ESL Pro League Season XIV – The Storylines from Group C

August 26, 2021 | 0 | 250| |

ESL Pro League Season XIV is already wrapping its second week of matches, and with the games from group B coming to an end, it’s time to look forward to the six teams from group C.

Considered the most competitive out of the four groups of this season of EPL, group C is the group that you won’t want to miss any match from. With the likes of Na’Vi, FNATIC and FaZe heading to the server, lots of interesting developments are ahead of us.

So, in order to make sure you’re fully updated on all of the six teams taking part in the third week of EPL Season XIV, let’s take a closer look at their backgrounds, current storylines and some statistics!

BIG – Less Turkish, More Danish

gadeRifler1.081.07 @ FunSpark ULTI EU Playoffs 1
k1toRifler [entry fragger]0.981.02 @ IEM Cologne 2021
syrsoNAWPer1.121.07 @ IEM Cologne 2021
tabseNIn-Game Leader1.080.99 @ IEM Cologne 2021
tiziaNRifler [support]0.940.92 @ IEM Cologne 2021

As many expected after weeks of rumors, İsmailсan “XANTARES” Dörtkardeş run with BIG came to an end in early August. In his place comes Nicklas “gade” Gade, mostly known for his time at North and OpTic.

While gade is an interesting player with plenty of experience under his belt already, it will be difficult to replace XANTARES. The Turkish player was a consistent, rock-solid player that often held BIG together when the team started crumbling in-game. When you consider that XANTARES joined BIG back in 2018, it makes even more clear why replacing him will be almost impossible for now.

Making up for it

BIG is aware of that, though. In a recent interview with HLTV, BIG’s captain Johannes “⁠tabseN⁠” Wodarz acknowledged that his team will need to get more frags to compensate:

Basically, everyone needs to have more kills overall, and of course, we need someone who is going to put up numbers. Either it is me, syrsoN, it can be k1to, tiziaN, or gade. I think every one of us is capable of putting up numbers, but in the overall picture, everyone needs to be a little bit better.’

tabseN on HLTV Confirmed

However, that puts in question whether or not BIG will manage to do that. While both tabseN and Florian “syrsoN” Rische have delivered good performances across the board this year, the same can’t be said for the rest of the team. Nils “k1to” Gruhne and Tizian “tiziaN” Feldbusch have struggled plenty when it comes to individual performances. Gade has a better rating overall this year, but he faced a completely different level of opposition than BIG’s player, so it’s not comparable.

In Pro League, BIG is still a contender but they should have a quieter tournament this time. With gade taking his time to adapt and tabseN taking notes of how to rebuild BIG without XANTARES, expectations are on the lower side.

EVIL GENIUSES – Daps returns to the server

BrehzeRifler [lurker]1.041.09 @ IEM Cologne 2021 Play-In
CeRqAWPer0.970.97 @ IEM Cologne 2021 Play-In
dapsIn-Game Leader, Coach
MICHURifler [entry fragger]1.021.19 @ IEM Cologne 2021 Play-In
oBoRifler1.071.11 @ IEM Cologne 2021 Play-In

Evil Geniuses is coming to ESL Pro League with lowered expectations. As announced during the player break, the team’s captain, Peter “stanislaw” Jarguz, temporary left the team for personal reasons. In his place, one of the most known IGLs from North America will assume the role: Damian ‘daps’ Steele.

This makes Evil Geniuses an interesting team to watch. Daps had time to work with stanislaw in EG’s systems as he was signed as the team’s coach back in June, before IEM Cologne. However, considering that daps hasn’t played an official game since September last year, EG will be starved of firepower if Cologne is anything to go by.


Still, on paper EG has four excellent players with fragging potential. While Michał “MICHU” Müller and Owen “oBo” Schlatter have been reliable, especially MICHU, the same can’t be said of the other two players in the team. Brehze hasn’t been on top of his game for some time now, and CeRq performances have been very underwhelming. If daps is able to reignite Brehze and especially CeRq though, then we could be on the verge of seeing a very different EG. CeRq getting his form back is a priority task for EG, and achieving that in Pro League could be the bail out that EG needs so much.

