With another week of the ESL ESEA Pro League over, it’s time to once again take a look back at the events of this week. With the end of the season getting ever closer, things are getting more and more intense, with teams in both North America and Europe fighting to be in the top four and earn a place in the finals.
HellRaisers surprise in Europe
The biggest surprise to come out of the European league this week was the absolutely monstrous spree by Hellraisers. Over the course of the last few days, the team was able to rack up a 7-2 record, bringing their overall score in the league up to 12-8 (previously 5-6) and them into a four-way tie with Fnatic, Envyus and NiP. The team took key victories which included maps against Dignitas, Fnatic and Titan as well as two consecutive maps against both Na’Vi and PENTA. They now join the race for the top four spots with a potential to qualify for the LAN finals if their performance keeps up, but they will have to get past both Virtus.Pro and current number one seed in the league TSM if they want to keep this possibility alive.
With the rest of Europe nearing the end of their season as well, we can start to get a much better picture of just who might be ending up at the Pro League finals, which are just under a month away. TSM have virtually secured their position. The team has only two more matches remaining, but winning just one of those should make it impossible for them to be removed from the top four. Fnatic is also in a very good position to potentially qualify for the upcoming event. The Swedish team currently sits in the four-way tie for second place, but they have the advantage of only having played 16 of their 22 games for the season, leaving them with plenty of room to get ahead of the pack.
However, trouble begins to brew as we get further down in the very close European division. NiP, with only three matches remaining in this season, must claim victory against all of their remaining opponents (Fnatic, mousesports and Titan) in order to remain competitive in the league and possibly tie with current leader TSM, assuming they lose both of their remaining matches. However, there is still a chance that EnVyUs or Fnatic will slip through the cracks with their last games, and this is where the hope for Hellraisers arises. Although their impressive streak this week put them into the big tie, they only have two matches left in the season. This means that one of the three teams currently tied with Hellraisers must not gain more than a single victory if Hellraisers wishes to overtake them, and Hellraisers themselves must be able to claim their last two matches (or one if they would wish to tie).
We should also not forget Virtus.Pro, who currently lurk behind the rest of Europe with only 11 wins. However, with only 15 of their games being played and a tie for the least amount of losses so far this season, it is very likely that Virtus.Pro will start to swing back to the top as they play out the rest of their season.
The competition in Europe continues to remain tough, and as the closing action continues in the European Pro League, you can expect some great matches as the competitors fight for a spot in the final four.
Keyd Stars even out the score in North America
Meanwhile in the North American division, teams continue their own battle for dominance and to prove their worth coming out of the NA shuffle just a few months ago. This week in the North American league, the team that has been dominating throughout the entire season so far has finally lost their win advantage. Cloud9, having only played two matches this week, lost a key matchup against Brazilian team Keyd Stars on Overpass. This - along with the team’s other victories this week against mouseSpaz, affNity, and Luminosity - have enabled Keyd to tie with current division leader Cloud9. These two teams are now tied with 14 wins, and the possibility for Keyd stars to take the first seed for North America headed into Cologne is looking strong.
Another key matchup was played this week between Luminosity and CLG. Playing out on Inferno, Luminosity started off with a great CT side advantage of 12-3 against CLG. CLG began to bring things under their own control as sides switched and Luminosity was pushed over to the T side - it was starting to look like CLG might take the match after all. Close to the end, however, Luminosity were able to wrangle the match back into their control and steal the victory away with a very close final score of 13-16 in the favor of Luminosity. This key victory now puts Luminosity ahead of both Nihilum and CLG with 12 wins.
The big game to watch in the North American Pro League this week was, of course, the 58-round quintuple overtime match between Luminosity and Keyd Stars. Similarly to Luminosity’s earlier match against CLG which occurred on the same day, the American team started off strong by taking a CT half in their favor, with the score being set at 13-2. Unfortunately for Luminosity, they were unable to take the final three rounds needed to win the match, and this enabled Keyd to tie up the score and take the match into overtime. The teams traded blows for five consecutive overtime sessions, and over the course of this Luminosity was brought within just one round of victory three times in a row - but were unfortunately unable to make this happen. After tying up the scores once again at the end of the fourth overtime, Keyd were able to take a three-round advantage in the first half of overtime five and finally take the fourth round that was required to win as the final half of overtime five as well as a very long and exhausting game for both teams. This gave the match to the players from Brazil, now putting them in a tie for the number one spot in North America.
As in Europe, you can expect more and more exciting games as the season nears its close, so be sure to keep your eyes on the event as it continues!
The ESL ESEA Pro League season 1 finals start on July the 2nd at the ESL studios in Cologne - be sure not to miss your opportunity to watch the best CS:GO teams live!
For all the latest information about the CS:GO Pro League, head over to the official website.