In its seventh season already, ESL Pro League has been one of the most prestigious Counter-Strike: Global Offensive leagues in the world, only challenged by the Esports Championship Series and the original ELEAGUE.
The league is played online except for the LAN finals, where top teams from Europe and North America come together to find out which is the strongest after all. Before that happens, fans have seven weeks of matches between some of the top teams from their respective region to look forwards to.
After the matches played this week, the current EPL season will be past its midpoint, which should allow you to draw some conclusions about which teams are doing well in paving their way to the LAN finals and which ones should frantically try to pick up some wins or risk getting left behind.
While we are all for strong CS:GO regions all over the world, that fact that there are many more strong Counter-Strike squads in Europe than in North America cannot be argued. Because of that, we are talking about Europe first.
Currently at the top of the standings, we have mousesports with a 9-5 record and 26 points. Trailing behind is Astralis with 8-4, followed by Na’Vi, Ninjas in Pyjamas, FaZe Clan, Space Soldiers, and Heroic. If the cutoff happened now, these teams would be going to the LAN Finals, leaving Fnatic (4-4), G2 Esports (4-10), HellRaisers (4-2), North (4-8) Team LDLC (4-6), AGO Esports and Team EnVyUs behind.
With that said, things may change after this week’s matches. Aside from influencing the standings, there should be several interesting matches taking place this week. Ninjas in Pyjamas will play Heroic in two separate best of 1s, the struggling G2 will face them too. Natus Vincere will enter the server against Team EnVyUs as well.
Speaking of the French team, they will play against the Space Soldiers which have placed 2nd at the WESG 2017 Finals. AGO will play against the Soldiers as well but that match is less hypey because the two teams were thought to be at a similar level in the past, while EnVyUs was considered to be one of the top teams in the world at the same time. There will also be a match between Fnatic and North. One has just brought home one of the biggest sacks of dosh in the history of the CS:GO team, the other… where was North?
Looking at the standings in the NA portion of the ESL Pro League Season 7 online portion, one question immediately pops up. What the hell happened to SK Gaming?
The Brazilians used to be the best team in the world and yet, they were knocked out of the WESG 2017 Finals in the first round after losing to BIG and Team Russia. They aren’t much better in the EPL standings either with 2 wins and 6 losses. Admittedly, they are behind some teams in total games played and have a busy LAN schedule that has to be worked around. They could still try and get to the LAN.
Aside from SK, Team Liquid hasn’t lost a map yet, neither has NRG Esports, though they played six maps to Liquid’s eight. Currently, the standings look like this: Team Liquid is in first place, followed by the 6-4 Luminosity, 6-0 NRG, 5-3 OpTic, 5-5 Rogue and 5-3 Renegades in sixth place, which is the cutoff for the qualification to the LAN Finals.
This week, we will have matches between Liquid and Luminosity, Cloud9 will play NRG and SK will face Rogue. Sadly, that is all, despite the 24 maps scheduled to be played. There aren’t many NA teams that appear at international LAN events, which is, honestly, quite sad. Consoles should have been banned decades ago, maybe then, we would have more high level American CS:GO player. Amirite or amirite?
As we mentioned before, the EPL is one of the big events of the year which rarely disappoints. This week should set the trend going forwards into the later parts of the online play. Hopefully, the big name teams which are currently underperforming will be able to recover in time and make it to the Finals.