Fragster | 11. October 2021

ESEA Season 38: Premier Division – Europe Playoffs Preview

The European ESEA Season 38 playoffs are due to commence very soon. Eight teams remain and will fight for a spot in the coveted ESL Pro League, the highest level of league competition there is in CS:GO.


The 8 competing teams are: 

  • AGO
  • Double Poney   
  • Team LDLC
  • Sprout 
  • Team BLINK
  • Wisla Krakow
  • Sangal Esports
  • Anonymo Esports

The teams are arranged in their world-rank number manner; the best at the top.

Prizes and Format

The winner of the tournament will be awarded $20,000 while the runner-up gets $12,000. The third and fourth place teams will earn $6,500 and $4,000. 5th-6th and 7th-8th placed teams will earn $2,500 and $1,250 respectively. 

The Playoffs consist of a double-elimination bracket. All matches will be Bo3 except the Grand Finals, which will be Bo5 with a one-map advantage for the team coming through the upper bracket. 

How Did the Teams Get Here?

The seemingly strongest team, AGO, has the most stable squad, with everyone pitching in almost equally. From the other group, Team BLINK seems to have a strong case since not only is their teamwork strong, but the consistent 1.20+ rating performances from rigoN and juanflatroo cement their place as one of the key favorites. DBL Poney, like AGO, also is a product of consistent and equal teamwork. 

Team BLINK, the winner of Group A won 6 matches and lost 1 en route to being the topper. The solitary loss came to the team just above them in the world rankings: Sprout. After sharing the spoils of the first two maps, the match had gone to Ancient where Sprout obliterated BLINK 16-4. That was a pattern for BLINK, as they were equally humiliated on Vertigo and Overpass. By the end of the Group Stages though, Team BLINK seemed to have fixed their issues so they definitely are a team to look forward to.

AGO, the winner of Group B won 5 matches and lost 2. Wisla Krakow and Movistar Riders were the two that defeated the strongest team in the tournament, out of which Wisla Krakow is in the Playoffs. Their first loss was against Movistar Riders where AGO took a one-map lead but faltered in the next two. There was nothing dramatic about it but there were clearly issues to be fixed. Against Krakow, the affair went back and forth and Krakow came out on top, cementing 

that AGO are not flawless and untouchable. Nevertheless, AGO seem to be the most stable and consistent squad and undoubtedly remains as the frontrunner for the tournament.

What Can We Expect From the Playoffs?

Since the teams are arranged in a world-rank manner, it is fair to assume that the topmost teams are the most likely ones to win the tournament. Since there has been a one-week delay between Group Stages and Playoffs, the margin for error becomes higher, given how teams can improve their weak points and implement ~new strats within a week. 

Based on their Group Stages form, Team BLINK look the most likely to reach the UB Final, given BLINK will face Krakow and Sangal or Anonymo, who are relatively weaker teams.
DBL Poney, LDLC, Sprout, and AGO will all be in a fierce battle in their mini-bracket to reach the UB Final, and it seems that the one who reaches the UB Final from these four has more chance to reach the Grand Final and avail that one-map advantage. 

Given that the Playoff is of a double-elimination type and that the teams had a whole week’s rest for it, it will be interesting to see how the weaker teams fare against the favorites.