The ESL Pro League Season 13 has kicked off a few days ago and that means there’s a month of daily CS:GO action, as well as a ton of wagering opportunities ahead of us.
The results of the recent IEM Katowice shocked the whole world, as almost none of the favourites got to the playoffs, the CIS region overtook the championship and the Russian team Gambit snatched the trophy.
Are the likes of Astralis and Vitality going to take back their spotlight? Or is this a sign that we should be prepared for more unpredictable scenarios in the future? Indeed, it’s difficult to tell at this point. Instead, let’s take a look at what we do know about the ongoing season of ESL Pro League.
ESL Pro League Season 13 features 24 teams split into four round-robin groups of six, with each team playing against all of their group opponents once. The group winners will advance into the single-elimination play-in stage, from where they can go either to the semifinals if they win, or to the quarterfinals if they lose.
The second and third-placed teams from each group will advance to the single-elimination round of 12, followed by a round of 8. As usually, all matches will be best-of-three, except for the grand final, which will be best-of-five.
Schedule & prize pool
ESL Pro League S13 kicked off on March 8th with the group stages and will run until April 11th, when the new champions will be crowned and rewarded $175,000 out of the $750,000 shared prize pool. Moreover, important ESL Pro Tour points and a seed into the BLAST Premier Global Final 2021 are in the game. Here’s the schedule:
- Group A: 8th – 12th March
- Group B: 13th – 18th March
- Group C: 19th – 24th March
- Group D: 25th – 29th March
- Ro12: 2nd – 3rd April
- Ro8: April 4th
- Quarterfinals: April 9th
- Semifinals: April 10th
- Grand Final: April 11th
This time, we’re not going to see only elites as we are used to on top-tier tournaments, but also some of the less prominent, but still notable CS:GO teams. Here’s the complete line-up:
Group A: Heroic, Complexity Gaming, OG, BIG, FunPlus Phoenix, Renegades
Group B: ENCE, FaZe Clan, G2 Esports, mousesports, Ninjas In Pyjamas, Team Vitality
Group C: Cloud9, FURIA Esports, Gambit Esports, MIBR, Natus Vincere, Team One
Group D: Astralis, Endpoint, Evil Geniuses, Fnatic, Team Liquid, Virtus.pro
The first group stage is already almost finished, with Heroic and Complexity leading at the time of this writing. Tomorrow, we are looking at the last three matches of the Group A, featuring Heroic (1.89) vs. Complexity (1.89), BIG (1.20) vs. Renegades (4.40) and OG (1.75) vs. FunPlus Phoenix (2.06).
Looking at the composition of the second group, ENCE and Ninjas in Pyjamas seem to have the lowest chances for advancing. The Swedish team recently decided to dismiss Simon “twist” Eliasson from its active roster and replace him with Erik “ztr” Gustafsson from Ninjas’ academy roster to bring in ‘new, positive and fresh energy’. The Ninjas have indeed shown some improvement since then, but that probably won’t be enough in a group with the likes of Vitality, mousesports and G2.
Even though neither of these teams have been doing especially well lately, they are still the strongest teams in the group. Team Vitality is always amongst the favourites and G2 just welcomed back Audric “JaCkz” Jug to their active roster, which means G2 fans might expect an improvement. The same goes for FaZe Clan, who recently signed experienced Finn “karrigan” Andersen as an in-game leader.
Natus Vincere and Gambit are undeniably the favourites of Group C. Team Gambit executed almost a miracle on IEM Katowice 2021, unexpectedly taking down some of the world’s best teams. It’s certainly difficult to judge if they can pull off another one, but Gambit is certainly a team to watch on this tournament. Even though Na’Vi didn’t have such a great showing at IEM Katowice, their immense potential as the reigning BLAST Premier champions is evident.
The third place is likely to be challenged by the remaining teams, although FURIA seems like another potential adept for advance.
The last group will be probably the most interesting one among many CS:GO fans, as it features some of the most popular rosters. Astralis, Virtus.pro, Team Liquid and Evil Geniuses – all these teams have pretty good chances of advancing to the playoffs, therefore we might assume that the matches within this group will be a proper thrill.
As for Astralis and Virtus.pro, it’s obvious that these two teams are the biggest threat in Group D and possibly in the whole competition. Evil Geniuses recently added former Complexity star Owen “oBo” Schlatter to its roster, so it remains a surprise how the squad is going to perform.
Finally, Team Liquid seems to be getting back on track, consistently getting to playoffs in most of the competitions they’ve attended in recent months. In fact, they were the only non-CIS team to get into the semifinals at IEM Katowice 2021. Furthermore, it looks like Gabriel “FalleN” Toledo is settling pretty well, so they’re surely worth watching and betting on.
Check out all the ESL Pro League Season 13 odds here on Midnite.
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