ESL Pro League Finals 2017: A possibility for a SK vs Faze Finale

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The penultimate big International tournament of 2017 will see some very opinionated rivalries in action. With $750,000 on the line, this tournament definitely is one of the jewels in the CS GO Crown. There are twelve teams in action at the ESL Pro League finals to be held in

SK and Faze are undoubtedly the best teams in the world right. With multiple tournament victories under their names, these two teams have been dominating the circuit for quite sometime.

SK Gaming has had a rich history in CS GO major wins. Notably they have made roster changes just weeks before majors and yet proceeded to win majors on their skill. The SK Roster is well known for their coordination and understanding their own limitations. This allows them to play according to their strengths and ensure a decent result

SK Gaming

SK Gaming

Roster:

  • Fallen ( C )
  • Fer
  • Coldzera
  • Taco
  • Boltz

Recent Results:

  • 1st at Blast Pro Series 2017
  • 3rd-4th IEM Oakland 2017
  • 1st EPICENTER 2017
  • 9th – 12th Eleague CS GO Premier
  • 3rd-4th ESL One New York 2017

SK Gaming are undoubtedly one of the best teams in CS GO since quite sometime. Their ability to maintain their position at the top is what makes them the Number one Team on several rankings. The Brazilian roster has changed their lineup several times, often ensuring an upswing in their results.

Their most recent roster move was when they brought in Boltz from Immortals on a loan. He replaced felps on the active roster. The addition of Boltz provided some much needed space to the superstars on the team. Taking away a lot of pressure from Coldzera and fer meant that they were able to be much more flexible in their gameplay.

Can Fallen lead the Brazilians to one last hurrah in 2017?

The SK team relies on their superstars to create insane plays, but even when they are not in good form the remaining members of the team do step up in order to provide a formidable squad. With Fallen being one of the most impactful AWP – Leader Combinations in CS GO, he is vital to the success of the roster.

Map Pool

One of the biggest advantages for SK gaming remains their insanely huge map pool. The SK core has been together for a long time and they have become fluent on almost all the maps. While they still do have strong maps and weak maps, there are no maps that they simply rule out at the beginning of a veto. This map pool allows them to be extremely flexible and customise their map veto according to their opponents.

Train, Mirage, Overpass and Cobblestone are the three most played maps for SK on LAN recently. They also have a very good record on these maps with the team having a 40% win rate on a round after losing the first pick. That is some really good percentage at the professional level.

Boltz being added to the team makes space for Coldzera

With four extremely good maps for the team, the remaining three maps are juggled in and out of the match based on their opponents. SK are known to be extremely aggressive on Train and pushing Ivy with multiple players is a very well known strategy. Even though other teams might have studied SK’s playstyle it is difficult to contain the Brazilians cause Fallen has impeccable timing. His understanding of the opponent IGL’s mindset is something that gives SK a huge advantage early on in the round.

Inferno

Inferno is a very confusing map when we look at SK Gaming’s statistics. Despite it being one of their most played maps recently on LAN, the team does not have a good record on the map. They have won it 5 times and lost 7 times on it and yet most of these wins have only been against weaker teams in general. Despite this, we have seen SK win tournaments on the back off strong wins on Inferno. Inferno remains an average map for the Brazilians, but we definitely cannot count them out of this map.

Cache is one of their least played maps and they definitely try to avoid it on LANs. This has mostly to do with their opponents being exceptionally good on Cache than SK being bad. Nevertheless, their dominance as seen on other maps such as Overpass, Train is not seen on Cache. This map will depend on the opponent, but we cannot dismiss SK gaming on the map. Their T side remains strong and is one of the main reasons for their wins on Cache.

Faze Clan

Faze Clan

Roster

  • Guardian
  • Olofmeister
  • Niko
  • Rain
  • Karrigan ( C )

When Faze brought in Olofmeister and Guardian into their CS GO roster after the PGL Major, everyone knew this would be the top team in no time. And indeed, the Faze roster rose to the top ranks within no time. While the previous roster was not weak in any sense of the word, the addition of Guardian, Olofmeister leapfrogged Faze into being one of the most dominant and skilled CS GO rosters of all time.

Recent Results :

  • 3rd Blast Pro Series 2017
  • 2nd ECS Season 4 Europe
  • 2nd IEM Oakland 2017
  • 3rd ESL Pro League EU

Faze is a team that has shown itself to be extremely skilled. Even when the team did not have the tactical advantage over their opponents, individual skill led them through the finish line. Despite having the skills of superstars such as Guardian & Olofmeister, Faze consistently see Niko and Rain top the scoreboards. It is this versatility and options available to Faze that makes them one of the best teams in the scene.

Guardian along with Faze will hold key to make an impact

The biggest problem or drawback for Faze is their small map pool. Despite being a team that is extremely talented, it has proved to be one of their weaknesses in preparation. The team lacks a deep map pool, which can give them a big advantage in the veto. We saw the limitations at IEM Oakland and we have been seeing the same repeatedly now for sometime.

Map Pool

Their most avoided map is Nuke. They consistently ban the map whenever they get the chance and avoid it altogether. If they ever face this map, they should lose the 4 out of 5 times. Ofcourse the individual skill factor is always something that you can be surprised with, however Nuke is not a good map for Faze.

The good maps for them however range from Overpass, Inferno and Mirage. The strength of the Faze Lineup is aptly demonstrated on these maps with win rates over 75% on each of the three maps. It is really astounding to see their execution and familiarity with these three maps. They remain the strongest team on Overpass and Mirage, two of their most comfortable maps.

Will Olof return to form?

However despite their strong showing on these three map, their absence from other maps in the pool is very noticeable. We have already mentioned Nuke, but equally low in numbers are their matches on Cobblestone and Cache. Even when they have played these maps, they have not been able to impress us with their performances. Train is another map that yields poor results for the team.

This brings us to their recent results which show a collective inability to reach the finals of their latest events. They have almost always finished 3rd-4th or lower in their recent results. While the smaller teams might not be able to defeat Faze despite having a better map pool, against better teams Faze falters.

The Clash of the Titans

These two teams form the top ranks in CS GO. It would be fitting to see them clash against each other in the finals of ESL Pro League, one of the most prestigious CS GO event finales of the year. With the next big tournament being the Eleague Major, this event can be seen as the penultimate title before the Major.

Do you think we will see this match-up in the finals of the ESL Pro League? Or will one of the teams bow out earlier in the tournament? Do let us know in comments.


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