Jun 14, 2019
Jun 14, 2019

ESL Pro League Season 9 - Finals preview

What is the ESL Pro League Season 9?

ESL Pro League Season 9 – Finals odds

ESL Pro League Season 9 - Finals: Who are the favourites?

The dark horses and rest of the pack

ESL Pro League Season 9 - Finals preview

The culmination of the ninth ESL Pro League season is set to be held in Montpellier, France over the upcoming week. The tournament will see 16 teams face off against each other to claim the $250,000 top prize. The teams attending represent four different regions: the Americas, Europe, Asia, and Oceania.

What is the ESL Pro League Season 9?

The ESL Pro League is one of two major CS:GO leagues, alongside ECS, that take place in the competitive calendar. For Season 9, organisers ESL altered the initial portion of the league to feature two four-team best-of-three group stages for teams to qualify over the four regions. For the Americas and Europe, the initial portion of the league was also moved to an offline setting for the entirety.

Of the sixteen teams receiving qualification to the Finals, eight qualified from Europe, six from the Americas and one each from Asia and Oceania.

ESL Pro League Season 9 – Finals format

The Finals will consist of two stages in ESL’s preferred format, the Group Stage and the Playoffs. The Group Stage falls into two eight-team double elimination groups, culminating in four teams going through to the Playoffs from this round. Each group will see three teams go through to the single-elimination playoffs, with the first place team heading to the Semi-finals and the second and third placing teams taking a place in the quarter-finals.

The initial match in the Group Stage is a best-of-one, with the remaining group games are in a best-of-three format. The Quarter-finals and Semi-finals are to be played in a best-of-three format, with the Grand Final taking place as a best-of-five series. The Group Stage is set to take place between 18 – 20 June, with the playoffs being held over the weekend of 21 – 23 June.

ESL Pro League Season 9 – Finals odds

The odds below represent the outright winner for the ESL Pro League – Season 9. For a complete list of odds for ESL Pro League – Season 9, head over to our dedicated section for the ESL Pro League – Season 9.

ESL Pro League Season 9 - Finals odds



































ESL Pro League Season 9 - Finals: Who are the favourites?

Of the sixteen teams attending, there are only really two names on everyone’s lips when you look for the title, Liquid or Astralis. The two teams have spent much of the start of the year battling each other, with the North Americans remaining stuck in the second place on’s rankings. This was until the start of May, when after Liquid won DreamHack Masters Dallas, and Astralis having not attended a true top-tier event since the Major, the North Americans ascended to the role of the best team in the world.

Astralis (AST, 2.13*) would’ve hoped that their recent appearance in London for the ECS Season 7 - Finals would’ve been a better showing for them, however two Group Stage upsets by the hands of Brazilian upstarts FURIA placed the nail in their tournament coffin. Despite the obvious concerns with the Danes exiting in the Group Stage, it wasn’t a completely poor display. In the elimination match against NiP, they showed the strong, strategic and clean gameplay they are known for. Paired with their undefeated record at the Offline league stage and they’re still a force to be reckoned with.

Montpellier will be a proving ground for Astralis as they seek to silence their critics and resestablish themselves as Kings of Counter-Strike.

But it’s Liquid (TL, 3.33*) who look to be the favourites coming into the ESL Pro League Season 9. The squad has been on an upward trend since their top eight finish at the IEM Katowice Major, having not finished below second at any offline event they’ve attended since then.

This includes wins at IEM Sydney and the aforementioned DreamHack Masters Dallas, which sees them sit at the top of the current Intel Grand Slam season, halfway to claiming the $1,000,000 prize. Liquid’s run of form, led by performances from Jonathan "EliGE" Jablonowski, will most likely see them sit ahead of the pack as they look to claim another title and cement their position as best in the world.

The final name to mention as a potential front runner is FaZe (7.67*). The European “all-star” squad recently added former legend Filip "NEO" Kubski as the team’s in-game leader (IGL). In their first event, DreamHack Masters Dallas, the change appeared to make an immediate difference as they racked up their first top four finish at a premier offline event since IEM Chicago in November of last year. Their tournament run saw them only lose twice: once in the Group Stage 2-1 to eventual winners Liquid and to the eventual runners-up ENCE in the Semi-final.

Who are considered the dark horses?

While those three teams may be ahead of the pack in terms of chances to win, there are a few teams with an outside shot in France. First on the list to mention would be current 7th best team in the world, NRG (15.35*). Usually, they’d be strongly expected to make an impact at competitions. The Americans have in the past week swapped out their IGL role from mainstay Damien “daps” Steele for Peter “stanislaw” Jarguz out of Complexity. The team will be in a transitional phase for the tournament, as they work around a new system of calling and strategy. This can leave them unpredictable to other teams, and a danger to those in their group. NRG will be an important team to keep an eye on in Montpellier.

Contention for a top spot at the Season 9 Pro League Finals couldn't be greater with Fnatic, North. mousesports and MIBR hungry for success.

Fnatic (FNC, 18.41*) alongside North (18.41*) would be another two teams to watch. The two teams appear to have their fortunes divided as of late. Fnatic have attended more offline events than North this year, but since their second place finish at IEM Sydney Fnatic have seen their fortunes decline. The most notable result for the two teams came at DreamHack Masters Dallas where North finished ahead of Fnatic, albeit both being Group Stage exits. North are also coming off the back of a Semi-final finish at the ECS Season 7 Finals, matching their finish from the previous season, and are looking to continue an upward trend in fortune.

mousesports (mouz, 11.38*) still retain a sense of the unknown about them, but since the addition of Finn “karrigan” Andersen in March the team have been on an upwards trajectory. Managing a Quarter-finals finish at IEM Sydney, and a win at DreamHack Open Tours, the team’s slow rebuild appears to be coming to fruition. Compared to MIBR (15.35*), whose only top four finish since the IEM Katowice Major was at IEM Sydney.

Rest of the pack

The remaining teams all have limited-to-non-existent shots at a title run. The most likely of these would be Cloud9 (68.55*), Heroic (52.19*) or HellRaisers (HR, 52.19*), but none of these teams have results or consistent form that could see them reach the top. All of these squads have had limited results on the World stage in their current roster iterations, and all sit much lower on the rankings. Cloud9, especially, aren't looking likely to be in the hottest of form, having recently fallen online to a relatively unknown lineup in the Minor closed qualifier.

The ESL Pro League Season 9 – Finals are set to take place in Montpellier, France between 18 – 13 June, with $600,000 of prizes on offer. All the action will be broadcast on ESL’s Twitch channel.

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About the author

Michael Moriarty

Michael has previously worked as an award winning freelance writer in the world of Esports for over 5 years, specialising in CS:GO and Rocket League. Outside of Esports and gaming, Michael is a supporter of AFC Wimbledon in football and occasionally watches a bit of snooker.

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