Sixteen teams have qualified and will be competing for their spot in the LAN finals in Odense, Denmark
ESL Pro League is soon upon us. Read on as we give you a rundown of the format as well as give you some advice on who to pick in fantasy this season.
The ESL Pro League is an online league that takes place annually. Sixteen teams have qualified and will be competing for their spot in the LAN finals in Odense, Denmark. There are three divisions, one for each region. In this article, we will be previewing the Asia-Pacific division.
Two spots will be up for grabs, one for Asia and one for Oceania. Since all of the matches are played online, Asia and Oceania are separated and will only play teams from their own region.
The format was revamped last year year and now features a group stage instead of a league table. The sixteen teams have been split up into groups of four and will play each other in a round-robin format with best-of-threes throughout.
The teams finishing in first and second place will advance to the second round where they will face off against the top two teams from the other group, with only the winner advancing to the LAN finals in Denmark.
The teams finishing in third during the first round of the group stage will be eliminated and the team finishing last will advance to a relegation tournament which will decide if they get to keep their spot in the league.
Here is an image that gives a better overview of the format:
The groups are as follows:
ESL Pro League kicks off with the Australian division on October 8. The league will run continuously throughout the month, with the final games being played November 18.
Note: All statistics are from all competitions with the most current rosters. Stats may be skewed due to the limited sample size.
zeph has been dominant on Ground Zero since joining the team back in August. He leads his team in kills (520) and K/D (1.15). In addition, he sets up perfect for fantasy scoring with his high headshot accuracy of 55.6%. Put all of these things together and you’ve got yourself a player that can win you mad skrilla. Grayhound should prove to be too difficult for Ground Zero, however, zeph will be well worth starting against the likes of AVANT and Recursive.
dexter has been fantastic for Grayhound since INS joined the roster despite his in-game leader duties. Much like zeph of Ground Zero, dexter sets up perfectly for fantasy with his high headshot accuracy (57.1%) and K/D ratio (1.24). In addition, he is tied for first on his team in assists, proving that he regularly puts himself in good spots to deal out damage.
Chiefs are a difficult team to pick and choose from, as they are quite well rounded overall with players like Texta, BL1TZ and zewsy all contributing alongside ofnu. I would personally opt to prioritize more dominant players on other teams and then fill out my roster with the best player I can afford on Chiefs. However, if I would have to pick one I would go with ofnu who has been the standout performer for the last three months leading up to this season of ESL Pro League.
Normally, I would prioritize riflers or hybrids over full-time AWPers like aliStair. However, there are exceptions to the rule and aliStair is one of them. He has been truly dominant for ORDER so far and his peak has been insane, making him an excellent option for fantasy. If you prefer to go for a rifler to get those sweet points for headshots and assists, I would opt for Hatz who isn’t far off from aliStair in terms of fantasy scoring so far this year.
Just like aliStair of ORDER, Kaze is a dominant AWPer that is well worth picking despite the lower headshot and assist totals. He has an absolutely bonkers K/D ratio of 1.56 since Franke19 joined the roster in place of Freeman back in May. If you prefer fulltime riflers, I would take a look at zhokiNg who has been the best rifler on ViCi so far.
I highlighted somebody in our preview for the Starladder Major, as he is someone who has had an upward trend in recent months. As things turned out, somebody was unable to put a ton of points on the board, much due to the fact that TYLOO didn’t string a single win together as a team. However, it is well worth going back to somebody here as they will match up better against the domestic teams. Usually, BnTeT would be the one to target for TYLOO, and he remains a great option. But it is somebody who leads his team in kills/round at 0.75 versus BnTeT’s 0.68. He may die more, but since Skrilla gives you 1 point for a kill and -0.5 for a death, somebody slightly edges out BnTeT here.
Since Skrilla puts out slates from each group, you will need to brush up on your South-East Asian knowledge. The strongest team in the group is likely BOOT, and they have a strong trio of fraggers that include Benkai, d4v41 and splashske. All of them make for compelling options and you could make a strong argument for either one. However, Benkai is a personal favorite of mine due to his high headshot accuracy and K/D ratio, combining the strengths of both splashke and d4v41 in many ways.
The second Singaporian team in the group is BTRG, and they have secured a strong signing in ex-TYLOO player xccurate. However, it is adrnkiNg that I have chosen to highlight here. adrnkiNg is quite new to the pro scene, having spent most of his time with the Singaporian side XCN. However, he has shown fine form so far, putting up strong performances even in losses against the usually stronger Chinese teams. This is mainly due to his defensive style of play, which makes him a consistent performer for the team. If you want to go for pure upside, I would recommend ImpressioN who tends to go for more aggressive plays and gets more assists in addition to his slightly higher headshot totals.
Here are some honorable mentions that could prove to be just as good, if not better, than the featured players above. If picking these players allows you to build a stronger overall roster, then they should most definitely be considered.
Of course, there are always going to be some players that might surprise and perform above expectations. These are some players that I think have shown the potential to do just that.
The competition will be fierce with only two spots up for grabs, one for Oceania and one for Asia. In Oceania, Grayhound will be the prime favorite to qualify after showing excellent form internationally with wins against both Team Liquid and Evil Geniuses. Teams like ORDER, AVANT and Chiefs have shown signs of promise but historically Grayhound has had their number. With all of this said, it is hard to see anything but Grayhound qualifying considering the format.
The Asian group stage is more up in the air in my opinion. TYLOO have always been the dominant side in the region as they normally qualify for big international events. However, they have definitely shown signs of weakness lately, losing to the likes of IG and 5POWER just to name a few.
The other two challengers, MVP.PK and ViCi, have undergone roster changes recently. I would normally favor a team like MVP.PK to qualify in this spot, but they have picked up a completely unproven player in k1Ng who was discovered in pugs in the Asian region. In addition, losing XigN was a big hit to the team as he was the team’s best rifler in my mind.
TYLOO or ViCi should be the one to qualify, but I think the most interesting team in terms of betting opportunities will be IG. They will be the big underdog of the group stage, but they have shown an upward trend with players like V4D1M, Koshak and flying showing good performances. They might not have what it takes to qualify, but they might be able to steal a map here and there, making them a prime target in the handicap market.