EPL Group A Preview

Opportunities arise in Group A

Group A is a group of mixed stories, there are several teams who have been outstanding throughout 2020 and are currently struggling in their form. They must see their EPL Season 13 group as a first step and chance towards showing the community they can still hang with the elite teams. The favourite going into Group A has still got to be BIG, the German team has been stellar throughout 2020 and topped the ranking for over 2 months.

The German powerhouse from Berlin

A team that lead the ESL World Ranking for 71 days in 2020, currently ranked 7th in the world. A last place finish at IEM Katowice is not what the German roster is used to and they are surely looking to bounce back during ESL Pro League Season 13.

A semi-final finish at DreamHack Open January might have seemed somewhat disappointing, but they lost to a strong Team Spirit and followed this seemingly disappointing performance by topping their BLAST Premier Spring group beating the likes of OG (#16), NiP (#20) and the world’s number 1-ranked team in the world, Astralis. 

BIG consistently reach playoffs and often shoot up to the semi-finals, can they push even further and once again make the world know they are one of the best teams out there? The first hurdle will be group a and it’s not an easy hurdle to overcome.

Tabsen, the enigma

Having a strong group of players it’s a little hard to say who is the most important, but if you were to point anyone out it would surely have to be tabseN. Consistently putting out numbers while leading his team to high-placing finishes is not an easy feat and it cannot be overlooked. The German IGL has a lot to offer and BIG are certainly grateful to have a player like him among their ranks. The question now is, can he make the difference and top the group?

The new-look Danes

Heroic has been incredibly successful throughout 2020, their last tournament win, DreamHack Open Fall, saw them taking wins over BIG (#7), Vitality (#3) and Astralis (#1). This win however dates back to October 2020 and with a streak of unfortunate results the roster has been shaken up. b0RUP and niko have been moved to the bench and sjuush and refrezh have been added to the ranks.

Most recently at IEM Katowice they beat BIG so there has to be some confidence going into that one. The question remains how the new roster can integrate everyone into their system with a limited amount of time so far. Are we going to be seeing a flashy, puggy team or will cadiaN have been able to instruct the new blood in his roster to have some more tactical depth in his team.

Watch out for the new guns

Both of the new additions will be the ones to watch for Heroic, can sjuush and refrezh bring something to the roster that we haven’t seen from Heroic lately. Both players haven’t been active since the start of December, will they show up rusty or will the Danes be ready to fire on all cylinders and top their group for EPL Season 13?

A wall the Juggernaut can’t break

Without its metaphorical helmet the Juggernaut had been running wild for a while. After getting their helmet, poizon, back in their line-up Complexity have picked up form during the BLAST Premier Spring group. They decimated their group taking down Vitality (#3), G2 (#9) and EG (#15) all in a 2-0 fashion.

This stellar performance was followed by a disappointing run at the IEM Katowice play-in where they lost to Mousesports (#12) and failed to reach the main event. With these recent results there is a certain mystery about Complexity, they have shown a great team one week and a struggling one the week after. Can they slot their pieces into the right spots in time for group A where they have a lot of competition with similarly ranked teams?

Can the man from down under end up top

Complexity’s player to watch has to be JKS, having been the target of criticism of the community, the beloved Aussie was a huge signing for the roster. Having been with the team for 4 months now are we going to be seeing what he was capable of when he was the superstar in the 100 Thieves roster?

One year, one change

About a year ago OG burst onto the scene with some familiar names and now a little over a year later NBK has been benched, the squad has decided to change it up. Niko, formerly of Heroic, now has to shine in this roster and we will have to see if he can reinvent himself as he gets to play with his fellow Dane, Valde once again.

Their last place finish at IEM Katowice must have been the nail in the coffin, but there was some hope to be found in their play-in phase where they were able to take wins over FNATIC (#23) and Cloud9 (#17). Aleksib recently proclaimed, on the HLTV Confirmed podcast, the playbook of his roster is very deep and they possess all the necessary points to hang with the top teams. 

Their group A will be a perfect chance for this new line-up to prove if they can once again burst onto the scene and show an improved version of themselves.

The new kid on the block

Niko, the new addition, will be showing what he can do alongside his fellow Dane, valde. Reuniting with his former teammate, it is an interesting question to see whether he can show up and push OG over the line. Another aspect that could be very interesting, can he help OG beat his former team, Heroic.

From overseas and down under

The boys from down under, recently strengthened their ranks by aliStair as they lost Dexter to Mousesports. Their lively roster always seems to be having fun and you should be ready to see some very hype player cams coming from them.

As is almost expected by now the roster was absolutely dominating the Oceania region and most recently picked up the DreamHack Masters Winter trophy in the region. Now the roster has set foot on Europe’s mainland looking to conquer the region or at least establish themselves. 

They were unable to qualify for the main part of IEM Katowice having lost to both Mousesports (#12) and Virtus.Pro (#5), but they can keep their heads up high as they once again get the chance to prove themselves, this time during their group in EPL.

Topping the scoreboard

Following the theme of calling the new additions the standout player to watch, aliStair is the player to watch with interest. During their victory over TeamOne (#28) he topped the scoreboard for the Oceanic roster, but can he keep doing so and show up against the teams in this group. 

The Phoenix rises

Like a phoenix usually does, FunPlus Phoenix has been rising! They are truly the new kids on the block, even more so than all the players who are new to other line-ups. ESL Pro League will be their third event. 

ChrisJ’s loan ran out and now they have picked another former Mousesports player, suNny. Their main core of players, STYKO, zehn and maden, have been playing together since September 2019 and since May 2020 they have had farlig in their squad. There is bound to be some incredible synergy between the four of them.

A second place finish at DHOpen January was an excellent start for the team. They took wins over HR (#55), EG (#15) and recent IEM winners Gambit (#2) to get to the grand final. They followed this placing up with a win as Snow Sweet Snow 1 where they once again beat Gambit to take that trophy home. 

The core to watch

Since joining the org, zehN, maden and farlig have all had games where they ended up topping the scoreboard, the strength in this roster lies in the possibility of any of the players popping off during a series. Can they continuously swap the top position during group a and continue their run of form?

Make sure to follow @ESLCS on Twitter for more updates and live coverage of Group A only on twitch.tv/esl_csgo

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