ESL Pro League Season 9 is just a few weeks away. The North America ESL Pro League Season 9 league is scheduled to start on April 12th. A total of one and a half months of online CS:GO will follow and a lot of excellent matches will be worth watching.
In this article, after having had a look at the ESL Pro League European counterpart, we will make an analysis of the most important teams in the region and give you pointers about what they’ve done lately and what they’re likely to do next.
North America ESL Pro League Team Analysis
Like Europe, North America is a region full of powerful competitors that rank high in global rankings. However, only 5 of them are worth analyzing. The other 11 are far weaker by comparison and are only worth watching if you truly care about NA CS:GO.
Going into ESL Pro League Season 9, these are the main competitors in North America. All of these teams should in principle qualify for the LAN Finals of ESL Pro League Season 9.
Team Liquid was the 2nd best team in the world last season. They played in 9 Grand Finals and won two important titles. Then they lost their coach and one of their best players, TACO. Both of them are Brazilian and chose to return to their homeland in order to play for MIBR. Liquid did not want to force the issue so they let them go. However, as part of the deal, they got Stewie2K, a former Major champion with Cloud9.
Initially, everyone assumed that Team Liquid was going to lose a lot of strength as a result of losing both TACO and zews. However, the new coach, adreN, as well as Stewie2K, turned out to be as hungry as ever to win important trophies and prove their worth to the team. And as a result, Liquid defeated Astralis in the Grand Final of iBUYPOWER Masters IV and placed 2nd at the most recent BLAST Pro Series, where they lost against the same team.
Perhaps the biggest disappointment for this new Liquid roster was the 5th – 8th place finish at IEM Katowice, where the team lost against ENCE eSports. However, there’s little that can be criticized about Liquid’s performance in that match, simply because their rival went on to beat Na’Vi as well, and then play in the Grand Final against Astralis.
Possibly the best contender at the North America ESL Pro League
Going into the North America ESL Pro League Season 9, Team Liquid is probably the strongest competitor in the region. So we fully expect them to get a top 3 placement and easily qualify for the LAN Finals.
With TACO and zews, MIBR completed their first all-Brazilian roster since the rebirth of the brand. And the initial results were impressive. FalleN, coldzera and the rest of the crew finished 3rd – 4th at the IEM Katowice Major, where they lost to Astralis in the Semifinals after a thrilling first map that ended 14 – 16 in the Danes’ favor.
The thing that’s a bit of a warning sign with regards to this roster are the two most recent results registered by MIBR. The first, a 5th – 8th place finish and WESG 2018-2019, a competition they should have easily dominated, showed that MIBR is still struggling with internal issues and inconsistencies in how they apply their tactics and strategies. Not everyone is on the same page and that shows in the key moments of highly disputed matches.
The second failure registered by MIBR took place at BLAST Pro Series: Sao Paulo 2019. This one must have hurt because the boys played in front of their home crowd and got dismantled. Every single one of the other 5 competitors wiped the floor with them. That is, ENCE eSports, FaZe Clan, Ninjas in Pyjamas, Team Liquid and Astralis. Their worst performance came against Liquid (2 – 16).
Can MIBR turn it up at the North America ESL Pro League?
We’re pretty sure that FalleN and his team will try to forget about this incident as soon as possible. However, it did show a severe weakness on MIBR’s side when it comes to Bo1 matches. Keep in mind that this is the second BLAST Pro Series event where MIBR goes 0 W – 5 L. And the format was the same: 5 Bo1 matches. Quite obviously, this team has a huge problem when trying to ban or pick maps and the Bo1 format seems to defeat them every time.
However, in spite of these problems, ESL Pro League Season 9 is not a tournament full of unbeatable teams, at least at the regional level. Because of this, we expect MIBR to finish 3rd or 4th and qualify for the LAN Finals. It’s very unlikely that more than 3 teams will be able to outperform the Brazilians, given that only Team Liquid, Renegades and possibly Cloud9 or NRG Esports have serious rosters to compete with them.
This is a very strong team that emerged onto the world stage with a new roster. And this new roster proved that ambition and work ethic will overcome a lot of things. At the recent IEM Katowice Major, Renegades finished 5th – 8th, possibly one of their best placements ever at a big event.
The whole squad is impeccable and works incredibly well as a unit. The two new players, liazz and Gratisfaction, as well as the coach, kassad, proved themselves to be mature and determined competitors. Overall, it looks as if Renegades might have one of their best rosters yet with this formation and we’re looking forward to seeing them play. If they made any progress since the IEM Katowice, then we’re confident in their ability to get a top 4 placement at ESL Pro League Season 9. Nothing should prevent them from achieving that result.
The addition of Golden to the team and the release of flusha may boost the team’s morale, as we explained in our latest CS:GO Roster Changes article. However, we’ve yet to see what this new C9 roster can do under pressure. The previous one finished 9th – 11th at the recent Katowice Major, which isn’t all that bad given the circumstances.
However, the management of the team wanted more. Which is understandable, given that Cloud9 won a Major just a little over a year ago. At the same time, the team has one of the best LoL teams in North America. So the taste of success is not foreign to this organization.
Going into North America ESL Pro League Season 9, we have reasonably high expectations from Cloud9. Of course, we don’t expect them to finish 1st, 2nd or even 3rd in the regional competition, but we do expect them to qualify for the LAN Finals. Anything less would probably lead to severe roster changes.
And finally, we have NRG Esports. This is a fairly strong team although they did fail miserably at the recent IEM Katowice Major. Nobody knows what happened there but after a 3 W – 0 L record in stage one, NRG went on to lose their first three matches in stage two. It was absolutely shocking but there you have it.
That aside, this is a solid team with a lot of potential for a region such as North America, so we do expect them to perform well at ESL Pro League Season 9 and like the other 4 teams, qualify for the LAN Finals.