ESL Pro League is one of the most prestigious leagues in CS:GO and the seventh season starts today. 26 teams from North America and Europe hope to find their way to the LAN Finals which will send all the qualifying teams to Dallas in May. Before that can happen, however, we have A LOT of online matches to go through.
In North America, 12 teams are going to compete for the six spots in the LAN Finals. There used to be 14, but CLG and Misfits forfeited their places in the event.
With that said, we have Cloud9, compLexity Gaming, Team Liquid, Luminosity Gaming, NRG Esports, OpTic Gaming, Renegades, SK Gaming, Splyce, Team Dignitas, Ghost Gaming and Rogue competing in the North American portion of the event.
It’s immediately obvious that some teams, like Cloud9, Team Liquid, SK Gaming and possibly OpTic Gaming are head and shoulders above the rest. Normally, they would be shoe-in for the Finals but being a world-class team is a curse in disguise.
You get to play in the best LAN events of the season. Looks good, right? The problem is that while the weaker opponents get to practice for their matches and scout the opposition, playing in a perfect home environment for them, the best teams often have to play the EPL matches on their way from tournament to tournament, with no special preparations, in an environment that leaves much to be desired.
That is the reason why top teams sometimes fail to make it to the LAN portion of leagues like EPL and ECS.
In Europe, the competition for the six spots in the ESL Pro League Season 7 Finals in Dallas will be much fiercer.
Astralis, Team EnVyUs, FaZe Clan, Fnatic, G2 Esports, HellRaisers, Heroic, mousesports, Ninjas in Pyjamas, North AGO Esports, Natus Vincere and Space Soldiers will come together and fight.
Different from NA, there are many more good teams than there are spots.
If we had to make a guess, we would say that Astralis, FaZe Clan, Space Soldiers, mousesports, North and Fnatic will make it to the LAN Finals, but it’s always hard to predict because of the reason we discussed in the NA portion of the article.
You might have noticed that we didn’t include G2 Esports in this list. This is because their leader, Richard “shox” Papillon is suffering from cysts and will undergo surgery next month, with recovery expected to last throughout the online portion of the event. The team’s coach, Edouard “SmithZz” Dubourdeaux will stand-in, but he’s not a star like shox is. If G2 is to succeed, Kenny “kennyS” Schrub will have to step up in a major way.
Aside from G2 Esports, the outcome of the European fights for the right to appear in the LAN Finals will largely depend on the teams that have the heaviest traveling schedule and the priority they put on these online matches.