Halfway through the season, quite a few surprises keep the tournament unpredictable.
As we get through the halfway mark of this year’s ESL Pro League, the completion of groups A and B have conjured up a few interesting results that keep the tournament lively and up in the air.
Group A – Heroic, Vitality dominate
Heroic got the tournament underway against Bad News Bears with a comfortable 2-0, demolishing the Bears 16 -1 on Mirage and 16-4 on Nuke with strong performances from TeSeS and stavn. The group’s other favourites, Vitality, also made a strong start with a 2-0 victory over ENCE, taking both map picks Mirage and Overpass as their talisman ZywOo and misutaaa ran havoc on the maps.
The second day, though, saw one of the tournaments major surprises as Astralis, who were pipped to finish strongly in the group stages, suffered a shocking 0-2 defeat to ENCE as hades almost single-handedly took ENCE to victory with nearly 50 kills in the match.
The Danes did manage to win comfortably against Bad News Bears but went down in straight maps to Vitality, and coupled with Vitality and Heroic’s strong performances, Astralis suffered a shock group stage exit.
Heroic go through to the quarter-finals, while second-place Vitality and third-place ENCE will battle it out for a quarter-final spot in the Playoffs.
Group B – G2 suffer shock exit
OG finished the group stages 5-0 as forZe and Complexity Gaming finished the group second and third to book playoff spots. G2 Esports and Virtus.pro were the surprise eliminations from the side, especially as G2 didn’t manage to win a single match in the group stages.
The Danish side OG got their campaign running with a 2-0 victory over VP as veteran niko and mantuu put in strong performances. forZe managed to pip Complexity 2-1 in a close fought encounter that saw both sides take their map picks 16-12 before forZe secured the decider on Ancient 16-9.
OG, meanwhile, were in no mood to slow down, demolishing G2 2-0 and seeing off a spirited forZe performance 2-1. forZe added to G2’s misery with a 2-0 clean sweep in their match as FL1T and Jerry had ratings of 1.51 and 1.22 respectively to help the Russian side through.
OG managed to keep a clean sweep through the group stage as they rode on mantuu‘s incredible 57-kill performance along with Aleksib‘s strong show too to make short work of Complexity’s challenge.
OG see themselves through to the quarter-finals while forZe and Complexity Gaming will fight it out for a playoff spot. IEM Cologne’s runners-up G2 will have lot of questions arising from their poor online performance while Virtus.pro will need to look back at their performance too as the Russian outfit would have hoped to make it to the quarter-finals at least.
Gaming continues as Group C will see tournament favourites NaVi start their bid for that elusive major title while Group D, touted as the ‘group of death’, will have Gambit Esports, Ninjas in Pyjamas and Team Liquid face off for the quarter-final spot