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ESL Pro League Season 12 EU - Preview

Heroic will be looking to make it two in a row after taking down ESL One Cologne, but how will they cope without their coach HUNDEN? We break it all down in our preview of the event.

Valentin Gustafsson
Freelance Esports Writer
31st Aug, 2020·☕️ 6 min read
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The 12th season of ESL Pro League is about to get underway. We break down the format, the teams, and give you some betting tips in our preview of the event.

Competition Information

The 12th edition of ESL Pro League will feature 16 of the finest teams in Europe who will compete for a combined prize pool of $450,000.  The group stage will feature two-round robin groups of eight, where all teams will play each other once in a best-of-three format. Once all matches have been played, the top four teams will advance to the playoffs.

The playoffs will feature a best-of-three, double-elimination bracket. The grand final will be a best-of-five, and the team making it through the upper bracket will have a one map advantage.

The groups are as follows;

The Groups

Group A

  • 🇵🇱 AGO
  • 🇩🇪 BIG
  • 🇫🇮 ENCE
  • 🇫🇷 G2
  • 🇪🇺 GODSENT
  • 🇩🇰 Heroic
  • 🇷🇺 Natus Vincere
  • 🇪🇺 OG

Group B

  • 🇩🇰 Astralis
  • 🇪🇺 Complexity
  • 🇪🇺 FaZe
  • 🇸🇪 fnatic
  • 🇪🇺 mouz
  • 🇸🇪 NiP
  • 🇷🇺 Spirit
  • 🇫🇷 Vitality

ESL Pro League EU will run from September 1 to October 4.

The Current Season

Heroic

Heroic
Record: 72 / 0 / 34
Most Played Map: Mirage (72.7%)
Best Map: Nuke (78.9%)
Worst Map: Dust2 (50.0%)

Heroic took down ESL One Cologne in impressive fashion, sweeping Vitality in the BO5 final. They didn’t have an easy road to the finals either, defeating FaZe, fnatic, Complexity and G2. Not too shabby, to say the least. The Danes showed a ton of intensity and hunger to win. The question is, can they keep the momentum going, or will see the typical hangover type of scenario which is all too common? It would not be surprising, since their coach, HUNDEN, has been banned for 12 months due to bug abuse.

mousesports

mouz
Record: 34 / 1 / 45
Most Played Map: Train (52.4%)
Best Map: Nuke (60.0%)
Worst Map: Inferno (9.1%)

mousesports have struggled immensely ever since the transition to online play, and it is clear that something had to be done. The team’s main AWPer, woxic, has been benched from the team, with Bymas coming in to replace him. This should mean that chrisJ will pick up the AWP full-time for the team, with Bymas filling in for chrisJ. This is exciting since we haven’t seen chrisJ on the AWP for a long time. Perhaps this will be enough to ignite some fire within this team, but one thing is for certain, woxic’s fiery personality will be sorely missed. 

Vitality

Vitality
Record: 66 / 2 / 41
Most Played Map: Dust2 (57.1%)
Best Map: Vertigo (100.0%)
Worst Map: Mirage (47.1%)

“2nd place” has been the story of the year so far for Vitality, finishing as the runner-up at BLAST Premier Spring Finals, cs_summit 6 Europe, and now ESL One Cologne. Their consistency is impressive, but they appear to crumble in the finals all too often.

BIG

BIG
Record: 109 / 0 / 51
Most Played Map: Mirage (66.7%)
Best Map: Dust2 (75.0%)
Worst Map: Vertigo (58.8%)

After a stretch of amazing results, BIG finally stumbled, bombing out of ESL One Cologne with losses to Sprout and NiP. XANTARES had a poor tournament by his high standards, and they will the Turk to return to his previous form if they want to bounce back with a good showing in ESL Pro League. 

NiP

NiP
Record: 25 / 2 / 27
Most Played Map: Train (66.7%)
Best Map: Train (66.7%)
Worst Map: Dust2 (25.0%)

NiP have a solid showing at ESL One Cologne, finishing in 3rd-4th place after losing out to Vitality in the semi-finals. They had a rocky start to the tournament, dropping down to the lower bracket after losing to OG, but they battled through with wins against BIG, Natus Vincere and Astralis to make the playoffs. Their semi-finals performance against Vitality was lacklustre, to say the least, and it seems like they still need more experience to become a tournament-winning side. One thing is for certain, threat has done a solid job with this team from the coaching position, and hampus is really starting to settle in as the team’s in-game leader. Their map pool is their biggest issue at the moment, and their weakness on Dust2 and Nuke has proven to be a major leak in the current meta. 

Astralis

Astralis
Record: 4 / 0 / 2
Most Played Map: Train (50.0%)
Best Map: Nuke (100.0%)
Worst Map: Inferno (0.0%)

Astralis had a decent showing at ESL One Cologne with their new roster, beating fnatic and Vitality to advance to the playoffs, where NiP proved to be too much to handle for the Danes. Bubzkji had some great performances in the group stage, but he cooled off significantly in the playoff match with NiP. My suspision is that Bubzkji is going to play a vital part in whether or not this roster is going to have any success moving forward.

GODSENT

GODSENT
Record: 16 / 0 / 15
Most Played Map: Nuke (57.1%)
Best Map: Vertigo (100.0%)
Worst Map: Inferno (33.3%)

This team has some dark horse potential, as we have seen them play well against top opposition in the past. They are well drilled with solid fundamentals, and there is no doubt that Farlig has the potential to be a top tier AWPer. Their last tournament was cs_summit 6, where they finished in 5th place, with wins against the likes of fnatic and NiP, and they will look to improve on this performance in ESL Pro League.

Betting Tips

While I think Heroic are a solid team, it would be incredibly surprising to see them go back-to-back and win this event, especially after their coach was banned. Vitality have now made finals appearances at three straight tournaments, which is some remarkable consistency, making them one of the favourites at this event. Both fnatic and Natus Vincere are solid candidates to hoist the trophy, as well. Neither of these teams have played well recently, but it would be a big mistake to sleep on them considering their pedigree at events of this calibre.

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