A quick preview of what to expect from the two Play-in matches.

The top team from each group of the ESL Pro League Season 13 will compete in the play-in stage. Heroic faces off against Ninjas in Pyjamas while Gambit esports will go up against Astralis. The play-in matches help determine the seeding of the teams and their placement in the playoffs. The two winners will go directly to the semifinals and the two losers of the play-in stage will go to the quarterfinals. Here’s a quick preview of the two play-in matches.

Heroic takes on the Ninjas in Pyjamas

Heroic and Ninjas in Pyjamas will face each other in the first play-in match of the tournament. The two teams are very evenly matched with NiP being the 11th rank while Heroic is ranked 12th in the HLTV rankings.

Heroic is on a seven-match win streak with victories over OG, Complexity, Cloud9 and others. The Danish roster is very storng on Inferno, Nuke and Veritgo. These maps fit its playstyle helped immensely by its strong CT presence. The team had a fantastic run through 2020, but its recent results have been lackluster. The former World no. 1 team benched Johannes "b0RUP" Borup and Nikolaj "niko" Kristensen (now part of OG) while Rasmus "sjuush" Beck and Ismail "refrezh" Ali are now part of the active squad. The recent roster changes should have caused some problems. But Heroic looked extremely strong in the group stage and has momentum on its side. 

The Ninjas in Pyjamas relies on youngsters Fredrik "REZ" Sterner and Nicolas "Plopski" Gonzalez Zamora who have been consistent in their performances. NiP has the advantage over Heroic on Dust 2, which should make this series an interesting one. The NiP roster has a high skill ceiling but is somewhat raw in the strategy department. With Heroic’s strength on Vertigo and NiP’s Dust 2 dominance, CS:GO fans can expect this series to be extremely close and exciting.

Gambit vs Astralis

<em>Gambit went undefeated in the Group stage. Image Credit: </em><a href="https://twitter.com/GambitEsports/status/1376845033861681155" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener nofollow"><em>Gambit</em></a><em>. </em>
Gambit went undefeated in the Group stage. Image Credit: Gambit

Astralis and Gambit will play the other play-in match in the tournament. Astralis has been the most consistent CS:GO team in the last few years. The Danish squad has dominated the CS:GO landscape. However, Astralis (rank 2) will go up against Gambit (rank 3) in what promises to be a clash of different playstyles.

<em>Astralis finished the group stage with a 4-1 score. Image Credit:</em><a href="https://twitter.com/AstralisCS/status/1375186463067881477" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener nofollow"><em> Astralis Twitter. </em></a>
Astralis finished the group stage with a 4-1 score. Image Credit: Astralis Twitter. 

At the same time, Gambit Esports went undefeated through Group C with victories over Natus Vincere, FURIA and more. The team entered ESL Pro League after a great run to win IEM Katowice. The CIS squad has continued its dominant form so far and is yet to lose a match in the tournament. But now Gambit will face off against Astralis, a team that is much more experienced and has some of the biggest names in the game. 

<em>Gambit has had a meteoric rise in 2021. Screengrab via </em><a href="https://www.hltv.org/team/6651/gambit"><em>HLTV</em></a><em>.</em>
Gambit has had a meteoric rise in 2021. Screengrab via HLTV.

Gambit’s roster is relatively young but it is also very skilled. The relative novelty of this roster will give Gambit a slight advantage coming into this game. Astralis might be a bigger name in CS:GO, but the Danes will find it extremely tough to win versus Gambit.

The winner of each play-in match moves to the semifinals while the loser goes to the quarterfinals. ESL Pro League SEason 13 has a $750,000 prize pool and all matches are live on Twitch

Stay tuned to Esports.gg for the latest CS:GO news and updates

Featured Image Credit: NiP