We break down tonight's action in ESL Pro League, including why ENCE could make things troublesome for Heroic.
There are a few key things to note about this match. Heroic are fresh off winning ESL One Cologne, but they will be without their coach HUNDEN, who has been banned for exploiting a spectator glitch. Following the ban, Heroic had to forfeit their current RMR points and prize money gained from DreamHack Masters Spring where the bug in question was used. However, this should not affect their mental game that much since they bombed out in groups at that tournament. Playing without HUNDEN, however, isn’t super optimal. It may seem trivial, but coaches are allowed to talk at all times during the game, and a player of his pedigree and experience as an IGL likely played a role in their recent success. This does give ENCE some decent upset potential in this game. ENCE and Heroic have faced off twice, with the exact same set of maps (Nuke, Train, Mirage). Both of these games went to three maps, with Heroic coming out on top on Mirage. This is a pretty good set of maps for ENCE, with Train and Mirage being two of their strongest maps in the pool, and Nuke isn’t terrible for them either. As such, I quite like ENCE here as the underdog.
Vitality Map 2 (1.60)
This is an immediate rematch from the ESL One Cologne semi-finals, where Vitality came out on top in a 2–0 victory. This has proven to be a difficult matchup for the Swedes, and they have now lost 7 out of 9 best-of-threes against Vitality this year. This mostly comes down to the fact that they have a clear weakness on both Nuke and Dust2, two of Vitality’s strongest maps in the pool, giving the Frenchman a clear advantage on their map choice. The fact that Train is Vitality’s perma-ban eliminates one of NiP’s strongest maps in the pool straight out of the gate, as well, further pushing this matchup in the favour of Vitality.
FURIA Map 2 (1.40)
These two teams have only faced off once this year, which was at cs_summit 6 where FURIA came out on top after three maps. In that match, FURIA absolutely annihilated Cloud9 on their map choice of Vertigo, winning 16–1. While Cloud9 does have some upset potential in this match, it is hard to go against the Brazilians on their map choice, especially when you consider how one-sided it was last time around.