Group B ends with a bang for some and a fizzle for others.
And just like that, half of ESL Pro League Season 17’s Group Stage has gone by with Group B’s last matches being played yesterday. Arguably the toughest group, this one tested its teams to the limit. There were quite a few upsets — including one in the very last match of the group — and even most of the games that ended with predictable results were very close. We’ve been bringing you recaps since the start, and here’s the latest edition, the last from Group B, for those who missed out on the action.
ESL Pro League Season 17 Group B Day 5 Matches
BIG faced Complexity in the second Lower Bracket Semifinal to start the day, followed by Heroic and MOUZ going head to head in a thrilling Upper Bracket Final. The last of three matches for the day, the Lower Bracket Final between Movistar Riders and BIG, was arguably the icing on the cake.
BIG vs Complexity
The German giants had looked promising at the start of the tournament, but things have quickly gone sideways as they’ve faced losses every second game. They had previously defeated Complexity 2-1 in the first round of the Upper Bracket, but with their backs against the wall, anything could happen. COL on the other hand had barely survived their Lower Bracket clash with Imperial Esports, and would need to play their best possible game to get past BIG.
BIG may have been the team to pick Vertigo, but it was COL who dominated on the CT-side, preventing the Germans from taking more than a paltry 4 rounds on the attack. However, after the switch it was the same situation, with BIG restricting COL to just 4 of their own to take the game to Overtime. In the 3-round format, COL managed 2 rounds on the attack which BIG couldn’t match, losing 19-17. There were 9 humans on the server, with one god by the name of Håkon ”hallzerk” Fjærli with an absurd 44 kills from the 36 rounds played.
On COL’s map Ancient, the Americans kept the pressure up on the attack, preventing BIG from ever stringing two rounds together to pull off a dominant 10-round T-side. Unfortunately for them, that’s where their dominance ended as BIG massacred them on their own T-side, picking up 11 rounds out of 13 to win the match 16-12 and level the series. Karim ”Krimbo” Moussa and Nils ”k1to” Gruhne both pulled off fantastic performances to take their team across.
Moving on to the decisive Nuke, COL’s strategies allowed them to get a solid 7 rounds on the attack, with BIG managing to take control of their CT-side late in the half to take a slight lead. COL’s initial defense went very well, but once BIG got started there was just no stopping them. In the end, the Germans won 16-12 again to seal the series. Once again, it was k1to and Krimbo who did a lot of the heavy lifting, but even they couldn’t outshine Marcel “hyped” Köhn in the kills department.
Heroic vs MOUZ
After a 2-day rest, Heroic and MOUZ were back to the arena, this time with the intent to lock horns. The two European sides had looked pretty solid in the first two rounds, with MOUZ looking like a more dominant force against their opponents than Heroic did against their own. That being said, the Danes are very close to being number 1 in the rankings because of their incredible consistency, and they were the favorites going into this matchup.
MOUZ began their map pick Nuke with a bang, picking up a solid 8 rounds before Heroic were able to initiate damage control mode and go into the second half just one round behind. After the swap, the Danes were a different beast altogether, picking up the necessary 9 rounds out of the next 13 to finish the game 16-12. Rasmus “sjuush” Beck and Casper “cadiaN” Møller stood tallest as far as individual performances went.
Heroic’s pick Inferno was always going to be a challenge for MOUZ, but they closed their CT half with some exemplary defending to go into the switch leading 9-6. Their attack, however, was much less powerful as they couldn’t beat the Danes’ defenses more than 5 times, conceding 6 defuses to lose the game 16-14 and the series 2-0.
Movistar Riders vs BIG
On one hand, Movistar Riders had bounced back strongly from both getting thrashed by Heroic and edged out by FURIA, but at the same time, BIG themselves had proven to be just as resilient, and although they were less rested, they were also hot off their win against COL which would undoubtedly give them a big morale boost. It was safe to say that Riders weren’t the favorites going into this.
BIG must have been overjoyed when Riders picked what they themselves usually do with Vertigo, but when Riders piled up 9 rounds on the T-side, things must have gotten a bit scary. Once on the other side, BIG seemed to be more comfortable, and were able to crush the defense to work out a 16-13 win. Once again, that man Krimbo was on fire with a raging 29 kills to his name, dwarfing Pere “sausol” Solsona Saumell’s offering of 20 on the other side.
Come Nuke, BIG got a comfortable 8 rounds on the attack, with 3 rounds and the start 4 to close evened out by a solitary round in the middle. Sadly for the Germans, their defense was far from as strong as they were unable to consolidate their economy and lost many sloppy rounds to be beaten 16-12. This time, it was Alejandro ”ALEX” Masanet Candela’s turn to shine, undoing Josef ”faveN” Baumann’s hard work for BIG.
On the very last map of Group B, Ancient, Riders had an absolutely brilliant CT-side half to start with, relegating BIG to a 12-3 fate on their attack. The Germans did put up a pretty solid defense even while staring down the barrel of elimination, but they just had very little wiggle room, and ended up losing 16-9. Riders AWPer Antonio “Martinez” Martinez Sánchez popped off with a crucial 25 kills to make a statement and help his team qualify for the Playoffs.
We’ll have a steady stream of Pro League S17 articles coming in the next few weeks, so keep your eyes peeled.