It's playoff time! After twelve matches, the dust has settled and four teams have made it through to the playoff round. We've got some spicy rivalries to look forward to in the first round matchups, with Team Liquid and Evil Geniuses set to square off in the main event.
The playoffs are finally upon us! In this article, we will break down the format, the matchups, and the teams for the North American portion of ESL Pro League.
It’s playoff time! After twelve matches, the dust has settled and four teams have made it through to the playoff round. We’ve got some spicy rivalries to look forward to in the first round matchups, with Team Liquid and Evil Geniuses set to square off in the main event, while MIBR and FURIA will battle it out in a must-win game in the lower-bracket. But first, let’s take a look at the format.
The four teams will battle through a best-of-three, double-elimination playoff bracket. Team Liquid and Evil Geniuses will start in the upper-bracket as a result of finishing first and second in the group stage, while MIBR and FURIA will face off in the lower-bracket. Whoever makes it through the upper-bracket will start with a one-map advantage in the best-of-five finals.
The playoffs will kick off on April 10 with MIBR vs FURIA, followed by Team Liquid vs Evil Geniuses on April 11. The winner of the MIBR vs FURIA game will face off against the loser of Liquid vs Evil Geniuses in the consolidation final on April 12. The winner of that matchup will move on to the finals, which will be played on April 13.
These are the matchups:
The gloves are off as Team Liquid are set to face off against their North American rivals, Evil Geniuses, in the upper-bracket. Interestingly, Team Liquid have had an iron-grip on this matchup historically. In fact, they have never lost against this iteration of Evil Geniuses in a best-of-three. That’s five wins in a row for EliGE and his crew. However, that doesn’t mean that Evil Geniuses haven’t had a chance in these matches. The last two meetings have gone to a decider map, and the last one was decided in overtime. Team Liquid will be the favorite here, but Evil Geniuses can certainly make it close.
Joga bonito is a common saying in Brazil. That’s “Play beautifully” in Portuguese if you aren’t much of Soccer fan. We should definitely see some beautiful plays as MIBR are set to take on FURIA in this Brazilian derby. But will it be a beautiful game or a dirty one? These domestic matchups tend to get a bit wild, so FalleN’s alter ego-Bad FalleN-might have to make an appearance if they want to overcome FURIA. The last time these two sides met, FURIA came out on top by a score of 2–1. The stakes are even higher now, as the loser will get eliminated from the competition. But perhaps most importantly, the winner will get to claim the title as the best team in Brazil. Who will emerge victorious this time around? Place your bets!
Here is a rundown of how the teams have performed throughout the season.
Note: All stats from ESL Pro League.
Team Liquid finished the season on a 3–2 record. It wasn’t the smoothest ride in the world of Team Liquid, as they were surprisingly beaten by Swole Patrol and FURIA in the first match week. However, wins against MIBR, 100 Thieves and Evil Geniuses proved to be enough to finish at the top of the standings.
Evil Geniuses were beaten by 100 Thieves in their first match of the group stage, but they bounced back with wins against Swole Patrol, MIBR and FURIA to put them in a great spot to make playoffs. A closely contested loss to Team Liquid in the final match did momentarily jeopardize their position, but FURIA took care of 100 Thieves which meant that Evil Geniuses could breathe a sigh of relief.
MIBR found themselves in a tiebreaker scenario awith 100 Thieves and Swole Patrol after finishing the season on a 2–3 record. However, the fact that they defeated both 100 Thieves and Swole Patrol meant that they would move on as the fourth-place team. MIBR really struggled to overcome the big names in the group, and after losing to FURIA, they now find themselves as the clear underdog in the playoffs.
FURIA had a bit of a bizarre run in the group stage. They kicked off the season with a bang, defeating Team Liquid and their eternal rivals, MIBR. However, a loss to Evil Geniuses quickly put an end to that hot streak. A surprising loss to Swole Patrol followed, and it all came down to the last match of the season. However, the Brazilians made no mistakes against 100 Thieves, beating the Aussies by a score of 2–1, securing their place in the playoffs.
You’d have to favor Team Liquid here. However, it needs to be said that they have struggled somewhat recently. Evil Geniuses will have a serious chance at making the finals here, as they have an excellent record against MIBR and FURIA. These domestic matchups tend to be closely contested, so I would highly consider betting the over in these matches.