This article is part of our CS:GO series.
ESL Pro League's group stage is half over, so it's time to welcome everyone to Group C, one of the more unpredictable groups on paper, though perhaps the group with the least elite talent. MOUZ, ENCE, Astralis and Heroic will compete for the top three spots, though an upset at the hands of HEET or Complexity, two teams with plenty of potential, could upset the balance entirely. Here's a look at some players to target and fade in the hectic mess of Group C.
Players to Target
MOUZ produce superstar players for fun seemingly, and here's the next in that like: xertioN. Likely a name unfamiliar to many I'll just run through some of his stats over the past three months: 1.14 rating, 0.74 kills per round, 1.26 impact rating, 82.5 damage per round. Yeah. He's very, very good. Something that's less of a stat but perhaps tells the story best, MOUZ NXT won the first four seasons of WePlay Academy League with xertioN, when they promoted him to the main team? 9th-10th, far beyond other top academy teams such as Fnatic Rising and BIG Academy. xertioN is an absolute stud and there's a limited chance to roster him for anything less than max salary.
One of the most consistent players for fantasy purposes in the world, blameF will pretty much always find himself in the blue due to his play style and role on Astralis. While he might be maligned by analysts for his bait-heavy play style, for fantasy managers he's a perfect player given his high kills, high damage and low deaths. blameF and Astralis might struggle to qualify from this group, but at the end of the day blameF should have no issues producing fantasy value.
The newest member of ENCE, SunPayus will be looking to take that next step after departing Movistar Riders. With the Spanish side he burst onto the tier-one scene in a big way, taking over matches and controlling the series with some beautiful play. This core around him on ENCE should give him the chance to go one further and start competing for titles. There are question marks around this roster but SunPayus is probably the most sure-fire superstar on a new-look roster that was brilliant before the player break.
Players to Fade
Djoko comes into ESL Pro League with some passable stats, but it's the same story as always for the support of HEET. His acceptable stats are against lower-tier opposition for the most part; in Pro League he will be taking on the best teams in the world and face much tougher competition. HEET will likely finish at the bottom of Group C, though this is certainly a roster with enough potential to cause upsets and wreak havoc even if they are unlikely to qualify themselves.
Astralis' in-game leader? Maybe? Reports coming out of the Astralis camp vary, with some saying blameF is the in-game leader and some saying the role has been consolidated with gla1ve. Either way nothing has changed for the better with gla1ve whether his role has changed or not. The rifler/in-game leader/fourth player on Astralis has a rating under 1.00 and Astralis have looked awful leading into Pro League. If you are going to pay up for a non-blameF rifler on Astralis look towards k0nfig.
MOUZ have one of the most incredible youth development systems in the world, probably the best, but the one thing they have failed to produce is an in-game leader, so they looked towards Oceania and acquired dexter. The in-game leader has led the team back into the top five of the world rankings and into looking like one of the best teams in the world, but individually he is simply awful. MOUZ could very well top Group C, but that doesn't make dexter any sort of fantasy option in any formats.
Stats courtesy of HLTV.org