That, however, is just a remote what-if scenario. As things stand, Evil Geniuses has struggled plenty with firepower, and daps entering the server as a player won’t solve that. Unfortunately for EG, this season of Pro League will see its weakest iteration yet.

FAZE CLAN – Keeping It Up

brokyAWPer1.091.13 @ IEM Cologne 2021
KarriganIn-Game Leader0.910.88 @ IEM Cologne 2021
olofmeisterRifler [support, lurker]0.970.92 @ IEM Cologne 2021
rainRifler [entry fragger]1.001.01 @ IEM Cologne 2021
TwistzzRifler1.131.13 @ IEM Cologne 2021

After finishing three events back-to-back in last place, FaZe Clan surprisingly resurged during IEM Cologne 2021. Delivering its best performance of the year on LAN, FaZe entered the player break with the heads-up and left fans thirsty for more.

With the off-season done, FaZe returns to the server. Now, it’s their chance to prove that Cologne wasn’t a fluke. After all, FaZe went through months of disappointments, and now they finally built some momentum. Keeping that up is crucial.

However, being on group C of Pro League, FaZe will have to fire on all cylinders to accomplish that. With the likes of BIG and EG looking to upset any team they can, FNATIC eager to show off its new players and Na’Vi longing to start their journey as the best team in the world, advancing from this group will require the best of every team and FaZe is no exception.

Living Up

It won’t be easy, but there’s no other option for FaZe. Anything but advancing from this group will be seen as a negative result. And even then, just advancing won’t be enough. Everyone wants to see FaZe reach at least the semi-finals after what they have accomplished in Cologne.

This means that there’s pressure building around FaZe. But fortunately for Karrigan, he is more than able to deal with it, and so is his team. There’s no lack of experience in FaZe, and there’s no excuses to be made. FaZe is expected to perform well, it’s simple as that.

FNATIC – New Leadership, New Hopes

ALEXIn-Game Leader1.001.03 @ ESL Pro League Season XIII
BrollanRifler [entry fragger]1.101.23 @ IEM Summer 2021
JackinhoAWPer1.021.00 @ IEM Summer 2021
KRIMZRifler1.021.05 @ IEM Summer 2021
meziiRifler [support, lurker]1.171.22 @ Pinnacle Cup II

After months of overwhelmingly negative results, FNATIC announced massive roster moves during the off-season. Gone is the team ex-IGL ‘golden’ and legendary player ‘JW’. Now, Alex ‘ALEX’ McMeekin will be taking the leadership role, and William ‘mezii’ Merriman has been added to add more firepower in FNATIC’s equation.

So, FNATIC finally has a promising lineup in CSGO after some of its roughest months since they entered the game. ALEX is known for his time with Vitality, when he led that team to win cs_summit 4, ECS Season 7 Finals and EPICENTER 2019. He also spend months building one of the most successful iterations of LDLC in recent years, so there’s plenty of reasons to trust the man with FNATIC. Of course, his stint with Cloud9 was a rough one, but it’s hard to judge that squad due to the circumstances that surrounded it from its first day. In any case, Pro League Season XIV might be the first time we will see this squad in action, but there’s already plenty of excitement from fans. FNATIC finally is looking good.

It takes time

It’s good to keep expectations in check, though. While ALEX had time to start building this team from the ground, only now that he will be able to get data from official matches to work with. Joining a team and rebuilding it takes time out and in the server.

Still, that doesn’t mean that FNATIC won’t have a good tournament. With Ludvig ‘Brollan’ Brolin, Freddy ‘KRIMZ’ Johansson and now mezii, they definitely have plenty of firepower to work with. Moreover, in a recent interview with Expressen, KRIMZ has stated that he feels motivated once again, and the team is already doing a bootcamp in Poland. This certainly paints FNATIC’s situation in a good light, and who knows, it’s definitely possible that they will be one of the teams going forward in Pro League.

