The ESL Pro League Season 4 Finals’ Group Stage is well underway, only one day of matches is left before the Playoffs contenders are all decided and one team from Group A is already out of the running with an 0-3 record with one match left to play.
That team is Liquid. The American ESL One Cologne 2016 runner-ups had a tremendously hard time against EnVyUs on Dust2, only winning 4 rounds in the first half on the CT side. Following the halftime, they also lost 5 rounds straight and went out in a miserable manner, losing by 12 points. At least they can console themselves with the fact that they managed to put up a fight against mouz, losing 12-16 on the first day. The other two matches were terrible, Liquid lost by 14 points against OpTic and by 12 against nV.
As for the rest of yesterday’s Group A matches, OpTic crushed Immortals on Cobblestone (16-4) and mousesports won against OpTic on Cache, 16-10. Team EnVyUs is surprisingly the team in the first place of the standings at the moment, with mousesports close behind with the same 2-0 score. OpTic Gaming is the the final team to teeter on the edge of the Playoffs with a 2-1.
There are 4 matches left to play in Group A. Those are: Immortals vs. mousesports, OpTic vs. EnVyUs, Immortals vs. Liquid, and mousesports vs. EnVyUs. Immortals might still get to go to the Playoffs if they win both of their matches, however, it isn’t probable that they will actually manage to do it. Team EnVyUs will be feeling the pressure to keep their first place. They will have to win against their only realistic challengers – mousesports and OpTic. Complicating matters, nV are in the first place only because they lost less rounds than heelnippers, mousesports.
In Group B, SK Gaming came back in vengeance in front of their home crowd. After the disappointing 10-16 loss to NiP, the Brazilians sought to show that they were the reigning Major Champions for a reason. This is made more difficult by internal problems within the team. There’s been rumors that Gabriel “FalleN” Toledo and Lincoln “fnx” Lau are having friction. Allegedly, if SK doesn’t win this tournament, they will consider replacing fnx.
Anyway, with their difficulties forgotten for a moment, SK crushed FaZe Clan 16-2 on Overpass and convincingly beat Cloud9 on Dust2 16-6 to reach the top of the standings. Their position is not secure at 2-1 and a +18 won/lost round differential because there are three more teams in the group with the same win/loss ratio: Team Dignitas, Ninjas in Pyjamas, and Cloud9.
DIG, the team that’s been on a big roll recently, lost against FaZe Clan on Mirage. While Team Dignitas’ newest acquisition, Emil “Magiskb0Y” Reif is reportedly having problems due to a stomach bug he’s picked up in Russia, where DIG won EPICENTER: Moscow, he still played alright, which is better than the rest of his team. Could it be that FaZe cracked the way Team Dignitas plays? Finally, the last match played yesterday involved NiP barely beating NRG eSports 16-14 on Cache.
The outcome of Group B is totally up in the air, there are six matches left to play today. They are: FaZe vs. NRG, SK vs. DIG, NiP vs. C9, SK vs. NRG, C9 vs. DIG, and NiP vs. FaZe. With a +18 round differential, SK has a decent safety cushion, however, just like when you play pocket Aces pre-flop, your odds become worse in proportion to the number of opponents you have. As it turns out, SK has three, which is not where you want to be. All bets are off, they are all in, there’s nothing left to do. Hopefully, the home field advantage will carry them through.