With ESEA Invite Season 13 down to its final two weeks of matches, we take a look at the teams who are still fighting for a spot at the global finals this spring.
In the European ESEA Invite league, Ninjas in Pyjamas have guaranteed themselves a spot at the finals, with VeryGames sitting right behind with a comfortable 10-3 record and favored matchups versus ESC, fnatic and Absolute Legends looming ahead.
ESC Gaming was a favorite to finish third up until disappointing double overtime loss against the recently renovated fm.TOXiC roster, setting themselves up for a close run for the finish line in the final two weeks.
Competing for the last two spots from Europe are ESC, Virtus.pro and n!faculty, who opened up the doors for themselves with a surprise win over VeryGames on de_inferno_se this past week.
fnatic actually have a small backdoor still open as well, but considering they would need to win versus Absolute Legends, VeryGames and Anexis while needing either ESC or n!faculty to end up with just nine wins and have them tie Virtus.pro at 10-6 with a head-to-head tiebreaker in their favor thanks to a cheap forfeit win they took, it's likely not going to be in play.
ESC is likely going to finish the season with a 10-6 record if they lose versus VG and NiP on de_cache, but score wins over Curse and ASES on de_dust2_se, both of which seem like the obvious conclusions.
The Poles have a chance to upset at least VeryGames if they've prepared well for de_cache, and a win could be huge for them. They have the head-to-head tiebreaker over n!faculty, but not against Virtus.pro, whom defeated them in triple overtime on de_train_se.
n!faculty could still finish the season with a 11-5 record if they manage to win three games versus Curse, Absolute Legends and Virtus.pro. You can expect the Germans to beat the former two, but a loss versus Virtus would put them out of the race with a 10-6 record and lost tiebreaker versus both Virtus and ESC.
Virtus.pro are the favorites to clinch third place as they have a 8-5 record right now with three matches versus n!faculty, Anexis and ASES remaining. They have defeated both ESC and n!faculty earlier in the season, so tiebreakers are in their favor.
To sum it up, fnatic has a small chance but it likely won't last long. ESC and Virtus.pro are likely to make playoffs as ESC would only have to defeat Curse and ASES and have Virtus beat n!faculty for that to happen. However, if Virtus.pro loses to n!faculty after wins versus ASES and Anexis, they will advance together with the Germans, leaving ESC back in Europe to spectate the global ESEA finals.
|Secured a playoff berth:||Still in the race:|
|Ninjas in Pyjamas||ESC Gaming|
In North American ESEA Invite the three heavy favorites, Kory "semphis" Friesen's Quantic Gaming (formerly known as Area51 and 4Nothing), Curse and Jordan "n0thing" Gilbert's Team Dynamic, have all but guaranteed themselves spots in the finals.
Fighting for the final spot from North America are Netcode Illuminati, mouseSpaz and High Rollers Gaming, although the latter's chances are slim to none at this point as they are sitting at a 6-6 record and a 5-11 deficit versus Curse.
Netcode Illuminati currently sports a 9-4 record with three games remaining. They still face Curse and TD, so without an upset they will finish the season with at least six losses. They should be able to take down Sour Patch Kids, but 10-6 will not guarantee them a spot.
They have the head-to-head advantage over mouseSpaz thanks to an earlier win, but if they were to draw HRG's record, Matt "Warden" Dickens' team would go to finals over them due to a head-to-head win in week five.
HRG still has games remaining versus mouseSpaz, Curse, Team Dynamic and Quack Pack, and would have to go undefeated in their final two weeks to have a shot at clinching the finals. They started their match against Curse last night but had to stop playing due to server issues. HRG is currently trailing 5-11 after losing the second half pistol round, and are in a tough must-win spot.
The third team in play is Nazar "steno" Vynnytsky's mouseSpaz, who currently boast a 9-5 record with matches remaining versus FrostGaming and HRG. Should mSpaz win their final games, as they are expected to, they will make finals over Netcode Illuminati unless a major upset happens, as NCI would have to defeat TD or Curse.
With Quantic Gaming, Curse and Team Dynamic set to fight it out for the all important seedings, right now mouseSpaz is in the driver's seat to clinch the fourth place at LAN finals, but just one loss and a 10-6 could could have Netcode Illuminati advance over them. HRG has a theoretical chance, but that should be over within a fourteen rounds of play later tonight.
|Secured a playoff berth:||Still in the race:|
|Quantic Gaming||Netcode Illuminati|
|Team Dynamic||High Rollers Gaming|
ESEA finals are yet to be announced, but according to Craig "Torbull" Levine's post on forums, they will most likely take place sometime in April in Dallas, TX, where HLTV.org will also travel to provide you with full on-site coverage of the $36,000 finals.