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The ESL Pro League’s Season 13 playoffs will start April 2.

In the group stages of the ESL Pro League, Fnatic, Vitality and BIG had all failed to make it to the playoffs. Meanwhile, Gambit continued to dominate after winning IEM Katowice. Here are some keys to keep an eye out for in the ESL Pro League playoffs.

Virtus.pro’s playstyle

In their Berlin Major run, Avangar played passive Counter-Strike and excelled at it. They mainly played off of star AWPer Dzhami “Jame” Ali, who held the team steady. Since then, the team has changed organizations and brought in Mareks “Yekindar” Gaļinskis, a hyper-aggressive player. While playing passive may work for them, teams such as Liquid will dominate if they’re given space. This happened in their latest match against Virtus.pro. Fans will be interested to see whether Virtus.pro stick to their passive playstyle or use Yekindar and Alexey “qikert” Golubev to play a more fast-paced terrorist side.

ENCE’s upset potential

ENCE were part of group B. With strong teams such as Vitality, FaZe Clan and G2 Esports in the group, many expected that ENCE wouldn’t qualify for playoffs. However, ENCE surprised with their wins over Vitality and G2, with ex-c0ntact player Lotan “Spinx” Giladi leading the charge. If ENCE perform the same way as they do in groups, they will be a strong team with high upset potential.

Natus Vincere’s fifth man

Valerii “B1T” Vakhovskyi was originally brought in as a sixth man for Natus Vincere, but with Valve’s ruling on six-man rosters, his future is unknown. In the group stages of ESL Pro League, B1T played on even more maps than before. In the last series against MiBR, he put up 46 kills and helped take the load off star player Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev. With those types of results, and with Denis “electronic” Sharipov transitioning to an in-game leader role, B1T could take the roles that electronic had and play on more maps than before.

Gambit

Gambit came into ESL Pro League after winning IEM Katowice and defeating Heroic, G2 and Natus Vincere. In the ESL Pro League, they have kept up the same results. They were one of two teams to go undefeated in their group after taking down Cloud9, Natus Vincere and Furia. While their first match isn’t until April 8, they are expected to win a majority of their matches and maybe even the tournament.

Schedule

Playoffs will start April 2, with the winners from Group A playing against the winners from Group B and the winners from Group C will play against those from Group D. However, the teams who placed first in their group — Heroic, NIP, Astralis and Gambit — will not play until April 8. The entirety of playoffs will be single-elimination, best-of-three matches, apart from the first-place teams who have the ability to lose their opening match.

On April 2, Furia will play FunPlus Phoenix, and G2 will play Liquid. On April 3, Virtus.pro will play ENCE, and Complexity will take on Natus Vincere. The games will start at 9:30 a.m. ET on both days.

Zain Merchant is an Esports writer who has previously worked with Team Dignitas. He loves FPS games such as Valorant, Counter-Strike and Valorant.
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