After a long season, the dust has finally settled on the North American ESL Pro League, with the top six teams settled in for an exciting final week of play. With some teams punching its tickets to the next round just this week, here's how Week 10 went down.
In a match of vital importance for both Counter Logic Gaming and OpTic Gaming on Tuesday, OpTic managed to come out on top with a 2-0 victory. Game 1 on Mirage was an intense one, with both sides trading round wins back-and-forth throughout the match. OpTic forced overtime with a big second half performance, however, thanks in large part to AWPer Oscar "mixwell" Canellas. Leading the way with a 31/18 KD (kills/deaths), mixwell helped OpTic take four straight rounds in overtime to emerge with a 19-15 win in Game 1. Game 2 on Cobblestone wasn't quite as intense, despite a strong start from CLG. OpTic struggled to slow down CLG, who pushed ahead on the T-side to a 9-6 halftime lead. The tables turned, however, in the second half, where Keith "NAF" Markovic popped off as OpTic took 10 rounds in the second half. NAF posted a KD of 30/11 as OpTic left CLG in the dust, taking a vital 2-0 sweep over its rivals in the standings with the Game 2 win.
In a battle of teams that have already secured spots in the next round, Cloud9 took on Team Liquid on Wednesday. Liquid dominated Game 1 on Train, beginning with an ace in the first pistol round from Jonathan "EliGE" Jablonowski as part of an outstanding performance from Liquid. EliGE went on to lead Liquid to a 10-5 halftime lead, en route to a KD of 19/9 and 103.2 ADR (average damage per round) before Liquid closed out a dominating 16-5 win. Game 2 was a much closer affair, but Liquid still controlled things throughout the match, including a dominant 10-5 first half thanks to an ace from Nick "nitr0" Cannella. While nitr0 finished with a 28/15 KD, C9 did its best to fight back, but was ultimately unable to stop Liquid from taking the 2-0 series win, thus giving Liquid the second seed.
Most of the games this week didn't actually matter for much, as the standings have remained the same at the top for quite some time. Brazil's SK Gaming didn't exactly inspire confidence with a 0-2 loss to CLG on Thursday, but remains at the top with an 18-6 record. Closely behind SK comes Team Liquid, with Immortals settling in third. Cloud9 takes up fourth place with a record of 15-9, tied with fifth place NRG Esports, who split a 1-1 series against Cloud9 on Thursday. Staying ahead of a ravenous pack, OpTic Gaming take the sixth seed over a host of other teams, including Luminosity Gaming, Counter Logic Gaming, and Renegades. The rest of the pack fall short of the lofty top six, and thus their campaigns come to respective ends.
The Season 5 finals begin on May 31 in the Verizon Theatre in Dallas, Texas, where the six playoff teams compete for their share of the $750,000 prize pool.