12.02.2017
The Season so far
We’re just over halfway through - so with the final three weeks coming up, which teams are looking likely to join us in Leicester?

From name changes, to player changes and upsets galore, the past four weeks have been eventful. At this point, the favourites for going to the finals (Tickets are on sale now) are decided and some teams are already out of the running.

The favourites

With FM eSports and fish123 currently tied at the top of the table, it’s safe to say they’re currently the main favourite teams for heading to Leicester. Both unbeaten on series so far and if their form from the start of the season keeps up then they’ll be competing for the greater share of the £4,500 prize money.

Fish123 staved off their tricky start at the beginning of the season, a 1-1 draw against Impulse Gaming, to start an unbeaten run, as they sit at the league’s top spot on 10 points. FM eSports are equal on 10 points, where they dropped their first map of the season against exceL, only just avoiding a full loss on overtime.

However, both sides are yet to face Endpoint, The Imperial or each other. With a difficult run-in for the sides, as they head up against the stronger forces in the league, will they be able to keep their position at the top of the ESL Premiership secured?

Those next in line

Currently living it up in third, is The Imperial formerly CAZ. Recently moving to a new organisation and finally cementing their roster, this side have been looking strong after losing in the first week, to exceL. A draw last week against Infused swung the door wide open for third place and pegged them back from joining Fish and FM.

exceL are currently sitting in fourth, narrowly behind The Imperial, both on 7 points. The biggest blemish on exceL’s record is the 2-0 loss to fish123 in the second week of play, albeit they were close losses. Their draw against FM last week keeps them in fourth, where their overtime loss kept them from catapulting up to a qualification spot. This leaves them and the other two sides still in the running but needing big wins in the coming weeks.

Endpoint are the final team still in with a decent shout at qualifying. With two losses on the books, a shock to Infused and another coming from exceL, they’re in a weaker position than the others but have boot camped during the past week so could throw up some surprises in their games against top runners Fish, FM and The Imperial.

Those crossing their fingers

The final three teams in the league don’t really have much chance of qualifying, with Royals definitely out of the running for Leicester. The best these sides have to hope for now, unless there’s a huge stroke of luck, is to climb the table to claim the most prize money they can.

Infused sit atop of this pile of three, on four points. The team has only managed a win against Endpoint so far with their other point coming from a draw against The Imperial. After being battered down by the other top sides, their chances of qualification are almost gone. With their final games including both of the teams below them, their main interest will be keeping their 6th place spot.

Impulse Gaming are a team who could’ve done anything this season, as was their unknown status. The draw against UK scene old-timers fish123 in the first week appeared to potentially kickstart a run of form that would surprise us all, but the weeks following changed that. With only the one point from the past four weeks of games, Impulse are strongly out of the running. Their final games are against bottom side Royals, favourites FM eSports and then Infused, so they still hold plenty in their arsenal to affect the higher seedings.

Finally there are Royals UK. A team with much promise, after pre-season and qualifier showings appeared to cement them as the next big force in the UK. Since then though, they’ve not performed to a high level. Even after an extremely close match against FM, taking their second map into a double overtime thriller, they’re holding up the bottom of the league with no points. Royals have a lot of work to do if they’re going to get away from the ignominy of the wooden spoon. With a run-in that should favour them to get some points, can they avoid their place in history as the side who failed to score?

The end of the season is upon us, so remember tune in on Mondays from 7pm to catch the final CS:GO action of the spring season, over on the ESL CS:GO channel.

Michael Moriarty