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On the horizon: Contenders for the ESL Pro League Season 9 Finals

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After a hard-fought regular season, which saw 48 teams across three regions fight for a spot in the EPL S9 Finals in France, we have our qualifiers. Who will take home the lion's share of the  $750,000 USD prize pool & award themselves an Intel® Grand Slam contribution victory? Read on for our full analysis of the field.

Teams qualified for the ESL Pro League Season 9 Finals in Occitanie, Montpellier:

  • Mousesports [EU]
  • FaZe Clan [EU]
  • G2 Esports [EU]
  • Astralis [EU]
  • Fnatic [EU]
  • HellRaisers [EU]
  • North [EU]
  • Heroic [EU] 
  • NRG Esports [AM]
  • Team Liquid [AM]
  • Luminosity Gaming [AM]
  • DETONA Gaming [AM]
  • MIBR [AM]
  • Cloud9 [AM] 
  • Grayhound Gaming [APAC]
  • TYLOO [APAC]

The Great Danes Deliver

With three Danish teams successfully qualifying for the LAN finals, Season 9 of the ESL Pro League marks the first time in Pro League history that three Danish teams will be competing. Astralis no doubt hover over both the Danish & global scene as the favourite for the event, coming off their victory of ESL Pro League Season 8. The world no. 1 safely secured their LAN appearance dropping only one map in Round 1 to BIG, while both North & Heroic had to climb a bit further in Round 2 illustrating exciting team cohesion & chemistry.

Most notably, Heroic defeated Natus Vincere despite s1mple’s 82 frag & 1.53 rating rebuttal across the 3 map series in order to reach LAN finals. NaToSaphiX joined the Heroic squad in the past month after Heroic's poor showing at IEM Sydney 2019, where they finished 13-16th. With Heroic defeating the no. 4 best team in the world on LAN signals as a violently good omen for the promising roster.

North also made a recent roster change with the exit of “cadiaN” & entry of “JUGi”. A shaky start of 1 - 2 in Round 1 of Group A saw North lose to both OpTiC Gaming & mousesports caused concern in the North camp, however they surely redeemed themselves topping Group B of Round 2, decimating their respective group with a 3 - 0 record against Heroic, Natus Vincere & BIG.

The European Colosseum

G2 Esports held a phenomenal run in their Round 1 matches claiming 3 consecutive series victories over Natus Vincere, Fnatic & Windigo Gaming, confirming their LAN finals attendance. None other than France’s favourite AWPer “kennyS” blazed a trail for his squad topping the successful qualifiers for G2 with a 1.17 rating & 59% successful entry frags.

With an initial 0 - 2 series loss at the hands of G2 Esports, fnatic managed to reign victorious over Windigo however fell to Natus Vincere the next day where they sat at a 1 - 2 record in Group C. More recently in Round 2 both fnatic & HellRaisers topped Group A qualifying for LAN finals leaving TaZ’s Polish players “Aristocracy” & OpTiC Gaming reeling with disappointment.

Similar to Astralis, both mousesports & FaZe Clan topped their respective Groups with perfect 3 - 0 series results sealing their ticket to Occitanie, Montpellier. Akin to Natus Vincere, IEM Sydney 2019 quarter-finalists Ninjas In Pyjamas went down 1 - 2 in Group B Round 1 with losses at the hands of Aristocracy & FaZe Clan which denied their access to the Pro League LAN finals.

The Breakout of the Brazilians

No doubt Brazil have been climbing the figurative beanstalk to success. With three teams qualifying from South America, Pro League shines a beacon of hope for the growth of their region.

As expected, MIBR successfully qualified for LAN finals, but in difficutl style, initially losing 0 - 2 to Luminosity Gaming, which sent the all-stars to Round 2. The second round posed little stress to the Brazilians which saw MIBR  2 - 0 the likes of Luminosity Gaming, Envy & Cloud9 obtaining their presence in Montpellier with a 3 - 0 Round 2 series record. Placing 3rd at IEM Sydney 2019, MIBR look to further improve their status moving forward.

With Group C consisting of names such as MIBR, Cloud9 & Team Envy, Luminosity managed to top their group 2 - 1 off the back of their initial victory over MIBR 2 - 0, which meant they directly booked their attendance in France.

The Latin American group saw an unfamiliar side in the form of DETONA Gaming qualify in near perfection. The Brazilians dropped 1 map to Isurus Gaming on Dust II in their 3 - 0 record which saw rising talent “vsm” boast a 1.26 K/D ratio & 1.24 rating across their 7 maps.

The North Remembers

The American qualifiers for the ESL Pro League Season 9 saw recent IEM Sydney 2019 champions Team Liquid swiftly surf to the LAN finals with a 3 - 0 record over Ghost Gaming, compLexity Gaming & Lazarus Esports in Group B with only one map loss to an admirable performance by compLexity.

The controversial roster of Cloud9 briefly scraped past Ghost Gaming clinching the last slot for Occitanie, Montpellier in compelling fashion with a series result of 2 - 1. Cloud9’s in game leader Golden returned to competition following health issues which now seem to have been resolved.

Recent Major Legends Renegades unfortunately failed to qualify likely due to the absence of New Zealand's unique AWPing golden child “Gratisfaction” missing the action due to VISA complications (light a candle). eUnited also failed to attain a slot in France going down to Cloud9 1 - 2 & Ghost 1 - 2 in Round 2 of Group B.

The Prolific Asia-Pacific

In the APAC region, contenders ORDER & Grayhound Gaming swept their respective groups meeting in Round 2 of the Oceanic qualifiers. True to form, Grayhound Gaming denied any upsets from ORDER, qualifying for LAN finals with a  2 - 0 series scoreline which saw the hounds scrape back a 2 - 13 first half deficit on Overpass to close out the map in double overtime with a scoreline of 22 - 19.

In the 10 maps Grayhound competed in during the regular season, the Australians did not drop a single map, suggesting domestic destruction. After their impressive standings at IEM Sydney 2019, which saw the boisterous boys place 7-8th eliminating FaZe Clan & Heroic, the Aussies have high hopes moving into the Pro League Season 9 LAN finals.

TYLOO preached why they’re still main contenders in the Asian region. This saw them equal their top rivals MVP.PK 2 - 1 in the Chinese group. However, with the top two performers from the Southeast Asian Group reaching Round 2, TYLOO went on to defeat all three teams, Lucid Dream, ALPHA Red & MVP.PK, in their respective series losing only one map to MVP.PK & hence ensuring the Chinese powerhouse attends the LAN finals also.

The ESL Pro League Season 9 qualifiers held mixed emotions & unsettling results for certain top squads in the world however also created prosperous opportunity for many. Younger sides with recent roster changes embody the ESL Pro League Season 9 finals as a benchmark to decipher how their respective teams stack up against the competition. We look forward to welcoming you in France for the ESL Pro League Season 9 LAN finals set to begin in June, you can find your tickets here!