Leonard Schilcher – ESL Gaming eSports
The finishing line of ESL Pro League Season 7 is quickly drawing near and some favorites, especially in NA, are at risk of not making it to the LAN Finals in Dallas.
This opens the door for underdogs to rise and shine. Many sides we never would have imagined among the top six at this stage of the season have pleasantly surprised us with rock solid play.
Let’s see what’s going on in both regions.
Na’Vi reclaims the sole league lead after another clean week with 2-0 wins over LDLC and EnVyUs. The Ukrainians really have turned things around in EPL after barely avoiding relegation in Season 6. With 32 points and a record of 10W-1OTW-3L, Zeus and his boys are well on their way to claiming a ticket to Texas.
Only one point behind are the Space Soldiers with 31 points and a record of 10W-3L-1OTL. The Turks are slowly but surely rising through the international ranks and they could soon become a top 10 team in the world. They raked in two easy 2-0 victories over LDLC and EnVyUs to solidify their top six placing. Dallas seems likely, though the second half of their season looks terrifying. Fnatic, mouz, FaZe, North and Astralis still await.
The following quartet of Astralis (27 points), NiP (27 points), mouz (26 points) and FaZe (20 points) round out the remaining finals spots.
G2 moved up from rank nine to seven with a 2-0 victory over Heroic and got a positive start with newest addition, mixwell.
Fnatic had a rough week with only one match against North, losing both maps to the Danes. This sets the Swedes back to the eleventh rank with 4W-5L-1OTL and a difficult task ahead of them if they want to challenge for a top six spot.
Match Of The Week Recap – Ninjas in Pyjamas vs. Heroic
Ever since dennis joined NiP and took over as IGL, he has been on point individually, and the Swedes are looking good in EPL, whereas Heroic are looking to stay in relevancy regarding the playoffs.
The first map of Sweden versus Denmark was de_inferno. NiP got off to a great start, beginning on the CT side and following up a pistol win with five rounds in a row. Heroic was then able to string two rounds together before the Ninjas took control again, as GeT_RiGhT & Co. cruised to a 11-4 halftime lead. In the second half, dennis made short work of Heroic, carrying his boys to a 16-6 victory with 26 frags, 114 ADR and a 1.81 HLTV rating.
de_train was next, and a lot closer, requiring OT to determine the winner. This time, Heroic started on the more dominant CT side and, after winning the pistol round, they sprinted off to a 7-1 lead. NiP bounced back with three rounds of their own, but it wasn’t enough to make it a close half, as the final score was 11-4. Heroic looked poised to get the win, but draken and Co. had other plans in mind. NiP took ten rounds in a row starting as CT, leading 14-11 now, before Heroic adjusted their playing style to barely make it into OT, where a strong showing from es3tag with 31 frags secured a Danish victory.
SK Gaming have shown lackluster performances ever since the Major in Boston, culminating past week in an extremely disappointing group stage exit at WESG in China. coldzera stated that their recent slump stems from internal problems and just yesterday it was announced that TACO, long time member and fan favorite is departing the roster. FalleN and his boys are currently eleventh with 3W-7L, which already puts their season in jeopardy. I’m curious to see if they will be able to turn things around.
Team Liquid and NRG remain on top with the exact same record of 10W-1OTW-1L for 32 points, which puts them seven points ahead of Luminosity on the third rank. Both dominate their opposition and look poised to make it to LAN.
The new OpTic roster looks solid so far, they are fourth with 7W-1OTW-4L for 23 points. As anticipated, k0nfig is putting in most of the work, with a 1.20 K/D throughout the season. But the other team members will have to step up their game should they make it to Dallas.
Team Dignitas remain pointless with 0W-8L. Time to get that first W.
Match Of The Week Recap – NRG vs. Cloud9
Without context, this match seems like a lock for Stewie2k and his boys. But the reality is, that Cloud9 have been struggling tremendously since Boston, and NRG haven’t lost a single map in EPL before this clash. They were the favorite going in, and Cloud9 desperately need all the points they can get to stay in the running for Dallas.
First up, de_inferno, a playground tarik & Co. call home. C9 started on the terrorist side, and after winning the pistol round, they took control of the first half with great utility usage and tactical play, reaching ten rounds to NRG’s five. Another pistol round win on the CT side almost ended it right then and there, but NRG mounted a little comeback in round 5. It wasn’t enough though, as C9 eventually won 16-11, tarik leading the way with 23 kills and a 1.41 HLTV rating. NRG’s first map loss of the season.
Next up, de_overpass. This time NRG started on the T side, and they right away dominated the space in between A-Long and Monster. This time daps’ boys stormed to ten T side rounds, leaving Cloud9 between a rock and a hard place for the second half. Indeed, NRG dominated even more decisive on the easier CT side, quickly finishing the map 16-7, for a 1-1 score for the night. The hot and hard hitting CeRq topped the scoreboard for NRG with 22 frags. The youngster could very well be the next big thing in CS:GO.
Don’t miss out on Week 5!
As always we will be returning with more EPL action from both regions on Tuesday, April 3 2018.