The group stages of ESL Pro League Season 14 delivered a plethora of stunning matches, big performances, and dramatic storylines, however, the playoffs are where the stakes are raised for the twelve sides still left standing. With established orgs such as Astralis and G2 already being eliminated, the field looks primed for one of the most stacked events in the tournament’s history.
Here are some of the most interesting storylines to watch unfold throughout ESL Pro League Season 14’s playoff brackets.
Liquid to continue going strong?
Team Liquid were the only NA representative to make it out of the group stage at ESL Pro League Season 14, finishing second place in Group D, and looked mighty impressive throughout their 4-1 record. The likes of Gabriel “FalleN” Toledo and Jonathan “EliGE” Jablonowski looked re-energized and put on the kinds of performances that show exactly why they’re regarded as the region’s finest, and the grit and discipline the rest of the lineup displayed in some of their comebacks should give NA fans plenty of encouragement.
After so much disruption throughout the online era, Team Liquid look to be returning to the sorts of heights so many in the community expect of them, and it’ll be fascinating to see how the team performs during the playoffs.
Which international org will reign supreme?
International orgs have been growing in popularity for some time in the world of CS, however, ESL Pro League Season 14 has seen the full potential of these lineups unleashed to new heights so far. FaZe Clan were the only international roster at the event to not make it past the group stage, with ENCE, OG, Complexity, Mousesports, and Fnatic all qualifying for the playoffs.
OG arguably looked the most impressive international lineup at the event, going at a flawless 5-0 in group B. However, the determination from Mousesports and Complexity, the latter of which was playing with Niels Christian “NaToSaphiX” Sillassen as an emergency stand-in, shouldn’t be overlooked either. ENCE and Fnatic are both newcomers to the world of international lineups, so their success at Pro League will be sure to throw in an unknown element into the mix.
All in all, the validity of international rosters at the top level of competitive CS has been given a serious spotlight at EPL Season 14, and it will be intriguing to see how far each of these lineups go as the tournament progresses, and which one will be the last one standing when all is said and done.
NAVI setting the standard (again)
Natus Vincere (NAVI) have never won ESL Pro League over the course of their history, however, they’ll be hard-pressed to find a better opportunity heading into Season 14’s playoffs.
Back-to-back LAN champions and the number one ranked side in the world since climbing to the summit again at the start of July, NAVI have continued to look imperious at Pro League, going 4-1 in arguably the most stacked group at the tournament. Only BIG have taken a map off NAVI so far at Pro League, and the side’s 1.12 rating makes them the third highest-rated team at the tournament so far.
Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev has once again proven himself to be the undisputed GOAT again with an absurd 1.33 rating, only behind Mathieu “ZywOo” Herbaut’s 1.36, however, the emergence of Ilya “Perfecto” Zalutskiy has arguably been one of the biggest talking points from the group stage.
The world’s best team with the world’s best player, NAVI are the team to beat at Pro League, and it’ll be interesting to see whether the org live up to the pressures once again or not.