Group B is all about balance. The number ten, eleven and twelve in the ESL World Ranking are present in Group B making it a balanced middle of the group. Next to that we have some real unknown forces looming in the dark. The expectation certainly is that Vitality would top the group, however the French roster has not been in the best of form. The player break was a needed one and some teams have come back strong from it, others not so much and others have only just been finalized.
The six man roster back to five
While Team Vitality (#3) was not the first roster to field a six man roster going into tournaments, they were seemingly the first to really have incorporated their sixth player with success. Under the leadership of apEX and guidance of their coach XTQZZZ the team was able to work Nivera into the team. However, with Valve’s recent stance on six man rosters, Nivera has announced his departure from the organization and Vitality is back to a core of five.
Recently, the team hasn’t looked so great. Since December 15th they have lost eight out of their twelve last matches and that is a form that before the 15th looked totally different. Before the 15th the roster had won twelve out of thirteen games. It’s safe to say that Vitality is in a bit of a slump.
Now that apEX returned right before IEM Katowice it will be interesting to see what will happen with the team, can he once again get his team to eclipse the rest of the competition?
The Zywoo Factor
Arguably the best player in the world. Zywoo has taken over the Counter-Strike world ever since 2018 and proven to the community he is bound to be one of the greats and possibly the only player to compete with s1mple. The Frenchman makes the game a joy to watch and with his humble nature, an amazing player to look up to. Now it is up to him to once again push his team forward across the finish line.
The NiKo effect
The G2 roster once again gets shaken up, after a disappointing 7-8th finish at IEM Katowice the team had to shift some of their pieces. We see the fall of a legendary, infamous AWPer, kennyS, who will be replaced by the previously benched JaCkz. NiKo will take over the sniper duties and it looks like he has taken it upon himself to provide some new depth to the squad.
This roster is coming in with a bit of mystery surrounding them. Can NiKo fulfill his role as sniper, can JaCkz bring to the team what they need? These are all logical questions, one thing is for sure, G2 has the necessary firepower to finish at the top of this group.
The Bosnian factor
The Bosnian superstar now stars along his own cousin, he has been brought on to increase the firepower of the team and surely will do so. Now a new challenge comes up, can NiKo reach even greater heights as he becomes the sniping force in G2.
The trend is up and down for Mousesports, as it seemingly always has been. They had a last place finish at IEM Katowice, but were able to beat Complexity (#14) during the play-in.
They have recently lost a strong leader in karrigan, but they have gained dexter to make up for that. The pieces of mousesports seem strong individually with ropz being their biggest piece in terms of firepower. It’s going to be interesting to see whether all these pieces can combine to shine brightly once again.
Usually people would point out ropz as the player to keep your eye on, but frozen, the 18-year old super talent who has now been in Mousesports for about two years is a key player for the team. If he can show up big alongside ropz, this roster is very dangerous.
The old new is the new new
A brand new leader, but a familiar one at that. FaZe have had karrigan on the roster before and now he is back to lead his team to new-found success. A very fresh line-up, they have only played IEM Katowice so far with a 9-12th place finish.
Now we get to see something new of the FaZe team. Twistzz departed from Team Liquid where he played for a long time and was considered one of the greats from North America. Karrigan is looking to redefine some of these superstars and create a strong team that can compete with the best of the best, as a line-up like this should.
The Maple Leaf
The Canadian starplayer has been instrumental in Team Liquid’s previous success and now under the reign of karrigan it will be interesting to see whether or not he can be unleashed and show once again why many considered him North America’s best player for quite a while.
The Ninjas looming in the dark
A completely new Ninjas line-up, none of the players that once graced the roster and made the brand what it is today are still there, but the Ninjas are still an interesting team to look at. They have been very active since the player break and surely that must have helped to slot in ztr.
They have been able to take wins over big teams such as Astralis (#1) and BIG (#8) recently and now that ztr has been in the roster for a month it is really the time to prove what this team is capable of.
Funny name, good game
Having quickly developed himself as NiP’s talisman next to REZ, Plopski is still only 18 years old and consistently performing well. There is a lot of things to look at when it comes to this roster, however it could once again be a pleasure to watch the wacky-named Swede stunt on the competition.
The newly formed mix
Much like FaZe, ENCE have only had one result to judge them on so far, a 5-8th finish at Snow Sweet Snow 1. The ENCE roster has always been filled with Finnish players, but after its recent implosion the only player that remains on the roster is allu.
Snappi, doto, dycha and Spinx all joined the team very recently and have completed the roster to make into a European team. Not only is the roster brand-new, but most fans will only really recognize allu and Snappi, the other players are very much part of the unknown quantity of this team.
A trio of freshness
It’s a strange scenario to look at, but all three of the more unknown additions have interesting storylines. They get a chance to prove themselves against some top competition in this group and none of their opponents will have the chance to prepare for the players, can they use this to their advantage and show us something we wouldn’t expect?