Another season of ESL’s Pro League has come to a close, and the eleventh outing will surely go down as one of the best in video gaming history. Not only did it successfully navigate its way through the outbreak of COVID-19 and deliver some seriously good production values, but the intense competition and adrenaline-pumping moments of action smashed the record books apart.
With a brief gap in the competitive Counter-Strike calendar, we thought we would take a look back at the Pro League just gone and pick our top five winners from the series.
Ranked fifth in the world coming into the tournament according to the HLTV rankings and kicking off their campaign with a 2-1 loss to BIG, it would have taken a brave person to bet in favour of Fnatic going a long way in the tournament.
However, the Swedes came to life in the tournament’s second stage, showing their skills by beating three-time Major winners Astralis, Season 10 champions Mousesports, big spenders FaZe Clan and world number ones Na’Vi on their way to the grand final.
JW and Flusha brought out the knife and R8 kills, Krimz and Brollan were the two standout players on the server and Golden established himself the world’s best Counter-Strike in-game leader as Fnatic romped to the $110,000 prize winnings and a place in the history books. They were, without a doubt, the best team around.
- Team Liquid
Having romped to the quickest Intel Grand Slam in CS:GO history, Team Liquid came into Season 11 with something of an identity crisis over their heads. Having lost their status as the world’s number one side and never really looking quite capable of reaching those heights again, Liquid got off to a shaky start with early losses to Swole Patrol and FURIA before moving into the grand final against the Evil Geniuses.
Their 3-0 trouncing of EG to lift the North American Pro League championship will have come as a warm return to form for Nitro, Elige, Twist, Stewie and Naf, but the question for Liquid will now be about whether they can turn it back on against some steelier European opposition when offline tournaments return.
They might have fallen at the final hurdle in pretty agonising fashion, however Mousesports have once again shown why they are one of Counter-Strike’s most upcoming and exciting rosters. Led brilliantly again by veteran Karrigan, the likes of ChrisJ, Ropz, Frozen and Woxic all dazzled audiences with some truly world class moments of brilliance.
The consistency to maintain this brilliance wasn’t quite at this edition of Pro League, with Woxic and Frozen noticeably going quiet during the final against Fnatic, but Mousesports still found the winning formulas against Na’Vi, FaZe and Astralis twice.
- Ninjas In Pyjamas
On the face of it, the ESL Pro League Season 11 looks to be one huge missed opportunity for Ninjas in Pyjamas. However, if you check out the best esports betting odds, they have actually outperformed most of their expectations. They kicked off their campaign with a scarcely believable 2-0 win against Astralis and took down Spirit and GODSENT before narrow 2-1 losses against Vitality, ENCE and Fnatic.
For the 12th ranked side in the world, it was definitely a solid showing with plenty of foundations to build on.
- FURIA Esports
One of the two heavy-hitting Brazilian Counter-Strike sides, it’s always a good event when FURIA are able to outlast their rivals MiBr. FURIA only lost twice during the course of the first stage, against Evil Geniuses and Swole Patrol, and locked in a rare appearance in the latter stages of an S-Tier competition.
On this occasion, they succumbed to a 2-0 loss against Evil Geniuses and were unable to make the grand final. Nevertheless, FURIA’s exhilarating style of play was great to watch and ended up netting them $33,000 in prize winnings.
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