Gambit will be gunning for the top spot in Group D, but they will face tough competition from the likes of NiP and Liquid
Gambit will be gunning for the top spot in Group D, but they will face tough competition from the likes of NiP and Liquid. In this preview, we will give you a quick run-down of the format and the shape of the teams heading into the 14th season of ESL Pro League.
It is time for the last group of the regular season, which will feature some South American and CIS flavour to it with Brazilian and Russian teams making up four out of the six spots in the group.
Gambit will be gunning for that top spot, closely followed by the likes of NiP and Liquid, who will be looking to fend off newcomers Entropiq. The Brazilians in the group are in for a difficult time, especially FURIA, who are down a man heading into the league.
In this preview, we will give you a quick run-down of the format and the shape of the teams heading into the 14th season of ESL Pro League.
The format is quite straight forward. The teams will fight it out on a round-robin style group stage, where all the teams will play each other once in a best-of-three. Once the group has concluded, the three teams with the highest point total will advance to the playoff stage. The highest ranked team will have the advantage of advancing straight to the quarter-finals.
The group looks as follows:
Group D kicks off today (September 1st) with matches running every day leading up to the final day (September 5th)
Gambit are big favourites not only to advance, but to win this group. The likes of NiP, FURIA and Entropiq have all won maps against them in the past, but Gambit have always pulled off the victory in the end. These guys are true grinders, and in a BO3 they are incredibly tough to beat. One team that could be difficult for them is Liquid, whom they have never played in an official.
NiP are a tough team to forecast at the moment, but I am quite confident that they will make it out of this group. One of their main competitors in the group is Liquid, whom they beat in impressive fashion at IEM Cologne before the summer break. LNZ is still incredibly inexperienced at the top level, but considering FURIA’s stand-in situation, NiP should have no issues making playoffs.
FURIA will be playing this event with their coach guerri as a stand-in after honda announced that he will be staying home after his mother tested positive for Covid-19. Certainly a tough spot for the Brazilians, but if there was any player that is replaceable, it is honda.
FURIA could still do some damage even with their coach as a stand-in, and we have seen them beat big teams with him before. Teams have pulled off wins even with subpar stand-ins in the past, so it is important to stress that they could easily still beat a team or two in this group. With that said, I definitely favour Gambit, Liquid, NiP and Entropiq over them considering the situation.
Liquid had a disappointing showing at IEM Cologne before the summer break, but this is still Liquid that we are talking about. They are definitely not a bad team, and they should be in the running for a playoff spot. As far as I am concerned, they are competing with the likes of NiP and Entropiq for one of the two spots in the playoffs alongside Gambit. Their match against Entropiq could easily turn out to be a key match for them, and if they choose to underestimate the Russians, they will be in for a tough time.
Most people probably aren’t expecting much of Entropiq at this event, but now when FURIA are playing with a stand-in, there is a real chance at that Entropiq could make playoffs. They have been playing very solid CS and El1an has been a monster for this team. If a team like NiP or Liquid underestimates them, this group could get competitive real fast.
TeamOne are definitely the underdog of the group. This team has been around forever with different rosters, but we just haven’t seen them do much of anything. They definitely have some promising pieces, such as the Argentinean sharpshooter malbsMd, but they are going to need the others around him to step up as well if they want to beat out the likes of NiP, Liquid and Entropiq for a playoff spot.
Gambit should make it out of the group without any real issues and I’d say that they do so in first place. After them, I like NiP the most. They slaughtered Liquid at IEM Cologne on two out of three maps in the series - and they have looked pretty solid ever since device joined the team.
As for the last spot in the playoffs, it is between Liquid and Entropiq for me. FURIA are a solid team and they could easily make things interesting even with their stand-in situation, but I just can’t pick them to make playoffs considering the situation. I would watch out for Entropiq, as they could easily surprise.