The playoffs to Winners League are just over the horizon and that has teams bringing their best. Squads have made the push to lock up a top-four finish in their respective groups, and teams on the outside are looking to make a late run to sneak their way in.
That has made for some fierce competition among those teams teetering on the edge. This week also saw many of the favorites to win flex their muscles and show that they still belong at the front of the pack.
Virtus.pro is the biggest name in Winners League Season 2, but the team hasn’t really looked to be at its best for much of the season. That changed this week. On a hectic May 9 day of play, Virtus.pro scored a pair of wins over Codewise Unicorns and Berzerk.
Virtus.pro’s run through the group stage has been successful to this point, but roster turmoil has been an issue with the team. Those moves paid off here, with newcomer Arek "Vegi" Nawojski topping the scoreboards in both games.
Despite a quick 16-4 win over Berzerk, he managed to huge 25-12 K/D. The game against Codewise Unicorns was considerably more competitive, but Vegi still shined as he went 25-15 en route to a 16-11 win.
The team still has a lot of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive ahead of it in Winners League and plenty more work to do in attempting to return to the glory of 2015. But this is a good start.
Group A of the North American division has been host to a lot of action, but Lazarus Esports has largely flown under the radar to this point. That’s not because the team hasn’t been successful. Lazarus has racked up a 4-1 record to this point in the season and has generally looked excellent along the way. They’ve just had a lot of competition with Polar Ace Esports, ATK, and Big Frames all looking strong in the group stage.
That changed this week with Lazarus turning its game against Variance into a live highlight reel.
There are plenty of options to pick from, with Gage "Infinite" Green popping off for 28 kills and Michael "dapr" Gulino making big plays throughout the game. But the best overall highlight was likely Braxton "swag" Pierce’s one versus three clutch in round five, as he quickly mowed everyone down to steal the round and keep Lazarus’s momentum going. Lazarus won the game 16-4 and is almost certainly headed to the playoffs as a result.
The group stage of Winners League Season 2 has officially hit the point where teams are in do or die mode. Many teams are walking on tightropes towards the playoffs, while others need to dig their way out of holes in order to qualify.
That adds very obvious stakes to many of this week’s Winners League matches, including next week’s tilt between Codewise Unicorns and Monolith Gaming.
Codewise Unicorns is already on the brink of being forced out of the playoffs with a 2-3 record and will need to win their way out of the group stage in order to get into the playoffs. Monolith has a bit more wiggle room with a 2-2 record, but still has stiff matchups with Offset Esports and Virtus.pro ahead. The Russian squad has the look a real contender, but has little margin for error in its final three games.
They face off on May 14.
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