We break down the teams in Group B which is shaping up to be an interesting one
Group B of ESL Pro League Season 14 is about to get underway. We take a look at how the teams stack up in the group which includes the likes of G2 and Virtus.pro
It is time for Group B to kick off in ESL Pro League. The likes of G2 and Virtus.pro will be heavily favoured, but the final spot in the playoffs will be highly contested. Complexity have to play without k0nfig due to a wrist injury, which opens up for teams like OG, forZe and Sinners to grab that last spot.
If you are not familiar with the format, here is a quick rundown:
The teams will play through a round-robin group, where all the six teams play each other once in a best-of-three. Once the points have been tallied up, the top three teams advance to the playoffs. The winner of the group gets the advantage of starting in the quarter-final. There will be three matches every day until the group has concluded.
Group B looks as follows:
Group B kicks off today, August 21st at 13:30 CET (21:30 AEST)
*All stats are from 2021.
Virtus.pro had a bit of a down period during the spring and summer period after a brilliant run during the winter months. However, they still retain their №5 spot in HLTV’s world rankings. At first glance, you’d think that they should easily get out of this group when you consider the competition, but Virtus.pro have struggled with a few of the teams in this group historically.
G2 dispatched of them easily at DreamHack Masters back in May, and OG did the same thing to them at IEM Summer. Surprisingly, Virtus.pro have also struggled with forZe domestically, having lost three out of the last five to the Russians. With three spots in the playoffs up for grabs, you’d think that they would make it through considering Complexity’s injury situation, but there is certainly a chance that they will struggle.
The big favourite of this group has to be G2. They really started to build up steam before the summer break, and they match up well against most of the teams in the group. Sinners and forZe could potentially be difficult teams for them to deal with considering that they don’t play these teams often, but considering Complexity’s stand-in situation, G2 are massive favourites to advance and they will be in a good spot to win the group too.
Team OG’s performance at IEM Cologne before the break was certainly underwhelming, but with a few events under their belt with their new roster, I actually favour them to get out of this group alongside G2. It just feels like they are a bit more balanced with niko and flameZ compared to their old roster, and I do think Aleksib adds a lot to this team as the in-game leader. A team like Complexity is a lot more fearsome looking on paper, but with their current stand-in situation, OG look like the better team.
Complexity will unfortunately be without k0nfig at this event, since the Dane is out with a wrist injury. This is a big blow to the European side, as k0nfig is a very important piece for the team. Without him, they really lack some edge offensively — especially when you consider that such a big portion of the team have defensive tendencies. Coming in to replace him is NaToSaphiX, who is most comfortable with an AWP in his hand. Most definitely not an optimal situation for Complexity — and I could honestly see them get beaten by a lesser team like forZe or Sinners.
It is also worth noting that es3tag will make his official debut for Complexity at this event. The Dane’s versatility will be a solid addition to the team, but I don’t expect him to be a key player until k0nfig is back on the roster.
It will be super interesting to see Sinners play at this event. It is a team reining out of the Czech Republic, most notably featuring oskar of mousesports fame. Those who followed CS:GO between 2016 and 2018 will remember that this guy was an absolute beast with the AWP. He was the type of guy who could easily turn a round on its head in a dire economic situation, even with a glass cannon AWP. Since then, he has been out of the top flight and has decided to try his luck domestically similar to what allu did with ENCE. So far, he has been putting up great numbers and it will be interesting to see what he can pull off against top competition.
The rest of the team is made up of promising young players. In particular, 20-year-old NEOFRAG is a name to keep an extra eye on. The guy has been posting some very impressive numbers for a rifler, especially considering his aggressive style of play.
Sinners are definitely an underdog in this group, but unlike Bad News Bears in Group A, these guys actually have a chance to get something done. Lower tier European teams should never be underestimated, in my opinion. The fact that Train has been removed from the map pool favoured them as well, since this was previously a poor map for them.
forZe came into this group replacing Renegades, who had to withdraw from the event due to travel restrictions in Australia. This team used to have one of the longest standing rosters in the game, but they eventually changed things up by replacing xsepower and facecrack with zorte and KENSI. At first, I was quite negative of this change, as I didn’t see the new additions as significant improvements, but I am happy to admit that I was wrong in that assessment. These guys have been playing very well, and I would argue that the addition of forZe makes this group all the more competitive.
As mentioned, forZe have been putting up a fight against Virtus.pro in recent time and they also beat Complexity at FunSpark ULTI back in April. It is also worth noting that forZe are coming off winning the Dominition League. Sure, the competition is far greater at this event, but they will be feeling good about themselves heading into this one.
Group A was a bit of a dull group, with Bad News Bears being a free win for any team and both Spirit and Astralis struggling to put up good performances. Howerver, this one could play out differently. Sinners and forZe will be hungry to prove themselves at this event, and unlike the lower tier in NA, the lower tier in Europe is far more competitive. These teams actually have a fighter’s chance even against the top teams, and considering Complexity’s stand-in situation, these teams are all live dogs.
I definitely favour G2 to top the group, with OG and Virtus.pro having the best chance for the last two spots. However, I could easily see a world where a team like forZe or Sinners squeeze past a team like Virtus.pro, who have struggled to maintain a high level and have had issues with some of the teams in this group historically.