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Top Contenders to win ESL Pro League Season 19

Top Contenders to win ESL Pro League Season 19

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
5 May
Badredine Kadri

With the curtains closing on the ESL Pro League Season 19 Group Stage after electrifying matches, the stage is set for an intense elimination phase where stakes are higher, as the margin for error is razor thin.

While some big names were walking on eggshells, others were impressive.

NAVI to prove their worth as Major champions, FaZe Clan to pull ahead of the pack, Complexity to put North America on the map again and Vitality to get back on track as a title contender.

The teams list is full of heavy hitters. But, who will emerge as the champion and rise to the top?

FaZe Clan

FaZe Clan at EPL 19 Image Source: ESL

The titans of Counter-Strike 2 are on a tear after reaching every grand final so far and successfully adding a couple of trophies to their cabinet.

Although they failed to make the final step on most occasions, their strength is not something to be taken lightly. While still basking in the glow of victory from IEM Chengdu, FaZe Clan are certainly the top contender to lift the ESL Pro League Season 19 trophy and make a closer step towards the one million cash bonus yet again with the Intel Grand Slam.

During IEM Chengdu, Astralis were the only real threat to Finn “Karrigan” Andersen’s squad after taking their only loss in the Group B upper bracket semi-final.

With shy ratings across the board, FaZe Clan couldn’t stop the Danish superstars, losing 13-7 and 13-4 respectively.

Helvijs "broky” Saukants flipped the script and avenged with an impressive showing in the semi-finals. Despite Astralis’ efforts in fighting back, they couldn’t tame the beast and lost 2-1.

So far in EPL, it has been a walk in the park for the most part, except when they faced their kryptonite at this point; Astralis.

The same scenario played out in Malta, and without any changes in their map picks, Victor “Staehr” Staehr put up a show netting them a spot in the Quarter-Finals.

Group A player stats

With “broky” finding his form in the event and David “frozen” Čerňanský filling the shoes of Russel “Twistzz” Van Dulkan like a bolt from the blue, FaZe Clan are certainly a favorite in this event.

Team Vitality

apEX Image Source: ESL

Vitality ended 2023 on a good note after winning the BLAST Premier World Final in Abu Dhabi.

Although IEM Katowice was a disastrous event for Mathieu "ZywOo" Herbaut and his teammates, their Major run was applaudable.

In Katowice however, they took a beating against local heroes; ENCE, before taking another punch to the guts by Heroic who failed to make Playoffs.

Their exit from the event raised some eyebrows considering the individual level of some players. Luckily, they didn't take the elimination lightly, as they got back on track when it mattered the most at PGL Copenhagen Major, after reaching the Semi-Finals.

Skipping IEM Chengdu to recuperate turned out to be fruitful, as so far in EPL, they were a well oiled machine running on all cylinders.

Dan "apEX" Madesclaire’s team didn’t drop a single map from three BO3’s defeating Sharks, BetBoom and later TheMongolZ in Group B upper final.

Perhaps those names don’t necessarily strike fear in a team of Vitality’s caliber, but avoiding any upsets and mopping the floor with their opponents gives us a clear idea on their current level.

With the golden boy “ZywOo” topping the stats leaderboard with incredible numbers, in addition to his brother in arms “Spinx”, a trophy lift is almost imminent.

Zywoo againts the Mongolz

The only uncertainty for the Bees going into the Playoffs is William “mezii” Merriman, as his performances are unpredictable like a coin toss. With six events under the Vitality jersey, King “mezii” rose to prominence only in one with an exceptional showing at  BLAST Premier World Final.


MOUZ Image Source: ESL

MOUZ are the defending champions in this iteration of ESL Pro League. With incredible grit and will, they defied all odds after defeating FaZe Clan, G2 Esports, ENCE and NAVI to claim the title.

Except for “frozen”, it was the first S-tier event win for the rest of the squad.

The third best team in the world established themselves as a title contender and continued to impress after reaching the semi-finals at BLAST Premier World Final and IEM Katowice.

Although they were denied their first IEM trophy by FaZe Clan at Chengdu, Jimi “Jimpphat” Salo and Ludvig “Brollan” Brolin are on top of their game as some of the highest rated players in this event so far.

Without any real threat, MOUZ passed the Group Stage test with flying colors after defeating Bad News Kangaroos, GamerLegion and later Team Liquid.

NIP deeming the signing of “Brollan” on loan as worthy so far, with the Swedish superstar's performance jumping since he joined the German organization.

A result of brilliant in-game leadership by Kamil “siuhy” Szkaradek, who’s brought MOUZ back as a strong team, standing up against the biggest names in CS2 esports.

Clean shots from the IGL

The team boasts incredible talent. From an AWPer who’s razor sharp, young prodigies with a great impact, on top of a fragging IGL who’s building a good reputation for himself so far.

MOUZ have the ingredients to cook up another EPL trophy. But, will they be able to overcome the other contenders? That remains to be seen.

Despite the winner, We’re set for an electrifying showdown in Malta as we continue to celebrate and cherish every moment in this beautiful esport. So, be sure to clear your calendar, set your alarms and get ready because it's about to go down!

The ESL Pro League 19 is currently underway! You can follow the tournament on YouTube and Twitch, you can also follow the tournament on Strafe. 

Featured Image Credits: ESL

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