| Tags: Cloud9, CS:GO, Esports, Gaming, IEM
| Author The Old One
ESL Pro League Season 17 Group C Team Preview
The Group Stage reaches its second half, and we assess the penultimate group
The third group of ESL Pro League Season 17 is about to commence, and although this group seems to be relatively straightforward in terms of which teams might go through, it’s still important — or possibly interesting — for anyone who loves the game to know how the teams stand. Moreover, matches after the first round will get increasingly interesting, and CSGO is a notoriously unpredictable, momentum-based game. If you’ve got stakes involved, you should continue reading and find out how we think each of these teams stand.
ESL Pro League Season 17 Group C Teams
- FaZe Clan
- paiN Gaming
- Ninjas in Pyjamas
- 00 Nation
- Team Vitality
- Håvard “rain” Nygaard
- Helvijs “broky” Saukants
- Russel “Twistzz” Van Dulken
- Finn “karrigan” Andersen
- Robin “ropz” Kool
Arguably the best team in the group and undoubtedly one of the best at the tournament, FaZe require no introduction to even the most occasional followers of the CSGO scene. Manned by an all-star squad, the team has been struggling to rediscover their early-2022 form and complete their Intel Grand Slam for quite a while now, and with time running out, this is their best chance in a while to lock the prize and secure an extra $1,000,000. With what seems to be a relatively easy path to the Playoffs for them a certainty, FaZe should make it there with ease.
While karrigan is more of a leader than a fragger a la G2’s Rasmus “HooXi” Nielsen, he certainly packs a far greater punch, and as long as he keeps his feet on the ground, his strats should secure a deep run for FaZe — if not silverware. Twistzz and ropz are the backbone of the team, with one making important match-winning plays and the other being a resolute, ice-cold warrior. The most important aspect of FaZe’s game will be the forms of rain and broky, which can either make or break their tournament.
- Tynan “TjP” Purtell
- Tyson “asap” Paterson
- Akram “ADK” Smida
- Corey “nettik” Browne
- Michael “chelleos” Hawkins
You can be forgiven if you know relatively little about this team, because frankly so do we. Quite the force in the Oceania/Asia-Pacific region, Rooster has come a long way since their formation in 2019. They are a Tier-3 or so team with very little experience, with their greatest achievements thus far happening during CSGO’s Covid-stricken online era, and biggest success since then being coming second in ESL ANZ Champs Season 15. With such little professional experience, Rooster are one of if not the biggest underdog(s) at the tournament.
As for their players, the team has one of the youngest squads in the pro scene, with most of their players being either teenagers or in their early 20s. Rookie talent asap’s return from Paradox Esports will have given them a bit of a boost, while ADK is another experienced Rooster hand who came back to the scene when the team reformed last October after a long hiatus. They’re also playing with stand-in TjP, which can’t possibly make things better for them. Up against FaZe in the first round, it’s safe to say that they don’t stand much of a chance.
- Gabriel “NEKIZ” Schenato
- Rodrigo “biguzera” Bittencourt
- Wesley “hardzao” Lopes
- Romeu “zevy” Rocco
- Felipe “skullz” Medeiros
The Brazilian side has experienced plenty of their namesake emotion in the last few months, getting knocked out of the qualifiers for the Intel Extreme Masters Rio Major and showing a pitiful performance in Katowice. That being said, their performance is on the rise at the moment, with the Brazilians securing a spot in the North American Regional Major Rankings Qualifier and also taking the ESEA Cash Cup: North America – Winter 2023 #3 after beating Evil Geniuses in the final. Their first game is versus NIP, and given the Swedes’ shaky form, anything’s possible.
With their usual IGL Vinícios “PKL” Coelho inactive since early February, paiN will be playing the tournament with a substitute. Regardless of this, their current squad is pretty solid, and if one of the bigger teams isn’t careful, they could very easily cause an upset. hardzao has grown to be quite a solid player, while NEKIZ’s experience will be invaluable for the team. Meanwhile, biguzera is a team veteran and skullz has been doing the rounds on the Brazilian circuits for quite a while despite their young age.
Ninjas in Pyjamas
- Fredrik “REZ” Sterner
- Aleksi “Aleksib” Virolainen
- Kristian “k0nfig” Wienecke
- Danyyl “headtr1ck” Valitov
- Ludvig “Brollan” Brolin
The Swedes seem to have lost their glory days for good, with no impressive results in a very long time. There’s plenty of talent on the lineup, but it just doesn’t seem to click at any point when it really matters. With Danish rifler k0nfig on board, perhaps they can muster the firepower needed to make the big leagues, but much like the rest of NIP, k0nfig is also a player who can fluctuate between excellent and shockingly subpar. That being said, paiN gaming shouldn’t be a problem for the Ninjas if they play at even 80% of their best.
