The next big CS:GO ESL tournament is just around the block, Counter-Strike fans! Season 11 of the ESL Pro League will be played in Denver, Colorado between the 16th of March up until the 12th of April. It will be a very big event and that will feature $750,000 in prizes. Also, this is a part of the Intel Grand Slam event for additional prizes.
There is no current favorite squad who will most likely win the Grand Slam since all of the teams that are in there currently sit on 1 win each. Hopefully one of those 6 squads notches a secondary win for that additional payday. Aside from being part of the Grand Slam, this tourney will also award points for the Blast Premier event that will be held in June.
Let’s check the teams participating in this event as well as compose our betting predictions for this Denver ESL Pro League 11 Series.
There are a total of 24 hopeful teams that will be competing for the prestige and the majority of the tourney points for both the Pro Tour and the Blast Premier. These 24 squads are split between the permanent partner teams, the ESL world rankings and also the teams that will be able to qualify through the season events.
The permanent squads are Astralis, Complexity, Ence, Evil Geniuses, Faze, Fnatic, G2 Esports, Mouz, Na’Vi, NiP, Liquid, Vitality, and 100 Thieves. The squads who earned their spots due to the world rankings are Furia, Godsent, OG and Virtus Pro. Tyloo, Sharks, North, Heroic, and Renegades earned their spots during the ESL Pro Season 10 Finals while Forze and Boom earned their spots during the ESEA Season 32.
This tournament has a pretty unique format. Half of the participants will be dropped after the group stages and only the upper half of each group will be advancing to the playoffs. The winners from each group will be competing for direct seeds in the semi-finals and also the quarter-finals through a mini play-in tourney.
The winners secure a semi-final spot while the losers from the play-in events secure a quarter-final spot. The teams who finish second and third from each group will secure a playoff spot on the round of 12.
All the squads have been separated into 4 groups of 6 each. These competitors will be playing in a single round-robin format. The bottom half will be eliminated and the top upper half will secure playoff spots. These are the teams from the respective groups.
- Ninjas in Pyjamas
- Natus Vincere
- 100 Thieves
- Boom Esports
- Virtus Pro
- Evil Geniuses
- G2 Esports
ESP Pro League Season 11 Predictions
Now, this is the most exciting part for me, making the predictions. I will be predicting which of these squads will be most likely the upper three from each of the brackets. As an added bonus, I will also be predicting which of the teams will win in the play-in mini tourney. So as John McCarthy would say, “Let’s get it on!!”
Group A (Play-in: )
This is a pretty stacked bracket. However, there are teams here that are clear favorites and will most likely occupy the top spots. Surely no one can argue that Vitality and Astralis will be clear favorites and will be able to easily secure spots on the top three. I mean out of all 6, they are two of the higher-ranked squads in the world rankings, with Astralis sitting comfortably in the third spot while Vitality is in the top 10.
The exciting thing here is that the battle for third place will most likely be contested between NiP, Ence, and Godsent, with Ence being a major favorite. I will be counting Sharks out since out of all the 6 here, they are the squad with the least experience in playing in major events, and they will most likely be steamrolled by the bigger squads.
Group B (Play-in: )
Another semi stacked bracket. However, Group B paints a different story than that of Group A. All of the competitors here have experience in playing in big tourneys. However, there is a clear cut favorite to win in here. I think Na’Vi will take it all the way to the top, with them being the most recent Katowice Major winner and Perfecto playing perfectly, I do not see any reason why they will not coast to the top easily.
Now the second and third spots will be highly contested, but I think Fnatic will be in a close second with Furia coming in third. In my honest opinion, Furia is the new flag bearer of the Brazilians, and I think they will be doing well in this tourney.
Group C (Play-in: )
This is the real group of death. This bracket is heavily stacked! You have the likes of 100 Thieves, Liquid, Boom, and Mouz in here. The Karrigan led Mouz is currently the best squad in the entire world and I think that they will be the team to keep an eye on in this bracket. They will surely face heavy competition in 100 Thieves and Liquid but I see no reason why they cannot overcome them.
By far, these two will be their heaviest competition in this bracket. These three will also be the forerunners of securing the top spots and advancing to the playoffs.
Group D (Play-in: )
This bracket has 3 strong teams that are most likely to advance to the playoffs. There is a single team here that is somewhat a dark horse candidate and that is North. North is capable of challenging EG, Faze or G2 for a spot on the top only if they play well. Amanek from G2 is still a beast and EG is still a very solid roster even though they have somewhat cooled off. Faze is well, Faze. The NiKo led squad is capable of pulling upsets against higher-rated teams like G2 and EG. That is the reason why I picked them as the play-in winner instead of the fan-favorite EG.
OG and TyLoo sadly will not really have a chance of reaching the top half since they are a little bit inexperienced in OG’s case. In TyLoo’s case, however, they have recently lost their best player, BnTeT. I do not think Somebody will be able to carry TyLoo alone to a spot in the playoffs.
Now for the play-in predictions. I will be picking Na’Vi and Mouz to get the semi-final spots. It will be Astralis playing against Na’Vi and Mouz will be playing against Faze. For the Astralis – Na’Vi match, I think the CIS roster still has the momentum from their most recent Major win in Katowice. They would most likely try to capitalize on that and carry it over in this tournament.
Now for the reason why I picked Mouz, it’s just plain and simple revenge for Karrigan. I mean, NiKo did get him kicked off from that squad, and I want to see justice for getting Karrigan displaced. I mean, who does not want to see a grudge match every now and then right?
Share your thoughts and predictions for the Denver ESL Pro League event in the comments below!