ESL have announced the talent lineup for Season 17 of ESL Pro League, and UKCS fans will recognise a number of names. Seven UK talents are listed, including Alex “Machine” Richardson, Henry “HenryG” Greer, and Freya “Freya” Spiers as the most notable names. They are joined by ESL regulars Harry “JustHarry” Russell and Hugo “Hugo” Byron, along with Jack “Jacky” Peters and Adam “Dinko” Hawthorne, who return to Pro League for the first time since seasons 10 and 8 respectively.
It’s unclear as yet what role or roles everyone will fill. Unlike previous talent announcements, ESL have been tight-lipped, mentioning only a “unique broadcast experience” and announcing the 16 names as part of a “family” in a Tweet.
🙂 #ESLProLeague S17 🙂 It's a family show 🙂
Join us on February 22nd 🙂@SPUNJ @Maniac_CSGO @Mauisnake @dinkotv @MACHINEgg @OnFireAnders @MosesGG @JustHarryGG @HugoTV @Hency_Heccu @LucyLuce_ @Jackyesports @HenryGcsgo @FreyaSpiers @YNk @stunna pic.twitter.com/ufCo1NMDxq
— ESL Counter-Strike (@ESLCS) February 17, 2023
Some assumptions can be made: for example, Machine is joined by SPUNJ, his regular casting partner, as is JustHarry by Hugo. Dinko and HenryG have also been spotted casting together at various tournaments in the last year including FiReLEAGUE 2022 Global Finals and the recent CCT Central Europe Malta Finals, while Freya has primarily worked as a desk host and interviewer. However, it’s possible that talent will be filling multiple roles, evoking the COVID-19 broadcasts which saw Machine, SPUNJ and Lauren “Pansy” Scott pull double duty as both casters and desk hosts.
The month-long tournament starts February 22nd, and will once again be held on the Mediterranean island of Malta with $850,000 of prize money to play for. Season 17 features an expansion from 24 to 32 teams and a new, triple-elimination group stage format followed by single-elimination play-offs. This follows criticism over the previous round-robin format, which fans felt was confusing to follow, as well as resulting in insignificant matchups. It remains to be seen whether the new format will be an improvement.
In terms of UK representation on the server, hopes rest on William “mezii” Merriman’s FNATIC, a Permanent Partner Team of ESL. mezii and coach Jamie “keita” Hall will look to improve on their Season 16 performance, where they finished second in their group only to fall to Team Liquid in the first round of the play-offs. ESL Premiership champions Endpoint miss out on a return to Malta following their failure to qualify through the ESL Pro League Conference. The qualification process is changing for season 18 later this year, and two spots will be reserved for the winners of ESL National Championships, including ESL Premiership – with ESL set to release further details nearer the start of Season 18.
The full talent lineup for ESL Pro League Season 17 is as follows:
Henry “HenryG” Greer
Adam “dinko” Hawthorne
Alex “MACHINE” Richardson
Harry “JustHarry” Russell
Hugo “Hugo” Byron
Jack “Jacky” Peters
Chad “SPUNJ” Burchill
Freya “Freya” Spiers
Mathieu “Maniac” Quiquerez
Alex “Mauisnake” Ellenberg
Anders “Anders” BLUME
Jason “Moses” O’Toole
Anastasija “Heccu” Tolmačeva
Lucy “LucyLuce” Eastwood
Janko “YNk” Paunović
Tres “stunna” Saranthus