For the first time in history, ESL Pro League will have two league champions for Season 11. ESL has announced ESL Pro League has split into four groups in order to limit travel for participating Counter-Strike: Global Offensive teams, meaning that both Europe and North America will have its own grand finals and respective champions.
EPL has been split into four regional groups, according to an update posted to the Pro League website. Season 11 will feature four European groups and one North American group, lowering the chances of coronavirus infection for teams that would have had to travel to attend EPL. After switching to a LAN format for Season 9, ESL Pro League made major changes in 2020, turning the long-running tournament into a franchised league.
In a major shift, there will be two ESL Pro League Champions in 2020. North American and European teams won’t meet at all in the ESL Pro League this year. Originally schedules to take place in Denver, ESL canceled the league’s finals after the spread of COVID-19, also known as coronavirus, a flu-like virus that may cause severe upper respiratory illness.
In its place, ESL announced that both North America and Europe will have separate grand finals and Season 11 will crown two separate champions for the first time.
The winners of the three European groups are sent to the playoff group stage, while the second and third-place teams in each group will play decider matches for the remaining 3 playoff slots. North America’s group will end in a double-elimination bracket with only four teams and an upper and lower bracket final.
The grand finals of each region will be a best-of-five series.
Since teams from the Americas will have their own group, ESL has reseeded all of the original Pro League groups. According to a statement from ESL, the tournament organizer has tried to keep “the schedule and groups as consistent as possible with the previously announced version.”
Astralis and Vitality headline group A as the group’s favorites. Ninjas in Pyjamas and ENCE make up the next tier, followed by GODSENT and ENCE.
EPL’s Group has the dangerous Natus Vincere and Fnatic as its top teams, followed by Complexity, forZe, North, and BIG Clan. BIG replaced Heroic after the team’s sale to FunPlus Phoenix and its move to Flashpoint.
The Americas group, group C features top sides Team Liquid and Evil Geniuses. 100 Thieves and FURIA follow them up with the recent addition of Swole Patrol. There is still one final team to be announced for the American group.
The last European group features EPL Season 10 champions Mousesports and G2 Esports in its top spots, fresh off of G2’s great performance at IEM Katowice. The top two teams are followed closely by FaZe Clan and a growing OG, with TYLOO and Virtus.Pro taking the last spots.
Season 11 of ESL Pro League will start as scheduled on Monday, March 16.