We are only days away from ESL Pro League Season 9 Finals, which will feature 16 of the best CS:GO teams fighting for their chance to appear in the finals, where they will fight it out for the $600,000 prize pool and the title of ESL Pro League Season 9 Champions.
ESL Pro League Season 9 Finals are set to take place in Montpellier between June 18th and June 23rd, featuring 16 teams from 4 different regions going against each other in hopes to get a shot at glory. With some of the best teams from Europe, Americas, Asia and Oceania region, ESL Pro League Season 9 Finals promises to provide us, the fans, a spectacle with top tier Counter-Strike action.
Out of 16 teams that will appear in the tournament, 8 come from the European region, 6 from the Americas, 1 from Oceania and 1 from Asia. The full list of teams is as follows:
mousesports, FaZe Clan, G2, Astralis, Fnatic, HellRaisers, North, Heroic, NRG, Team Liquid, Luminosity, DETONA Gaming, MIBR, Cloud9, Grayhound Gaming and TYLOO.
The ESL Pro League Season 9 Finals will start off in a group stage, which will be played between 18th and 20th of June. There will be two groups of 8 teams, which is seeded based on the ESL CS: GO World Rankings. In the group stage, teams will be put side by side in a double-elimination format. All the matches will be played in a Bo3 format, with the exception of the initial matches, which will be played in Bo1 format.
Once the group stage finishes, the top 3 teams from each group get to advance into the playoffs, which are set to take place between June 21st and June 23rd. Winners of the groups will get promoted directly into the semi-finals, whereas 2nd and 3rd placed teams first need to earn their spot in the quarter-finals. Quarter-finals and semi-finals will be played in a Bo3 format, the grand finals will be played in a Bo5 format.
Knowing the basics of how the ESL Pro League Season 9 Finals are going to be played, all there is left to do is to check out the participants, favourites, underdogs, dark horses and ultimately our prediction on who we believe will lift the trophy and take home $250,000.
Astralis are once again coming into the tournament as the favourites to win it all, priced around 2.20, which is fair. They are a former number one team in the world, which puts a huge target on their back, as every top 10 team will be looking to take them down, especially after less than impressive performance Astralis put up at the ECS Season 7 Finals. In the ECS S7 Finals, Astralis lost two matches against an upcoming Brazilian team Furia, which quite frankly was a huge surprise to anyone.
Astralis were the better team in that match, but it felt like some rust accumulated on them, after playing only BLAST event for the past five months. Following a disastrous show at ECS S7 Finals, the pressure will be on Astralis to prove their worth once more. If they do not at least reach the finals, I believe there will be a lot of reasons to be concerned, as another disappointing result just may look like their current line-up has run its course. With that in mind, I would strongly advise against betting on Astralis. While they have got a lot to prove and arguably a strong team that is capable of doing so, I do not like betting on teams under pressure, especially when the pressure is as huge as the one above Astralis.
Talking about #1 team in the world, the new leaders of the HLTV rankings, Team Liquid deservingly passed Astralis and will look to remain #1 for a bit longer. Looking back at the last 6 months, Team Liquid were the best team out of all CS:GO team out there. They have won 3 big tournaments, which clearly points to good form and motivation to keep the momentum going. While the upcoming event will by no means be an easy one, I am confident saying Team Liquid gathered enough momentum up to this point, and with their line-up of high-quality players, there is no doubt in my mind they can go all the way and cement themselves as the number one team!
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