Four key storylines of Pro League playoffs

Striker
December 7th, 2017 20:06

The ESL Pro League Season 6 Finals playoffs are set to begin on Friday with two quarter-finals, followed by the semi-finals and the best-of-five grand final over the weekend. Here are four of the biggest storylines going into the knockout rounds of the $750,000 tournament.

The group stage of the Danish event featured plenty of surprises. Astralis and Liquid suffered tough losses in Group A, which paved the way for the new HellRaisers and fnatic to go through, while Group B saw Misfits and OpTic succeed over North and NiP.

The groups were full of surprises

The scene is set for the playoffs to begin on Friday, with fnatic and OpTic squaring off in the first quarter-final, followed by Misfits versus HellRaisers, while FaZe and SK are lying in wait in the semi-finals (scheduled for Saturday).

Here are our four key storylines connected to the playoffs:

The young guns are looking to prove themselves on the big stage

HellRaisers' success in ESL Pro League groups comes as a surprise due to many factors, first and foremost because of how good the team's youngsters, Özgür "woxic" Eker and Issa "ISSAA" Murad, are playing at their first big international event. 

The Turkish and the Jordanian have been doing incredibly well in Odense, boasting 1.18 and 1.17 ratings throughout the group stage, respectively. Now, they are looking to take the big stage for the first time, hoping they won't crumble under the pressure.

Under the leadership of Kirill "ANGE1" Karasiow, who has also been a big factor in HellRaisers's success so far with great numbers in the opening kills and damage departments, the young guns should be fancying their chances of making the semi-finals at ESL Pro League.

woxic and ISSAA have so far been impressive at their first big tournament

fnatic translate online success

For months fnatic have been garnering online successes, mainly in the European divisions of ESL Pro League and ECS, earning first-place finishes and spots at the offline finals. 

After a two-month hiatus from big LANs, they have finally translated some of those results to an offline environment, most notably defeating Astralis (albeit with a stand-in) and FaZe in the groups to clinch a quarter-final spot in Odense.

The Swedish side are set to face OpTic in the playoffs in a multi-map setting, and fnatic's map pool will undergo its first real test in a while. If they pass this test, the challenge will only get harder, with FaZe waiting in the next round.

karrigan and Magisk, the only players left to represent Denmark

Despite being considered the best Counter-Strike country at one point, Denmark has struggled to make a lasting imprint on the international scene in the new tournament season. At the Pro League Finals, Astralis and North disappointed their fans, failing to make it out of the group stage and missing out on a chance to play in front of a home crowd in the country's third-largest city.

Magisk and karrigan are the only Danish players left in the competition

Of the 12 players who comprised the Danish talent pool at the start of the Pro League Finals, only two remain: OpTic's Emil "Magisk" Reif and FaZe's Finn "karrigan" Andersen. We can expect the crowd to get behind the veteran in-game leader, who has been known to engage with the crowd whenever possible, and OpTic come in as a solid second choice as none of the remaining teams in contention have particularly big fanbases outside of their countries.

The scene is set for an SK-FaZe grand final

With SK and FaZe both placing first in their respective groups and making it directly to the semi-finals, in which they will face favorable match-ups, regardless of what happens in the earlier stage, the scene is set for the first grand final between the two lineups. FaZe and SK have been trading the No.1 position for weeks now; it's time to settle this, once and for all all.

The only time the two have met before in a series was in the group stage at EPICENTER. The Brazilian side grabbed the win, although it was clear that FaZe were not at their best at that point, with Olof "olofmeister" Kajbjer in poor shape and Håvard "rain" Nygaard having come down with an illness.

FaZe and SK have been trading the No.1 position for two months

This time, there will be no excuses. Despite hitting a few bumps in the group stage, FaZe's players are all in good form, as are SK's, who flew past their opponents in the round robin — aside from OpTic.

Given karrigan's history against Gabriel "FalleN" Toledo's teams, it's hard not to consider SK the favorite, although a best-of-five scenario will make the Brazilians' clear advantage on Overpass less of a factor than if the series were a best-of-three. Both teams have gaps in their map pool; SK's Inferno and Mirage have been shaky, while FaZe especially struggle with Train. Simply put: if we do get the ideal grand final, we're in for a treat.

