ESL Announces Opening Matchups For ESL Pro League Season 18

24 Aug 2023
Tit Krajnik 24 Aug 2023
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  • ESL Pro League Season 18 kicks off on August 30
  • The Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament will welcome 32 teams
  • Four eight-team triple-elimination groups 
Counter-Strike (Getty Images)
ESL announced the first pairs of matches for ESL Pro League Season 18, a week before the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is set to kick off. As confirmed, the event will welcome 32 CS:GO teams who will vie for the lion’s share of the $850,000 prize pool and direct invites to IEM Katowice 2024 and BLAST World Final 2023.

ESL Pro League Season 18 is one of the biggest CS:GO esports events of the year and the last ESL Pro League to be played on Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. The tournament will return to Malta, welcoming 32 CS:GO teams and offering a $850,000 prize pool.

ESL Pro League Season 18 will kick off on August 30 with the first matches of the group stage and conclude on October 1, with the grand finals, when we crown the final ESL Pro League CS:GO champions, who will earn a direct invite to IEM Katowice 2024 and BLAST World Final 2023.

Although most of the information about the tournament, including the participating teams, was already confirmed in advance, ESL only recently revealed which squads will clash in the opening round of the group stage.

The 32 participating teams were divided into four triple-elimination groups of eight, with all matches played as best-of-three. The group winners will advance to the quarterfinals, the runners-up advance to the Round of 12, while the third and fourth-placed teams advance to the Round of 16 as high and low seeds, respectively.

Group A

Group A will be headlined by a clash between Astralis and Ninjas in Pyjamas, with the winner of the Nordic clash advancing to face off against either ORKS or Team Vitality. On the other side of the bracket, FURIA will meet with Movistar Riders, while Grayhound will clash with GamerLegion.

  • Team Vitality vs ORKS
  • Astralis vs Ninjas in Pyjamas
  • FURIA vs Movistar Riders
  • Grayhound vs GamerLegion

Group B

Group B will welcome two of the world’s best teams in Heroic and ENCE, who will kick off their journey on the opposite side of the bracket. Heroic will clash with Rooster, whereas ENCE will meet with Evil Geniuses. The other two pairs include a meeting between BIG and Monte, and MOUZ and MiBR.

  • Heroic vs Rooster
  • BIG vs Monte
  • MOUZ vs MiBR
  • Evil Geniuses vs ENCE

Group C

Group C will start on September 13, with FaZe Clan meeting with 9z Team and Imperial Esports clashing with Fnatic. On the other side of the group bracket, Apeks will play M80, the winner of who will face off against the winner of Natus Vincere vs Syclone.

  • FaZe Clan vs 9z Team
  • Imperial Esports vs Fnatic
  • Apeks vs M80
  • Syclone vs Natus Vincere

Group D

Kicking off on September 20, Group D will welcome two tournament favourites in Cloud9 and G2 Esports, who will be joined by other strong candidates to make a deep run, including 9INE,, and Team Liquid. Joining the big names are Eternal Fire, Complexity, and Lynn Vision, who will have a mountain to climb as they look to advance to the next stage of the tournament.

  • Cloud9 vs Eternal Fire
  • Complexity vs 9INE
  • Team Liquid vs
  • Lynn Vision vs G2 Esports

ESL Pro League Season 18 will run from August 30 to October 1 and will mark one of the last Big Events of the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive era before the scene transitions to Counter-Strike 2.