ESL Pro League S16 playoffs preview and favorites

The playoffs of ESL Pro League Season 16 are scheduled to be played between September 27 – October 2.... Radu M. | 26. September 2022

The playoffs of ESL Pro League Season 16 are scheduled to be played between September 27 – October 2. This stage of the tournament will offer us plenty of great matches that are worth watching and will clarify to some degree what the new pecking order is in CS:GO.

Unfortunately, three of the tournament’s strongest teams will encounter each other in the bottom half of the bracket and only one of them can reach the Grand Final. These teams are Natus Vincere, G2 Esports, and Team Vitality.

The reason why they’re all here, in the playoffs of ESL Pro League S16, is easy to understand. But Na’Vi almost didn’t make it. Aleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev’s team finished group A with just two wins and three losses.

The only reason why they qualified with such a poor result was that Team Spirit were ahead of Ninjas in Pyjamas and Na’Vi had defeated Spirit in the direct match.

Participants and favorites

Here are the 12 teams that have survived the four groups of ESL Pro League Season 16 and will compete in the playoffs:

  • FaZe Clan
  • Complexity Gaming
  • Cloud9
  • Fnatic
  • Team Liquid
  • MOUZ
  • Heroic
  • Natus Vincere
  • G2 Esports
  • FURIA Esports
  • Outsiders
  • Team Vitality

All of these teams are strong but some are much stronger than others. In particular, FaZe Clan, Cloud9, G2 Esports, Team Vitality, and hopefully Natus Vincere are the big favorites to win the race.

In the top half of the bracket, FaZe Clan and Cloud9 will encounter very little resistance. The two teams will need to face each other in the quarterfinals if FaZe win their Round of 12 match against Complexity. Whoever wins the quarterfinals match will have an easy path to the Grand Final. MOUZ, Liquid, and Fnatic are nowhere near C9 and FaZe.

In the bottom half of the bracket, Na’Vi risk getting eliminated in the match against Heroic if they’re not careful. The team looked really weak in recent weeks, while Heroic looked quite strong.

The big favorites here are G2 and Vitality. Both teams finished the group stage with a perfect record and have reached a level of fluency that gives them a real chance to challenge the likes of Na’Vi and FaZe.

Everyone hopes to see a rematch between G2 Esports and Natus Vincere in the quarterfinals. Of course, for that to happen, the Ukrainian team would have to win against Heroic and it might not happen.

In Vitality’s case, they certainly won’t have a real challenge until the semifinals, where they will probably face Na’Vi or G2.

The tournament doesn’t have a clear favorite because too many teams are close to each other and could easily win the trophy.

Header: ESL