Counter Strike: Global Offensive ESL Pro League Round 1 Concluded; These are the Four Teams That Have Punched Their Ticket To Denmark Already

Counter Strike: Global Offensive ESL Pro League Round 1 Concluded; These are the Four Teams That Have Punched Their Ticket To Denmark Already
Credit: ESL Counter-Strike via YouTube

ESL has long been a staple in the professional competitive Counter-Strike scene, offering internationally spanning matches with some of the greatest names to be seen in the decades-old competitive shooter.  Their current league, in its tenth season, is slated to conclude in Odense, Denmark this December.

The group elimination series is played in a ‘best of 3’ format, with 7 maps available in the current competitive pool: Dust2, Mirage, Inferno, Nuke, Train, Overpass, and Vertigo.  The decided ‘home’ team elects to ban a map, followed by the ‘away’ team banning a map, then the ‘home’ team picks the first played map from the remaining map pool.  The pattern continues, with the 2 more bans and a pick for the second map to be played.  The remaining map that has not been picked or banned is referred to as the ‘decider’ map, in the event that the series is not clutched in the first two selected maps.

This format, while it may sound confusing initially, is the standard Counter-Strike map picking methodology for a ‘best of 3’ format.  Within this format, four teams have excelled in the contested initial group stage, resulting in them being able to punch their tickets to the Denmark finals early.  Round 1 found ESL pitting the best of North America and South America against each other; round 2, in November, will lock Europe & Asia in a similar ring for a zero-sum format, bringing the best Counter-Strike teams in the world together for the finals in December.

Group A was closely contested by some of the greatest teams being pitted against each other. MIBR (which stands for Made in Brazil) won on points alone, as they closed both of their wins with clean sweeps (2-0). FURIA was able to defeat MIBR (2-1), yet lost against Envy.  With MIBR the only team to clean-sweep both of their wins, their points bring them to the top of their bracket, and they punch their ticket early to Odense.  MIBR currently holds 13th in global ranks; the loss of player ‘coldzera’ in June of 2019 found the team losing their top ten seed, yet the team looks ready to claw their way back to the top.

Group B was impressively one-sided in favor of Evil Geniuses which further cemented Cloud9’s current difficulties that they’re struggling with in Counter-Strike.  Evil Geniuses are currently ranked 3rd globally, following a steady climb that began in March of 2018.  While their climb has been riddled with occasional missteps or small hiccups, but they look ready to take the league this year in Odense.

Group C, which should be no surprise, found Liquid winning all three of the match-ups, with two clean sweeps; Singularity was, oddly enough, the only team in the group able to cause a moment of hesitation on Liquid’s part, resulting in a (2-1) in favor of Liquid.  Liquid currently holds the global rank of 2nd, falling slightly behind the legendary Astralis (globally ranked 1st) in points.  Regardless, Liquid’s ability to clutch rounds have found them on top of multiple championships, and have brought North American Counter-Strike back in the purview of the ever-effervescent European Counter-Strike powerhouses.

Group D, with arguably the most surprising results, found the Brazilian team Sharks esports defeating all teams, including DETONA.  DETONA won against Isurus and Infinity in clean sweeps, but lost against Sharks in a similarly themed (0-2).

With the North and South American continents now solved in terms of who is going to Odense, November will bring about the Europe and Asia groups, which currently holds the best teams in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.  The finals are slated for December.