ESL Pro League Season 19 started off with a bang as the legendary Fnatic raced against for the first Season 19 win.

The Russian roster managed to win the first map despite some clutch plays from their opposition, but they were stopped in their tracks after Fnatic took Vertigo by force.

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The deciding game however went to Fnatic who decided the series in an intense series point in Ancient. 

Here’s everything that went down on the first day of Season 19.

ESL Pro League Season 19 format

ESL Pro League Season 19 day 1 schedule
Screenshot by Steven Cropley/ONE Esports

Season 19 starts with the Groups stage, a best-of-three (bo3) bracket that eventually gives the top teams from each group a well-deserved Playoffs spot.

With 32 CS2 teams arranged into four groups, this was the start of another competitive three-week race to the MVP spot. 

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By May, the remaining 16 teams will enter Playoffs where they’ll fight in a single-elimination bracket. The winners will take the lion’s share of US$750,000, and a guaranteed spot at Intel Extreme Masters Cologne 2024.

Fnatic vs series recap

Overpass: Round 1-9

Fnatic and kicked off the show with a slow crawl towards Overpass B-site that ended with a near-perfect CT defense from Fnatic. The convincing finish, along with a follow-up round gave the UK team a big lead, but an assertive double kill from David “n0rb3r7” Daniyelyan in Round 3 started VP’s comeback. Electronic in opening match ESL Pro League Season 19
Credit: ESL Counter-Strike/YouTube

From there, VP kept finding cheesy ways around Fnatic’s solid defense. With n0rb3r7 leading the charge, Fnatic was slowly forced to play passively.

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And after a clean triple from VP’s Rifler, the first bo3 skirmish fell away from Freddy “KRIMZ” Johansson and his team.

Overpass: Round 10-19

By Round 10, fame and Jame had enough utility grenades for a bomb site rush, but they couldn’t find the set piece they needed and lost the round to Fnatic.

This put the score at 6 – 4 for Fnatic, who impressively recovered their economy thanks to smart plays (and Overpass’ CT-sided design).

Fnatic vs. in Group A ESL Pro League Season 19
Credit: ESL Counter-Strike/YouTube

With playing CT, they had all of the advantages they needed to get back into the driver’s seat, resulting in an equalized score by Round 17.

Overpass: Round 20-24

From there, the game was on a razor’s edge until Round 23 when Fnatic found a good execute on B-site. What followed was a tense 2v2 that threatened an overtime stretch, but eventually went’s way.

Vertigo: Round 1-9

With both teams force-buying their way into round two, the early game saw another standoff that eventually shifted to VP’s favor.

Jame and FL1T especially won most of the firefights, but even when they were playing to their strengths, Fnatic couldn’t overcome the Armenia-based org due to how weak the bomb sites were. 6 – 4 for

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Vertigo: Round 10-19

Fnatic was able to find some luck in the gun rounds (again), and had KRIMZ tip the scales yet again in a nail-biter of a second half. From there, the UK roster spent their utility wisely until they secured a healthy lead. 

Vertigo’s tight corners and short sighlines did not spell success for VP’s AWPer, who couldn’t find a good angle anywhere. vs. Fnatic at ESL Pro League Season 19 Group A
Credit: ESL Counter-Strike/YouTube

Vertigo: Round 20-24

A three-round difference either meant overtime or a match point for Fnatic, so VP needed a clutch play. MATYS overextended in mid, which gave VP a pick that opened up a default to B. But after bodyy took FL1T and Jame out of play, the rest of FNC closed in on electronic and won Map 2.

Ancient: Round 1-9

Great early rounds put VP ahead in terms of gold, and forced bodyy’s team to force buy M16s for the third skirmish. But after Fnatic found their rhythm, even electronic couldn’t carry his team out of another bad spot. vs. Fnatic at ESL Pro League eason 19
Credit: ESL Counter-Strike/YouTube

Ancient: Round 10-19

With VP down 3 wins, Alexandre “bodyy” Pianaro’s side were in a confident lead before the end of the first half, where the Russians found a good set piece that also took out four Fnatic members. 

With grenades setting up a set piece on A, only needed to bide their time and guard their flanks to win an easy round 19. 

Ancient: Round 20-24

There was still a good gap between Fnatic and by Round 20.

And despite VP’s best efforts, they couldn’t stop Fnatic from reaching series point after an A-site plant. But what followed was a valiant push for an equal score that the Swedish organization was quick to stomp out.

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