ESL Pro League Match of the Day - 10/18
We are now roughly halfway through the week with the picks for both days going smoothly. Astralis, FaZe and G2 continue to rule the leaderboard in EU with Natus Vincere slowly but surely on the rise with a 5-1 record for the week. Meanwhile in NA Renegades, Ghost, and now Liquid are taking up the top three spots. Ghost finally ended Renegades winning streak last night with a win on Train, however today we will be taking a look at a match in the EU. FaZe and Navi will be looking to start the day off with a bang and I will be going over their recent form on the maps being played as well as what to except from both sides.
FaZe vs Natus Vincere
As of late Natus Vincere have been on quite the upward trajectory, not just against FaZe who they are currently 7-3 against in head to heads for the year, but against pretty much every single team in the world. After a devastating loss in the finals of the Faceit Major against Astralis, the heart broken Ukrainians headed to New York just days after the defeat, and their lack of rest and time to regroup definitely showed. They placed 5th-6th, not bad for a team that was still recovering from a major, but definitely not what we are used to seeing from the 3rd best team in the world. Either way the team quickly bounced back and started out their first two days of the online league 5-1. As for FaZe, the team that was once on top of the world is now struggling to even make it past the quarter finals of the past four LAN events they’ve attended. An extremely unusual course of placements for a team that ended 2017 with roughly 60% of their LAN results ending with them either winning or coming in second. However they have seemed to pick up the pace a bit and are currently 8-6 in the season so far, leaving them in second place right behind Astralis.
Inferno, the map that FaZe are famous for choking on against Cloud9 at the Boston Major, costing them a victory that most CS:GO players only dream of, will be played for the first game of the series. FaZe are currently 24-20 on the map this year. Most recently losing to ex-Space Soldiers 12-16, and then coming back to beat Fnatic 16-11 just yesterday. the map has definitely been a wild ride for the team and I expect that we will be seeing a fairly messy game from both sides. The EU team also has two losses against a struggling G2 lineup as well as NRG and of course Astralis. FaZe haven't shown us anything super spectacular on Inferno as of late, leaving us with a pretty unconvincing case for them to win here. However Natus Vincere have had their fair share of bad luck on the map as well, with just four wins and seven losses in recent months. A very drastic change from the dominance the team showed on the map at the beginning of the year. In fact I would say their results are worse than FaZe’s, losing to Fnatic, Mouz, and even Gambit. Teams that have been struggling with incomplete rosters and other various changes for quite some time now. It is pretty obvious that Navi have lost their touch on Inferno which is why I believe that FaZe will be taking the first map of the series, even with their recent lackluster performances they have looked more comfortable on the map than the Ukrainians have.
Overpass is a map that both Navi and FaZe have strived on this year. Looking at Navi, they are currently 20-14 on the map with almost a 60% win rate. They have even managed to take down Astralis, the best team in the world, on one occasion. Besides their loss at ESL NY against Gambit it has been smooth sailing on the map for the team and they will be going into this feeling very confident. FaZe on the other hand have had a harder time on the map, going 18-12 for the year. A majority of their wins coming from teams well below their skill level. Navi has a 61% win-rate against teams ranked in the top 10 vs FaZe's mere 47%, further proving just how much the EU team has struggled against the teams at Navis current skill level. FaZe are coming into this game with a win against BIG, but this definitely isn't enough to convince me they are capable of beating Navi. Especially since they lost to LDLC and barely beat OpTic last week on Overpass. Two games that were riddled with mistakes and an overall lack of confidence on the map. Navi are the clear favorites for both maps, but even more so on Overpass. They have proven time and time again that they can beat anybody on the map and are looking to climb their way up the EU ladder which is why I am picking them to win on the second map of the series tomorrow.