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ECS Season 8 Finals Preview: What To Expect

Zakaria Almughrabi  | 
A white-hot Astralis team looks to continue their dominance at the ECS Season 8 Finals (Image via HLTV)

A white-hot Astralis team looks to continue their dominance at the ECS Season 8 Finals (Image via HLTV)

The Esports Championship Series Season 8 Finals begin on November 28. Starting on Thanksgiving Day, there will be tons of high octane Counter-Strike: Global Offensive the entire weekend. Four teams from Europe and four from the Americas will gather in Arlington, Texas to compete for the $500,000 prize pool and the title of ECS champions.

The Format

The eight teams will be placed in two groups of four. Each group will open with best-of-ones, followed by best-of-threes for advancement. The top two teams will move on. The playoffs will be a single-elimination bracket played in best-of-threes.

READ MORE: ECS, CSPPA Reach Agreement on Season 8 Finals Settings

The Teams

The teams competing in the ECS Finals are:

AVANGAR Ninjas in Pyjamas Astralis Fnatic
Sharks Esports Evil Geniuses Team Liquid MIBR

First, from Europe, we have AVANGAR. While the CIS roster certainly impressed during the Fall, their recent form has slowed down. AVANGAR struggled at StarSeries & i-League and the CS:GO Asia Championships. Now, the Berlin Major runners up and BLAST Pro Moscow winners have a chance to reaffirm that they are for real.

The Ninjas have had an interesting trajectory to close out the year. They have remained the same middle of the pack team that they’ve been for a while, but with moments of brilliance mixed in. That inconsistency was part of why NiP just failed to qualify for the ESL Pro League Finals. The Swedes have ECS and BLAST to close out the year, hopefully, they can end on a high note.

Astralis come in looking like the strongest team in the world. While they have attended fewer events than most teams since their Berlin Major win, their recent domination of IEM Beijing has everyone shaking in their boots. Astralis could possibly run away with every large tournament left in 2019, starting with ECS.

Astralis looked unstoppable at IEM Beijing earlier this month (Photo via HLTV)

Astralis looked unstoppable at IEM Beijing earlier this month (Photo via HLTV)

Fnatic were the final qualifiers from Europe. They are also one of the most interesting teams at the event. Fnatic didn’t even manage to qualify for the Berlin Major in September, yet October was their best month in years. A win at DreamHack Malmo and a runner up at StarSeries & i-League helped bring Fnatic back into the limelight. They are now a top-five team with the world’s eyes on them.

North America fields a wildcard in Sharks Esports. This South American squad is still flying under the radar, despite qualifying for ESL Pro League Finals in three of their four attempts. Despite fielding some talented players, they have been overshadowed by the more successful Brazilian squads. Still, the Sharks definitely have the potential to cause some chaos.

Evil Geniuses are also in attendance, but there are many forms of the EG that could show up. Will it be the ones who won ESL One New York, or the ones who got last at DreamHack Malmo? The winners of StarSeries & i-League or the early departed at the Asia Championships? EG’s ceiling has them pinned as a top team worldwide, the question is whether or not they can hit that ceiling.

EG have been streaky, can they put together another tournament win? (Photo via HLTV)

EG have been streaky, can they put together another tournament win? (Photo via HLTV)

Team Liquid are one of the more unknown entities coming into ECS Finals. Despite their run of dominance earlier this year, they have looked quite mortal as of late. Liquid also have played much less recently, citing burnout from all the travel and practice. Hopefully, the rest has done Liquid good and they can finish this year off strong.

The final team at ECS is MIBR. The Brazilian powerhouse is in a similar state to Liquid, having been dormant for some time. The difference is that we saw MIBR at the Asia Championships where they earned a semifinals finish. While four best-of-threes in the entire past month isn’t much to go off of, MIBR look like an average contender with above-average peaks.

How to Watch ECS Season 8 Finals

Coverage begins on November 28 at 10:00 a.m. EST on Twitch. The group stage matches start with:

Evil Geniuses vs. AVANGAR

Team Liquid vs. Ninjas in Pyjamas

Astralis vs. Sharks Esports

Fnatic vs. MIBR

Playoffs begin on November 30 at 1:00 p.m. EST, with Grand Finals being the following day at 6:00 p.m. EST. Tune in to see some of the best teams in the world go head to head in one of the biggest CS:GO events left in the year.

Zakaria Almughrabi
Zakaria Almughrabi
Zakaria is a former professional TF2 player turned caster and analyst. He has had a passion for gaming and esports for years and hopes to use his skills and experience to convey why gaming is so great. His specialty games are League of Legends, CS:GO, Overwatch, Super Smash Bros, and PUBG.