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Week three of the ESL ESEA Pro League: roster changes and a resurgence

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With the next matches already at our door, here we look back at those from last week. A lot of new faces took the ESL ESEA Pro League stage: Titan picked up Adil “ScreaM” Benrlitom, SK Gaming has brought in Andreas “MODDII” Fridh, Dignitas has had Andreas “schneider” Lindberg join their ranks and HellRaisers is trying out Tomáš “oksar” Šťastný. But how did they do?

Europe

Virtus.pro - 2-3

With five games coming up for VP, the Polish team had a diverse group of opponents ahead of them. From the reformed Titan to the superstars of Team EnVyUs, a hard week lay ahead of Virtus.pro.

VP had to open up the week with three back-to-back matches, first against HellRaisers on Cobblestone. The Polish side has their Terrorist halves under full control, which showed in the score - an 11-4 first half that carried over to the second half where VP quickly closed out the game 16-9. An exemplary performance from TaZ helped his team to a relatively swift win.

Next up was SK Gaming on Overpass. Where TaZ left off in fragging, the rest of the team stepped up for this match. Thanks to a convincing first half, VP managed to cruise through the second half for a 16-8 victory.

The last match of the day for VP was against Natus Vincere on Mirage. Where VP’s Terrorist sides are considered among the best in the world right now, their CT side lacked the punch to secure a win against Na’Vi. After a 7-8 first half loss, the Polish side only managed to scrape in a single round on their otherwise strong T side. The match ended 8-16 in favour of Na’Vi.

Day two started off with a match against Team EnVyUs on Mirage. With another stunning performance by TaZ and Snax, the Polish side managed to get a 15-15 together during normal game time. EnVy, however, put up an all-round solid performance across the board, with VP only taking one round during overtime. A 16-19 loss to EnVy was the result.

The last match of the week was against Titan on Inferno. NEO experienced a rough week of games in the Pro League, and this map versus Titan was no different. VP’s CT side got overrun by shox and Ex6TenZ, and despite losing their CT side 6-9, VP managed to claw their way back to 14 rounds. In the end, the Polish team lost 14-16.

Team EnVyUs - 3-1

The French superstars had a mixed week ahead of them, with matches against contenders from all across the board - matches that needed to be won if EnVy wanted to keep the chase for that number one spot on.

First up was Natus Vincere on Dust 2. The French team had a decent first half on their Terrorist side but lacked the punch to force Na’Vi out of the game. With only a 8-7 scoreline, EnVy didn’t have the momentum on their side. Na’Vi delivered aggression during the second half and knocked the wind clean out of Happy and his boys, the French squad losing 11-16.

After the minor upset in the first match of the day, EnVy now faced Virtus.pro on Mirage. Through sublime performances by KennyS and apEX, which were necessary to counter those from TaZ and snax, the full 30 rounds were played to a draw. In the overtime, Happy led his squad to a fast victory with a 19-16 score after five rounds.

The next day, SK Gaming was up for a match on Train. This time, kioShiMa and Happy stepped up to the plate fragging-wise, proving once more that the French team has one of the highest current overall skill levels. With an aggressive Terrorist side, EnVy transferred their aggression to the second half and quickly closed out the game 16-10.

The last opponent of the week was Dignitas on Overpass. Where kioShiMa had left off in the previous match he continued against Dignitas, and beside him this time was NBK to assist him in the fragging, which led to a shutdown of the first half with an 11-4 scoreline. With the opposing team not in sync in regards to frags, EnVy managed to grab a comfortable 16-8 victory.

SK Gaming - 0-4

The Danes had to face off against some formidable teams and would have to put up stellar performances to secure them their win of the season. However, despite some very good showings in previous weeks, SK has yet to win their first match.

Virtus.pro was up first on Overpass. With newest addition to the team MODDII, SK appeared to be at a tactical disadvantage against the experienced VP. SK didn’t get in a position to secure their economy during the first half, which led to a 5-10 first half. The difference in team cohesion became evident during the second half, with SK unable to lock down their bomb sites. A 8-16 loss was the result.

Next up was Titan on Cobblestone. With a Terrorist-side start, which is the favored side of late, SK got off to a less than fruitful beginning, and only chipping in five round wins set the challenge for the second half. Despite a strong performance by Friis, the SK lineup proved no real threat in the face of the aggression of shox and ScreaM. SK received the finishing blow not long after, suffering a 9-16 loss.

The next matchup was versus Team EnVyUs on Train. With Acilion having one of his worst games this season to date, SK still managed to grab an 8-7 first half. Such an even first half isn’t good enough when facing one of the world’s best teams, however, and with a man lacking in fragging potential the Danish side only took two rounds from EnVy in the second half before losing 10-16.

Their last match was a domestic one - Dignitas on Inferno - and both teams playing with a Swedish addition to their lineup made for a close call. Through a formidable performance on their Terrorist side, the match looked to sway into SK’s favor. Dignitas, however, replied with an even stronger offensive side. However, SK’s defense lacked the stopping power required to fend off the entry frags that came in, with them eventually losing 14-16.

Titan - 2-1

The French organization recently parted ways with Maniac and brought in ScreaM. With this influx of raw skill, the question remained whether the team would perform better tactically.

