ESEA Premier Season 38 Europe group stage comes to an end, playoff bracket set
Eight teams will fight in the playoffs for spots at ESL Pro League and ESL Conference.
ESEA Premier Season 38 Europe, which started on August 18, has come to its first big crux, the end of the group stage, with only eight of the sixteen teams alive in the playoffs. Out of the remainder, two have secured their presence in Premier next season, four are waiting to fight for their lives in relegations and two have already been relegated to ESEA Advanced Season 39.
The top two teams in the playoffs will reap the biggest rewards of the season, especially the champions, who will get to go straight into the coming ESL Pro League season. The runners-up will then have a chance to also make ESL’s flagship league through ESL Conference, a play-in stage for teams around the world to fight for several spots in Pro League.
The top-seeded team in the group stage going into the playoffs from Group A is BLINK, the only team with 18 points, as Rigon "rigoN" Gashi and Flatron "juanflatroo" Halimi were some of the top performers in the league so far, with the former averaging a 1.22 rating in his 13 maps played and the latter hitting 1.17 with six more maps under his belt.
DBL PONEY came in a close second place, losing their final fixture to SAW for a total of 15 points. The French team had two top 8 players in the stats department in Thomas "Djoko" Pavoni (1.19 rating) and Aurélien "afro" Drapier (1.15).
The other two teams securing spots for the playoffs in Group A were Engin "MAJ3R" Küpeli’s Sangal and Sprout. Meanwhile, SAW secured a spot in the next season of Premier, a better fate than that of Enterprise and Apeks, who will go to relegations, and Akuma, whose last-place finish due to map difference in a three-way tie puts them back down in Advanced.
The top seed in Group B went to AGO, who lost only to Movistar Riders and in their closing day derby to Wisla Krakow. LDLC, Anonymo and Wisla Krakow rounded out the playoffs, assuring a plethora of Polish teams will be fighting for promotion in the final stage of the tournament.
On the lower end of Group B are GamerLegion, who secured another season of Premier topping a three-way tie, followed by the relegation bracket teams, the Movistar Riders team trying to hold on to a spot in Premier after their return to an all-Spanish roster and an underwhelming Endpoint, who as a top 30 team could have been expected to be title contenders.
Last in Group B was the world's No.22 team and highest-ranked team at the event, SKADE, who finished at the bottom with just two victories and will be back in Advanced next season.
The group stage standings are:
The Premier playoffs will run on October 12-17, with the first round of matches being played on the 12th at 20:00 . All matches of the double-elimination bracket will be best-of-three series with exception of the grand final, which will be a best-of-five match with a map advantage for the team proceeding from the upper bracket.
The playoff bracket, in top-to-bottom order, is: