EPL Group C Preview

Join the CIS Revolution

The CIS teams have been dominating thus far and this seems like it will be a trend to continue throughout 2021. Gambit have just won IEM Katowice and are joined by Natus Vincere who have won BLAST Premier Global Final 2020. The two very best CIS teams are in the same group. They are joined by Cloud9 and a trio of Brazilian teams in FURIA, TeamOne and MIBR. Which of these teams will be able to join Gambit and Natus Vincere, who are favoured to go through, in the playoffs.

Natus Vincere (#4)

Natus Vincere has been off to a blistering start to the year, taking a win at the BLAST Premier Global Finals and losing in the quarter finals of IEM Katowice to fellow CIS team and eventual winner Gambit (#2). 

This team has an incredible x-factor with the greatest CS:GO player of all-time with s1mple and a superstar alongside him in electronic, these two players put them in contention for any match and tournament. Their peak level is almost unbeatable, but it’s all too rare to see it, in the end it can end up on s1mple’s shoulders who has to fight tooth and nail to clinch the wins. 

There is some fierce competition in this group, but even with Gambit picking up IEM Katowice most recently, Natus Vincere is still the favourite going into this and knowing what standards they hold themselves to, they’ll want to top this group.

It’s not always that s1mple

While s1mple has for years been cementing himself as the best CS:GO player ever he has recently found himself doing even more for his team and giving Natus Vincere another dimension by moving around and positioning himself on the frontlines when his opponents least expect it.

Gambit (#2)

A steady trajectory for the team has led to some great results for the team recently culminating in the biggest win of this roster yet, IEM Katowice. Slowly, but surely Gambit have been establishing themselves as a top team that everyone should look out for. Over the course of the last month they have beaten all the top CIS teams and while they are not yet the top dog of the region, they are surely getting close.

With sh1ro as the main firepower in the team and a climb to the second spot in the ESL World Ranking it will be interesting to see whether or not Gambit can keep up this form. They surely have set the expectations high and it would be strange not to see them go through in the group.

Don’t shy away from sh1ro

He rarely misses a beat. Sh1ro has continuously shown himself to be a deciding factor in the team, being especially strong when it comes to clutching. He might not be as aggressive as a s1mple, but he is just as important for his team. He will be an instrumental part to the success Gambit is looking for.

FURIA (#9)

Hyper-aggressive, the holders of the W-key, ferocious in their playstyle. FURIA has captured the hearts of many CS fans by their flashy playbook filled with crazy pushes that some might only see in matchmaking games. The Brazilian team found a lot of early success and for a while dominated the North American region, but now they have lost some of their players and with a new roster they are faring not as well as they’d like.

A 7th-8th place finish at IEM Katowice is not what the team was looking for, but a respectable first showing having brought in junior and honda (as a substitute). Having moved out to Europe to compete against the best hasn’t been going amazing for the team as they have only been able to win four of their last ten games since the player break. The question is whether the team has been able to adapt to the level and integrate its new players to come back stronger during the EPL Season.

It’s simply arT

FURIA is known for their aggression and there is no else that lives more by this theory than arT. The Brazilian sometimes just seems to hold the W-button as he enters a side of the map. Undoubtedly causing frustration among his opponents. arT and his team could see a better result here as they have the style, the firepower and all they need now is the form.

Cloud9 (#19)

Dubbed the Colossus, doubling down on becoming a world-class roster and force in CS. Cloud9 showed some promise in the inception of the roster, but so far it’s been mostly disappointing and their results have reflected that. They couldn’t make it through the IEM Katowice Play-In and only reached a 7th-8th place finish at cs_summit 7 and to top of a disappointing run they were unable to make it through the DreamHack Masters Spring qualifier.

The community has been doubtful following these results and Cloud9 is out here to prove something, they have brought in Xeppaa over a month ago and now it’s the question of whether or not they have been able to implement him into the roster. If they have, then we can expect a team fighting for a spot in the playoffs. 

The high price tag

Es3tag was their most premier acquisition and the last three months he has not offered what Cloud9 needs out of him. We know how well the young Dane can play, but the question is when we will see it if at all. It surely could be the X factor for his team to upset some of the higher ranked teams in the groups as Cloud9 belongs to the dark horses of the group.

TeamOne (#33)

Another one of the Brazilian teams in the group, but much more of an unknown quantity in Europe than FURIA is. They have only recently moved to Europe and are looking to compete with some of the top dogs. 

The ambition is there, but the results have not been what they are looking for. They came in deadlast in the IEM Katowice Play-In. In North America they were always in contention for the tournament wins and now it’s time for them to adjust to the steeper competition they’ll find in the European region.

Like many rosters at this point, TeamOne used to field a sixth player in cass1n, but they have recently decided to bench the player and just five remain on the active roster, could they be enough to cause an upset and possibly even move on to the playoffs.

Will he be the X factor

malbsMd has been their biggest fragging power as of late and now it is time for the Guatemalan to show what he is made of. He could be the talisman for this roster.

MIBR (#40)

It’s been a turbulent few months for the organization, but the team is back and fielding a full Brazilian line-up with some familiar faces such as boltz and yel. They have been around for a while and in the case of boltz has played with some of the former MIBR players, they now join the legendary name this organization holds. 

A 9th-12th place at the IEM Katowice Play-In and a 10th-12th place finish at BLAST Premier Spring Groups doesn’t look too good for the team and they are only two months into the process. Their results have thus far not been amazing, however now it’s time to see what this group of players is capable of. Their future could be bright, but the light of MIBR could also be very dim. 

Will lightning strike

Boltz is the player to watch for this team and he is surely going to have to be the main firepower in the roster. The 23-year old performed well in his earlier teams and now more than ever it is time for him to step up and bring new life into the MIBR team. They are together with TeamOne the most unlikely team to make it through, but that does make it even more interesting to see what they can bring to the table.

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