ESL Pro League Season 13 playoffs preview: The favorites
The ESL Pro league is down to its last few teams. Check out a short preview of the four best teams in the playoffs.
The ESL Pro League group stage has come to an end with twelve teams facing early elimination. While the best team from each group moves to the play-in stage, the next two teams from each group will compete in the playoffs.
The ESL Pro League Season 13 playoffs kick off on April 2. The playoff matches are all best-of-three series with a single-elimination format. The four teams from the play-in stage join the playoffs in the quarterfinals and the semifinals.
The group stage matches saw a mixture of near-impossible upsets to dominant victories for some teams. Here are four teams to watch out for in the Pro League playoffs.
Natus Vincere is one of the strongest teams in the tournament. Featuring one of the best players in the world, Oleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev, Na’Vi’s performance relies on cohesive gameplay but the team also makes maximum use of its star player. S1mple’s performance has rarely taken a hit in the last few months and the player continues to perform at an optimal level for Na’Vi.
Despite how strong it seems on paper, Na’Vi could not top Group C. The team was a heavy favorite to do so, but it lost two consecutive series to Gambit and FURIA. With a 3-2 score, Na’Vi barely made it to the playoffs. S1mple has been bringing about changes to his positioning and playstyle within the team. It will be interesting to see how Na’Vi fares against Complexity in its next match.
FURIA esports finished second in Group C with a 3-2 score and just about Natus Vincere. The tenth-best CS:GO team has found stability in its current roster. While the core of the roster remains the same, Lucas "honda" Honda has adapted swiftly to his time on this team.
FURIA’s matches are exciting to watch from a viewer's perspective. The hyper-aggressive matchmaking-style pushes can often surprise the most established teams in CS:GO. Despite being the in-game leader, Andrei "arT" Piovezan has taken the initiative to storm into bombsites and create the opening for his team. FURIA’s playstyle is often in stark contrast to other top ten teams. Train is one of the best maps for FURIA as the players can rotate between bombsites quickly. The team usually has a decent read on its opponents and the quick rotations complement these reads.
Virtus.Pro’s CIS roster has all the makings of a top-tier lineup. The team has an excellent AWPer, excellent synergy between players and some amazing riflers. The team is ranked 4th in the HLTV rankings and continues to improve with each passing day. Virtus.Pro’s strength lies in its strong map pool. Mirage, Inferno and Overpass are its strongest maps.
Virtus.pro has reached the top four of its last five tournaments, convincingly winning three of them. The team recently finished second in the IEM World Championship. Despite the memes about ‘Jame time’ flooding social media, there is no denying this team’s potential and current form. With a 1.29 rating, Mareks "YEKINDAR" Gaļinskis is one of the hottest players in CS:GO right now. Between him and Dzhami "Jame" Ali, Virtus.Pro has all the resources needed to aim for the championship. Virtus.Pro will face off against ENCE in the ESL Pro League round of 12.
Team Liquid has had inconsistent results and is an enigma in this tournament. Despite featuring big names and displaying a lot of potential, it is not uncommon to see Team Liquid bomb out in the group stage. The team looked extremely strong in the group stage, however, with a 4-1 score. Liquid’s only loss was against the group toppers, Astralis.
Elige has been stepping up for the team in recent weeks. However, a big part of the team’s performance relies on Stewie2k. The player has struggled in recent months averaging 0.61 kills per round. With just 69.7 damage per round, Stewie2k has failed to reach his former glory.
The good news for North American CS:GO fans is that Team Liquid dominated the group stage despite not having all players in top form. This speaks well for the team’s chances in the playoffs.
The ESL Pro League Season 13 playoffs kick off on April 2. All matches will be available live on Twitch.
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