The ESL Pro League Season 8 Finals - Teams to Watch

By EsportsOnly.Com
on Nov 29, 2018

The ESL Pro League Season 8 Finals is an upcoming CS:GO LAN event that marks the epic finale of the online leagues with the same name. No less than 16 teams will be present at the event and compete for a total prize pool of $750.000.

ESL Pro League Season 8 Finals is one of the most important CS:GO tournaments of the year. The event is scheduled to take place in Odense, Denmark between December 4th – 9th. In other words, this great competition will take place in the lion’s den, giving Astralis, the strongest team in the world, the chance to assert its dominance one more time and win the last premier event of the year.

ESL Pro League Season 7 Finals Team Liquid vs Astralis

ESL Pro League Season 7 Finals - Team Liquid vs Astralis

ESL Pro League Season 8 Finals - The Participants

ESL Pro League Season 8 Finals features 16 teams from Europe, North America, Oceania, Asia and South America. The road to this LAN Finals was hard and long for each of these teams, who had to prove their worth against many other regional opponents.

The participants will be divided initially into 2 groups of 8. These groups have already been decided and the result is the following:

Group A

  • Astralis
  • ViCi Gaming
  • Renegades
  • HellRaisers
  • Team Liquid
  • INTZ eSports
  • BIG
ESL Pro League Season 8 Finals Group A

ESL Pro League Season 8 Finals Group A. Image snipped via https://liquipedia.net/

Group B

  • MIBR
  • Sharks Esports
  • NRG Esports
  • North
  • Ghost Gaming
  • mousesports
  • Natus Vincere
  • ORDER
ESL Pro League Season 8 Finals Group B

ESL Pro League Season 8 Finals Group B. Image snipped via https://liquipedia.net/

In Group A, Astralis, Team Liquid and BIG should have a relatively easy run to the Playoffs. Their dominance will be almost impossible to challenge, simply because the other 5 competitors are nowhere near their level in terms of individual skill, experience, results and current form.

In Group B the result is a bit more difficult to predict, although in principle, it should be MIBR, mousesports and Natus Vincere who qualify. Apart from these 3 usual suspects, NRG Esports and North are also in the run with decent chances of grabbing the 3rd spot to the detriment of mousesports and possibly even Na’Vi. However, their chances of success are significantly lower than those of the other 3 teams.

ESL Pro League Finals Event Format

ESL Pro League Season 8 Finals will take place in two stages: the Group Stage (December 4th – 6th) and the Playoffs Stage (December 7th – 9th).

In the Group Stage, the teams will be divided into 2 groups of 8 and each group will be played in a GSL format (double elimination bracket). The initial matches will be Bo1s. All following matches will be Bo3 series. The top 3 teams from each group advance to the Playoffs Stage. The winners of the groups advance directly to the Semifinals while the 2nd and 3rd placed teams advance to the Quarterfinals, where they will play against the qualified opponents from the other group.

The Playoffs Stage has a standard format with a single elimination bracket. It consists of 2 Quarterfinals, 2 Semifinals and one Grand Final (Bo5). As usual, for the Quarterfinals the teams are paired like this: 2nd (Group A) vs. 3rd (Group B) and vice versa.

Team Analysis - ESL Pro League Season 8 Finals

ESL Pro League Season 8 Finals has 16 participants. Most of them are outsiders with no chance whatsoever against the top contenders, so I will focus on the relevant teams.

Astralis

Astralis is every other team’s Bogeyman. Its performance this year has been one of the greatest performances displayed by any CS:GO team in the history of the game. I mean, these guys went from tournament victory to tournament victory and couldn’t have cared less about who their opponent was. In total, Astralis has won 8 important events this year and had 5 other top 4 placements.

Astralis Roster

Astralis Roster

Going into ESL Pro League Season 8 Finals, I fully expect the Danes to dominate all opposition. Device and his squad will be playing in front of their home crowd, so I doubt we’ll see them defeated.

Team Liquid

Like Astralis, Team Liquid has had an amazing year, in spite of winning a single tournament all season. If it weren’t for Astralis, I’m sure Liquid would have been the strongest and most accomplished team in CS:GO in 2018. TACO and his teammates lost no less than 6 Grand Finals, 4 of them to their nemesis, Astralis.

Team Liquid2

Team Liquid Roster

Going into ESL Pro League Season 8 Finals, I expect Liquid to get a top 4 placement overall. In Group A, the bracket offers it the chance to get a fairly easy ride to the group’s Upper Bracket Final, where it will likely meet Astralis for a chance to earn a spot in the Semifinals.

BIG

It’s been a while since we’ve seen smooya and gob b shine, even though their team has had a decent number of good results since that 5th – 8th place at FACEIT Major: London 2018. In recent months, BIG placed 5th – 8th at StarSeries & i-League CS:GO Season 6, 3rd at cs_summit 3 and 9th – 12th at Intel Extreme Masters XIII Chicago.

BIG kakafu at the StarSeries i League CS GO Season 6

BIG kakafu at the StarSeries i-League CS:GO Season 6. Image via hltv.org

Going into ESL Pro League Season 8 Finals, BIG is not exactly one of the scary teams who could win the event, but it should make it out of the groups, most likely with a 3rd place result in Group A. In theory, BIG should not be able to get more than a 5th – 6th place finish in the competition, but who knows. It’s getting close to the end of the season and many teams are starting to show signs of fatigue. In particular, Na’Vi and Liquid, the 2nd and 3rd placed teams in the global rankings, have had some difficulties at their most recent events.

MIBR

The Brazilian-American roster seems to have reached its full potential under YNk’s coaching. Fallen and the rest of his crew played a Grand Final recently, in the Esports Championship Series Season 6 Finals. Their opponent was Astralis so of course, they lost. However, it was a very close series and furthermore, earlier in that tournament, MIBR actually defeated Astralis in the groups. North and mousesports were also bested on the way to the Grand Final, so I can clearly see MIBR coming back to its glory days really soon.

Made in Brazil

MIBR Roster

Going into ESL Pro League Season 8 Finals, MIBR should easily get a top 4 result. In fact, given the lack of form on the part of Liquid and Na’Vi, and the fact that FaZe Clan is not present at this event, I believe that MIBR is the most likely team to reach the Grand Final apart from Astralis.

mousesports

In spite of its failure at the recent Esports Championship Series Season 6 Finals, mousesports is undoubtedly a top 6 team at the moment and has very good chances of making it out of the groups. Their failure at the previously mentioned event was caused by a very unlucky seeding, as mousesports was in the same group with both MIBR and Astralis.

Mousesports

Mousesports Roster

Natus Vincere

And finally, among the top contenders for winning the title at ESL Pro League Season 8 Finals, we have Natus Vincere. The team has been out of shape in recent weeks, but I’m pretty confident that s1mple and his teammates can put on a great performance at their last important event of the year.

Natus Vincere

Natus Vincere Roster

If it can play its standard game, Na’Vi should qualify out of Group B and then go on to get a top 4 placement overall. I don’t really see it winning the competition or qualifying for the Grand Final, but a top 4 result should be perfectly attainable.

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