We are heading towards the fourth event that is part of the Intel Grand Slam Season 2. EPL Season 9 Finals is around the corner and we will present you our teams to watch at a sixth biggest event this year.
Schedule and format
EPL Season 9 Finals is kicking off on June 18th and will last for six days. It’s going to take place in Montpelier, France. The Group Stage will be held in The Exhibition Centre. The rest of the event, Play-offs matches, will be featured in Sud de France Arena.
Sixteen teams are going to start off in two GSL Groups. Opening matches are Best-of-1 and they will begin at 12:00 CEST. All the following matches are Best-of-3 excluding the Grand Final which is Best-of-5.
We will get the names of Play-off participants on June 20th when all games in Group Stage should be over. Afterward, winners of groups will proceed directly to Semi-final, whereas the second and third teams in the group are going to play Quarter-finals. The first Quarter-final game is going to be played on June 21st with the beginning at 15:00 CEST. The last day of the tournament is all about the Grand Final which is going to kick off at 16:00 CEST.
Intel Grand Slam race
Although the prize pool of EPL is “only” $600,000 US, there is much more money on the line. Considering that ESL Pro League is part of Intel Grand Slam series, a team who win this title will be one step closer to claiming $1,000,000 Intel Grand Slam prize. There are eight different events, and the first team who clinches four titles from this series will win the prize.
At the moment, Team Liquid leads with 2 titles (IEM XIV Sydney, DreamHack Masters Dallas). Astralis is on their heels with one title (IEM Katowice). Anyway, Team Liquid has a chance to win the third title and leave Astralis far behind. On the other side, the Danish squad has an opportunity to equalize standings and heat up IGS race. Besides this big and prestigious prize, there are many other things that are going to motivate both Astralis and Liquid to give their best. This is the first big event since Major that both teams will attend. Also, this can be the first big event since EPL Season 8 last year where both teams will eventually meet each other.
On top of that, there is a huge battle for the number one spot in HLTV rankings. This tournament can help both teams to climb on top of the table. With all being said, the most anticipated duel is undoubtedly eventual meeting between Team Liquid and Astralis. Hence, they are one of our teams to watch at the following event.
Teams to watch
Danes have been struggling for a while to find their best form. They hoped that ECS could be a tournament where they would dominate again. However, FURIA didn’t allow Astralis to even reach Play-off. It was quite a disappointing turn of events for gla1ve and co. The same thing happened at BLAST Pro Series in Madrid where Astralis lost two matches to ENCE. Therefore, we will see if one of the best CS:GO teams ever lost their momentum or just didn’t manage to prepare properly for their opponents. Anyhow, if they want to get back to the top, they just have to perform well at EPL Season 9 Finals.
(source: Astralis’ Twitter account)
Since FaZe signed NEO, they played only one LAN event (DH Masters Dallas) and reached the late stage (Semi-Final). They lost to ENCE, but their overall performance was relatively satisfying. Also, in Group Stage, FaZe was very close to beating Team Liquid but unfortunately lost in Overtime on the first map. Therefore, it seems like NEO is a big improvement for FaZe squad as they got an experienced In-Game Leader. It was an issue for them for a long time. Thus, it will be interesting to see how far they can go at EPL Season 9 Finals.
North is another team that has made roster changes recently. After failing to qualify for Katowice Major and struggling at other events, North decided to sign JUGi. Since then, their results slightly improved, and they played Semi-finals of ECS Season 7. Hence, North fans are looking forward to the following event hoping that North can repeat some results from the last year when they were a very competitive team.
Although 2019 was very good for NRG so far, the North American team decided to finally replace their captain, daps, and signed stanislaw. As they haven’t played LAN tournament yet, it’s going to be interesting to see if there will be any changes in NRG’s approach to the game. In CS:GO, new In-Game Leader often means different strategies. Therefore, EPL Season 9 Finals will be the best possible place for NRG’s new roster to test their strategies and hopefully upset some big names with help of element of surprise.