With 32 teams now just whittled down to two, ESL Pro League Season 18 is set to come to an end. We’ve seen clutches galore, with plenty of the best players in the world putting on a show for the chance to lift the final CS:GO trophy ever.
Now, it’s MOUZ and NAVI who sit one best-of-five match away from greatness. Let’s preview the Grand Final, to see who’ll come out on top!
NAVI’s Deep Run
We’d be lying if we told you NAVI had faced real adversity in the lead-up to the ESL Pro League Finals. It’s been the run of dreams for the international roster, culminating in their place in the Grand Final here. They’re yet to drop a single map all tournament, with the team proving adept at turning doubters into believers.
NAVI have won ESL Pro League just once before: in 2021’s Season 14. That was back in the Boombl4, electroNic, and Perfecto days. If they were to repeat the feat, it would be a different-looking roster this time around.
What’s most impressive about NAVI at the moment is the lack of clear weaknesses. While NAVI jL didn’t exactly cover himself in glory during the Semi-Finals, he’s been a dependable performer throughout ESL Pro League Season 18, and we’d back him to find form once more. Finally, iM looks at home, who before seemed like a square peg in a round hole at NAVI. Aleksib is masterminding some incredible CS from his team, with b1t seemingly able to clutch from any situation. And s1mple? Well, he’s just being s1mple.
As long as NAVI stay on track, they should have enough to conquer the ESL Pro League Finals.
MOUZ Taking Scalps
All the way from EPL Season 18 Group B, MOUZ have fought every step of the way for their place in the ESL Pro League Season 18 Grand Final. In our Semi-Final preview, we pointed out some of the scalps they’ve taken along the way. Heroic, FURIA, FaZe, G2. Now, add ENCE to that list. This young team takes no prisoners on the server.
It just seems that momentum is with MOUZ. IGL siuhy is calling some masterful T-sides, and individual brilliance from his quartet of xertioN, torzsi, Jimpphat, and frozen is enough to see them over the line on CT.
It’s easy to forget as they’re all young, but MOUZ actually have an ESL Pro League winner in their ranks. Back in 2019, frozen won Season 10 of the tournament with MOUZ when he was just 17 years old. NAVI have winners of their own, of course, but you can’t discount the value of that experience. How fitting it would be for Jimpphat to get his first Tier-1 tournament victory at the same age.
On paper, NAVI have the quality. But the storyline of the next great CS2 team closing out CS:GO with an ESL Pro League Season 18 victory is too great for us not to root for.