The playoffs stage of ESL Pro League Season 17 has begun and the first round of matches had one epic upset. Team Liquid were eliminated by paiN Gaming and the battle wasn’t even close.
In the other three matches Natus Vincere, FURIA Esports, and G2 Esports won their fights and advanced to the Round of 12, which is scheduled for today, March 22.
— NAVI Live 🔴 (@natusvincerelv) March 21, 2023
EPL S17 favorites
The favorites of EPL S17 are not hard to figure out. In the last several months, CS:GO was dominated by a small number of teams and most of them are still in the race for the EPL S17 trophy. This makes it easy to spot them and expect a deep run from at least some of them.
The list of favorites includes:
- Team Vitality
- G2 Esports
- FaZe Clan
- Natus Vincere
One of these teams is almost guaranteed to be the winner. Judging by past results and the competitors’ it’s very clear that Heroic, Vitality, and G2 are significantly stronger than the rest.
The defending champions are back in Malta 🐝 pic.twitter.com/UmdbXVjtcj
— Team Vitality 🐝 (@TeamVitality) March 21, 2023
The seeding makes it easy for Heroic to qualify for the Grand Final. Their two big matches will likely be against Natus Vincere and FaZe Clan, but both of these teams proved unable to defeat the world’s best competitors in their current condition.
Na’Vi still have a lot of work to do to integrate Andrij “npl” Kukharsjkyj, while FaZe Clan are dealing with challenges of their own. Their roster is still completely unchanged but some of the players simply cannot be as flawless as they were in 2022, when FaZe won several big titles.
Very few teams in the history of CS:GO have managed to have an extraordinary season and then repeat it immediately after. Usually, it takes one or two years for teams to regain their determination to be the best and in the meantime, someone else takes their place.
FaZe are still one of the best competitors in the world, but they’re not as strong as their 2022 version.
The teams that are the hungriest and the best trained at the moment are Heroic, Vitality, and G2. It’s not difficult to make a case that G2 will win again, but Heroic and Vitality are probably a bit more determined because of their repeated failures to claim an important title despite having all the necessary ingredients to be the best.
For people like Casper “cadiaN” Moller and Mathieu “ZywOo” Herbaut, winning this trophy is a personal matter. And that’s exactly why they are likely to succeed.
Header: Team Vitality