ESEA Premier Season 38 is set to begin tonight as Australian CS powers up after the player break. This season of Premier is sure to deliver considering how competitive Aussie CS:GO has proven to be this year.
Frontlining the changes this season is the late addition of Renegades who, due to travel restrictions, were unable to attend ESL Pro League Season 14. They have been added to this season of Premier in place of Animal Squad who could not name a roster.
Like seasons prior, Seasons 38 & 39 come attached to a qualifier for Season 15 of ESL Pro League, one of few international opportunities available for domestic squads. With Season 14 currently live, Season 15 is likely to take place sometime in the new year.
So what are the biggest changes to Season 38?
Obviously, Renegades’ addition to the field makes them the overwhelming favourite to claim the victory this season, and thus the EPL Season 15 qualifier. Although we’ve seen Vertex, Order and Dire Wolves push Renegades to the brink, none have been able to stop the IEM Cologne finalists in 2021.
When it comes to their peers, Season 38 sees a few newer names enter the Premier arena. Ground Zero returns to Counter-Strike after a short hiatus with a roster consisting of former R!OT Gaming and ex-Bizarre Gaming members, while the team formerly known as BBBMBCBS were picked up by the New Zealand Warriors gaming division, Warriors Esports.
To round out the remaining new squads, Fury qualified through ESEA Open and DoMilk, Lese and Eetswa joined through Season 37 Relegations.
Outside of these changes, the season will look similar in format to Season 37 earlier this year. Round robin, two groups of eight — top four in each group go through to playoffs, while the bottom four face relegation. For the last-placed team, a ticket straight back to Open.
Group A & B: at a glance
|Group A||Group B|
|Vertex Esports Club||Dire Wolves|
|Ground Zero Gaming||Rooster|
|Paradox Esports||Chiefs Esports Club|
|Lese Esports||Caught off Guard|
Group A sees Renegades as the juggernauts of the group. Vertex and Paradox will be biting on their heels as they look to build upon a solid 2021 thus far, while Ground Zero will hope to hit the ground running with their new project.
In terms of disrupting the norm, look to Lese who have been moving from strength to strength. Falling just short in their LPL Challenger final after a last-minute substitute requirement, Lese will need a little time to adjust to the level of competition but playoffs could very well be on the cards.
As for Group B, it’s a little tighter at the top with Order, Dire Wolves and Rooster likely to lead the way. That said, they could very much tackle each other on the right day.
The Chiefs will also be a team to watch. The squad have travelled under the radar for some time but have quietly built a strong roster around frontman Hugh “HUGHMUNGUS” Anderson, young gun Maclane “gump” Cross and consistent support Jay “soju_j” Jeong.
It’s very early days for The Chiefs who will relish more experience and officials under their belt, but they’ve got the pieces to push hard for playoffs this season.
ESEA Premier Season 38 begins tonight, with heavy favourites Renegades taking on the high flying Vertex at 8pm AEST. The full schedule for this season can be found here.