ESL Pro League S17 groups and opening matchups set
In less than a month's time 32 teams will converge in Malta to fight in the new-look ESL Pro League Season 17.
ESL has announced the group distribution and opening matchups for the upcoming 17th season of ESL Pro League, which is set to be played over five weeks from February 22 to March 26.
EPL recently underwent an expansion from 24 to 32 teams as well as a change in format. This change will see the participating teams play in four groups of eight featuring a triple elimination format. The top four teams advance to varying stages of the playoffs — first-placed to the quarter-finals, second-placed to the second round, and third-fourth-placed to the first round of the knockout bracket.
Group A is headlined by IEM Rio Major and BLAST Premier World Final winners, Outsiders and G2, who will be accompanied by another top-10 team in Cloud9 and a variety of top 30 teams from all over the world — fnatic, MIBR, Evil Geniuses, Eternal Fire, and IHC.
In Group B, Heroic are the top seed following their runners-up finish in Rio and title-winning campaign at the BLAST Premier Fall Final, and will be joined by MOUZ and FURIA as the headliners. BIG, Complexity, Imperial, SAW, and Movistar Riders round out the second group.
Four international teams feature in Group C — FaZe, Vitality, Ninjas in Pyjamas, and OG — along with two Brazilian representatives in 00NATION and paiN and two Australian teams, Grayhound and Rooster.
Liquid are currently the highest-ranked team of Group D, and will be joined by Natus Vincere, ENCE, Spirit, Astralis, ATK, FORZE, and Rare Atom.
Outsiders vs. IHC
MIBR vs. fnatic
Cloud9 vs. Evil Geniuses
G2 vs. Eternal Fire
Heroic vs. Movistar Riders
BIG vs. Complexity
Imperial vs. FURIA
SAW vs. MOUZ
FaZe vs. Rooster
paiN vs. Ninjas in Pyjamas
OG vs. 00NATION
Vitality vs. Grayhound
Liquid vs. Rare Atom
ATK vs. ENCE
Spirit vs. Astralis
Natus Vincere vs. FORZE