NIP’s best player is hard to pin down, with both Brollan and REZ being quite consistent for a number of years now. However, their new addition — former Natus Vincere academy player headtr1ck — has taken over the limelight with some excellent performances in recent times, and we can’t wait to see what he does next. k0nfig, as we have already stated, is the wild card in this setup, and could be the deciding factor in many matches either way.
- Shahar “flameZ” Shushan
- Nikolaj “niko” Kristensen
- Adam “NEOFRAG” Zouhar
- Maciej “F1KU” Miklas
- Abdulkhalik “degster” Gasanov
After something of a meteoric rise in both ranks and overall performance in recent months, OG will be attending a tournament without their talismanic leader Nemanja “nexa” Isaković after a long time. The Serb has been one of the keys to OG’s success, and it’ll be interesting to see how they do without his guidance. There’s no doubt that OG is far more than just one player and his strats, but it’s still going to be a tough tournament for the team following a sad exit from Katowice due to a medical issue for one of their players.
OG’s most potent rifler is quite certainly flameZ, who was the player that got sick during the previous event. F1KU and NEOFRAG are also excellent on their good days, with both putting up solid numbers on a regular basis. Meanwhile, substitute niko was once on OG, but is returning after a long hiatus so it’s hard to gauge his level. Now let’s turn our attention to OG’s star AWPer degster. The Russian is a fantastic young talent who might just become one of the all-time greatest snipers if given the right chances and training.
- Leonardo “n9xtz” Santos
- Marcelo “coldzera” David
- Bruno “latto” Rebelatto
- Eduardo “dumau” Wolkmer
- Lucas “nqz” Soares
Another Brazilian team that has underperformed despite having a decent lineup, 00 Nation is a team of youngsters led by two-time Major champion coldzera. Like paiN Gaming, they have been through many heartbreaks in the last few months, losing all their games at the Rio Major and failing to qualify for either the Paris Major RMRs or the upcoming IEM Rio. Their first match will be against OG, and barring a massive upset, we don’t see them going past the up-and-coming European powerhouse.
Despite coldzera obviously being the biggest star on the team, others have gone well past him in terms of importance to the team given his current form. dumau and latto are essential to the team’s success, and will be the players to watch out for at this event. That being said, nqz has a lot of hype surrounding him and so does n9xtz. Both are relatively new recruits, and it remains to be seen whether they can perform on the big stage or not. The Brazilian side is set to face off against OG, and although they’re not the favorites, the new guns might change that.
- Simon “Sico” Williams
- Joshua “INS” Potter
- Alistair “aliStair” Johnston
- Jay “Liazz” Tregillgas
- Declan “Vexite” Portelli
The Australian team’s biggest claim to fame is still their defeat of Cloud9 in a Best of 1 at the Rio Major. Since then they’ve continued to dominate their local teams, but performed miserably at Katowice and are far from being favorites to qualify from this group. Grayhound have lots of potential, but are still struggling, most likely due to a lack of youthful energy with Vexite being the only player on the team aged under 24.
Age aside, aliStair and Liazz bring some much-needed top tier experience and skill to the team. INS and Sico are also potent, and shouldn’t be underestimated. This quartet has been playing together for a very long time, but success has eluded them since their days on Renegades quite a while ago. Now, with the fantastic Vexite in tow, they have their best shot at glory in a very long time. That being said, going up against Vitality in their first match will probably not help their chances.
- Dan “apEX” Madesclaire
- Mathieu “ZywOo” Herbaut
- Audric “JACKZ” Jug
- Emil “Magisk” Reif
- Lotan “Spinx” Giladi
The French side has had its moments, but the attempted superteams underperformance is a stark reminder that throwing experienced stars together doesn’t always result in success. They are nevertheless the reigning Pro League champs, so they will certainly not go down without a fight, but it’s been a very long time since Vitality showed their full form, and having to play with a substitute at this event probably won’t do them any favors.
As has pretty much always been the case, apEX is a bit of a hotheaded wildcard who, despite having some great ideas, tends to get tilted quite easily. Magisk and Spinx are both terrific individual talents, but their performances on Vitality can be described as checkered at best barring that one Pro League win. JACKZ is stepping into a Tier 1 team after a very long time, and everyone’s curious to see how he does. As for ZywOo, he’s the heart, soul, and hope of this team. If anyone’s going to help Vitality retain their EPL title, it’s going to be this humble man.
Be sure to check out our other CSGO content, including game guides and CSGO betting tips! And be ready for daily ESL Pro League recaps once Group C matches are under way.