After an eventful ESL One New York showcase, four teams will gear up for the third week of ELEAGUE Premier 2017 with Group C filled with questions and not many answers.
This is probably the most inconsistent group during the premier group stage, as there are disappointing major event finishes, new additions adjusting, and team chemistry running amok all throughout. There is no doubt Virtus.pro will be the team to watch coming into the tournament, and no, I’m not talking about stomping the playing field but rather, can the Poles break out of their slump? Will Cloud9 continue its playoff streak, clinching their third appearance in a row? Group C could finally see the realization of the potential from these teams since recent tournament attendance. But let’s see if Atlanta really is the place where players play.
Group C: Ninjas in Pyjamas, Cloud9, Team EnVyUs, Virtus.pro
Advancing: Cloud9 and Ninjas in Pyjamas
Let’s get right into this. Virtus.pro has been in one of their worst slumps as to date, period. Although it’s different this time, Virtus.pro still have the skill and the firepower, but there is really something wrong in the in-game leader department. The team seems to be unable to play as a unit during competition these days, with a fourth-place finish being their best in the past five tournaments. Janusz “Snax” Pogorzelski recently announced he will no longer serve as the in-game leader, soon after Jarosław "pashaBiceps" Jarzabkowski tweeted he would take over the leadership role.So there is a concern with the team jumping around with different leadership roles that have not panned out so well as of late, but Virtus.pro should pick up a map Friday, but the best-of-three series on Saturday might bite them in the end.
Cloud9 has shown some positive outcomes of late, reaching back-to-back semifinal finishes at DreamHack Montreal and ESL One New York. The North American organization was also part of the shuffle after PGL Major Krakow, adding former OpTic Gaming members Tarik “tarik” Celik and Will “RUSH” Wierzba into the mix, while benching legends Jordan “n0thing” Gilbert and Michael “shroud” Grzesiek. Now, a lot has happened with Cloud9 and it seems to be working out since Tarik “tarik” Celik took over as in-game leader prior to DreamHack Malmo, despite the 9-12th place finish. Cloud9 has a pretty stacked roster in terms of fragging machines but also two intellectual in-game leaders who can switch things up on a dime. Riding on recent offline success, the North American’s should find their way into the Premier playoffs.
Much like Cloud9, Ninjas in Pyjamas have also been adjusting with two of its newest members, William “draken” Sundin and Fredrik “REZ” Sterner but with less desirable results. After spending nearly five years on the Ninja’s active roster, Adam “friberg” Friberg stepped down to join the Green Wall of OpTic Gaming, leaving a lot of room for Fredrik “REZ” Sterner to fill. Since the recent additions, the team has missed the qualifications for the PGL Major Krakow and ESL One New York, along with a handful of quarterfinal losses.The Ninja’s most notable win came from DreamHack Valencia in early July. However, there is something to look forward to since the team has now had a longer break to practice and recover from recent outings to come back in full-swing. NiP has always shown to be in progressive form when competing in ELEAGUE and now is the time to edge out a Premier playoff debut to silence critics.
As for Team EnVyUs, the French squad has been really lackluster at Major tournaments, but a clean win at DreamHack Atlanta gave the team some hope. Although the hope didn't last long as the team suffered two group stage exits at both ESG Mykonos and ESL One New York. The team has also looked grim in recent ESL Pro League matches, as they currently sit in 12th place in the EU standings. Along with Virtus.pro, the team is also experiencing internal issues that have not allowed them to be successful as their counterparts, G2 Esports. Unfortunately, EnVyUs will have a hard time doing much in this group.