The first week of the ESL Pro League Season 5 is in the books, and we both know what that means!
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It means that we should take these results with a grain of salt. 18 of the 28 teams across both regions have new lineups, 4 of which used stand-ins. With so little time to prepare and gel, making assumptions about the strength of each team would be foolish. Even in the later stages of the season, EPL shouldn’t be relied on too heavily for determining the strength of a roster. Online results are notoriously inconsistent, and don’t necessarily translate to big tournaments. For example, Mousesports managed to get 3rd place in Season 4 of EPL, but failed to put up any meaningful results during that time. Instead, the Counter-Strike community should hold their judgements for the massive offline events that make esports so special.

Ahhh…Who am I kidding? Let’s make uninformed predictions and generalizations!

NiP should finally break up.

It’s been a bumpy road for the Ninjas. The four-man squad of GeT_RiGhT, F0rest, Xizt, and friberg have seen unparalleled success and crushing failure throughout their long careers. But in their four year journey with the Ninjas in Pyjamas, no fall has been as hard as this one. Since shocking the world with a first place trophy at IEM Oakland, NiP has failed to perform in any capacity. Their 16-2 defeat at the hands of Vega Squadron sparked an irreversible fall from grace that has continued into the ESL Pro League.

Both of NiP’s matches last week were against stand-ins. Despite this inherent advantage for the Ninjas, NiP were the ones who looked inexperienced and uncoordinated. GeT_RiGhT, once the face of CS stardom, played like the bastard child of Hunden and denis in Week 1. Not all of NiP had such unexpected performances. Friberg played as expected, finishing at the bottom half of the scoreboard in both series, showing his incredible consistency as a player. While the stronger members of NiP are usually able to put up a star showing to make up for the team’s weaknesses, recently it hasn’t been there. F0rest and pyth had a couple of good rounds each, but were unable to build any momentum off of it, and were quickly sent back to reality.

To put it frankly, the Ninjas in Pyjamas are outclassed by the better teams of today. Their weaker links continuously drag them down, and their stronger ones are rusting. The Magic Kingdom has moved on now, and based on their week 1 results, it isn’t coming back anytime soon. The only way for NiP to find success is to make major roster changes. Until then, the Ninjas will only fall farther.

 

The real French superteam revealed

The announcement of a French superteam made waves in the CS:GO scene. For the first time in Counter-Strike history, we would see the two most skilled players in France, Shox and kennyS, on the same team. The new team, under G2 Esports, was heralded as the return of France to the top of CS:GO. On the other hand, EnVyUs seemed to have gotten the wrong side of the bargain. Even after it was announced that ScreaM would be replacing unknown rifler devodudek, there were still major doubts about the team’s chances at success. Many players were forced to change roles to fit the team, and questions were raised of if anyone could effectively step in if ScreaM wasn’t hard carrying. EnVy were universally considered vastly inferior to G2.

Oh, how the tables have turned. In week 1, EnVyUs looked significantly better than G2. ApEX played terribly, and G2 looked more like a mix than a team 2 months in the making. EnVy, on the other hand, far surpassed expectations. ScreaM played like an absolute monster, putting on a clinic the likes of which we haven’t seen from him in a long time. RpK also did a surprising amount of damage, showing that he could be the second fiddle to ScreaM that EnVyUs needs. If nV continue to play the way they did against G2 on Thursday, they might be the true superteam after all. As for G2, if they don’t get their communication issues sorted out fast, they’ll be the biggest disappointments in CS:GO history. Don’t be surprised if G2 looks reminiscent of GODSENT in a few months.

 

A New Polish Team is on the Rise.

For years, Virtus.Pro has been absolutely dominant in Poland. Throughout CS:GO, Virtus.Pro has consistently shoved any other Polish teams out of the spotlight. Apart from a couple of quick major exits from eBettle, Polish teams were resigned to tier 3 online tournaments. With Kinguin, that’s all changed. Team Kinguin is the first to combine the best players of Dobry&Gaming and eBettle, creating a sort of 2nd rate dream team. They started their run of good at WESG, where they managed to defeat their Polish rivals of Virtus.Pro and finish 2nd in the tournament.

Kinguin currently sit atop the standings at 3-1, along with EnVy and Mousesports. In their 2-0 victory against FaZe, Kinguin looked surprisingly dominant. Beyond their top-notch synergy and coordination, MICHU and mouz showed that the Polish team had firepower. This has always been a problem for these 2nd tier Polish teams. Now that they have some more kick behind their initial hit, Kinguin looks to be on the rise.

Their second match against Virtus.Pro was similarly promising. Kinguin went 1-1, and although VP still look superior, the gap is certainly closing. Recent results have proved that Poland can send multiple teams to compete on an international level. Don’t be surprised if you see Kinguin rise to become a team that can compete with the best in Europe.

 

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