTic Gaming and Cloud9, as well as SK Gaming. Where other significant NA teams like SK Gaming, C9, and Team Liquid played in LANs all over the world, OpTic had a much calmer schedule, allowing them to focus on their online performance. While still surprising, the fact that OpTic is currently first in the standings might mean that they will have a chance in their last matches.
On the other hand, they will probably still be in the ESL Pro League Season 6 LAN Finals even if they lose most of their matches in Week 7. This might mean that they will take a break. Even if they tried their hardest, it’s not. Very easy to imagine them actually winning easily against C9 and SK. They might give the two NA CS:GO giants a run for their money, but ultimately, they have a disadvantage in the matches.
EU Online League
The situation in Europe is much more interesting, partly because the region has more world-class teams than NA. Currently, Fnatic, FaZe Clan, North, Astralis, Ninjas in Pyjamas, and G2 Esports take up the first six spots, with LDLC, mousesports, HellRaisers, GODSENT, and Heroic gearing up to challenge them, though it would be a hard task indeed to try and convince you that they will actually be successful.
The current top 6 features the six strongest. Weirdly enough the closest contenders, Team EnVyUs and Natus Vincere are actually at the bottom of the standings.
Three interesting and significant matches will take place this week on ESL Pro League.
First, FaZe Clan will fight the new-ish Fnatic lineup after their own mishap at the EPICENTER 2017 tournament, where they fell in the Quarterfinals to the massively underperforming Virtus.pro team. If the world made sense, FaZe would win both best of 1 maps, but we will have to actually see how it goes.
Next, G2 Esports will face Fnatic as well following two maps against GODSENT. If G2 Esports somehow lost those, they might actually need to win against Fnatic to keep their spot in the ESL Pro League Season 6 Finals.
The last interesting match of the week will pit mousesports against Astralis. While there’s no reason why the Danes should fail to make it into the LAN Finals, this fight might mean life or death for the mousesports team, which is currently sitting in 8th place and has to play and win against HellRaisers to have a chance of making it any further.