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The ESL Pro League Season 13 is back, with over a month-long event taking place. The event features four groups fo six, with each group taking place at different points over a few weeks. The event was supposed to play out on LAN, but ESL has cancelled LAN play.
While the ESL Pro League Season 13 is a new way to experience the event, the main question lies with the teams. Just how much progress have the teams made? The recent results of many of the teams leave a lot to be desired. Meanwhile, the CIS’s sleeping giants have risen, with Gambit, VP, Na’Vi and Team Spirit gunning for the top of the ladder.
What sort of global rankings will change throughout the event, and how will teams show up. Here is how the stage looks ahead of the weeks to come.
The first group kicks off on 8 March, with the above teams taking part. There are several key storylines here. The most notable is Complexity’s because they have struggled the most recently. Since the loss of Owen “oBo” Schlatter, the team has been all over the place. Although they recently won their BLAST Premier event, so they do have some redeeming factors. They just need to get their act in order, as they shockingly dropped off the face of the planet at IEM Katowice.
This is sort of the same situation for Heroic and BIG. These two teams were considerably strong in 2020, with both having great peaks. However, both have slumped since then, and now it is a question of whether they can regain some former strength.
For OG and Renegades, both teams have recent roster moves. Their results haven’t been too great either recently, meaning they have got to come up strong here; otherwise, they have some major issues to fix.
Although it is not all doom and gloom, FPX has its first big event since finally signing a team. The team is currently only four players strong, with Miikka “suNny” Kemppi standing in for now. But it is a nice reunion between two former allies on mousesports 2018 roster.
Maybe in another timeline, this group would be one of the strongest groups ever put together. But now, things look a bit different. Team Vitality’s star power in Mathieu “ZywOo” Herbaut has recently had the worst match of his professional career, with the vitality roster falling apart in the server coincidentally at the same time.
Over on G2 Esports, the management had to swap players around to try something new. Meanwhile, mousepsorts, NiP and FaZe Clan have some progress to show before it becomes clear if they have any clear issues or strengths with their shiny new 2021 squads. Group B is one of the groups that have so many teams that need a good showing. We cant wait for the action to kick off on 13 March.
By far the best group of the tournament. The recent success of the CIS rosters at IEM Katowice makes this one to watch. The IEM Katowice Champions, Gambit are in the group, along with Na’Vi. So it will be interesting to see if they continue their rampage here.
On the other hand, there are a few Brazilan rosters in this group. MiBR, Team One and FURIA represent the region. If CSGO history is anything to go by, then these teams will get some good experience, with FURIA more than capable of challenging Na’Vi and Gambit on their best day.
The oddball out here is C9. The roster aims to be one of the best teams in the game but is very far from it. So far, the roster is lacking, but they have had time to embed new player Erick “Xeppaa” Bach in the roster. Perhaps against the lower level Brazilian squads, they can shine through. Guess we’ll find out starting 19 March.
Group D is a two-part story. The group has a clear top and bottom half. Astralis, VP and Team Liquid were part of the six that made it to the IEM Katowice playoffs. While they are teams we expect to pop off, the opponents may not be ideal.
Evil Geniuses is a similar spot to most European teams. They have solid strengths but appear to be rather inconsistent as of late. For the EG lot, it will be interesting to see if they stay competitive with the top half.
For Endpoint, they are a UK hopeful roster, making their way into the event through the ESL Pro Tour grassroots. The UK roster has been around to several tier 2 events, but they have several tough opponents ahead of them. Time to see if they can do something big beginning on 25 March.
At the bottom of this group is Fnatic. The roster at the moment is in dire straits. Not only did Fnatic get eliminated from the IEM Katowice qualifiers, but they just got upset by a somewhat questionable team. Fnatic needs to step up before it gets any more embarrassing.
ESL has cancelled the LAN portion of the event. The playoffs are now online and will begin three days after Group D comes to an end. From there, the remaining 12 teams will filter into a three-day playoff to determine the top six teams, followed by another three days off. After that, there are no more breaks, concluding on championship Sunday on April 11.
With that said, ESL Pro League Season 13 is going to be a great event. The event will shape the narrative of 2021 CS for the months to come, as the CSGO online era is one of the most turbulent yet. For more information, check out ESL’s official post here.
Image via ESL / Helena Kristiansson
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