The last group stage games of the ESL Pro League Season 8 Finals concluded last night. Only six teams now remain to challenge the $250,000 first place prize.
The way it seems, world’s No. 1 team Astralis could be headed towards another championship — or at least another grand final. Apart from losing one map to Hellraisers in the group stage, the Danes have been flawless so far, once again beating their rivals Team Liquid 16-12, 16-8 to top their group. Astralis are now two more wins away from taking their ninth LAN title this year alone.
If the team behind IGL Lukas “gla1ve” Rossander is triumphant in Odense, it will further cement the Astralis era and make a strong statement for being the greatest of all time. The leaders of CS:GO have only failed to win one the five LAN events they’ve attended since they took the Major in September and there’s no indication of stopping down.
Their future semifinal opposition at EPL doesn’t look very challenging either and one could say the Danes have got the better pairings. Either mousesports or Renegades will challenge Astralis in the round of 4 and odds are on the Danes’ side. Mouz are 0-10 against Astralis in their last 10 maps. Renegades haven’t played Astralis since February, but the Aussies will have to bring their A game, and then some, if they’re to stand against the Major champions.
Compared to Astralis, the job of MIBR, the other semifinalists in the tournament, is much more difficult. The Brazilian core will face the winner of Natus Vincere and Team Liquid, ranked No. 2 and No. 3 in the world, respectively. So far, MIBR are the only team that has taken a map off of Astralis in a grand final in the last three months. They have already played the Danes at two finals this fall as well.
ESL Pro League Season 8’s champion will be crowned on Sunday, Dec. 9. If that champion is Astralis, they will also take Intel Grand Slam’s $1 million prize pool. Even if they miss, they will have another shot at the IEM XIII World Championship in Katowice next year.