Last week, both the ECS Season 6 and ESL Pro League Season 8 tournaments in Europe and North America got underway. For one team in particular, it is a chance to exert dominance over the other teams in this prestigious and lengthy pair of tournaments.
Astralis was the conquering team in both of these competitions last season. They won Season 5 of the ECS and Season 7 of the ESL Pro League. Those wins earned the Danish team $500,000 in prize money and established them as the force in CS:GO gaming.
Astralis’ giant year
Their superb wins at the FACEIT Major London 2018 and BLAST Pro Series: Istanbul 2018 have further cemented that post. In 2018 alone, Astralis have racked up six big tournament wins, five of them Premier-level events. Earnings from just those events stand at $1,725,000.
They are also just two victories away from claiming a $1,000,000 bonus in the Intel Grand Slam. Had they managed to beat North in the final of the recent DreamHack Masters Stockholm 2018, they would have been just one win away.
However, over the next 4-6 weeks, the team will be busy in both these key qualifying events. If Astralis do have a weakness, it tends to be more evident in the qualifiers than the finals themselves.
Esports Championship Series – Season 6
The Esports Championship Series started last week with two qualifying sections, Europe and North America, each comprising 10 teams. The teams play each other in two consecutive best-of-one matches, with the top four in each section advancing into the ECS Season 6 Finals. These are set for Arlington, Texas, from Nov. 22-25 at the brand new Esports Stadium.
ECS Season 6 – Europe Competitors
- FaZe Clan
- G2 Esports
- Ninjas in Pyjamas
- OpTic Gaming
- Team LDLC.com
ECS Season 6 – North America Competitors
- Team Liquid
- Luminosity Gaming
- NRG Esports
- compLexity Gaming
- AZIO eSports
The qualifiers will be contested over six weeks. The teams finishing 5th to 8th will confirm their place in the ECS Season 7 tournament. Then, the teams finishing 9th and 10th are relegated to the Season 7 Challenger Cup. There, they will battle to retain their places in the tournament for Season 8.
Of the two divisions, the European section looks more demanding in terms of quality. Alongside Astralis, you have teams like North (who beat Astralis in Stockhom), FaZe Clan, Ninjas in Pyjamas, Fnatic, and G2 Esports, all of whom will harbor real hopes at the four qualifying spots.
The situation in North America should be a little clearer cut. Cloud9, Team Liquid, and MiBR are likely to be among the top teams. The remaining qualifying spot is very open. Indeed, any of the other teams may feel they have a chance, with Renegades and NRG Esports the slight favorites.
Betway offers markets on all the games in the ECS Qualifiers.
ESL Pro League – Season 8
Taking place over a slightly longer period (Oct. 2 through Nov. 14), the ESL Pro League Season 8 features not only European and North American sections but also Oceania, Asia, and South American sets.
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In the ESL Pro League, each team plays the others in its section in two consecutive best-of-one matches. The winning team receives three points. But note that teams winning in overtime only garner two points. If they lose, they receive just one point.
There are 14 teams in the European Qualifier and 12 in the North American sections. The top seven (six from North America) teams progress into the ESL Pro League Season 8 – Finals. These will take place from Dec. 4-9 in Odense, Denmark. All teams that finish in the top 11 (nine for North America) will retain their playing rights in the ESL Pro League for next season.
In European qualifying, the teams finishing 12th and 13th are sent into a relegation tournament where they can compete to stay in the ESL Pro League. In American qualifying, it is the teams finishing 10th and 11th that face this test. The 14th-placed team in Europe and the 12th in America will be automatically relegated and replaced with the top teams from the ESEA Premier.
There have already been several games in the tournaments thus far. We have outlined the current status of play below.
ESL Pro League – Europe
|13||Ninjas in Pyjamas||1-5||3|
ESL Pro League – North America
Oceania, Asia, and South America
The qualifying tournaments for Asia, Oceania, and South America are structured very differently. In truth, the quality of teams in these events is not as strong as the North American or European leagues. Each qualification zone will send one team to represent it in the ESL Pro League Finals in December this year.
As with the other league, you can get all the latest betting on matches at the ESL Pro League qualifiers via Betway.