EPL S15 Group B Preview- Vitality or Faze?
EPL S15’s Group A was a surprise in how close it was, given the teams that made it. G2 and MOUZ crashed out, Fnatic made a surprising run. Now we move on to Group B, which should be much closer on paper, despite having two clear favorites heading into it.
Sprout and Ence are the two main outliers. The teams have much weaker rosters on paper than the remaining members of the group, but they aren’t as harmless as someone like Looking for Org was. There are no weird stand-in shenanigans in this group either, which makes things more dangerous for the stronger teams.
Ence, especially, can punch way above their weight when things go well, and their place as 15th best in the World shows exactly that.
Before we get to the names mentioned in the title, we should go over a team which you won’t recognize by their name, but once we see who the roster is things will become clearer. “Outsiders” is the name chosen by the Virtus Pro players to represent their roster now that the organization can’t attend tournaments.
ESL and Blast have banned Russian organizations with ties to the government from participating in any of their tournaments, but ESL has allowed the players themselves to compete, as long as they do not represent their orgs in any way. No jerseys, no names, no sponsors. It isn’t a perfect solution, but it is definitely a better alternative than preventing CIS players from competing at all.
The VP roster is always a very dangerous dark-horse. There is a big asterisk in this tournament though, their home country is involved in a conflict with Ukraine and they can’t even represent their own team. These circumstances might negatively affect their play, but as we saw with Entropiq in Group A, maybe it won’t. Regardless, they should be a lock-in for at least third place, so let’s see how they do.
The top two spots should be decided between the giants in Faze and Vitality. I say should for two reasons: we saw what happened to G2, everyone can implode; and Vitality has not been playing well at all.
Vitality has far and away a good enough roster to win against every team in this group, including Faze. The french core was only bested by Navi at the end of last year, Zywoo is still a beast and the Danish duo added to the team is legendary. Yet, things haven’t been going great. The need to communicate in a second language might be affecting the players, Zonic perhaps hasn’t had enough time to make the roster jell together, we don’t really know. They’ve had some time between tournaments though, so maybe we will see the “real” Vitality here in EPL.
Vitality were the more hyped roster when it was announced, but after Katowice it is impossible not to predict Faze to win the group. Karrigan led the roster to an incredibly dominating win despite being forced to use JKS as a replacement for two different players at two different occasions. Ropz is looking amazing, Twistzz looks at his peak and Broky has never looked better. The legendary IGL seems to have done his magic again in making a team work faster than anyone else could, now let’s see if the magic remains now that they will play with their full roster.
If things go as expected, Faze should win the whole thing, followed by Vitality and Outsiders (VP roster). Sprout shouldn’t have any chance to make it through, but Ence might surprise and eliminate either Vitality or Outsiders. Let’s see how the group unfolds during the week.
Images via ESL.