The excitement of esports continues as the highly anticipated ESL Pro League Season 17 kicks off on February 22nd. This prestigious event will see 32 of the best CS: GO teams from around the world compete for a massive $850,000 prize pool and a chance to qualify for the coveted IEM Cologne and BLAST World Final events.
While the road to victory won’t be easy, with teams looking to improve on their performances at the recent IEM Katowice, the tournament promises to be full of surprises and thrilling moments. Even if you can’t make it to Poland, thanks to platforms like the GGBET app, you can follow the action and cheer on your favorite team from anytime and anywhere.
And if you are following the competitive stage of Valve’s shooter, here are some reasons why you won’t want to miss EPL Season 17.
It Features All-New Format
Firstly, the upcoming contest is introducing a fresh and innovative format that aims to increase the tournament’s global representation and emphasize the importance of every match. Here are some of the exciting changes that await participants and viewers:
Revamped Group Stage
Starting with EPL Season 17, there will be an increased number of teams that includes 32 teams, as opposed to the previous 24. They will be divided into four groups of eight and compete in a triple-elimination format with a double-elimination Group stage and a last-chance bracket. The top four teams from each group will then advance to a single-elimination Playoff bracket.
End of Conference Stage
With the expansion of the Group stage, the seventeenth edition of the event also marks the final time of the Conference Stage. The latter was held online on the week of Jan. 16, with 11 teams qualifying for the Group phase in February. Starting from Season 18, the team allocation will comprise the 15 permanent partnered organizations.
Changes to Team Allocation
As the Conference stage will be discontinued from the 18th edition onwards, ESL Pro League Season 17 will have a unique team allocation system that differs from future seasons:
- Permanent Partners (15 spots)
- ESL World Ranking (3 spots)
- ESL Challenger (3 spots)
- Conference Stage (11 spots)
FaZe Can Win Intel Grand Slam S4
Another great reason to watch ESL Pro League S17 is that FaZe could potentially win Intel Grand Slam Season 4. After winning last year’s edition of IEM Katowice, FaZe went on to win both IEM Cologne 2022 and EPL Season 15, leaving them just one victory away from claiming the coveted IGS title and the $1,000,000 prize that comes with it.
Although they suffered a defeat to Liquid in the LB Final of Group A at IEM Katowice 2024, FaZe started the year off strong by topping Group B at BLAST Premier: Spring Groups 2024 with a substitute, losing only one map in the three series they played.
With their previous success and a capable roster, there’s a strong possibility that FaZe could win the EPL S17 trophy and become the fourth team to win the Intel Grand Slam. While they were unable to clinch the title at the previous event in Poland, it would be a fitting conclusion for them to win it in Malta. That said, only time will tell if they can accomplish this feat.
NaVi Can End Its Lose Streak
Apart from FaZe, Natus Vincere is another squad that could attract attention at the Maltese tournament. The Ukrainian squad has been in a slump, struggling to secure a single title since the BLAST Premier: Spring Final in June 2022.
Despite their poor form, there are signs that they can turn things around and regain their former glory. However, s1mple’s recent explosive interview following NaVi’s loss to Heroic in IEM Katowice raised concerns about the team’s mentality.
Nevertheless, supporters and participants should view NaVi as an evolving entity, capable of bouncing back if they focus on player upgrades. With the seventeenth season of EPL fast approaching, NaVi must move on quickly and focus on the upcoming tournament. It remains to be seen how far they can go and whether they can end their losing streak and return to their former dominance in the CS:GO scene.