MOUSESPORTS – Surrounded by Uncertainty

acoRAWPer1.040.91 @ IEM Cologne 2021
BymasRifler [entry fragger]1.020.97 @ IEM Cologne 2021
dexterIn-Game Leader0.970.88 @ IEM Cologne 2021
frozenRifler [entry fragger]1.150.96 @ IEM Cologne 2021
ropzRifler [lurker]1.201.12 @ IEM Cologne 2021

Besides finishing 1st in SNS 3 and Flashpoint 3, Mousesports had a quiet year in 2021 until then. However, after finishing last in IEM Cologne 2021, Mousesports entered the player break with their heads down. Considering Cologne and DreamHack Masters Spring, it simply hasn’t been a good year for them.

It’s hard to point out what exactly is going on with this roster. On paper, this should be one of the best Mousesports lineups ever. After all, Robin ‘ropz’ Kool keeps delivering great performances and David ‘frozen’ Čerňanský is closely following the Estonian player performance-wise, that alone is a solid base to build upon. Unfortunately, however, that simply isn’t happening. Whether this is happening due to Frederik ‘acoR’ Gyldstrand inconsistency, Aurimas ‘Bymas’ Pipiras performances, or Christopher “dexter” Nong leadership, that’s yet to be seen.

Tough spot

Pro League will be Mousesports’ opportunity to put various doubts surrounding them to rest. It’s time for everyone in the squad to step-up alongside ropz. For dexter, this also means stepping-up as a leader. Last time in Cologne it became clear that the young captain became overwhelmed during Mouz’ elimination series. This isn’t uncommon, but it’s something that him and his team needs to work on.

What can we expect from Mousesports in group C, though? They are a tough one to predict due to the possible impact of the player break. Maybe all dexter & co. needed was time. Maybe the loss at IEM Cologne weighted too much on this roster, and doubts about themselves have surfaced. It’s a tough spot to be in, and one that requires a lot of strength to go through.

NATUS VINCERE – The Pressure of Being the Best

b1tRifler1.081.22 @ IEM Cologne 2021
Boombl4In-Game Leader0.980.98 @ IEM Cologne 2021
electronicRifler1.121.23 @ IEM Cologne 2021
PerfectoRifler [support, lurker]1.031.13 @ IEM Cologne 2021
s1mpleAWPer1.351.51 @ IEM Cologne 2021

Natus Vincere is the best team in the world right now, and this is the best iteration of Na’Vi we have seen in CSGO. The team has a consistent leader that can step-up when needed, a solid pillar to support its stars, and of course, three incredible players, including Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev.

So now Na’Vi is the team every other squad will be aiming at, not only in this group, but on the whole tournament. This means that the pressure of being the best is on. Na’Vi will have to stand through various trials in the coming days as they fight to stay on the top. After all, most, if not every team in EPL has studied Na’Vi during the off-season.

They can do it

While this isn’t an easy position to be in, Natus Vincere is ready for this challenge. As mentioned above, they have reached a level where they do well in every aspect of the game. If Na’Vi can bring the same performances from Cologne, then fans should ready up for one of their best showings that we’ve ever seen in ESL Pro League

This season of Pro League is the first challenge that Na’Vi will have as the best team in the world this time around. Natus Vincere has been on the top before, but it’s the first time that they have such a well-rounded team to back it up. It’s also the first tournament in their journey to the Major, and it’s imperative that Na’Vi establish themselves as the powerhouse they are right in their first match.

ESL Pro League Group C kicks off this weekend

Make sure you tune-up this weekend on ESL’s official Twitch channels in order to not miss a match from the group C. After all, the group will already start hot on Friday with BIG taking on Evil Geniuses, Natus Vincere facing FNATIC and a clash between FaZe and Mousesports.

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The author

My name is Marcos, I have been following the CSGO pro scene since 2015 but really got into in following games and pro teams in 2016. Used to bet a lot, stopped a bit but never stopped following the esports scene. I'm a student right now so I got a lot of time to keep with it and discover new things.

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