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The Rise Of Movistar Riders?

As ESL Pro League Season 15 rounds down the group stages have been an inferno of upsets and rising teams. One among them is a Spanish organization that looks to finally find some consistency as well as a North American team looking to regain lost ground. Group C of the ESL Pro League Season 15 has been anything but typical. 

Coming into the event Movistar Riders were highly ranked, given the context of being within the top 30, but HLTV.org clocked them at 23rd overall as of March 21st. And a week prior to that, they weren’t even listed at all

Out of the groups that have finished their matches, Movistar Riders is the only team to top their group without losing a game. Although undefeated, they also finish with a worse round differential. Both Ninjas In Pyjamas and FURIA Esports lost a set, but would finish with a +45 and a +37 map differential respectively. Movistar Riders finished with +21. 

One of Movistar Riders’ greatest weapons came in the form of Spanish AWPer, Alvaro “SunPayus” Garcia. Looking statistically, the numbers are hard to argue. Against BIG, SunPayus dropped over 60 kills, held a +23 kill to death differential, had 88 average damage done per round (ADR) as well as an HLTV.org rating of 1.42. However this isn’t just a flash in the pan, he roared back with another high-level performance against Team Liquid. 79 kills across 3 maps, a +31 kill to death differential and another incredibly high HLTV.org ranting. To say that SunPayus is having an amazing event would be an understatement. 

This undefeated streak means Movistar Riders has bested the likes of Team Liquid, BIG, and Players (formerly Gambit Esports). While the Gambit core is set to advance, dropping their only set to the Spanish all-stars in Movistar Riders. Their only other opposition came by way of GODSENT, who took Gambit to a nail-bitingly close finish within their first two maps. Inferno ended 16-14 and Overpass ended with 13-16 loss, however the Gambit core nearly swept GODSENT with a 16-3 win on Mirage to decide the set. 

While Epitácio “TACO” de Melo’s GODSENT would be sidelined, another team would also take an unexpected exit and would not be advancing to the ESL Pro League Season 15 playoffs; BIG would fail to make it to the main stage. The German wunderkinds failed to start against the likes of Team Liquid, Players, as well as Movistar Riders. 

In BIG’s stead, North America’s best shot on the main stage, Team Liquid, would be advancing and possibly signaling some strength. Just a week prior and they were not among HLTV.org’s top 30 world rankings. Climbing 11 spots with their placement into the playoffs, now Nicholas “nitr0” Cannella’s superstar squad sits amongst the best in the world

The conclusion of the ESL Pro League Season 15 group stage will begin on March 30th and span until April 3rd. Teams like Natus Vincere, Heroic, Astralis and Evil Geniuses will battle for one of the three tickets to advance to the playoffs. 

Images via Valve and ESL.