Group B of the ESL Pro League will play their first round of matches beginning from Wednesday through Sunday. The top three teams will qualify for the playoffs, and FaZe, G2 and BIG will have their eye on these spots. Friday sees G2 taking on For The Win Esports, BIG up against MIBR, and finally FaZe facing Outsiders.
These games will likely be one sided, but let’s not be in too much of a hurry to forget the shocking last couple of days of Group A’s games. Endpoint and Ninjas in Pyjamas both produced upsets against Natus Vincere, dealing the world number one ranked team a blow that set them back to third place in the group with a 2-3 record.
They still managed to qualify of course, but behind Team Vitality and Fnatic. Undoubtedly this league is going to throw up a lot more surprises before it ends, so let’s see how G2, FTW, FaZe and OUtsiders shape up ahead of their matches on Friday.
G2 vs FTW
World rank number nine will take on a team from Portugal that has never played an S-tier tournament before. While G2 might see this as an easy way to pick up a couple of points, the learnings for FTW will be immense. Considering it’s very unlikely they’ll make it past the group stage, they have five days to soak up all the experience of playing at an esports tournament as high-stakes and cut-throat as the ESL.
Predictions: G2 to win
Betting Site: Odds provided by GG.Bet
When: Friday, September 09 – 12:30 CEST
G2 didn’t make it past the group stage in the earlier season of the ESL in March, finishing fifth in their group with a 2-3 record at the 17th-20th seed. Since then they’ve been on the fringes of every major tournament they have played, and the closest they’ve come to a title is at the Blast Spring in June.
G2 lost the semi-finals to Team Vitality, ending at 3rd-4th seed. They made some questionable changes to their roster last month that drew in a lot of flak from fans, namely the signings of Australian rifler Justin ‘jks’ Savage, and IGL Rasmus ‘HooXi’ Nielsen. Ever since they’ve joined the pair have held dreadful ratings of 0.93 and 0.71 respectively, but despite them G2 still managed to qualify at the Blast Fall Groups through the last chance matches of the play-ins. This is almost entirely due to 17-year-old m0NESY, who in the same time span has held a rating of 1.34 and recorded 0.83 kills per round.
For The Win Esports
This is the first time FTW will compete at a major international tournament. These five days will be some of the most important ones in the team’s history, and there will be plenty of takeaways for the side from Portugal. Despite having no prior history playing at this level, all of the players on their roster will benefit from the chance to compete against the world’s top teams.
Their side is a mix of youth and experience, a couple of signings only recently made. Unfortunately they were eliminated from European Qualifiers of the IEM Road to Rio in round 64, so they need to make the most of this opportunity to analyse what makes the champion teams tick.
FaZe vs Outsiders
FaZe, currently second on the HLTV CS:GO rankings, will face the Outsiders, previously known as Virtus.pro. FaZe won season 15 of the ESL earlier in April, and naturally they’re backed by most to make it two in two. Outsiders don’t really have what it takes yet to compete against the world’s top teams, so this should be a one-sided contest.
Predictions: FaZe to win
Betting Site: Odds provided by GG.Bet
When: Friday, September 09 – 19:30 CEST
FaZe will have a three-pronged goal in mind heading into the ESL – a trophy, qualification to the IEM Katowice 2023 and the Blast World Finals, and $175,000. They’ll be disappointed by their performance in the Blast Fall, and eager to make reparations. After falling to Heroic in the Group stage and then to OG in the play-ins, FaZe had to scramble past Astralis in the play-ins to qualify alongside G2 and Ninjas in Pyjamas in the 4th-6th seed. It’s been a historic year, and they have the chance now to add another feather in their cap.
Outsiders were among the top seed at the ESL Conference, qualifying for the Pro League at rank 1st-3rd. More recently, however, they’ve just come off the IEM in Cologne which didn’t have such a favorable result. They finished at 13th-16th seed, qualifying through the play-ins but getting knocked out convincingly in the group stage by Cloud 9 and then Furia.
While they were runners-up at ESL Challenger at DreamHack Valencia, it was still an unfortunate last place finish at the Roobet Cup. Outsiders are up against some of the toughest competitors in the world, not only in this match but in their group, and will have to fight hard to break into the top three.