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ESL Pro League 2020 Preview Part 1




We're done with the regular season of BLAST Premier; now it's time for the next league. Welcome ladies and gentlemen to the annual Season of ESL's Pro League. Marking its 11th season, the ESL Pro League 2020 has undergone scrutiny, changes and uncertainty. As the dust has settled, we now have the list of participating teams and the format for this season. Twenty-four teams from across the globe have been split into four groups. The groups will be played out across March, and in the 12th of April, we will witness the crescendo, the final bo5, to determine the winner of ESL Pro League Season 11. Strap yourselves in as there are a lot of teams to go through. This is just part 1 of this lengthy piece, so be sure to follow up on part 2 where we cover the remaining teams.

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ESL Pro League 2020 Format

The most significant change for this season of ESL Pro League is the lack of a regional split. All 24 teams have bee united under one region. The problem, as it is with all global leagues in the space, you can't have all teams play each other in a round-robin style. The costs would be too high, and the league would last a lengthy part of the calendar.

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As a compromise, ESL has split the teams into four groups. Each group will last for eight days. Three out of the six teams in a group can secure a spot in the playoffs. The teams which end up in 2nd or 3rd will be placed in the Round of 12. The winners of each group will have a separate play-in which will determine if they will be placed in the quarterfinals or semifinals. All matches will be bo3's except for the Grand Final, which will be a bo5.

ESL Pro League Prize Pool

ESL Pro League 2020 will have 750,000$ of prize pool up for grabs. It's uncertain what will be the distribution of the prize money, but all this cash should trickle down to every single participant in the league.

ESL Pro League 2020 Participants

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There will be a total of 24 teams taking place and competing against each other. We'll be going through each team to see how they stand when compared to the competition.

Complexity

The Juggernaut, as it is referred to in a mimetic fashion. The European mixture, based in the training facility of the Dallas Cowboys, has been a talking point at the start of February. A team that kept losing to low calibre opposition in the open qualifier stages of the Rio Major was, deservingly, dismissed. What could this team achieve in BLAST Premier apart from finishing last? A few things, apparently. For starters, they were beating the best team in the world 2-0. Then they went on and beat Vitality in another stellar game. The individuals of Complexity performed well at BLAST, but the same level didn't transition to their most recent tournament in Dreamhack Open Anaheim as they finished 3rd-4th.

We've seen that on their best day Complexity is capable of beating the top dogs of Counter-Strike. But such an attribute could be said about a lot of the teams in the top 10. I'm sure that Complexity has been putting in the practice hours from Anaheim, but they're the squad that should limp their way to the playoffs, even if unexpected losses might come in the way.

Evil Geniuses

It has become very apparent that this EG roster is trickling down in the World Rankings as their coach ImAPet "had just come off a 10-day Bootcamp playing hundreds of hours of CS" when they lost their bo3 games against OG in BLAST Premier. But as they came to IEM Katowice 2020, it was a reasonable expectation for them to make it out of the groups. That was not the case. By taking 2 bo3 losses against Liquid and 100 Thieves (a team they beat recently at BLAST) they were out of the tournament.

The most worrying sight is the lack of impact their star players pose. Everyone is playing on an even playing-field fragging wise. This team needs an individual or two, most likely Brehze and Cerq to step up and win them series.

Team Liquid

It's been over six months since the fantastic Liquid Summer run. They were winning everything; they were beating Astralis; they seemed to be unstoppable. But six months later, it is an undeniable underachievement for this team as to where they are now. They still get playoff finishes, and reach the occasional semifinal or final. But with the talent at their disposal, they must be aiming for more.

As they head into ESL Pro League, they are still a top dog (or horse) in Counter-Strike terms. They can and probably will beat the teams below them. But with their current form it's hard to bank on them to win the title or win against the teams above them. ESL Pro League 2020 Betting on Team Liquid could prove profitable.

100 Thieves

It looked like the Australian squad will have an incredibly difficult time this year. The last place in BLAST Premier and they got demolished at the groups of IEM Katowice by G2. Maybe it was ring-rust, but once the engine warmed up, we could see the potential of this team. Upsets. While being the underdog, they beat Evil Geniuses, mousesports and were incredibly close to winning the quarterfinal games against Fnatic.

Many forget that this team has been together for a lengthy period. They have great chemistry and have built up a level of communication. Because this roster is often overlooked, they should have no difficulties beating the teams below them and causing a ruckus in the groups. I'd be careful about their big stage performances when it comes to CS:GO betting, as that still seems to be the area where this team struggles.

TYLOO

It can not be understated what it means to lose BnTeT. He was by far the best player in the team, single-handedly pulling his team to victories with ZyWoO like numbers. His fragging has dropped a bit, but that's because he has taken up in-game leadership duties. Even with more pressure on his shoulders, he maintained his position as the best in the team. With him gone, Summer has taken over leadership duties, and they've brought an AWPer from South Korea in the form of xeta.

