Wrapping up Day 1, Group B’s first foray into ESL Pro League Season 17.
The first day of matches in Group B of ESL Pro League’s Season 17 has come to an end, and while two of them were pretty one-sided, the other two delivered in spades what only deliciously close Counter-Strike games can do. Since it was just the first day, there were no real heartbreaks, but there’s no doubt that some of the teams will be disappointed by their results, while others will be jubilant. If you failed to watch the matches while they were live, here’s an idea of what went down.
ESL Pro League Season 17 Group B Day 1 Matches
The first match of the day saw dangerous Danish side Heroic face Spanish underdogs Movistar Riders. This was followed by struggling Germans BIG going up against American underdogs Complexity, before a Brazilian derby of Imperial Esports vs FURIA Esports lit up our screens. Running simultaneously alongside that last one was a game between Portuguese underdogs SAW and the more successful German squad of MOUZ.
Heroic vs Movistar Riders
Heroic have been at the top of their game (or thereabouts) for quite a while now. The BLAST Premier Fall Final winners have gotten two big silver medals alongside their Fall triumph over the last 3 big tournaments that they have played with a full squad, and they still look hungry for more. Movistar Riders, on the other hand, seem to be a little lost at the moment, with things crumbling around them since they lost their star AWPer in the fall of last year. Needless to say, Heroic were the favorites going into this.
On the Riders’ pick Ancient, the Spanish side could barely scrounge up 3 measly rounds on the attack, which was far from ideal against any team, let alone one of Heroic’s pedigree. Their defense didn’t hold either, with Heroic dispatching their target within just 7 rounds for a 16-6 win. It’s hard to decide who was better between René “TeSeS” Madsen, Martin “stavn” Lund and Jakob “Jabbi” Nygaard because they were all brilliant.
Heroic’s pick Overpass went even worse for the Riders as they were only able to pick up a solitary round on the defense. Although their T-side was slightly better, they still got pounded to a 16-5 defeat in short order. This time, stavn was absolutely merciless with Casper “cadiaN” Møller also providing some highlight reel plays.
BIG vs Complexity
Every time we talk about BIG, we discuss how the Germans have plenty of potential but aren’t being able to make the best of it, that they’re a case of missed opportunities, and that they tend to choke. Up against Complexity, who have similar issues on their side, BIG would at least be on even footing against a team they have had some success against in the past. The Americans, on the other hand, have improved greatly lately, and would be looking to make some headway into the tournament through the Upper Bracket at the expense of BIG.
BIG’s pick Ancient didn’t go very well for them as they were only able to pick up 5 rounds after conceding no fewer than 6 Defuses. One the sides got switched, they never really looked sure of themselves, and soon succumbed to a potent COL attack for a poor 16-8 loss. Ricky ”floppy” Kemery was especially brilliant on the rifles, with Justin ”FaNg” Coakley and Håkon ”hallzerk” Fjærli also contributing heavily.
COL managed to start their pick Nuke fairly well, picking up 5 rounds in the first 7. However, BIG hunkered down and didn’t so much as let COL plant the bomb in the last 8 rounds to seal a 10-5 half. Once on the other side, COL mounted a strong defense despite losing the Pistol Round to go up 12-11, but BIG countered with 5 of the next 6 rounds to win the match 16-12. Karim ”Krimbo” Moussa and Marcel “hyped” Köhn were instrumental to BIG’s victory.
Moving on to the decider Vertigo, BIG’s T-side was only marginally better than their previous offerings as they got 6 rounds on the attacking half. They started extremely well on the defense, though, taking 8 rounds out of 9 to get to a 14-10 lead. COL managed to claw four back on the trot, but BIG woke back up just in time to secure a 16-14 triumph and a 2-1 series win. For all their efforts, floppy and hallzerk didn’t have much to show as hyped once again proved to be the best player on BIG and the most impactful one on the server.
Imperial Esports vs FURIA Esports
On paper, FURIA have a far greater pedigree than Imperial, but the regional rivals still have extremely competitive games most of the time. The aging legend-laden team gives the young talents on FURIA a run for their money, especially since they have ex-FURIA Vinicius “VINI” Figueiredo telling them how his old team might play. On the other hand, Rio Major Semifinalists FURIA are just more youthful and much more in form than their older counterparts.
On Imperial’s pick of Inferno, they managed to grab a decent 6 rounds on the attack, and while they managed to tie up the scores at 9-9 with 3 early rounds on their CT-side, FURIA struck back strong and prevented them from stringing too many rounds together to manage a scrappy but effective 16-13 victory. Kaike “KSCERATO” Cerato and Rafael “saffee” Costa both starred for the winning team.
Moving on to FURIA’s pick of Mirage, they got 6 rounds on their attack like Imperial in the previous map. However, this time they’re the ones who fell behind in the first three rounds to trail 12-6. A short exchange of rounds later, FURIA were staring down the barrel of a potential third map with the score at 15-10, but they managed to hold strong and take the game into Overtime, where they completed the comeback 19-16. Once again, saffee was in top shape, while Andrei “arT” Piovezan and Kaike “KSCERATO” Cerato were more than efficient.
SAW vs MOUZ
SAW are the second Iberian team in the group, and by now they’re ranked much higher than the team they once lagged behind. They took on the might of MOUZ, who have themselves climbed up the ranks in the last few months. Called a German side because of their origins but only having one German dual citizen on board, MOUZ have already won a Pro League, but it’s been a while since then, and about time they got their hands on a big trophy.
Like Movister Riders before them, SAW floundered on the T-side of their map pick Vertigo, only managing to score 3 rounds. Sadly, their defense was non-existent, and they lost 16-3. Dorian “xertioN” Berman was in ridiculous form with a 2.18 rating, while Christopher “dexter” Nong and David ”frozen” Čerňanský weren’t far behind.
Moving on to MOUZ’s pick Ancient, the Germans made a statement with a powerful 10 rounds on the attack despite a valiant attempt by the Portuguese boys. Once on the attack, all SAW could do was manage a subpar four rounds as they lost the match 16-9 for a straight series defeat. For MOUZ, frozen was once again key, with xertioN also playing an important role.
Join us again for the next edition of recaps when we discuss Day 2’s matches, and take a look at the truckload of other CSGO content we have while you wait.