Credit: ESL - Helena Kristiansson
The questions pile up before the opening day in group B at ESL Pro League Season 13.
We take a deep-dive into the teams here:
2021 has been a year to forget so far for the Frenchmen. An early exit from IEM Katowice underlined, that Team Vitality has not been doing well in the first three months of this year. A look at the stats shows, that their Starplayer, ZywOo is not to blame. The 20-year-old Superstar has kept up an impressive 1.22 stat during 2021, even though Team Vitality has lost six out of nine matches. The rest of the team is rated below 1.00 with the exception of shox, who scores a clean 1.00 rating so far in the new year. The team announced this week, that Nabil "Nivera" Benrlitom would be leaving the team, due to the change of rules from Valve regarding deduction of RMR-points, if a team uses a substitution during an event. The young Belgian showed some promising skills in late 2020, so is it the right player, that they have axed?
Will a new in-game leader be the answer to all the prayers from FaZe Clan fans? It feels ages ago since FaZe was last considered a top team in CS:GO. Now the honeymoon phase is over for the two new additions to the roster. What will Twistzz and karrigan bring to the table? We have to admit, that we are actually pretty excited to see this new roster unfold. Twistzz, rain, broky, karrigan, and Coldzera are all names, that should feature on a top team, and if they can agree to be united under the rule of karrigan, this could get interesting. The first peak at the new roster will be tonight against Team Vitality.
The big question that needs an answer is how NiKo will fare as a hybrid AWP/rifler. G2 cut their legendary AWP'er kennyS from the team last week and put the AWP responsibility in the hands of the Bosnian Star NiKo. With only six! kills registered with the AWP in all of 2021, this will be interesting to see. Recent history tells a story of the importance of having a designated AWP player on the roster in this day and age in Counter-Strike. The situation could be compared to the one on Cloud9. Here the AWP responsibility has also fallen in the hands of the most gifted rifler, which has drastically decreased the impact of Patrick "es3tag" Hansen on the team. Will the same thing happen to NiKo? Worth mentioning is also, that Audric "JaCkz" Jug is back in the lineup.
With the departure of karrigan, mousesports needed a new in-game leader. Christopher "dexter" Nong is the man with the plans on mousesports, and he will have the responsibility to guide his new team to the playoffs at ESL Pro League Season 13. They qualified for IEM Katowice through the Play-in but had unfortunate luck in the main event, where they crashed out of the tournament after two losses to Gambit and Astralis. The Australian in-game leader went -57 in K-D during the IEM Katowice event, which indicates, that dexter also has a big job individually to improve. With Frederik "acoR" Gyldstrand also being new on the team, there is a lot of things to work on for mousesports.
Ninjas in Pyjamas:
NIP is a hard team to figure out. They have beaten the likes of Astralis and Virtus.pro in 2021, but also crashed out of the tier 2 tournament Snow Sweet Snow 2 after a 2-1 defeat to the Polish team AGO. They are currently on a three-match loss streak. The latest addition to the squad Erik "ztr" Gustafsson is still not performing to the levels, that the legendary Organization had hoped for, while their AWP'er Tim “nawwk” Jonasson has had a terrible 2021. The start of EPL will be crucial for the Swedes. G2 and ENCE are must-win matches if should have any hopes of advancing from this group.
The prügelknabe of Group B. The new roster faces a huge challenge if they want to qualify for the playoffs. The team comes into the tournament with a much-needed boost though. The victory over Finnish rivals from HAVU yesterday was the perfect lead-in for the new international roster, which consists of two Finns, an Israelian, a Dane, and a Pole. Being an underdog in every match up at ESL Pro League Season 13, the ENCE roster could be an unpleasant surprise for their opponents, but we will still be surprised if they win more than one match in this group.
Ninjas in Pyjamas