There is something for everyone in Group B at ESL Pro League Season 16. The world's number one team, FaZe is the big favorite before the start of the group. G2, BIG, and MIBR will most likely fight for the two remaining playoff spots, while the Portuguese roster from FTW will be the underdogs of the group. Here is a rundown of all the teams.
There are two different kinds of FaZe. We saw it at BLAST Fall Groups, where the countless second chances broke FaZe. The best team in the world suddenly lost to the likes of OG and Heroic, but when it mattered the most, broky, rain, Twistzz, and ropz stepped up and secured the Fall Finals spot. And now it matters! FaZeFaZe can secure the Intel Grand Slam and the $1.000.000 that follows if the team wins ESL Pro League 16. Russel "Twistzz" Van Dulken also stated in a recent interview with Pley.gg, that ESL Pro League Season 16 and the IEM Rio are the two major targets for FaZe this fall. Our guess is that FaZe will win Group B with four or five victories along the way.
It is only the second tournament for the newly assembled G2 roster. Justin "jks" Savage and Rasmus "HooXi" Nielsen did not have the best of individual performances at BLAST, but still, G2 managed to qualify for the Fall Finals. But more importantly, it seems like Ilya "m0NESY" Osipov and Nemanja "huNter-" Kovač is enjoying themselves much more under the reigns of Hooxi, where more freedom has been implemented for the struggling roster. At the same time huNter- has been relieved of his duty as a lurker with Justin "jks" Savage coming in to replace him in this role. A big satisfaction for the Bosnian, who spoke with us about this after the conclusion of BLAST Fall Groups.
G2 should be able to make their way to the playoffs with either four or three victories.
2022 has been a difficult year for Outsiders/Virtus.pro. The loss of Mareks "YEKINDAR" Gaļinskis has been devastating for the CIS roster, who are still trying to find their feet. David 'n0rb3r7' Danielyan and Petr 'fame' Bolyshev are two solid riflers, but they both need to elevate their performances if Outsiders are to be taken into consideration for trophies. We can easily see them winning a couple of matches, but will it be enough?
The Brazilians are an unknown quantity coming into ESL Pro League. With the addition of Henrique "HEN1" Teles as the new star AWP'er, MIBR has stepped up massively in the fight for restoring Brazilian Counter-Strike. MIBR opens ESL Pro League with matches against FTW, Outsider, and BIG. So it is fair to say, that it is at the start of the group stage, that HEN1 and his teammates should be ready. We can see MIBR win between two and three matches.
It would be an understatement to call BIG's performance at IEM Cologne disappointing. The early exit in the Play-in tournament caused the team to axe Tizian 'tiziaN' Feldbusch from the roster replacing him with Nils "k1to" Gruhne. The change did help BIG to progress at BLAST Fall Groups, where G2 ended up knocking BIG out, and the question remains if BIG has got the team to be a real contender in Tier-1 tournaments. We have seen Florian "syrsoN" Rische pop off at some times, but that has mainly been online. We expect BIG to get one or two wins.
The Portuguese enter the tournaments as huge underdogs. The current #53 in the world has not had the best 2022 and has recently lost to BIG's academy team. Renato "stadodo" Gonçalves is the most known player on the team, and it will be interesting to see, how they match up against some of the best teams in the world. We don't expect FTW to win any matches this time around.