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Welcome to Season 5 of the ESL Pro League!

Peter Stewart
Contributing Editor
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The ESL Pro League returns tomorrow for its fifth season, featuring a total of 28 teams from across both the European and North American regions. Over the course of a ten-week playing period, these teams will be battling it out for a share of the US$1,000,000 prize pool, and a spot at the Dallas Finals in June. With US$250,000 available for the top prize at the offline finals later this year, the ever-growing community will be glued to the action to see which team will prevail over the rest of the competition.

Other than the 33% increase in the prize pool, the format for the ESL Pro League Season 5 has seen no changes since last season. From February to May, each team will play 26 best-of-one matches in a round robin format, with teams earning three points for a match. On Friday, May 12, 2017, at around 21:00 CEST, it will be clear to us which of the six teams from each region will be advancing to the Dallas Finals at the Verizon Theatre.

Throughout this season of the ESL Pro League, every Monday, we will be providing you with a preview article with all of the key information that you will require for the week ahead. On top of that, every Friday, for those of you that missed the week’s action, or for the people that want to relive some of the best bits, we will post a recap article of everything that has happened.

Here’s everything you need to know for the first week of Season 5!

Europe

Teams

Last season, it was Cloud9, one of the North American teams, that took home the grand prize, and were crowned ESL Pro League Season 4 Champions. This time around, the Europeans are coming back stronger than ever with some of the top teams in the world, including new major champions, Astralis, and Polish veterans, Virtus.pro.

Below, you can find a list of the 14 teams that will be going head-to-head for their spot in the Dallas Finals, and to hopefully take the ESL Pro League crown back into European hands:

You can click on each team to find out their complete roster for Season 5 of the ESL Pro League.

Match to Watch - Astralis vs. Natus Vincere

Last week, we saw the conclusion of the first major tournament of the year, the ELEAGUE Major 2017. It was here that Astralis were crowned major champions for the first time after years, and countless majors, of falling short of the top prize.

Before they could get to that point at the ELEAGUE Major, the Danish side had to battle through a number of fierce teams, including the CIS lineup of Natus Vincere, and now, in the first match of the ESL Pro League Season 5, we are going to see the two teams go head-to-head on the CS:GO servers.

Coming off of a major tournament win, everyone is now expecting Astralis to continue their strong performance into the ESL Pro League, and get off to a hot start with a 2-0 series win. However, when you come up against the most experienced teams, like Natus Vincere, it is always difficult to predict what is going to happen with the individual skill and tactical knowledge that both teams have. Either way, it really couldn’t get any better for a season opener.

Tune into the YouTube exclusive livestream at 19:00 CET to watch the world’s best team, and the CIS veterans, battle it out.

North America

Teams

The North American CS:GO scene has grown tremendously as of late, and it will be very interesting to see which six NA teams will step up to the plate in the online matches to try claim another title on home soil.

Below, you can find a list of the 14 North American teams that will battle throughout Season 5.

Match to Watch - SK Gaming vs. Immortals

Since last week’s ELEAGUE Major, we have seen numerous team changes across the CS:GO scene ranging from Peter “stanislaw” Jarguz leaving OpTic Gaming for Team Liquid, ‘The French Revolution’ between G2 Esports and Team EnVyUs, to the swap of Lincoln “fnx” Lau and Joao “felps” Vasconcellos between SK Gaming and Immortals.

It is always difficult to predict how an updated team will perform with only a couple days of practice, but with Lau being benched from the SK Gaming lineup back in December due to internal team issues, this will be one of the biggest grudge matches to hit the CS:GO servers, considering what the team has previously achieved.

With that being said, we are all well aware of the talent that both of these two teams behold, whether it’s Gabriel “FalleN” Toledo for SK Gaming, the aggressive AWPer and In-game leader who has the ability to pull off any shot possible, or Lucas “lucas” Teles for Immortals, one of the players that you can consistently rely on to pick up the pieces in whichever department it is required. Not getting those extra frags that you need? Teles has got you. Need a quick pop flash to take control of a bombsite? Yup, you guessed it, Teles will be there.

Tune into the YouTube exclusive livestream at 19:20 PT to watch the biggest grudge match of 2017.

We’re less than one day away!

Tune into the ESL CS:GO YouTube channel to watch your favorite begin their Season 5 battle for a spot in the offline finals in Dallas, Texas. Want to watch the season finals? Purchase tickets while they’re still available.

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