In the final group of the ESL Pro League, another six teams will compete to lock in a spot in the play-offs of the tournament.
All teams in Group D are eager to scoop a lion’s share of the $750,000 prize pool the tournament boasts. The group is arguably one of the most competitive, with Astralis, Evil Geniuses, Team Liquid, Virtus.pro, Endpoint, and Fnatic locking horns. Only three teams will continue on to the playoffs.
On the first day of play, Team Liquid and Fnatic will face off, with both teams hoping for a solid tournament run after making roster changes earlier this year. Team Liquid brought in experienced AWPer Gabriel “FalleN” Toledo, hoping the Brazilian can recreate his best form and lead the team to victories. Fnatic took a chance on signing the unknown Jack “Jackinho” Strom Mattsen, who signed his first professional contract with the team.
Team Liquid enters the tournament following a disappointing run at DreamHack Open March. Due to visa issues, FalleN had to play the event from Europe, while his team traveled back to the United States after playing in European events since the start of the year.
We have to give Team Liquid some credit, as having one player play from a different continent is far from ideal, but a team of its stature can’t be satisfied with a loss to paiN Gaming in the semifinals of an event they’re favored to win. But this lineup still has the potential to achieve great things, as they showed with their deep run at IEM Katowice.
Fnatic is a difficult team to pinpoint. In the first event after signing Jackinho, the squad managed to reach the grand final of cs_Summit 7. But following this successful debut, the Swedes were eliminated from the IEM Katowice Play-ins and didn’t make it out of the Open Qualifier for the DreamHack Masters Spring.
Fnatic has always been a team of high highs and low lows, but what version will show up at EPL Season 13? Fnatic can run through every team in Group D on a good day, but can just as easily lose to all of them.
We will see two of the most legendary AWPers face-off, with the aforementioned FalleN going up against the wonderchild himself, Jesper “JW” Wecksell. Both players have their own unique playstyle, with FalleN being a calm, deliberate player and JW being the polar opposite, known for his ridiculous aggression.
While JW’s playstyle is hit or miss, he can single-handedly win rounds and map. But when countered, he can fall silent and have minimal impact. FalleN, on the other hand, is a more consistent performer. While he has his off days, he will always have some impact. FalleN is not only the AWPer of the team but also fulfills the in-game leader duties.
A match involving Fnatic is always hard to predict. But based on form, activity, and momentum Team Liquid should be the favorites. Team Liquid always plays on a high level and has what it takes to make it out of this group. But Fnatic has a certain x-factor, and can never be counted out, no matter the opposition.