After well over six years, ESL Pro League is reaching its fifteenth season early next year. However, while the big event will only start in March, it’s time to start the Road to Pro League, as the ESL Pro League Season XV Conference, the last stop before the main event, starts next week.
If you’re curious about how it all works – how this Conference event will impact in the circuit, the event format, and whatever else – we’ve got your back. Here’s everything you need to know about ESL Pro League Season XV: Conference.
Sixteen teams from all over the world are heading to Europe to play on the EPL Season 15 Conference next week. Starting on Tuesday (23rd), these teams will start their journeys, as they fight for three spots in the main ESL Pro League Season XV event.
All matches from the event will be best-of-three games, and the tournament will run a single stage double-elimination format. As a bonus, the event features a USD $27.000 prize pool.
Now, let’s take a look at the teams taking part in the event, as well as the bracket:
As always, we’ve also gathered together the most interesting teams to follow in the event. Check out below our picks!
ETERNAL FIRE – TIME TO STEP UP
It has been less than five months since the Turkish super-team was founded, and since then, the Turks have gone through plenty. Victories, defeats – even a roster change. The thing Eternal Fire is missing now is clear, though. They are yet to be featured in a big stage.
Eternal Fire tried, though. However, they failed to qualify for IEM Fall, then failed to qualify for DreamHack Open 47, and most recently, also failed for IEM Winter. This means that for Eternal Fire, they have no chances of being featured in a big event in 2021.
However, 2022 is right there and the EPL Season 15 Conference is Eternal Fire’s golden ticket to start the year with the right foot. This team, which is now lead by Özgür “woxic” Eker has been through some disappointments already. However, it seems that lately the tides started changing for them, and they have a fair chance at getting a spot.
For Eternal Fire, the Turks have to keep building on what they have been working on in these past couple of weeks. Since moving w0xic to the in-game leader role, they have managed to win against Entropiq and Virtus.Pro. As a team, Eternal Fire looks more rounded-up, and İsmailсan “XANTARES” Dörtkardeş can fully focus on bringing in the frags. This is a golden opportunity, and just at the right time for the Turkish team.
EXTRA SALT – AN OPPORTUNITY THEY CAN’T MISS
North American Counter-Strike is in a rough state, and its lower-tier scene suffered plenty already through the pandemic. However, as the online era sees its final days, it’s time to start building back. For the teams that have remained strong during the rough times we just went through, it’s time to start getting ready to make 2022 the perfect scenario for their recovery.
Extra Salt fits exactly in this place. The organization’s Counter-Strike division was founded last December, and they had a difficult year in 2021, but it wasn’t surprising. Now, it’s time for the team to show that they can make the best out of these rare opportunities given to them. They aren’t favorites to make to the ESL Pro League Season XV, but they are desperate for a spot in the event so they can show that this year hasn’t been wasted.
However, there’s more in play here for Extra Salt than just a spot. As both Team Liquid and Evil Geniuses prepare to rebuild, all eyes will be on ES’ AWPer Josh “oSee” Ohm. The 22-year-old player has been catching many eyes over 2021, and it’s clear that he could be a key piece for a team going through rebuilding.
So, it’s important that Extra Salt to make an impact here. Whether it ends being one of the last events for oSee in the team, or a tentative to keep him, the ESL Pro League Season 15 Conference is an opportunity to Extra Salt to get a shot in one of the biggest events of 2022. Without a spot, it’ll be hard to make a case to keep this project together, or to keep oSee in it.
GODSENT – BOUNCING BACK
Right now, it’s fair to say that GODSENT is the second-best Brazilian team in CSGO. The team led by Epitácio “TACO” de Melo has outshined their peers from paiN and Sharks in these past months, and they performed well until the PGL Major Stockholm.
Since the Major, however, it’s clear that there’s a giant gap between FURIA and GODSENT. The expectations built for this team certainly lowered, and overall, the momentum built by GODSENT is over. It’s not like if GODSENT became another team, but after such a disappointing showing in Stockholm, many fans were quick to adjust their hype.
However, for TACO and his teammates it’s time to start building that momentum back. They have already performed well in REPUBLEAGUE TIPOS Season 2, where they defeated ECLOT and forZe before failing to FNATIC. However, now it’s the real trial to see if this roster has a chance of closing the gap between them and the best Brazilian team.
In the Conference, GODSENT has a chance to qualify directly from the upper-bracket. With Movistar Riders, and perhaps Eternal Fire being the most dangerous threats to the Brazilians, they should be more than able to compete with these two to get a spot to EPL Season XV as quickly as possible.
At the end of the day, no matter how GODSENT does it, they need to qualify to Pro League 15. They have done a lot of progress since the player break, and while they did disappoint at the Major, qualifying for it was already an achievement on its own. Now it’s time to bounce back from it and qualify for their next big event.
MOVISTAR RIDERS – FAVORITES FOR ONCE
As the highest ranked team in the HLTV World Rankings, Movistar Riders is coming to the EPL Season XV Conference with high expectations. After all, they have been on a roll lately as the first Spanish team to attend to a Valve Major, and while they didn’t last much in Stockholm, they still performed well.
Now, it’s time to keep progressing. Movistar Riders’ latest results show that they squad might need to do some adjustments. At the same time, though, it’s fair to say that they have managed to keep themselves on a level close to what they reached at IEM Fall.
At the Conference, Movistar Riders biggest threat on their bracket is GODSENT. However, as stated above, the Spaniards are coming as the favorites, and GODSENT will have to overperform if they want to defeat Alejandro “ALEX” Masanet Candela squad. If the Riders keep their game up, and play the same Counter-Strike they have been playing since August, they have everything to quickly qualify to EPL 15.
For Spanish Counter-Strike, 2021 already is a remarkable year. However, it can be even better if Movistar Riders achieve their ambitions at the Conference. After all, ESL Pro League 15 could be the first Pro League season to feature a Spanish team.
RENEGADES – FROM ZERO
The Aussies from Renegades had a rough year in 2021. Not only the team bombed at the Major, but they couldn’t attend most international events. To make matters worse, Renegades had qualified to ESL Pro League Season 14, but they couldn’t attend to it.
Water under the bridge, though. For the squad led by Joshua “INS” Potter, it’s extremely important that they don’t let those setbacks and disappointments hold them back. After all, qualifying to EPL is now much more difficult due to how ESL rearranged the circuit. If the boys want to retake the opportunity they had to miss earlier this year, everyone in this squad will have to go above and beyond.
Fortunately, though, there’s some incredibly good pieces in this team. Besides INS himself, Alistair “aliStair” Johnston, Renegades’ AWPer has also performed very well across the year. Having these two performing at their best will be essential. More important, though, is that the remaining trio perform better than they did during their time in Stockholm. Sico, especially, disappointed plenty with his average HLTV rating of 0.76.
Oceania as a whole took a major hit with the pandemic. However, it’s time to start rebuilding, and qualifying to ESL Pro League – getting back that opportunity Renegades missed in August – is essential for the squad now. ESL Pro League Season 15 will be one of the first premier events of 2022, and qualifying to it would be a major feat for either this team or the underdogs at ORDER.
THE CONFERENCE STARTS THIS TUESDAY
Starting Tuesday, sixteen teams will be heading to ESL’s servers as they fight for three spots at one of the most important events of 2022. For many of them – if not all – this is the opportunity they have all waited for.
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