Brazil Gabriel 'FalleN' Toledo
Gabriel 'FalleN' Toledo
Age:
26
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.10
Maps played:
732
KPR:
0.72
DPR:
0.59
APR:
0.11
Denmark Emil 'Magisk' Reif
Emil 'Magisk' Reif
Age:
19
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.12
Maps played:
589
KPR:
0.75
DPR:
0.64
APR:
0.14
Denmark Finn 'karrigan' Andersen
Finn 'karrigan' Andersen
Age:
27
Team:
Rating 1.0:
0.95
Maps played:
1112
KPR:
0.65
DPR:
0.68
APR:
0.14
Jordan Issa 'ISSAA' Murad
Issa 'ISSAA' Murad
Age:
20
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.10
Maps played:
199
KPR:
0.77
DPR:
0.68
APR:
0.13
Ukraine Kirill 'ANGE1' Karasiow
Kirill 'ANGE1' Karasiow
Age:
28
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.03
Maps played:
1274
KPR:
0.72
DPR:
0.71
APR:
0.17
Sweden Olof 'olofmeister' Kajbjer
Olof 'olofmeister' Kajbjer
Age:
25
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.11
Maps played:
1000
KPR:
0.76
DPR:
0.65
APR:
0.14
Norway Håvard 'rain' Nygaard
Håvard 'rain' Nygaard
Age:
23
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.08
Maps played:
750
KPR:
0.75
DPR:
0.69
APR:
0.15
Turkey Özgür 'woxic' Eker
Özgür 'woxic' Eker
Age:
19
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.11
Maps played:
351
KPR:
0.74
DPR:
0.62
APR:
0.11
#1
kebab | 
Canada sukuful 
first?
2017-12-07 20:07
#4
 | 
Finland Jamps666 
Congratulations
2017-12-07 20:07
#6
kebab | 
Canada sukuful 
ty
2017-12-07 20:08
"with Olof "olofmeister" Kajbjer in poor shape" = REKT ?
2017-12-07 20:22
#34
 | 
United States K1ller7n19 
What?
2017-12-07 20:40
#58
rain | 
Russia mitiss 
what is RD?
2017-12-07 22:01
#62
 | 
United States K1ller7n19 
RD?
2017-12-07 22:32
#64
rain | 
Russia mitiss 
yes, on the results table
2017-12-07 22:37
#74
 | 
Other mikecool 
RD = Round difference
2017-12-07 23:55
They're talking about EPICENTER where Olof struggled massively
2017-12-07 22:45
AKA got buttfked
2017-12-07 23:09
Finally you did it boy! Gz!
2017-12-07 20:09
#76
 | 
Canada Chizten 
inb4 misfits vs optic
2017-12-08 00:34
#82
Nodios | 
Liechtenstein diosf 
nice
2017-12-08 02:46
#2
 | 
United States Droidd 
K
2017-12-07 20:07
#55
 | 
Syria feetbanana 
another one?
2017-12-07 21:40
#73
 | 
United States Droidd 
K
2017-12-07 23:54
#3
 | 
Poland MrLegionista 
lets go Misfits
2017-12-07 20:07
#5
 | 
Georgia jAn0xy 
SkvsFaze Finals
2017-12-07 20:08
#7
 | 
Romania LoganS1 
ez faze
2017-12-07 20:08
faze has never won sk
2017-12-07 20:08
#63
 | 
United States K1ller7n19 
Bo3 or bo1 or both?
2017-12-07 22:33
bo3
2017-12-07 23:20
#9
s1mple | 
Bulgaria N0B1riuM 
Ez SEAN
2017-12-07 20:09
#10
 | 
Russia DiFendo 
nice picture about battle of two superpowers
2017-12-07 20:09
#61
 | 
United States justkapf 
faze pomoika, zeleniy malec
2017-12-07 22:28
#85
 | 
Russia DiFendo 
Chivo?
2017-12-08 09:46
once and for all all
2017-12-07 20:10
that second "all" really drives the point home Kappa
2017-12-08 02:06
#13
 | 
Hungary stretchelold 
ez HR
2017-12-07 20:11
#14
 | 
Brazil kitcha17 
sk 3-1 faze in finals
2017-12-07 20:11
#17
 | 
Brazil spieker 
+1
2017-12-07 20:16
SK will beat FaZe again at the finals
2017-12-07 20:13
#16
 | 
France StickyRice 
No words about GODS Misfits :( Time to upset against HellRaisers for HLTV to finally mention them :)
2017-12-07 20:14
Totally agree with you, I was expecting at least one word about misfits
2017-12-07 20:18
#20
 | 
France StickyRice 
It's either "lack of respect" from HLTV towards Misfits or they basically consider that Misfits getting to top 6 of ESL Pro League finals is just normal and not worth talking about, which i doubt :D :(
2017-12-07 20:19
#21
Twistzz | 
World zooter 
i’m very confused why they are not mentioned :/
2017-12-07 20:20
#28
 | 
France StickyRice 
They didn't go in depth for every team but not mentioning Misfits for a relatively unexpected performance (even though Misfits was improving (a lot) lately) is a bit ridiculous indeed
2017-12-07 20:24
#47
 | 
Serbia banzae 
ez for my boi devoduvek
