Feb 23, 2023
Feb 23, 2023

Can Heroic reclaim number one? | EPL Group B Preview

Can Heroic reclaim the number one spot in the world rankings?

Will Imperial make Playoffs?

Can FURIA find consistency?

Can Heroic reclaim number one? | EPL Group B Preview

ESL Pro League Season 17 begins in Malta and sets us up for over a month of Counter-Strike. Group B is a tough one to call. It has giants like Heroic, but also offers some deadly young talent in the form of MOUZ and Complexity. Can experience prevail? Or will the young guns be too fast?

Our favourites from group B are Heroic (5.500*), FURIA (14.990*), MOUZ (21.000*) and BIG (51.020*).

Will experience prevail?

The team that will immediately scream out to the majority when looking at the team list for Group B is Imperial (101.000*). This team has been a talking point due to the legends that were involved in it. Gabriel "FalleN" Toledo, Lincoln "fnx" Lau and Fernando "fer" Alvarenga made up the original core, however only “FalleN” remains after parting with “fnx” and “fer” early last month. Many looked to Imperial as a team with the aim to sell jerseys based on the legendary names it has. This is no longer the case, as the team has picked up younger players to keep their skill level relevant in modern day Counter-Strike. They kick off their run in a Brazilian derby, against FURIA. A team who made an unexpected exit in the IEM Katowice Play-In stage too the hands of IHC.

Another team that values experience is BIG. Although the German side have struggled at recent events, they always seem to win an event each year. Johannes "tabseN" Wodarz and Fatih "gob b" Dayik are one of the most experienced duos in the game. Recent news would suggest they are looking for younger players that can grow into the roster, as they bench AWPer Florian "syrsoN" Rische. The experience of this team far outweighs that of their first opponent, Complexity (75.750*), who average a player age of 22.5 years. However, results have favoured Complexity, who have impressed many with great performances from Michael "Grim" Wince and Håkon "hallzerk" Fjærli.

Wild Wild West

Two teams that make an appearance in Group B bring us as far West as Europe allows, introducing familiar Spanish side Movistar Riders (101.000*) and Portugues SAW (34.010*). These two teams have always been write offs at events of this scale. Movistar Riders began to show improvements in 2022 by making playoffs at IEM Cologne. Since then they let go of their star player, Alvaro "SunPayus" Garcia, and have continued to struggle at tier-1. Given Heroic have been in amazing form, only recently being pushed from the world number one spot, Movistar Riders may struggle at EPL Season 17.

SAW have been the most dominant team in Portugal for many years now. They weren’t able to achieve a place at ESL Pro League Season 16 after being bested by FTW at ESL Masters Spain Season 11. FTW proceeded to lose every series at Season 16, only winning a single map against BIG. Many will be hoping SAW can achieve better results here. This group is packed with Portuguese speakers, so if SAW lose to MOUZ in their first game, they will be guaranteed to play against Imperial or FURIA. It could be a lot of disappointment both for many Brazilian and Portuguese fans.

A clear favourite

Group B has a clear favourite – Heroic. They’ve been the best Danish team after a Major run many will say they should have won and have continued to keep consistent form since Rio. Their main contender lies in FURIA, however it’s difficult to say if they will even meet in the Upper final of this group. MOUZ are a strong contender, with many young players that can rival the likes of FURIA. Heroic have the best chance to win Group B and have a great chance at competing for the trophy.

*Odds are subject to change.

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About the author

Archie Henry

With a background in film production, Archie began his esports career specialising in content. He has followed CS:GO and League of Legends since 2014 and looks to share his insight with Pinnacle.

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