Group stages for the tournament will take place at the ESL studios in Leicester, England, on May 11 to 12. The grand finals from May 14 to 15 will see the victor take out the trophy and $200,000 of the $750,000 up for grabs in front of a live audience.
ESL’s VP of Pro Gaming, Ulrich Schulze, called this “by far the most prestigious year of ESL Pro League to date,” and that the company was “taking it to the next level” with this year’s live finals.
Fnatic are the only team to have taken home the Pro League trophy, having won both seasons so far. The Swedish team toppled surprise finalists Cloud9 in Cologne in July, 2015. They then went on to defeat Natus Vincere in the season two finals in Burbank, California just four months ago.
This season looks largely the same, with Fnatic still dominating the circuit. Though in the league standings it’s fellow Swedes Ninjas in Pyjamas that currently hold the top spot. Both Fnatic and Astralis sit three points (one win) behind, while the fourth and final spot from Europe is currently held by G2 Esports. Virtus.Pro, supposedly one of the best teams in the world, are shockingly in last place, and need to focus on escaping relegation before considering a playoff spot.
In North America it’s Brazilians Luminosity Gaming who sit atop the standings fairly comfortably. Cloud9 sit just behind, level on points with Selfless, who are certainly the surprise package of the season so far. Australian team Renegades sit in fourth place, but with about a month left of competition those standings are certainly not locked in. Regional powerhouses Counter Logic Gaming and Team Liquid are yet to find form in the league and sit outside the playoff spots.
Photo by Helena Kristiansson via ESL/Flickr