Group C is one of the closest ones in this year’s ESL Pro League in terms of skill levels, so it will be interesting to see how things will play out. Let’s dive in and check the squads in Group C, as well as some of the more intriguing discussion issues.
We’ve acquired a sense for the competition format and the teams competing in the first two brackets now that the ESL Pro League S15 is well underway. Given the unexpected nature of the results thus far, we can expect more nail-biting confrontations in the future.
The Underdog Group
Due to ESL’s prohibition on enterprises with ties to the Russian government, Group C is theoretically the worst ranked group at Pro League, with the Gambit team participating as Players as the only team ranked in the top 15. The majority of the squads are newer lineups that have yet to demonstrate their full ability or teams who have never competed at this level before.
However, CSGO is a part of gaming where we have been proven wrong by the underdogs numerous times, so underestimating any of the teams listed would be a huge mistake. They all appear to be quite evenly balanced, and the group appears to be nearly impossible to forecast.
We’re taking a quick glance at the most intriguing news that comes out of each squad and their aspirations for the tournament, as each club in the group is having problems in some fashion.
Gambit has just received some unsettling news, with the firm revealing that Konstantin “groove” Pikiner has resigned as a director, shortly after Alexey “OverDrive” Birukov revealed that the roster is for sale. Due to ESL’s ban on organizations with Russian ties, the squad will also compete under the “Players” tag, so the players will have that on their minds while playing.
Despite their shaky predicament, they are still overwhelming favorites to advance to the next round. However, as we witnessed in the prior 2 groups, many of the bigger stars were discovered and struggled to produce results, so the CIS squad must step up.
Following an unsatisfactory performance at IEM Katowice, where they fell to Astralis and fnatic and therefore failed to qualify for the Play-In, the squad chose to bring in Karim “Krimbo” Moussa in exchange for Nils “k1to” Gruhne.
BIG is hoping that they’ve finally found the lineup that will put an end to their moniker as the “Gatekeepers of Tier 1” that they’ve earned over the last several years. We’ll see if the arrival of Krimbo was the catalyst for them to make that leap.
GODSENT’s year has been a disappointment thus far, as the squad has been unable to build on its strong performance at IEM Winter after last year. The Brazilian team did not qualify for the main event at IEM Katowice, but their failure to move to the PGL Major Antwerp 2022 Americas RMR in both attempts, falling to TeamOne and ATK, aroused even more worries.
Liquid has been underperforming in international tournaments since the introduction of their regular roster at the beginning of the year, finishing dead last in the IEM Katowice and BLAST Premier Spring Groups. They qualified for the PGL Major Antwerp 2022 Americas RMR with ease, so they should be confident entering into this group.
The Spaniards have been steadily falling down the standings over the last 6 months, with the 14th-place finish they achieved in October 2021. They are frequent at the biggest events but have yet to prove that they genuinely belong among the big boys, with an early departure at the IEM Katowice Play-In and a shock loss to 9z in the ESL Challenger February group stage.
With names like Josh “PwnAlone” Pigue, Jonathan “Jonji” Carey, and Jonathan “djay” Dallal competing in numerous North American tournaments for years, the Party Astronauts core are a team that has traditionally been a staple of the lower tier NA scene. They qualified for their first major event after winning ESEA Premier Season 38 North America in October 2021, where they defeated Extra Salt in the final. Although public expectations for the squad are modest, they could always surprise.