Americas head to Pro League after Jönköping
ESL Pro League Season 16 Conference has drawn to a close, with just MIBR from the Americas managing to book a spot in the Group Stage of the main event. Despite this, it's also important to dive in and look at how the region did as a whole in an event full of solid teams.
Of the three teams from the Americas at the event, all eyes were on MIBR to perform well and secure even more representation for the New World at ESL Pro League Season 16. Expectations were even greater given MIBR's decision to cut Adriano "WOOD7" Cerato after their 9th-11th place finish in the Challengers Stage of the PGL Antwerp Major, with a poor showing here doing little to help justify the move.
Thankfully, the Brazilians didn't disappoint, with a quick 2-0 victory over cowana helping to show why MIBR were often touted as one of the favorites heading into the event. From here, Jhonatan "JOTA" Willian's men went up against the Chinese side, TYLOO, with a chance to qualify for the next season of ESL Pro League on the line. After snatching TYLOO's pick of Mirage, the two teams then paid a visit to Dust2 where the Brazilians almost took their eye off the ball, only barely denying a Chinese comeback attempt on their way to a 2-0 win.
With two for two, MIBR became one of the first sides to book their spot in ESL Pro League Season 16 where they will join their compatriots in FURIA. This placement will also help the team build upon their steady progression in the world rankings, where they've risen from 54th to 20th in just under six months.
Gustavo "SHOOWTIME" Gonçalves' HUMMER squad booked their spot in the event through the South American open qualifier back in May and, after a period of organizational rebranding, the squad were ready to leave their mark during their time overseas.
HUMMER initially got off on the right foot at the event, taking down Sprout in a hard-fought, three-map affair to set up a qualifying matchup versus Eternal Fire. Despite their opening success versus their European foes, Eternal Fire proved to be too difficult to overcome with the Brazilians being dispatched of in two straight maps. With their backs against the wall, SHOOWTIME and company squared off against HEET in an elimination match. While their efforts were valiant, HUMMER couldn't find it in them to go toe-to-toe with the French lineup, eventually being sent home after two close maps.
HUMMER's time in Sweden was impressive, posting respectable performances against teams far better on paper. Whilst many had written them off when compared to the caliber of their foes, they still performed well, giving the likes of HEET and Eternal Fire bloody noses in the process.
The sole North American roster in attendance at ESL Pro League Season 16 Conference was Strife, with the side only receiving an invite to the event due to a number of circumstances leaving other squads unable to compete themselves.
Strife's opening game saw the quintet face off against TYLOO in a game that was always going to be difficult for Bobby "stamina" Eitrem's boys. While Strife did manage to reach double digits in both maps, this would amount to just a consolation prize for the North Americans, eventually falling to the Chinese roster to be just one game away from elimination. Sadly, Strife couldn't get the ball rolling in said match versus cowana, again falling 2-0 which saw the North American side being sent home in 13th-16th place.
Although their time in Jönköping was undoubtedly short, Strife will be hoping to take home some valuable experience which they can use once back in the US. In addition, in the four maps played in the event, Strife managed to hold their own and prove to be a difficult opponent for their foes which is more than can be said for other teams who have more experience in international events.
The final standings for ESL Pro League Season 16 Conference are:
1-4. Outsiders - (ESL Pro League Season 16)
1-4. Eternal Fire - (ESL Pro League Season 16)
1-4. MIBR - (ESL Pro League Season 16)
1-4. Endpoint - (ESL Pro League Season 16)
5-6. FTW - (ESL Pro League Season 16)
5-6. HEET - (ESL Pro League Season 16)
7-8. Illuminar - $4,500
7-8. Falcons - $4,500
9-12. ORDER - $3,000
9-12. HUMMER - $3,000
9-12. cowana - $3,000
9-12. TYLOO $3,000
13-16. Sprout - $1,500
13-16. Vertex - $1,500
13-16. Strife - $1,500
13-16. Encore - $1,500
MIBR has plenty of time to prepare for ESL Pro League Season 16, with the event set to run from August 31st-October 2nd.