2017-12-07 21:21
lets show this faze noob who is the BOSS! #RUNSKG
2017-12-07 20:16
#51
 | 
Finland ingg 
No.
2017-12-07 21:31
#22
BnTeT | 
United States EdgyBlob 
fnatic vs hr final make it happen
2017-12-07 20:20
#23
 | 
Poland raaVz 
nice
2017-12-07 20:20
#24
 | 
Turkey Thunderball 
lets go HR #trustTheProcess
2017-12-07 20:22
EZ for misfits
2017-12-07 20:22
I like this new article idea More of these please
2017-12-07 20:23
fnatic vs hr final HYPE
2017-12-07 20:26
FaZe 3 - 1 SK
2017-12-07 20:31
Could be happening as long as OpTic beats fnatic.
2017-12-07 20:41
OpTic would definitely be a much easier opponent for FaZe seeing how they have struggled against fnatic but I think (hope) they'll overcome their struggles against both fnatic and SK in the playoffs OpTic - fnatic should be a great game
2017-12-07 20:51
#88
 | 
Sweden werkaster 
True. If Fnatic can beat Optic (won't be easy as these version of Fnatic plays worse against worse teams), FaZe has pretty much lost already, as they can't beat Fnatic for some reason. Don't know about great game, should be an easy one for Fnatic, but maybe FaZe can give us something. I'm so scared about the Optic game, though, I can't watch it. I will read the result after the game and watch it if we won.
2017-12-08 11:09
#31
 | 
United States LACEicK20 
sooo... Playoffs: Group A = EU teams v. Group B = NA teams Semi-Final: SK v. HR | Faze v. Optic Final: SK v. Faze It'll be "NA" v. EU every round!
2017-12-07 20:33
#48
 | 
Canada kawoh 
I love how you seriously skip the quarterfinals man it's not even done yet
2017-12-07 21:22
More like Brazil vs World, since Faze is a mix of the very best from different parts of the planet.
2017-12-07 21:22
I disagree, SK does have an enormous fanbase outside of their country and NA, they play the greatest CS to watch in modern day cs and their players are really likeable and fun, thats why they have this huge outside fanbase. (and im not talking about internet trolls on the net, or even online fan presence)
2017-12-07 20:34
#33
TACO | 
Brazil torm3ntin 
ON THE GEAR BOISSSSSSSSSS
2017-12-07 20:40
All I need is a Fnatic vs Misfits Final.
2017-12-07 20:43
twitter.com/k0nfigCS/status/938004314836.. Gets his worst event-rating and lowest K-D/match in his whole career ( including v1 ratings ). LUL
2017-12-07 20:44
#38
rain | 
Russia mitiss 
what is RD?
2017-12-07 20:46
#40
 | 
Brazil hugoooo 
Interesting... not a single word on how LG was able to compete and get respectable scores on lan for the first time ever. Something crazy is that, their match vs fnatic was close, it ended 16-13, but, if LG had won that, they would've advanced instead of fnatic (8 points vs 7)! Considering they were leading 12-9, it was really possible.
2017-12-07 20:52
#42
 | 
France t3r4byt3 
Title: Four key storylines of Pro League >>PLAYOFFS<< LG didnt make playoffs
2017-12-07 21:01
#44
 | 
Brazil hugoooo 
Yeah, but besides LG and NRG, every other team was mentioned, being on playoffs or not.
2017-12-07 21:03
Neither team is interesting They played ok but overshadowed by misfits and optic and HR going way over expectations.
2017-12-07 21:11
wow just wow
2017-12-07 22:56
#41
 | 
United States pieceofpi 
Nothing on how Misfits took down 2 group favorites to reach their first premier event playoffs? Smh
2017-12-07 21:01
#43
 | 
CIS eddie42 
Nice article, thanks.
2017-12-07 21:01
LOL WTF,Fucking casters and thorin all acting like the final will 100% be faze sk,i Mean it seems pretty obvious for sk since they have a ez bracket but i really hope FNATIC will upset faze (cuz i dont think optic can) to make them stfu,its so annoying how unprofessional theyre acting
2017-12-07 21:11
#52
 | 
Canada kawoh 
