The second major Counter-Strike: Global Offensive event of December, the ESL Pro League Season 10 Finals, is fast approaching. Beginning on Tuesday, December 3, sixteen teams from across the globe will gather in Odense, Denmark. They will fight for a massive $600,000 prize pool and a guaranteed invite to IEM Katowice 2020.
ESL Pro League Finals Format
The sixteen teams have been split into two double-elimination brackets based on their regular season placement. The first matches will be best-of-one, while all the following matches will be best-of-three. The winner of each bracket advances directly to Semifinals. The runners-up advance to Quarterfinals as the high seeds. The winners of the losers’ side advance to Quarterfinals as the low seeds.
Playoffs will be single elimination. The Quarterfinals and Semifinals are best-of-three, while the Grand Final is best-of-five.
The sixteen teams participating are:
|Astralis||Natus Vincere||Team Liquid||Sharks Esports|
|G2 Esports||FaZe Clan||ATK||100 Thieves|
With such a large, yet stacked lineup, many teams have the potential to go all the way. From Europe, Astralis, FaZe Clan, and Fnatic are the likely favorites.
Astralis enters the ESL Finals having just won the ECS Season 8 Finals. The Danish squad looks to be playing as well as ever. While the immediate jet lag might prove to be an issue, if they can stay strong enough to recover for playoffs, Astralis could continue their end of the year run.
FaZe Clan have been going nowhere but up after their sweeping roster changes in late September. They started out rough, but have since earned good results at BLAST Pro Copenhagen and IEM Beijing. Now is FaZe’s chance to show that they are a real top-level contender.
Fnatic have been skimming the top of the CS:GO world again for some time now. Ever since their win at DreamHack Malmo, the Swedes haven’t placed below top four at a major event. They have already solidified themselves as consistent contenders, but now Fnatic need to solidify themselves as consistent champions.
An honorable mention goes to mousesports. While this year has been tough on them, mousesports qualified for ESL Pro League Finals with an undefeated 3-0 sweep. They also recently won first place at the CS:GO Asia Championships which did field some decent competition. With some more confidence in their back pocket, look for mousesports to be a potential wildcard.
From the Americas, the probable title contenders come in the form of Evil Geniuses, Team Liquid, and 100 Thieves.
Evil Geniuses have one of the best rosters in Counter-Strike at the moment. Their issue comes with being inconsistent between events. EG’s raw talent level is through the roof as evidenced by their wins at ESL One New York and StarSeries & i-League, but they need to be playing on the same page. If they come in with strategies befitting their namesake, Evil Geniuses will be dangerous.
Coming off their second-place finish to Astralis at ECS Finals, Team Liquid still have things to prove. Ever since their fantastic summer months, they’ve struggled to remain truly competitive against the top dogs of the scene. ECS was a great step forward, but now against a much bigger and stronger field, Liquid have a chance to show that they’ve still got it.
Lastly, we have 100 Thieves. The former Renegades squad have played just two events under their new banner, but have looked great in both. 100 Thieves took second place at IEM Beijing in November, only losing to Astralis. They then went undefeated in the ESL Pro League Finals qualifier, not even dropping a map.
How to Watch
The ESL Pro League Season 10 Finals kick off on December 3 at 6 a.m. EST on Twitch. The initial matchups are:
Natus Vincere vs TYLOO
FaZe Clan vs MIBR
Heroic vs 100 Thieves
Fnatic vs Evil Geniuses
Astralis vs Grayhound
G2 Esports vs Sharks Esports
mousesports vs ATK
North vs Team Liquid
Playoffs begin on December 6 at 10:00 a.m. EST, while Grand Finals are on December 8 at the same time. Tune in to watch one of the biggest Counter-Strike events of the entire year unfold, and check back at Hotspawn for more CS:GO coverage.