| 7. September 2021

ESL Pro League Season 14 Playoffs Favorites

The Playoffs Stage of ESL Pro League Season 14 is starting today and only 12 of the initial 24 teams are left in the race. The competitive format for this stage is quite brutal: single-elimination, with 8 of the 12 teams starting in the Round of 12 and the remaining 4 teams awaiting their rival in the Quarterfinals.

ESL Pro League Season 14 Playoffs Competitors

The 12 teams that will compete in the Playoffs of ESL Pro League Season 14 are the following:

  • Natus Vincere
  • Heroic
  • OG
  • Gambit Esports
  • forZe
  • ENCE
  • Team Liquid
  • Fnatic
  • Mousesports
  • Ninjas in Pyjamas
  • Complexity
  • Team Vitality

The first 4 of these teams won their groups and wait in the Quarterfinals. The other 8 will need to survive the first round of elimination matches to join them. Apart from the Grand Final (Bo5), every match during the Playoffs of ESL Pro League Season 14 is Bo3. This stage of the tournament is scheduled to take place between September 7th – 12th. So there will be 2 matches per day, except for the day of the Grand Final.


The favorite teams to claim the trophy are, for the most part, the ones that have already proved themselves to be strong during the Group Stage. One exception here is OG, simply because of the unusual circumstances in which they won their group. G2 Esports and were supposed to be the top 2 teams but both of them failed miserably and were eliminated. Because of that, OG’s victories over them are not as valuable or as indicative of their strength as they would have been otherwise.

As for the rest of OG’s triumphs in Group B, they’re just as insignificant. Complexity, forZe, and Sinners are not comparable to the kinds of opponents that OG will have to face in the Playoffs. Beating a competitor who’s ranked 20 does not mean anything against the likes of Ninjas in Pyjamas and mousesports.

The same goes for Heroic. Sure, the team had an amazing run in Group A, but just look at its opponents: Vitality, ENCE, Astralis, Spirit, and Bears. Given that Astralis competed with its new player Lucky, the only strong team in Group A, apart from Heroic, was Vitality. So it’s clear that the Danish squad is not as invincible as it looks.

These are the top 3 favorites to win ESL Pro League Season 14:

Natus Vincere

Na’Vi lost just one match in the groups, against BIG. Apart from that defeat, which was most likely a fluke, s1mple’s roster crushed everyone without losing a single map. And we’re talking about serious teams like FaZe Clan, mousesports, and Fnatic.

Given Na’Vi’s performance at the recent IEM Cologne, where it won the title, there are very few teams in this tournament that could defeat it. Among them, Gambit seems to have the highest chances.

Gambit Esports

Gambit did poorly at IEM Cologne, losing the number one spot in Group A after a defeat in the Upper Bracket Round 3 against G2 Esports. As a result of this loss, sh1ro and his team had to start the Playoffs in the Quarterfinals, where he encountered a very determined FaZe Clan. The match ended with a victory for olofmeister’s squad. This gave Na’Vi an easy way to the Grand Final and eventually the title. But it also means that s1mple hasn’t faced his nemesis yet.

At ESL Pro League Season 14, Gambit is very likely to reach the Grand Final. It isn’t entirely clear who they might encounter there, but Na’Vi is the most likely option.

Team Liquid

Liquid may not show as a favorite on the analysts’ radar, but Stewie2K and his team looked really good in the Group Stage, finishing with 4 wins and just 1 loss. The defeat was suffered against Gambit but the match was extremely close. If Liquid plays the same in the Playoffs, it has a real chance of winning the tournament.


Photo credit: IEM|Bart-Oerbekke