First off they faced SK Gaming on Cobblestone. With strong bomb site defenses, Titan was able to shut down most of the aggression that the Danish squad threw at them. With shox and ScreaM landing their shots and sprays, the team secured a 10-5 first half. After some minor delays in the second half, Titan forced its way past SK for a 16-9 victory.

Up next was Virtus.pro on Inferno. With a stunning Terrorist side, where shox and Ex6TenZ managed to shut down biggest VP star snax, Titan secured a convincing 9-6 first half. Setting the example for the rest of his team, Ex6TenZ landed frag after frag to help them brawl their way to a 16-14 victory.

Dignitas was the last opponent, on Cobblestone. After an upset victory over VP, Ex6TenZ now seemed drained. Unable to string together any rounds, Titan only took two rounds on their Terrorist side. After the poor first half, Dignitas left Titan out in the cold and quickly mopped up the last rounds needed for a 5-16 loss for Titan.

Dignitas - 2-1

With a couple of offline matches played with new addition schneider, Dignitas now had a chance to put that added game time to the test in the Pro League.

They faced Titan on Cobblestone as their first match. Despite shox fragging on a decent level, Dignitas was able to completely shut down the seemingly exhausted Titan. With a 13-2 first half, the Danish squad left nothing unanswered, quickly closing out the game 16-5.

Next up was the domestic matchup versus SK Gaming on Inferno. Dignitas suffered some heavy blows to their defense during the first half. With some crucial opening frags going the way of SK, Dignitas only secured six rounds during their Counter-Terrorist side. Kjaerby and aizy replied in kind during the second half, with both putting up a solid performance to eventually secure Dignitas a 16-14 win over their Danish counterparts.

The last matchup was against Team EnVyUs on Overpass. Dignitas had a hard time stringing rounds together and suffered a 4-11 first half loss. With kioShiMa and NBK landing their shots, Dignitas had no reply. schneider struggled and fell behind, unable to chip in on the frags for his team. The Danes lost 8-16.

Natus Vincere - 2-0

After some recent internal struggles, Na’Vi seems to be on the rise again. They faced two of the top four teams in the world last week, and would go on to face the other two this week.

First up was Virtus.pro on Mirage. The first half went back and forth, with neither team able to build up a significant bank. After an 8-7 first half for Na’Vi, they managed to stabilize the pace and quickly started shutting down VP. GuardiaN showed his true form once again with the sniper rifle, shutting down rushes more often than not. Na’Vi convincingly converted their second half dominance into a 16-8 victory.

One down, one to go - Team EnVyUs on Dust 2. This was a seemingly even match during the first half, with Na’Vi giving away a round advantage to EnVy. However, Na’Vi ultimately outfragged and outplayed the French powerhouse. After a 7-8 first half, Na’Vi put the pedal to the metal and closed out the match 16-11.

HellRaisers - 1-1

With the recent roster changes, HR is expected to be having a harder time than usual.

Their first match was against Virtus.pro on Cobblestone. Still playing with Dosia in the lineup for this match, HR was unable to match the aggression of VP’s Terrorist side, and took a 4-11 hit in the first half. The second half started off rocky but the HellRaisers squad managed to string a couple of rounds together thanks to the economy going their way. Eventually, VP saved up and delivered the finishing blow at 9-16.

Next up were the Ninjas in Pyjamas on Cache. With Dosia out and oksar in, HR took off to face the wildly aggressive NiP. HellRaisers put up a decent Terrorist half, with neither team getting too much out of it. However, the defense from HR during the second half ultimately overcame whatever the Ninjas tried to throw at them, with ANGE1 grabbing an ace to secure his team the victory over NiP at 16-11.

Ninjas in Pyjamas - 0-1

After their stint of upsets, the Ninjas were unable to win their two matches the previous week. With only a single match scheduled this week, they now had a chance to at least keep their point total closer to the top.

With HellRaisers on Dust 2, this was a match that favored NiP. A relatively decent performance during their CT side led to NiP taking seven rounds into the second half. The aggression the Swedes demonstrated many times before was now met by ANGE1 and kUcheR, who stopped the Ninjas dead in their tracks. The inability to get the picks they needed ended up costing NiP the match, with an 11-16 final score.

Upcoming matches

With more top-notch CS:GO action on the horizon, here are some of the matches we think will be ones to watch next week:

  • Natus Vincere vs.Team SoloMid - With the amount of upset wins over the top four teams, Na’Vi is really getting going right now. It’ll be interesting to see if they can continue this trend against these teams.
  • Titan vs.Team SoloMid - Despite the map favoring TSM, Titan is a team to keep an eye on at the moment. With the recent addition of ScreaM, they’ve taken on a lot of potential firepower, with Device and co. also having another chance to prove how well they’ve mastered Overpass.
  • Dignitas vs. mousesports - The German squad has had a few weeks off from the Pro League, and with schneider now settling into Dignitas this match will help determine each team’s progress and form.

That was the third week of the ESL ESEA Pro League, and we’ll be resuming with the next games today, Tuesday the 6th of October, at 19:00 CEST - be sure to tune in here!

For all the latest news and updates, be sure to visit the league’s official website and follow ESL CS on Twitter and Facebook.