The group stage of ESL Pro League’s sixteenth season is halfway through as the tournament heads into its third week. The qualifiers from Groups A and B have already been confirmed, the same teams most would’ve predicted though a few results went a little awry. The six teams from Group C will play their matches from Wednesday through Sunday. Let’s take a look at four of the teams that compete on Friday, Astralis, HEET, Heroic, and Complexity.
Astralis vs HEET
World number four takes on number 32, so this shouldn’t be too much of a contest. Group C involves some of the toughest competitors yet, so the race for the top three should be exciting. HEET may find themselves at the bottom of the food-chain right now, but League has already thrown up some fascinating results.
Astralis have been fierce competitors across most major esports tournaments they’ve appeared in this year, but unfortunately it hasn’t translated into trophies. The closest they’ve come is the IEM Cologne back in July, where they seeded 3rd-4th after being knocked out 2-0 by Natus Vincere in the semi-finals. After that however they haven’t been performing to their full potential. As expected they qualified to the European RMRs of the IEM Road to Rio, but the BLAST fall groups didn’t go according to plan.
HEET was formed at the end of 2021, and this is the first time they’ve qualified to appear at an S-tier tournament. So it’s safe to say that they’ve come a long way in a very short time. Their roster is a mix of youth and experience eager to make a name for themselves, and they have some truly special talent in tow. France Audric ‘JACKZ’ Jug has been around the circuit for a while and brings a decade of experience, including two stints with G2.
Heroic vs Complexity
Heroic are on the rise, while Complexity are paying dearly for some signings that they apparently didn’t think all the way through. The two teams are a world apart in their recent results and rankings, so it’s easy to call Heroic as the winner on this one.
World number 15 Heroic were winners of season 13 of the ESL Pro League back in April 2021, but haven’t been able to win any major titles since then aside from the Pinnacle Cup championship back in June. They’ve invested in 19-year-old Jakob ‘jabbi’ Nygaard and let go of Ismail ‘refrezh’ Ali back in June, but jabbi has a rating of 0.98 over the last three months and still has some way to go. This is pretty much the same team that won the ESL last year, but some of their individual performances have slipped in recent times.
There seems to be no end to Complexity’s woes this year. Even after a complete roster revamp at the start of 2022, there has been no change to their results. Of all the major tournaments they’ve participated in the latter half of the year, the results have been miserable – 9th-12th at the Roobet Cup, dead last 21st-24th at the IEM Cologne, and 10th-12th at the Blast Fall Groups, bottom once again. Their decision to sign Johnny ‘JT’ Theodosiou was heavily criticised by fans at the time, and so far he’s done nothing to prove them wrong managing only a rating of 0.91 and 0.57 kills per round.
According to the odds at Midnite, Heroic are massive favorites for this one and rightly so considering the depth in their squad. You will get odds of 1.22 on Midnite for the moneyline, which doesn’t seem too bad. If you want a higher level of risk, then the match handicap market may suit you more on Midnite, which has odds of 1.87 for Heroic -1.5, which basically means you’re betting on Heroic to win in straight maps.