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Top
CS:GO

ESL Pro League Season 14 Group C Preview

Zakaria Almughrabi

ESL Pro League Season 14 Group C begins on August 27. The next six of 24 total teams present will begin their European campaigns for a chance at $750,000, ESL Pro Tour points, and a spot at the BLAST Premier World Finals. Just like with Group B, there is one clear favorite going into the group that should take first seed barring (another) unexpected collapse. As for the final two seeds, we have three major competitors alongside a potential wild card threat.

ESL Pro League Group C

S1mple and Na'Vi have their eyes on the prize. A win here at ESL Pro League Season 14 would also mean the completion of their IEM Grand Slam. (Image Credit HLTV)

ESL Pro League Season 14 Group C

BIG – Rank #11

FaZe Clan – Rank #4

Fnatic – Rank #65

Evil Geniuses– Rank #23

mousesports – Rank #12

Natus Vincere – Rank #1

Na’Vi Search for the Grand Slam

Na’Vi is the obvious favorite to run away with Group C. The CIS giants are coming off of their historic win at the IEM Cologne LAN return. Of every team attending ESL Pro League Season 14, nobody wants this championship more than Na’Vi. Not only would this be their first-ever ESL Pro League trophy, it would also be their fourth and final tournament win needed to claim the illustrious IEM Grand Slam.

Na’Vi already also has wins from IEM Katowice 2020 and DreamHack Spring 2021 on their resume. With Cologne being their newest checkmark, they now have three events to take just a single trophy. Na’Vi will certainly be looking to strike while the iron is hot. They are without a doubt the most complete CS:GO team in the world right now. Their old inconsistency issues seem to be gone, or at least in dormancy. ESL Pro League Season 14 is their chance to cement themselves in history.

FaZe Clan Without LAN?

With the newest release of HLTV’s world rankings, FaZe Clan have risen all the way up to number four. This may not accurately reflect their current form, as we’ve only been impressed by FaZe Clan a single time this year. At IEM Cologne, FaZe came out of nowhere and blasted past the competition. They made playoffs and were only stopped in semifinals by the eventual winners Na’Vi.

FaZe’s star-studded roster had been struggling to make any headway for almost a full year now. It now seems like a LAN return was all the veterans needed to really show their stuff. Unfortunately for FaZe, ESL Pro League S14 will be played in an online environment. This doesn’t mean that they will revert to their previous form, however. Sometimes, a little confidence can go a long way. This could be FaZe’s chance to keep the momentum going and solidify themselves as top-level competition once more.

FaZe Clan CSGO

FaZe’s unexpected rebound at IEM Cologne was a spectacle to watch. They will be trying to keep that momentum rolling at ESL Pro League Season 14. (Image Credit ESL)

BIG Get Down to Business

The third highest-rated team within Group C is BIG. Compared to their 2020 form that pinned BIG as a major championship threat, 2021 has not been nearly as successful a campaign. The German org has seen their team struggle at event after event, falling from the top five and eventually the top 10 teams worldwide. Even with a somewhat respectable top eight finish at Cologne, the team still decided it was time for a change.

BIG signed rifler Nicklas “gade” Gade to replace long-time member İsmailcan “XANTARES” Dörtkardeş. XANTARES was a key producer for BIG throughout his tenure and will not be easily replaced. It appears that the Danish talent famous for his time with North was who the team decided would do this best. Overall, BIG are still a threat in this group and could realistically find their way into the playoffs assuming the roster adaptation goes smoothly.

Mousesports Battle for the Bubble

Joining BIG in the fight for the second and third playoff seeds is mousesports. The international squad has been doing alright for themselves overall and have even managed wins against teams like Ninjas in Pyjamas and even a game against Gambit at Cologne. August marks the six-month anniversary of their current roster being completed, so by now we should start to see their ceiling.

Mousesports are by no means favorites to take Group C, but they do have the skill to make every game interesting. If they play to their potential and find themselves on the right end of the coin, mousesports could be a surprise here at ESL Pro League.

EG’s Low Expectations

Evil Geniuses are one of the safer bets for bottom of the group. The North American org has definitely seen better days for their CS:GO. The original core that made up a squad that was competitive on the world stage has been dismantled thoroughly. Two roster and coach changes were made to try and find a solution to their problems to little success.

To add insult to injury, in-game leader Peter “stanislaw” Jarguz has been removed from the starting lineup one week before Pro League began. EG’s newest coach and former Counter-Strike pro Damian “daps” Steele will be temporarily coming out of retirement to play in stanislaw’s place. It’s hard to imagine an already struggling roster doing well in these circumstances. EG just needs to make the best of it.

Wild Card Fnatic

One of CS:GO’s legacy organizations, Fnatic, has just undergone massive changes. For the first time, the Swedish roster has gone international with the acquisition of Alex “ALEX” McMeekin, William “mezii” Merriman, and coach Jamie “keita” Hall. Fnatic was already trapped in a downward spiral for quite a while, so these changes were likely made as a sort of Hail Mary.

Its hard to say exactly how this version of Fnatic will look. The possibility of a honeymoon phase is always there for brand new rosters of established players. It will need to be seen if ALEX can make the most out of his former Cloud9 teammate mezii and the Swedish trio led by young star Ludvig “Brollan” Brolin.