Finally, the wait is over as the sixth season of ESL’s Pro League kicks off today. Over the next eleven weeks, 28 teams from both North America and Europe will fight for a share of the US$1.000.000 prize pool and more importantly for the right to crown themselves champions at the LAN Finals in Odense, Denmark.
After PGL’s Major in Krakow, it became quiet in the CS:GO world as players went on a well-deserved break. During the break we got to witness some of the most exciting roster shuffles in recent history and now teams are back to participate in the world’s longest running professional CS:GO league.
The format for ESL’s Sixth Pro League Season remains more or less the same: Teams are playing two BO1s in a round robin format against each opponent, which adds up to 26 games at the end of the season, and as per usual, the winning team earns three points for each victory. Here is where the only alteration comes into play. If a game goes into overtime, the winning team now receives only two points, whereas the losing side leaves the server with one point. The top six placed teams from each region are going to meet in Odense to determine the winner.
We will again provide you with two articles per week during this season of ESL’s Pro League. Be on the lookout for weekly previews each Tuesday before the matches start, and try not to miss our weekly recaps on Mondays if you were unable to follow the action.
Here’s everything you need to know for the first week of Season 6!
The main story of ESL Pro League Season 5 was G2’s incredible comeback. After losing 8 out of the first 9 matches, they stormed all the way to a second place, and then won the title during the LAN Finals in Dallas, completing the most impressive comeback in EPL history. But new teams are looking to challenge them this season. The single most exciting roster move during the off season comes out of FaZe Clan’s camp. olofmeister and Guardian were brought in. We finally have an all-German team in the league again, BIG. NiP, Fnatic, North are all also trying to improve with new players. It will be exciting to see all the new teams play as it is close to impossible to predict what’s going to happen.
Below you can find a list of the 14 teams that are going head-to-head for their spot at the offline finals. Who will become the Season 6 winner? Will the trophy stay in Europe or change to NA once again?
- FaZe Clan
- G2 Esports
- Natus Vincere
- Ninjas in Pyjamas
- Team ENVYUS
- Team LDLC
You can check out the full team rosters here.
Match to watch – G2 Esports vs. FaZe Clan
In Europe, EPL kicks off with a real treat for every Counter-Strike connoisseur around the planet. G2 Esports vs. FaZe Clan.
Just looking at some of the names on these two rosters, we get an idea of how much fire power these two lineups possess. The two best French players in the history of the game, kennyS and shox on one side.
And on FaZe’s side, two of the all-time greats in olofmeister and Guardian, alongside NiKo, probably the best AK-47 player in today’s game.
Now, both these teams played very disappointing majors and are looking to redeem themselves. Both entered as favorites to win it all, and both went out in group stage play. FaZe didn’t win a single game against, on paper, weaker opposition.
That’s why the organization decided to bring in GuardiaN and olof for allu and kioShiMa, which is definitely an improvement when it comes to skill alone. Yes, it’s a cliché, but skill alone is never enough. FaZe needs to prove they can work together as a team, and what better way to show the world what they are capable of than to play against a G2 that has solid team play and just as much firepower?
Tune into the YouTube livestream at 19:00 CET to watch two of the world’s best teams battle it out.
Teams in the NA region were also roster shuffling during the off season. Most notably of course Cloud9 who did the unthinkable by removing two of the world’s most popular players, shroud and n0thing, to bring in tarik and RUSH. The two Brazilian teams SK Gaming and Immortals are probably still the two strongest sides in NA, and especially the latter impressed by reaching the major finals in Krakow, where they lost in an extremely tight series to Gambit. The other top squad will still be Team Liquid, and we’ll just have to wait and see to get a better understanding of which tier-two teams from North America are going to become a threat to the top dogs.
Below you can find a list of the 14 North American teams fighting for a chance at the title throughout Season 6.
- complexity Gaming
- Counter Logic Gaming
- Ghost Gaming
- Luminosity Gaming
- NRG Esports
- OpTic Gaming
- SK Gaming
- Team Liquid
You can check out the full team rosters here.
Match to watch – SK Gaming vs. Team Liquid
Before the player break, SK Gaming was in extremely good form. The Brazilians came to Europe to compete at four tournaments in a row, and won the gold medal at three, ESL One Cologne, ECS Season Three Finals and DreamHack Summer.
Because of this, they entered the major in Krakow as the clear favorites to win it all. They had a solid showing in the group stages and were unlucky to be paired up against Astralis in the quarter finals. They did lose to the Danes, but that’s of course a loss that can happen.
The integration of felps was a bit slow in the beginning, but they seem to have found their ways with him, and SK Gaming will most likely continue to be the world’s best team. Especially when coldzera and fer continue to play on an almost unreal level, the Brazilians are very hard to beat.
Team Liquid on the other hand are also looking to cement their position as the second or third best team in the region. Of course they now have the best US IGL in stanislaw, Twistzz is proving to be extremely skilled, and when it comes to mechanics and aim, ELiGE is the best player North America has to offer.
There have been some rumors that Team Liquid would disband, es ELiGe wanted to leave, but the players didn’t go through with it and decided to stick together.
Hopefully stanislaw manages to find a similar rhythm with the team soon which made him so successful in OpTic, because Team Liquid has all the requirements to beat the best teams in the world. So why not start by beating the Brazilians from SK on the first match day?
Tune into the YouTube livestream at 19:00 PT. to see these two NA titans clash.
Merely hours until the ESL Pro League Season 6 kicks off!
Tune into the ESL CS:GO YouTube channel to watch your favorites begin their Season 6 battle for a spot in the offline finals in Denmark, Odense. If you want to watch the season finals, you can purchase tickets here.