ESL Pro League is Counter-Strike: Global Offensive’s (CS:GO) premier league-based tournament in its competitive calendar. With two editions hosted every year, it has become the one of the most prestigious and competitive tournaments in the game, with all of the world’s best sides competing over the course of a month for a spot in the history books. Unlike other Esports titles such as League of Legends, Overwatch or Call of Duty, CS:GO’s competitive calendar is predominantly made up of double elimination competitions rather than a round robin/knockout tournament, which makes ESL Pro League one of the most unique events in the calendar, and one where class always prevails.
Swedish org Fnatic won the first two Pro Leagues in 2015, and are the competition’s most successful side along with Astralis with three titles apiece. ESL Pro League Seasons 11 and 12 in 2020 were split into localised online tournaments, though the easing of travel restrictions in the beginning of 2021 has allowed Season 13 to host sides from all over the world in a single tournament once more.
For those that make money playing video games professionally at the heart of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive’s competitive scene, ESL Pro League is a golden opportunity to showcase their skills in the server.
ESL Pro League Season XIII began on the 8th March, with twenty-four sides being amassed from a collection of permanent memberships, online qualifiers and ESL’s global ranking systems. The sides were split into four groups of six, with every team playing each other once in a round robin format. Games were played with a best of three format, with three points going to the winners and the top three sides with the most points progressing from each group.
The winners of each group will face each other on April 8th for an automatic place in either the quarter or semi finals.
The winners of each group and play in fixtures are as follows:
Heroic (EU) vs. Ninjas in Pyjamas (EU) – April 8th, 14:00 BST
Astralis (EU) vs. Gambit Esports (EU) – April 8th, 17:30 BST
For the twelve remaining sides, they have been drawn into the play offs commencing from the 2nd April once again over a best of three map series.
The Round of 12 play off fixtures are:
FURIA (NA) vs. FunPlusPheonix (EU) – April 2nd, 14:30 BST
Team Liquid (NA) vs. G2 Esports (EU) – April 2nd, 18:00 BST
Complexity (EU) vs. Natus Vincere (EU) – April 3rd, 14:30 BST
Virtus.Pro (EU) vs. ENCE (EU) – April 3rd, 18:00 BST
The round of eight begins on the 8th April, the quarter finals on the 9th, semi finals on the 10th and the Grand Final (a best of five series) will be hosted on the 11th at 14:30 BST, with each and every map and series available to follow on the ESL official Twitch channel.
Each team in the ESL Pro League earned at least $3,000 for competing in the event, with each win over the course of the group stage netting them an extra $5,000. Team One were the only side to finish without a win, joining Mousesports, BIG and Evil Geniuses in the 21st-24th bracket.
Fnatic and Renegades finished second to bottom in their groups with a single win, netting them $10,000. Cloud9 and Faze’s two wins in their group saw their earnings rise to $15,000, whilst Team Vitality, OG, Endpoint and MIBR netted $17,000 thanks to their fourth place group stage finishes.
The winners of ESL Pro League will be awarded with a cool $175,000, with the runners up netting $60,000 and third place bagging $30,000, on top of any bonuses secured by winning matches.
Who Should You Back?
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Gambit were crowned as IEM Katowice 2021 champions in March, stunning Esports bettors everywhere and continued their hot streak at the Pro League group stages; along with Heroic, they were the only side to go 5-0 from their group games and look a solid punt to push into another grand final, should they be able to overcome Astralis, the game’s most decorated side and one that was near-faultless after their shocking opening day defeat to Evil Geniuses.