EPL Group C kicked off with a set of interesting games as we saw new lineups facing off some inconsistent teams. While gade’s debut in BIG went well, the same can’t be said about daps’ EG and the new look Fnatic.
ESL Pro League continues with Group C, as we saw Fnatic, BIG and EG all debut their new rosters and saw LAN giants Faze and NaVi pick up important wins.
BIG dominate Daps' EG
With Stanislaw out on temporary leave, the NA squad have been forced to field their coach Damian 'daps' Steele who hadn't played an official in over a year. Their first game went about as well as could be expected as BIG totally dominated them in a strong 2-0 victory.
Stanislaw on temporary leave from EG; Daps to Step In
Peter “Stanislaw” Jarguz has decided to take a temporary break from professional competition and will not be returning to Europe for EPL Season 14. Coach Damian “daps” Steele will be taking over the IGL duties till Stanislaw returns.
Despite playing their first official with Nicklas 'gade' Gade, the German squad didn't miss a beat. Their battle started off on Nuke where BIG started strong with a 5-1 lead. EG managed to rally up some defenses but were shut down as BIG closed the half out with a 7-8 deficit. The second half however saw EG fall completely flat as they managed to secure just a single T side round. BIG managed to close it out 16-9 and took us to Dust2.
When Gade joined BIG there was discussion regarding his roles, with many speculating that gade might help Johannes 'tabseN' Wodarz with his IGL duties which would allow the German star to perform better in the server. This Dust2 showing gave credence to that discussion, as tabseN was unstoppable. EG's CT side was weak and tabseN comfortably dominated them in every fight he took. Using the Krieg, he managed to rake up 25 kills on the attack. tabseN continued his roll on the CT side and closed the series out with 35 kills leading his team to a 16-8 win.
Navi spoil Fnatic's Debut
The Champions of IEM Cologne 2021, NaVi started their EPL Campaign strong with a 2-0 win over Fnatic's new international squad. The Swedish-British squad managed to play NaVi close but s1mple turned out to be too much to handle.
Map 1 Overpass - Fnatic Close but no Cigar
The game kicked off on Overpass, where Ilya 'Perfecto' Zalutskiy started the proceedings with a pistol round 4k. The CIS team managed to convert it into 2 more rounds before Fnatic picked up the first gun round. NaVi however had built up the momentum that carried them forward as they picked up a 9-1 lead with Aleksandr 's1mple' Kostyliev finding huge impact throughout his CT half. Fnatic still managed to pick up a few rounds towards the end of the half as the half closed with Alex 'ALEX' McMeekin's troops on a 5-10 deficit. The pistol round went their way but an anti-force buy loss could've meant trouble but Freddy 'KRIMZ' Johansson was able to win a 1v3 clutch that gave Fnatic the momentum to take the lead 12-11.
NaVi kept their attack on leveling the scoreline at 13-13, but Krimz managed to pull out another miraculous clutch to give his team another fleeting lead. A set of back-to-back triple kills from Denis 'electronic' Sharipov meant that Navi was the first to secure match point but Fnatic's half-buy victory allowed them to take the game to Overtime. Kirill 'Boombl4' Mikhailov's squad managed to win the first two rounds of overtime but Fnatic managed to win the necessary rounds to keep the match going. In the second overtime, however, Navi picked up all three rounds in the first half and didn't let their lead slip as they closed the map out 22-19.
Map 2 Nuke - What can you do when s1mple kills everyone?
The game continued on Nuke where Navi got of to another strong start leading 4-1. But the defense quickly found its footing and managed to take the lead 6-5. ALEX's entries allowed Fnatic to close the half 9-6. The international squad managed to pick up the pistol round but were unable to convert the subsequent anti-eco. This gave NaVi the opportunity to come back into the game equalizing the scoreline at 10-10. The CIS team didn't let their lead slip as they closed the game out losing only 2 rounds in the process.
Fnatic's showing might not have given them the result they sought but it was a strong showing nevertheless. William 'mezii' Merriman looked comfortable at tier 1 and ALEX's calling looked great on the server. Rookie AWPer Jack 'Jackinho' Ström Mattsson's performance left room for improvement but when you're up against an in-form S1mple and strong performances from electronic and Valeriy 'B1T' Vakhovskiy, NaVi is a hard team to put to bed.
Faze Handle Mousesports Scare
Finn 'karrigan' Andersen's Faze had been terrible online before IEM Cologne, going out in last places and losing every close series they could. But their LAN showing had given fans hope that the team would have the confidence to get wins online too. Today's win is a positive sign for the future of Faze as they took down their international rivals in Mousesports. This was the 50th match between the two organizations, with Faze taking their 20th win.
Map 1 Overpass - Karrigan Pops Off
The Series started off on Mousesports' pick of Overpass, where Christopher 'dexter' Nong's Troops took the pistol round but were unable to secure the anti-eco conversions as Faze's Deagles popped off. Mousesports did manage to win the following force buy of their own which put Mouz on an economic advantage, allowing them to take a 4-1 lead. When the guns came out again, it was Faze's turn to go on a streak as they picked up 4 rounds in a row before trading back and forth rounds to close the half out 8-7.
The second half started strong for Karrigan and co. as they picked up 6 out of the first 7 rounds putting them on a 14-8 lead. But like Faze teams of the past they were unable to quickly close the game out and allowed Mousesports to tie the game 14-14. Back to Back impact rounds from Helvijs 'broky' Saukants finally let Faze close the game out at 16-14.
Map 2 Ancient - Mousesports Dominate
The battle continued on CSGO's latest map Ancient. From the get-go, Mousesports was dominant, and played the map like a well-oiled machine, as they picked up the first 8 rounds in a row. A Broky 1v2 clutch on the B bombsite opened Faze's tally but they were unable to convert that into a lead as Mousesports' money had swelled out of control. They only managed to pick up 2 more rounds before the half-closed down, with Mouz on a massive 12-3 lead. There was still hope for Faze as they had recently completed a comeback from 11-0 down on this very map against Gambit.
Faze managed to win the pistol round and converted it into a 3 rounds streak but after trading a couple of scrappy buys, Mousesports took 3 rounds in a row to close the map out 16-7. The game went to the final frontier of Inferno, a historically great map for both teams.
Map 3 Inferno - Faze Stomp Mouz
Karrigan's squad was finally able to get a solid start to a map as an Olof 'olofmeister' Kajbjer 1v3 clutch in the third rounds gave the squad momentum to take an 11-4 lead into half-time. Winning the pistol round and trading force-buy rounds put Faze in the advantage as a Broky anti-eco Ace secured the match point at 15-5. Mousesports did get themselves rolling as they won 3 rounds in a row, but Faze was far ahead and shut the series down at 16-8.
These matches set us up with an exciting group stage as Faze and Na'Vi both look strong which were the biggest question marks coming into this group. Meanwhile, for Fnatic's debut event, their match against BIG tomorrow will give us a much better picture of whether they'll be competitive in this event. Stay tuned to Esports.gg to keep up with ESL Pro League results.