ESL Pro League Season 18 Group A to Begin Play

The fourth event in the Intel Grand Slam Season 5 is about to start play next week as Group A prepares for their first matches of the ESL Pro League Season 18.

Thirty-two of the world’s best CS:GO teams are preparing to fight for a trip to IEM Katowice 2024 and the BLAST World Final 2023. Not to mention the step closer it’ll put the winners to claiming the $1M prize going to the first team to win four Intel Grand Slam S-Tier events.

ESL Pro League Season 18 consists of two separate stages of competition. The Group Stage will begin on Wednesday, August 30th, and will consist of four separate triple elimination brackets consisting of 8 teams each.

Four teams from each group will qualify for the Playoffs portion of the tournament, which will see the sixteen teams play in a single elimination bracket in which the top performers in groups will be granted up to two bye rounds.

Team Vitality vs. ORKS

  • When: Wednesday, August 30th – 10 AM ET
  • Odds: Team Vitality (-1600) vs. Orks Esports (+750)

One of the opening matches of the tournament will see Team Vitality take on the relatively unknown Polish team ORKS. ORKS earned their spot in the ESL Pro League via the European Conference, in which they made a dominant run through their bracket.

They took down Looking4Org, Bad News Eagles, and SAW while only dropping a single map.

They’ll need to bring that same level of polish against Team Vitality, who is seeking their second Intel Grand Slam Tournament win after winning IEM Rio in April. If they’re able to win this tournament, they’ll be halfway to the million-dollar prize.

Astralis vs. Ninjas in Pyjamas

  • When: Wednesday, August 30th – 10 AM ET
  • Odds: Astralis (-200) vs. Ninjas in Pyjamas (+155)

Both Astralis and Ninjas in Pyjamas enter this tournament due to being partner teams. Astralis has been making small improvements over the season as they ended at IEM Dallas in the 5-6th spot, while at IEM Cologne, they were able to move up to the 3rd-4th place spot.

They’ll look to continue the trend and hopefully find themselves in the Grand Finals. Ninjas in Pyjamas has been a middle to lower-tier team so far this season.

They started the year with a 7-8th finish out of 16 at IEM Rio. After a disappointing IEM Cologne Finish, which saw them end 13th-16th out of 24, they’ll look to turn things around in the Pro League.

FURIA Esports vs. Movistar Riders

  • When: Wednesday, August 30th – 1:30 PM ET
  • Odds: Furia Esports (-240) vs. Movistar Riders (+180)

Movistar Riders are excited to get to participate in the ESL Pro League after qualifying via the ESL Challenger at DreamHack Melbourne 2023. Movistar Riders put on an absolute clinic there, taking down Bad News Eagles twice, ECSTATIC, and Rare Atom, all without dropping a single map.

FURIA Esports is coming off a rough IEM Cologne that saw them leave early after winning their opening match. They’d fall to Monte and The MongolZ. This is a very winnable match for Movistar Riders, who will enter as the underdogs.

Grayhound vs. GamerLegion

  • When: Wednesday, August 30th – 1:30 PM ET
  • Odds: Grayhound (+375) vs. GamerLegion (-600)

GamerLegion has qualified for the tournament from the global rankings, currently sitting with 724 points, putting them 8th in the international Counter-Strike standings. They will face off against Grayhond, who currently sits 34th overall with only 60 points.

Only time will tell if GamerLegion will be able to live up to their ranking once play begins in the ESL Pro League.