With such a massive change it's hard to expect for TYLOO to be ready for Pro League. They don't have enough time to iron out the new issues, and in a six-team group environment, they are bound to finish last. We strongly suggest extreme caution when doing your ESL Pro League Betting on TYLOO.

Sharks

Not a lot of strengths go in favor of the Brazilian team. For starters, they lost the prodigy meyern who has been picked-up by MiBR. They have shown potential at qualifying for significant events, as they would secure an upset against a bigger and better team. Once they'd qualify for such events, they could make a map close, but that's about it.

Previously they've qualified to the ESL Pro League Season 10 Finals, by beating out national Latin American teams. This time around the competition is way more fierce. The one thing that is going their way is that it's still a functioning roster, with the core having played for more than half-a-year. Apart from that, it's hard to find arguments about why they would succeed in ESL Pro League 2020.

Renegades

The Australians made a wise move removing Dickstacy. Meme potential aside he was the lowest-rated player in the team, and if anyone would have been sacked, it had to be him. Now Renegades have brought in fresh blood in the form of Hatz from Order. In their first outing together with the team successfully beat Cloud9 and Mad Lions to a Grand Final appearance to Leipzig. They've lost in the Final to BIG, but those were some big teams to knock-out.

Even in Katowice 2020, as their results seem too weak going out in the last place, they were on the brink of winning Inferno against Fnatic, being up 14-6. They eventually lost, but this team has shown potential, and with a fragging IGL like dexter, this seems to be an exciting upset potential team.

BOOM Esports

It's understandable if BOOM esports doesn't ring a bell, as their previous alias was INTZ. You might have seen this team play. If not, chances are you have heard the names of boltz, felps and yel. The trio of the biggest "what's if's" in Brazilian Counter-Strike. It's incredible to think that guys like felps and boltz, who have been part of the best Brazilian teams are so young, just 23 and 22 years old respectively. Yet these guys have been around the block going from one team to the next.

BOOM Esports is a project that doesn't give confidence with the pieces it has in store. What are the odds that felps and boltz will try their hardest to grind and win? Maybe the two other players chelo and shz can make this project work, but it doesn't look like it. We'll have to wait for their appearance on LAN at the ESL Pro League 2020 for the first few days to make a better judgment.

FURIA

FURIA has successfully stopped its descend down the rankings. When they made the addition of HEN1 into the roster, they didn't have enough time to practice with the newest member. They went from tournament to tournament with lacklustre results. Now after the player break and with some time to practice, we can see improvements. In their first tournament of the year, they capped it off with a finish in the Grand Final. Now with arT taking over rifling duties, he can focus more as a leader and allow HEN1 to do the fragging.

FURIA could be one of the teams many might underestimate. I don't believe they're in a position to contest the trophy in ESL Pro League 2020, but depending on what group they will land, they are in a good spot to secure a playoff position. The ESL Pro League Betting odds on FURIA could be beneficial.

OG Esports

With the names on these teams many people expect to this to linger around the top 10. Just after their showing in the Ice Challenge and BLAST Premier, the team is now sitting at #16 in the world. There's not a huge sample size to predict their performance, but a few things are going their way. The first one proves that they can absolutely be contestants out there. The name value alone of players like v4lde and NBK build confidence around this team. Not to mention the youngster mantuu who is performing out of his mind at this high level. However, it feels like their T sides could use some work. But if they continue having stellar CT sides, it really becomes only a matter of time of when you can close out the game.

With no more tournaments for this team from BLAST to ESL Pro League 2020, we know they had plenty of time to work on their mistakes in BLAST. If they can keep up their fragging prose with the confidence they possess, they are a force to be reckoned with. OG Esports is a team that should achieve nothing less than the playoffs at the ESL Pro League.

Virtus.Pro

If there's a team you should consider avoiding at all costs, it would have to be VP. This is a roster that's barely clinging on life support. Their coach, dastan, has intimated of a need to make a roster change and how it was an option. But instead of making one, it seems they will continue playing with this 5-man lineup which keeps on exiting tournaments before the crows.

It's even hard to see any proper upset potential in this team. Everyone has got them figured out, and they've become susceptible just like FURIA did in their Summer one. The ESL Pro League 2020 Betting Odds are definitely not in their favour.

Godsent

Not the first team that comes in mind when you think of a European mix with big names. It's true; we need to roll back the years to see the heights of the players in this team. That's not saying they are incapable of competing. This is a squad that has slowly but surely been climbing through the ranks. It's not just online results that prove this, but recent results at LAN. At WePlay Forge of Masters S2 they got a 1st place finish and a 3rd-4th finish at GG.Bet Ice Challenge as they lost to Na'vi.

Even though this team might fly under the radar for most, this is a squad worth keeping your eye on when it comes to CS:GO Betting. There are definitely teams they can and have even beat in the past. However, it should be too difficult for them to cling on to the top 3.


Be sure to check out our ESL Pro League S11 Preview Part 2!