ESL Pro League Season 8 live streams, prediction and schedule
We’re not far from the end of the year now, and that means the CSGO calendar is winding down. There is, however, one more tier-one event to keep you warm over the festive period, namely the ESL Pro League Season 8 Finals from Odense, Denmark, and it’s looking pretty tasty. Other than FaZe, we have all the usual suspects in play, and some spicy storylines to boot.
Format and schedule
Group stages: December 4th, 5th and 6th. Double elimination. First matches are BO1, with remaining matches BO3. Group stage winners advance to semis, runners-up advance to the quarters as high seeds, third place goes into quarters as low seeds.
Play-offs (in arena): December 7th, 8th and 9th. Single-elimination. Matches are BO3, except for BO5 final.
- ViCi Gaming
- Team Liquid
- G2 Esports
- INTZ Esports
Who’s gonna win?
If there was a point in 2018 that you’d say Astralis looked vulnerable, it would probably be now. A close victory over MIBR at ECS6 Finals was disguised by the 2-0 scoreline, but the reality is they won it, and probably would have done even without FalleN’s brain fart. The Brazilians are here again, but it seems like they spent all their energy getting as close as they could to the Danes and it’s unlikely they’ve left anything back to bring to the table now.
There is a chance we’ll see a shock, though, as the Danes don’t look to be on the same form that saw them take the Major in such emphatic style. Both Na’Vi and Team Liquid arrive at the event with a chip on their shoulder and something to prove after recent aberrations, and we know they can go toe to toe with the world number one. Our Christmas wish is a Liquid win, not just for young Oliver Twistzz, but also to set us up with a really fantastic rivalry going into 2019, as right now the gap between the best and the rest is huge.
This is not your average event, and the middle of the pack teams are very intriguing as a result. It’s hard to call any of North, mousesports, MIBR, HellRaisers or BIG real favourites, but all of them have the potential to turn over one of the true giants and make an impact at this event. MIBR should come in on a high, too, after their final in Arlington, provided they can get over the heart-breaking way they actually lost the final to the Danes.
If they win here it will provide their fans with reasons to be cheerful going into 2019
The problem with picking one of these sides as a potential winner is, well, the equation required. They can probably beat Na’Vi or Liquid if those teams aren’t on form, but will lose to Astralis. They can win the event if Na’Vi or Liquid take out the world number ones for them, but that then implies those teams are in good form, and frankly if Twistzz or s1mple go off they can beat a team like Mous or HellRaisers almost single-handedly.
Of this group, MIBR have best chance and, if they win here, it will provide their fans with reasons to be cheerful going into 2019. The team has all the talent, but looked as though it had hit a hard ceiling after the initial honeymoon period with YNK. Another step up and a tournament win would give us a genuine top four going into next year, which would be great after the dominant 2018 Astralis put together.
The rest of the bunch
It’s probably not unfair to say this is one of the most tiered events since the London major, with a number of T1 sides, and a few you might not be as familiar with. Sharks Esports, Vici Gaming and ORDER are in that group of teams that could easily pull a funky anti-strat shock on a bigger side, but there is one name here fans should be hyped about, as they are bringing some greats back from the shadow realm.
kennyS is still playing like he's drunk half the time and looks a shadow of his former self
INTZ eSports might be a terrible name, but the team has some serious talent and maybe a degree of threat too. Famous hothead kNgV- will be making his first appearance at a large LAN event in a while, representing the Brazilian mix, and he’ll be doing so alongside an even more exciting talent. Felps, formerly of SK Gaming, is representing INTZ in Odense, and that’s a great sign for Brazilian CS overall.
G2 are the most interesting part of this group, given that their new arrivals look to be settling in and actually killing people in-game, making them an instant improvement on Smithzz and Ex6tenz. Sadly, shox has gone back to IGL shox, meaning his numbers are going to drop off, and kennyS is still playing like he's drunk half the time and looks a shadow of his former self.
Other than that, you can probably put Ghost Gaming and Renegades into the "long-shot" list, too, just based on how strong the field is. The Ghost project, led by Steel, has massive potential and they won’t be intimidated by the likes of INTZ or ORDER, but to really make an impact here probably requires them to beat some top-five teams, and that is a tall order for the NA mix.
ESL Pro League live streams
All ESL One Pro League Season Eight live streams and expected rosters can be found here.
- Astralis v Vici Gaming live
- Renegades v HellRaisers live
- Team Liquid v G2 live
- INTZ Esports v BIG live
- MIBR v Sharks live
- NRG v North live
- Ghost v mousesports live
- Na'Vi v ORDER live