ECS Season 5 Finals: Group B Preview
ECS Season Five finals are just days away, and it’s time for us to run the rule over the teams in Group B. Things are not always as they seem in CSGO, and while the names and salaries may suggest there is a simple answer to the question of who makes it through, we have a mix of giant killers and vulnerable titans battling it out, meaning this is really the group where anything can, and probably will happen.
It’s been a decent couple of weeks for the NRG boys, all things considered. Yes, they may have been styled on by the world’s best in the Starladder final, but before s1mple went and made things complicated they were delighted with their run, and that shouldn’t change. Beating North was impressive, and their win over Liquid even more so, as the team finally started to show the potential many believe them to have, and all of that should give them supreme confidence they can make it out of this group at least.
On the other hand, their players need to maintain the level they displayed against the teams in Kiev, and if they drop below that the likes of FaZe and G2 have enough talent to send them packing, tails between their legs. In short, this is a test for a team that has now earned the right to be tested at this level, and if they pass it there is no reason they can’t have another great weekend of CSGO. Making the final again might be a stretch, but NRG have shown they can hang with (almost) anyone.
A couple of weeks ago, FaZe were basically second favourite to win this event, if not outright number one. The news that olofmeister was due to return had circulated, and given the way FaZe have challenged Astralis with a stand-in, there is a lot of justification for thinking the full, Swede-enhanced team could be the ones to topple the Danes and create a real power struggle at the top, but then reality struck. Olof announced he was not ready to return after all, and would be taking a much longer break, with the team picking up a replacement from Team Dignitas.
Cromen is that sub, and while some fans are excited about his play, it’s fair to say the fact he was on Dig and not FaZe in the first place probably means he’s not going to make the difference in this event. Luckily for the other FaZe boys they have been handed by far the easier group, with a new-G2 their biggest challenge on paper, but it is likely that the level of tactical play Astralis can call upon will be too much for FaZe if they can make it that far.
After the dust has settled around the G2 punch-up, we finally know who has won the day, at least for now. At the time of writing the NBK/apEX experiment has failed, and G2 are fully committed to fielding a team of shox, kennyS, SmithZz, Ex6TenZ and bodyy in this and forthcoming events, sort of. Their statements about both sides have been fairly non-committal, which can’t be helpful for those trying to build a project and deliver the success media-darling Ocelote loves to talk about so very often.
You shouldn’t expect too much from them here, as there probably hasn’t been time for the team to work on the tactical elements they want to incorporate, but it’s going to be fun watching kennyS and shox try, free of the burdens and yoke of leadership that brought them down in their last line-up. They’ll have a good chance to make it out of the group, but fans shouldn’t be surprised if they go 0-3 and crash out either, as we are just in the infancy of the project.
It’s been a quiet few months for LG, who are a team with grand memories and probably a grudge against SK Gaming. On the plus side, they finally have something in common with FalleN, coldzera and the rest, but on the down side there is no chance they can parlay that into LG CSGO supremacy part two, as those former stars of this line-up have more expensive, less mortal tastes these days. LG come into this group as the underdogs without a doubt, but with FaZe and G2 in flux there is a chance for them to shine if things go their way.
They will also know that NRG are likely to focus on FaZe in terms of anti-stratting, even if it will not be possible to do that with the new G2 line-up, so they might get a decent match-up against that opponent. With the team having added steel to their roster in the shape of the former Liquid IGL too, it is a good time for LG, and you should not rule them out of making the playoffs, even if their hopes of winning the event are not great.
That's it for our look at the groups, now it's just time to get the drinks in, stock up on snack, as there is no snax at this event, and wait for the fun to begin. This is a massive year for the UK in esports terms with a major coming soon, and whoever wins this will be in great shape going toward that peak of the season.
Image credit: ECS