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Can anyone stop Astralis in Season 8 of the EU ESL Pro League?

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After a busy summer with big events like the London Major and ESL One New York in the off-season, it’s time for Europe’s top CS:GO teams to battle out in the ESL Pro League. Find out how each squad heads into Matchday 1 of Season.

The Grim Reaper has emerged in 2018 in the form of Astralis. The Danish death hovers over the Counter-Strike realm, harvesting and feeding on opponents’ souls seemingly without effort. After back-to-back trophies at the London Major and in Istanbul, gla1ve’s boys are also the reigning Pro League champions. With their impeccable playstyle and their revolution of utility usage, the Danes head into Pro League as the clear-cut favorites. In their current form, it is tough to see anyone preventing a repeat.

Behind the Great Danes, chaos prevails. Na’Vi certainly come to mind as a potential threat, with both s1mple and electronic in supreme shape. But does the Ukrainian/Russian mix pack enough firepower besides those two individuals?

FaZe have been shaky at best recently. After Niko took over IGL duties from Karrigan, the team performed poorly in New York, exiting early in the Group Stage. Pro League will come in handy for the EU mix to adjust to a new leadership and create a new identity.

Mousesports historically perform well in online leagues, and I certainly see them amongst the top seven teams to qualify for the finals. They placed last at the Major, but then bounced back to win ESL One New York this past weekend with some sensational plays like ChrisJ’s exquisite AWP ace to set up the Championship Point which will be talked about for years to come. Finding consistency will be key in this still very talented line-up.

The Ninjas in Pyjamas’ form is on an upward trajectory, but the big question surrounding the Swedish squad is: can f0rest & co. break into the stratosphere of CS:GO again, or is their potential maxed out in the upper echelons of the second tier?

Some of the more notable roster changes in-between seasons belong to the three squads of G2, Heroic and North. MSL is no longer part of North, cadiaN took his place as the in-game leader, and gade replaced niko.

The French G2 have seen very little success ever since bringing in SmithZz and Ex6TenZ. The roster needs to be questioned by now. Even with a revitalized shox and an always-strong kennyS, the squad seems to lack raw skill.

BIG has returned into EPL after winning MDL. The German squad looks solid with good placings at ESL One Cologne and a top eight finish in London. smooya is making a big difference with his AWP and I believe BIG has a chance to challenge for a playoff spot.

AGO Esports survived relegation and Windigo Gaming is a newcomer in the league. The Bulgarian side will most likely find it difficult to adjust to the new level in the world’s elite league.

Check out below the entire team list of ESL Pro League Season 8:

  • Astralis

  • Na’Vi

  • FaZe Clan

  • mousesports

  • Ninjas in Pyjamas

  • Fnatic

  • G2 Esports

  • HellRaisers

  • Heroic

  • North

  • Space Soldiers

  • BIG

  • AGO Esports

  • Windigo Gaming

Top matches of the week:

  • Windigo vs. AGO

The two underdogs clash in the very first game of the season. It will be important for both sides to gain confidence with a victory here and establish dominance over a potentially direct rival. Of course, both of these teams have the potential to surprise, but a realistic assessment sees them in the bottom half of the leaderboard and six points here could work wonders towards the end of the season, when the relegation battle intensifies.

  • HellRaisers vs. mousesports

woxic has established himself as a Counter-Strike superstar in 2018 and with his AWP leading the way, HR has turned into a dangerous team. mousesports enters this match as slight favorites, but fireworks are guaranteed with some of the game’s most exciting youngsters in ropz, sunNy, ISSA and woxic.

  • Astralis vs. FaZe Clan

This match-up has been very one-sided in recent months and this is FaZe Clan’s best chance to get one back over their rivals. Faze might be able to catch Astralis a little off-guard after their tremendous offline success in the past two weeks. The Danes might allow themselves to cruise along a bit, and this is where Karrigan’s boys need to be ready to pounce.

Don’t miss ESL Pro League’s kick-off into Season 8!

Tune into the ESL Pro League Facebook channel to watch your favorite teams battle for a spot in the offline finals in Dallas. If you want to watch the season finals, you can purchase tickets here.

For all the latest updates on the ESL Pro League, be sure to follow ESL Counter-Strike on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

Season 8 of the ESL Pro League is brought to you by Intel, the City of Odense, Nvidia, Legion by Lenovo, Logitech, paysafecard, xfinity, MDL and YouTube.