It is time for the tenth season of the ESL Pro League
It is time for the tenth season of the ESL Pro League. Read on as we break down the format for the European division as well as give you some tips for this season’s fantasy contests.
The ESL Pro League is set to get underway in London, England. 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 European division.
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 best-of-three format. The group winner will advance directly to the LAN finals, whereas the team finishing in second and third will advance to a second group stage. The teams finishing in fourth place in their respective groups will advance to a relegation tournament.
The second group stage will feature two groups of four and the teams finishing in first and second place will advance to the LAN finals.
The groups are as follows:
ESL Pro League kicks off with the European 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.
There isn’t much to say about ZywOo that hasn’t already been said. An amazing player that continues to put up big numbers no matter the opposition. A must pick alongside s1mple.
With GuardiaN joining the team, s1mple has transitioned over to a rifling role. At DreamHack Masters Malmö, s1mple was able to get a team-high K/D ratio of 1.33, despite being on the rifle the vast majority of the time. If this continues, s1mple will be an even better option for fantasy moving forward as he will now get more headshots and assists.
There is no doubt that device has been the man for Astralis so far in 2019. However, my general advice as always for Astralis is not to pay up for their top players. They usually win as a team, with most of the players chipping in. Even the likes of gla1ve and Xyp9x are able to have big performances. So just make sure that you can afford players like s1mple and ZywOo before you turn your eyes towards the likes of device and Magisk on Astralis.
KRIMZ has been a beast for fnatic for a long time, but it seems like KRIMZ has further turned it up a notch since Golden and flusha came back to the roster. He was excellent for fnatic at DreamHack Malmö, leading his team in kills/round (0.78) and K/D ratio (1.27). There are plenty of players on fnatic that are capable of putting up numbers, but if there is one that is able to do it on a consistent basis, it’s KRIMZ.
Kjaerbye has been nothing short of excellent despite North’s shortcomings. He is very dominant in terms of fantasy scoring in relation to his teammates, which makes him a great option. However, picking Kjaerbye will definitely be matchup dependent. North will be an underdog against the likes of Astralis, so I would advise picking him against the likes of Aristocracy where he will be able to shine more.
It feels like the likes of woxic and frozen get most of the plaudits on mousesports, most likely because they are the new, exciting names. But the truth is that ropz is the best performer on mousesports in terms of numbers, and in fantasy, it is a no contest. He leads his team in kills/round (0.75) and K/D at 1.29 while maintaining a headshot accuracy above 51.4%. If you’re only going to pick one guy on mousesports, look no further than ropz.
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.
There are eight spots up for grabs for European teams. Favorites such as Astralis, NaVi, mousesports and Vitality are thus highly favored to make it to the LAN finals in Odense.
Another team worth highlighting is fnatic, they may have been drawn in a rather tough group which includes Astralis and North. However, they are just coming off a big win at DreamHack Masters Malmö after reuniting with Golden and flusha this month. fnatic was quite a proficient team last time these two were on the roster, finishing at the top of both ESL Pro League and ECS in Season 6.
In terms of underdogs, two teams stand out. Heroic may not have a pretty roster on paper, but they have been on a great run of form since picking up cadiaN, sweeping the likes of AVANGAR, forZe, SMASH and GamerLegion in best-of-threes. They are currently on a nine-match win streak going into the regular season.
The second team worth highlighting is BIG due to the odds on offer. The German team has been woeful for a while, which is why the odds are so lopsided. However, there is no doubting the talent that they have on the roster and they definitely have upset potential. They should also have a great chance of beating an OpTic side that has been forced to play with a stand-in due to roster rules. BIG may not have the map pool required to beat the top teams in best-of-threes however, so I would recommend having a look at the handicap lines with BIG.