We break down the form of the teams heading into Group A of ESL Pro League Season 14
The summer break is over, and CS:GO is finally back on the menu as the 14th season of ESL Pro League is about to begin. We look at how the teams stack up in Group A in this preview.
The summer break is over, and CS:GO is finally back on the menu. Several teams have revamped their rosters over the break and we will get to see some of them in action in Group A of ESL Pro League Season 14. All eyes will be on Lucky in particular, who is set to make his anticipated debut for Astralis at this event.
ESL Pro League Season 14 will feature 24 teams who have been split into four groups. The teams will fight it out in a round-robin bracket with best-of-threes for all matches. When all teams have played each other, the points will be tallied up and the top three teams will advance to the playoffs starting September 7th.
The top dog in the group will advance straight to the quarter-finals, with the remaining two having to start their playoff journey in the round of 12.
$750,000 in prize money will be up for grabs, including ESL Pro Tour points and a spot at the BLAST World Final for the winner. All matches at the event will be played online.
Group A starts August 16th and will run through August 20th. These are the teams:
Astralis are probably going to be one of the most interesting teams to watch at this event. The Danish side is currently going through a major rebuilding period after device left the team. They have built around gla1ve who has put pen-to-paper on a long-term deal with the organisation, but it is still unclear who is going to be in for the long haul alongside the in-game leader.
It seems likely that the organisation will focus on youth, with Bubzkji getting more playing time and newcomer Lucky getting a chance on the AWP, but dupreeh, Magisk and Xyp9x are all fighting for the last two spots. We will get a better idea of what they are going for at this event, but this also makes them very hard to predict at the moment. The Danes have shown that they are more than capable even without device, but there is still a world where they fail to make playoffs here considering the major changes they are going through.
Spirit’s roster has remained unchanged over the summer break, and they will look to come out guns a-blazing. We all know how much skill this roster has, but unlike the likes of Gambit and Virtus.pro, this CIS squad is a lot more reliant on their individual skill. mir and degster are a formidable duo that has certainly played well this year, but they are going to need the likes of sdy and magixx to pop off if they want to make playoffs. They will certainly like their chances, as there are plenty of teams with question marks in this group.
ENCE pulled off a few upset victories the last time we saw them in action at an ESL Pro League event, and they will hope to replicate that feat here. Their latest addition to the team, hades, has now played a fair amount of games with the team, so they will come into this one well prepared. So far, he has been an impressive addition to the team, posting a 1.17 rating in all matches. I certainly would not sleep on ENCE in this group.
The bonafide favourite of this group is definitely Heroic. The Danish team has remained unchanged, and they looked pretty solid before the summer break despite not making a deep run at IEM Cologne and IEM Summer. With their strong fundamentals and team work, they should be able to grind their way to a spot in the playoffs.
I am going to be honest, I was not super excited about this Vitality team after they brought in Kyojin, especially since ZywOo has had a bit of a dip in form by his high standards. Despite this, they made a deep run at IEM Summer - ending the event in 3rd-4th place. It seems like they just have too strong of a foundation, which is why I would expect them to make playoffs here more often than not.
The big underdog of the group is Bad News Bears, who have made the travels over from North America to compete at this event. They have just brought in Junior, who will stand-in for ptr who recently departed the team. The North American side will definitely see this as an excellent chance to prove themselves, but it would be surprising to see them get much done at this event considering the best-of-three format.