The European ESL Pro League regular season is coming down to the wire, with multiple teams vying for the last few playoff spots.
FaZe no lock
Currently sitting in fifth place, FaZe Clan are by no means a lock to make the playoffs with top side Space Soldiers their only opponent this week. While Space Soldiers have continued to struggle on LAN, their dominance online is undeniable.
For FaZe, the loss of olofmeister due to personal issues has seen the introduction of Xizt, with the first few weeks looking incredibly shaky. FaZe are still in a decent position given they have 13 wins, but the possibility they get swept this week could leave them outside the playoff picture.
Mousesports should clinch a spot
Currently in sixth place, mousesports should be able to clinch a playoff berth this week given the presence of EnVyUs on their schedule. While a match-up versus Space Soldiers first up looks challenging even for a team that is amongst the world’s best right now, mouz should be able to put away the struggling French side at least.
Currently coming off a disappointing showing at DreamHack Marseille that saw them fall in the quarterfinals to Natus Vincere, mouz will be looking to pick up the pieces and gain some confidence moving forward. This is still one of the best teams in the world even with their inconsistency online, and a team no one wants to play in the first round of the playoffs.
North consistently inconsistent
Perhaps the most difficult team to peg is North, who currently sit in seventh with a .500 record (12-12). North have been one of the biggest disappointments in all of Counter Strike in 2018, routinely falling in group stages on LAN and failing to find any sort of consistency online.
Recent weeks in Pro League have seen decent showings from North, however, given their 2-0 streak over G2 alongside 1-1 splits with FaZe and NiP. Even with their struggles this year, the playoffs are looking a strong possibility at this point, given they have HellRaisers as their only opponent this week – a team that currently sit in ninth. With other teams around them having more difficult schedules, somehow in the midst of all the negativity, North still might find a way to squeak into the playoffs.
G2 Esports on the outside looking in
Eighth-placed G2 Esports could just fall short of the playoffs, with their only opponent being Natus Vincere this week. G2 currently sit one game back of North, with Na’Vi entering the fray fresh off their Finals appearance at DreamHack Marseille.
The concern for G2 Esports is two-fold; the team continue to be lacklustre ever since the addition of mixwell in place of shox, while Na’Vi’s form and confidence could be devastating timing for the French side. Putting NBK- in the leadership role has fielded minimal results, with the team continuing to struggle at event after event.
For Natus Vincere, on the other hand, while DreamHack was predominately about s1mple carrying them through the playoffs, occasional maps saw an improvement in the play of electronic. Brought in as the secondary star that could play in tandem with s1mple, electronic has failed to live up to his billing until this past weekend. If Na’Vi are able to have a two-headed monster, G2 Esports could miss out on playoffs.
Heroic have a winnable schedule
The quietest threat to steal a playoff spot is Heroic, given they have two of the bottom three teams slated this week. Heroic have not been impressive by any stretch, but the sheer presence of such a weak schedule gives them hope of making it in.
Sitting just two games out of the final playoff spot, Heroic have both EnVyUs and AGO due up; both teams that have performed significantly worse than Heroic thus far. The concern for Heroic lies with their inconsistency, which includes a loss to last place LDLC just two weeks back.
There is a great deal to play for then as the best in Europe battle it out for the invite to the Verizon Theatre in Dallas for what should be an intriguing Finals in May.