OG doesn’t always play hot, but CSGO fans should keep an eye on the international squad at ESL Pro League Season 14.
OG’s Counter-Strike: Global Offensive team was expected to finish third in Ggroup B with a chance of early elimination. Instead, the squad launched straight into the top eight with a flawless match record. With so much momentum heading into the $750,000 playoffs, is OG a surprise favorite to win ESL Pro League Season 14?
2021 was a tumultuous year for OG’s CSGO roster. The international roster benched legendary French captain Nathan “NBK-” Schmitt. Not satisfied, OG also cut lurker Issa “ISSAA” Murad just three weeks later. The pair were replaced by Nikolaj “niko” Kristensen from Heroic and Shahar “flameZ” Shushan. The squad’s results before ESL Pro League were spotty, ranging from second place at IEM Summer to almost last at IEM Cologne.
It was clear that OG was a contender from the very first game day. Group D was supposed to be a race between G2 Esport and Virtus.pro. In defiance of expectation, OG started its run with a shockingly decisive upset over VP. AWPer Mateusz “mantuu” Wilczewski popped off to earn 27 kills in 27 rounds. Virtus.pro was expected to bounce back on their own pick Dust_2, but an insane 131.9 average damage from niko cinched the opening round for his team.
The very next match was against G2 Esports, the runner-up of IEM Cologne 2021. Against all odds, OG managed to beat G2 even harder than Virtus.pro. OG switched to CT on Mirage down 9-6. Despite that deficit, the team’s ironclad site holds secured a 16-10 comeback. flameZ played with the bravado of a pub match, shutting down G2 Esports’ rushes with the help of perfectly timed utility.
After defeating both of Group B’s top seeds, OG coasted over forZe, Sinners, and Complexity to earn an express trip to the top eight. That guarantees at least $13,750, but the champion’s prize of $175,000 is the only thing on captain Aleksi “Aleksib” Virolainen’s mind.
Very possible, but still a lot to go. In-game leader Aleksib does a superb job at carving up the map to take advantage of his key fraggers. Excellent performances by flameZ and niko take some of the pressure off of mantuu, but the Polish-British AWPer needs to come online against some of OG’s tougher opponents.
OG’s reputation as a streaky team could come back to haunt it in ESL Pro League Season 14. Fellow group stage frontrunners Heroic, Natus Vincere, and Gambit Esports still stand between OG and its first top-level championship. OG’s first ESL Pro League Season 14 playoffs match will be against either mouseports or Ninjas in Pyjamas starting September 10 at 9 am CDT.