ESL Pro League Season 7 Finals Preview
For the first time, the Renegades CS:GO squad lines up this week at the Verizon Theatre in Dallas at the ESL Pro League offline finals. With previous seasons marred by mid-league roster changes and qualification berths interrupted by event clashes, the boys will be looking to go at least one better than their highly successful run in Sydney last week.
It’s a very juicy lineup in Texas this week for the Pro League finals. Not only will we see a potential Sydney rematch between Astralis and FaZe, we’ll get to see another opportunity for the Asia-Pacific scene to shine on the international stage. EPL opened its doors to the APAC region for this iteration of the league, with South Korean team MVP PK and Oceanic squad Grayhound Gaming successfully making the trek out to the Verizon Theatre for the finals.
With the same format as IEM Sydney in effect there’s a great chance for the Renegades to make the stage as early as day two. A best-of-one match against Space Soldiers will begin proceedings for the RNG boys.The Turks thrilled European audiences with a spectacular 15-11 record in their first showing in the league. Space Soldiers were to play the Renegades at IEM Sydney but visa issues cancelled their plans to attend the Australian event. Such issues continued to plague the team, with Calyx unable to secure a visa for the USA meaning SS will attend the event with stand-in DESPE.
A win against the Turkish would set up a stage-qualifying best-of-three against the winner of Grayhound Gaming and Team Liquid. Grayhound stunned in Sydney with the elimination of SK Gaming but Team Liquid have looked particularly potent online with strong finishes in both the major online leagues to qualify to both finals. RNG have a storied record against Liquid in offline matches, with the boys on the worse side of a 1-4 record against the NA team.
The Renegades will need that top bracket opportunity, for a drop to the lower bracket means the potential to face the remaining teams in group B. IEM Sydney finalists Astralis will be looking to go one better themselves after a narrow loss to FaZe at Qudos Bank Arena last week, while SK Gaming look to rebound after their horror elimination at the same event.
The Swedes at NiP have enjoyed a respectable but otherwise unremarkable spate of group stage finishes, but missing out on qualification to Sydney after losing to Virtus Pro cost the team a chance at returning to the top five. Finishing second only to Mousesports in the online portion of the league, they’ll be out for blood at Dallas.
As for OpTic, it’s been a long fall from grace. Their most recent endeavours with a mixed NA/EU roster fell to pieces following three straight closed qualifiers ending in elimination. Now after dropping their North American players and becoming a full Danish lineup with the services of Snappi and JUGi, they seek redemption in just the organisation’s first offline event of the calendar year.
The action begins today, with the Renegades-Space Soldiers opening match at 12:20pm CDT (3:20am AEST). The importance of the opening match win into the best-of-three series win cannot be overstated - much like Sydney it pays to make the stage early, and a missed chance with such a lower-ranked bracket may cost a team a finals spot after such a long online season.
Written by Nicholas “Taffy” Taifalos