maybe because it's the most predictable thing to happen? Of course it's not professional. But isn't their job about giving their knowledge to analyze teams and attempting to predict a winning team? I mean, thinking about it, OpTic-FNC is balanced as both teams made great playoffs. But none of these two teams is "on-the-paper" able to beat FaZe, plus on a Bo3. It's a little bit more unsure about SK, but they're still top1. They can make it on finals. Whoever passes in Semis, can't statistically pull off a great upset against SK. Heroic did it, of course, but it was a different context, as they were out at Mykonos and ESL NY in semifinals twice, they were on a short slump. Now, as they won EPICENTER & BLAST + got runner-up at Oakland, it's different. They're on an amazing form. So that's what's more likely to happen.
2017-12-07 21:31
Not trying to nag you, but people will look at this afterwards so... probably should change the 'runner-up' at Oakland part as SK went out in 3rd-4th.
2017-12-08 01:59
#90
 | 
Canada kawoh 
Oh yeah, right, my bad. XD forgot that, thought it was NiP-SK in the finals.
2017-12-08 11:32
#50
jks | 
Germany wh1teey 
I miss Astralis </3
2017-12-07 21:23
#53
 | 
Brazil BuddyINSANE 
Thanks HLTV, we appreciate that! We smart, we loyal, we friendly, we are from BRAZIL! Kreygasm
2017-12-07 21:37
#54
 | 
United States TeDiouSn 
surprise optic v misfits final
2017-12-07 21:39
#56
 | 
United States ItsImpact 
Did they really say FaZe struggle with train. They are pretty good on train they should’ve said bad on cobble
2017-12-07 21:48
GRAND FINAL FNATIC 3 - MISFITS 2 Mirage F Train F Overpass M Cbble M Inferno F
2017-12-07 21:48
#59
 | 
Pakistan d1ckweed 
Fun fact about FaZe vs SK, if it happens: FaZe usually ban Nuke in BO5s and sometimes BO3s, allowing their opponents to capitalize by picking Cobblestone. However, this time FaZe can let the Nuke ban slide and take away Cobblestone, because SK never play Nuke themselves and if both sides played each other on Nuke, FaZe would win. So final maps: Mirage Inferno Train Cache Overpass I believe FaZe takes the series with that map pool all day long.
2017-12-07 22:06
#60
 | 
Germany unsalted 
"Storylines" eSports now owned by WWE
2017-12-07 22:17
Nothing about Misfits 0/10
2017-12-07 22:42
#67
coldzera | 
Brazil Luska 
gogo SK, come on guys, vqv ! NTC ! pra fechar o ano com chave de ouro ! <3
2017-12-07 22:47
misfits?
2017-12-07 22:50
"This time, there will be no excuses." Sorry mate, this won't ever be possible. Either SK or Faze losing, the fanboys will make a lot of excuses.
2017-12-07 23:26
Sure, but last time was a bit stupid, was it not? I was really hyped to see the SK vs FaZe match, then I saw rain being sick at the end of the Gambit match and I knew already that they were going to lose. There was no way to beat a team like SK without their key player, that's just not possible. I'm hyped as fuck for a BO5 FaZe vs SK final on even playing grounds, if it goes to map 5 could easily be the best final of all time.
2017-12-08 02:00
I hoipe for a SK vs. Faze final, but I really think that fnatic will win Faze.
2017-12-08 02:17
I feeling that fnatic will surprise everyone and make it to the final
2017-12-08 00:26
I think a good story line of this event is how Friberg and Magisk both made the playoffs while their former teams both failed miserably. I'm happy for them. I always love seeing a player who gets cut and seemingly downgraded to a lesser team end up having more success.
2017-12-08 02:11
Gogo HR! To the semifinals at least.
2017-12-08 06:13
Didn't expect HellRaisers to go far in this tournament. They've surprised me and many other people for sure. I'm actually happy for ISSAA and w0xic.
2017-12-08 06:14
#86
 | 
Sweden TDK Em1L 
last part kinda pointless when it will be Senor VAC that takes down what he created in the final.
2017-12-08 10:26
SK #1
2017-12-08 10:50
#89
 | 
Turkey anymor3 
Lets go HR! Big talent w0xic coming strongly.
2017-12-08 11:18
#91
World berd 
Don't forget, nip beat faze in a bo5.
2017-12-08 13:26
#92
 | 
United States DovtheGOAT 
ez for misfits or optic
2017-12-08 15:12
+1
2017-12-09 10:54
#94
rain | 
Netherlands RainIQ 
another one?
2017-12-10 11:40
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