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ESL Premiership Spring 2023 Group Stage Review

Coalesce and Viperio lead going into the playoffs.

by GrimyRannarr
ESL Premiership logo on black background with UKCSGO.com at the bottom

Coming into this season Endpoint had won the tournament eight times, marking a great legacy in UKCS. However, after a mixture of their decline and others’ improvement, the gap is no longer clear. With the groups now concluded the race for the trophy seems closer than ever.

Group A

The two teams everyone expected to make it out of Group A were Coalesce or Into The Breach. However, the question was, what order would it be in? ITB was seeded first in the whole tournament, but did not dominate their way into the poll position in their group like many assumed they would. Even though Coalesce lost in the first outing against ITB, they rallied and fought back their demons in the rematch. When the final standings came through, Coalesce had a better round difference than ITB by three rounds. It was just three rounds that put Coalesce into the semi-finals ahead of Into the Breach.

Now it was all about who would take third place. Most people pinned GEEKZ, formally known as Royals, to easily claim the spot, but from players retiring and the whole team crumbling it opened up the competition. It then all came down to the last two days.

Everything was on the line during the sakana123 versus NiL match. Neither team was seeded to make it out of groups and both teams played either Into the Breach or Coalesce on the last day. It would not be an easy ride. Next in Line beat an underperforming GEEKZ meaning that their game against sakana123 on the penultimate day would decide who advances. Sadly for the newly signed Next in Line side, they were bested 16-14, meaning sakana123 claimed the last spot playoff out of Group A.

Group B

Similar to Group A, Group B had two teams expected to go through to playoffs. The first was the reigning champions Endpoint, and the other, Viperio, recently made it to the Major RMRs earlier in the year. In a similar fashion to the other group, there was much debate as to who would take the top spot.

Endpoint put an end to that conversation very quickly, but not in the way people expected. A loss to Arctic Raptors in their opening game, and then Viperio later on the group stage certainly dampened people’s expectations of them. Endpoint did not quite look like their ten time champion self and Viperio looked set to sweep the group with ease.

The other team with high expectations was the new-look Arctic Raptors who was seeded to take the third spot in the group, but, similarly to Endpoint, it was not smooth sailing for them. 7AM, who has been struggling after losing their ESEA Advanced spot, gave the Raptors a real run for their money with the only thing separating them being the Round difference. The Arctic Raptors might not have run away with it like many anticipated, but with a greater round difference by eight, they became the final team to make it to playoffs, matching up against Into the Breach.

Schedule for playoffs

You can find the schedule attached here:

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