ESL Pro League S19 Group A Favorites

ESL Pro League S19 is scheduled to start on April 23. As with previous editions, there will be four... Radu M. | 16. April 2024

ESL Pro League S19 is scheduled to start on April 23. As with previous editions, there will be four groups of eight teams and these groups will likely be played one after the other.

In group A, at least four teams are strong enough to compete for the four available playoffs spots. In this article, I will take a closer look a their chances of winning or at least qualifying for the next stage of the tournament.

Group A Participants and Favorites

Here are the eight teams that will compete in group A of ESL Pro League S19:

  • FaZe Clan
  • Imperial Esports
  • SAW
  • 3DMAX
  • Eternal Fire
  • Astralis
  • Virtus.pro
  • Fnatic

Among these teams, FaZe Clan, Astralis, Eternal Fire, and Virtus.pro are definitely the favorites.

FaZe Clan

After the launch of CS2, which took place more than half a year ago, FaZe quickly became the strongest team in the world, winning IEM Sydney, Thunderpick World Championship, and CS Asia Championships. Then they finished 2nd at four events: BLAT Premier Fall Final, BLAST Premier World Final, IEM Katowice, and PGL Major Copenhagen.

More recently, they won IEM Chengdu. This means that in their last eight S-tier CS2 tournaments, they won four trophies and played in four other Grand Finals. This performance is absolutely unbelievable. Only Astralis, back in their glory days, used to achieve such results.

FaZe Clan’s roster consists of very strong players who have been around for a long time. The team’s coach, NEO, was part of that legendary Virtus.pro roster that dominated the professional scene in 2016 – 2017. The IGL, karrigan, is one of the most decorated players in the history of CS2.

The remaining players are frozen, ropz, broky, and rain. All of them know exactly how to win while competing in front of a passionate crowd. And that is why FaZe have a big advantage in the playoffs of any tournament. When it really matters, they play their best CS. They don’t always win, but they always play a strong game.

In the group stage of ESL Pro League S19, FaZe are expected to win. At the very least, they should qualify for the playoffs. It’s hard to think of an opponent that could realistically beat them in their current form but Astralis and Eternal Fire do have a decent chance of succeeding.


In the qualifiers for PGL Major Copenhagen, Astralis played poorly and were eliminated. That forced them to make some radical changes. Among the decisions that were made, one of the most important involved dev1ce, who went from being the team’s AWPer to being its IGL.

With dev1ce calling the shots, Astralis played remarkably well at IEM Chengdu and were close to qualifying for the Grand Final. In the end, they lost 1 – 2 against FaZe Clan, who went on to win the trophy. However, their methodology proved to be effective.

Astralis won group A of that tournament with victories over Steel Helmet, FaZe Clan, and Virtus.pro. In every match, dev1ce continued to get excellent individual scores despite his IGL duties. When the tournament ended, he declared that his new role gave him back his joy and motivation to play.

Eternal Fire

This Turkish team performed unusually well at PGL Major Copenhagen. They finished the opening stage with a record of 3 W – 1 L and then proceeded to get the same result in the elimination stage. In the playoffs, they were expected to finish in the top four, but Natus Vincere were in great shape and eliminated them in the quarterfinals.

Na’Vi ended up winning the trophy, so this result wasn’t that disastrous in retrospect. Since then, Eternal Fire haven’t played a single official match, so we don’t know whether they’re still the same determined team or not.

It’s probably safe to assume that they still play very well. In a tournament like ESL Pro League S19, where a team needs to lose three times to get eliminated, it’s hard to imagine them failing to qualify for the playoffs.


VP won the first European RMR for PGL Major Copenhagen and were close to qualifying for the tournament’s playoffs. The team that eliminated them was G2 Esports. This happened in the 5th round of the second stage.

After that result, VP finished 5th – 6th at IEM Chengdu, where they were eliminated in the quarterfinals by none other than G2 Esports.

Luckily for VP, G2 won’t be in their group at ESL Pro League S19. Even though they’ll face a lot of strong opposition, they will also get to play against much weaker opponents. In the opening match, their rival is Fnatic. This team is currently ranked 38th, so the odds of success for Virtus.pro are quite high.

Header: ESL