The ESL Pro League Season 4 is approaching; the league featuring the world’s best teams split into two different leagues, Europe and North America, with the top teams from each league going on to the Season 4 Finals. With $750,000 on the line, top teams from around the world will battle it out in Ginásio do Ibirapuera in São Paulo, Brazil from the 28th to the 30th of October; making the ESL Pro League Season 4 the first major tournament to be played in Brazil.
Today we will be looking at the Europe division; seeing which team is most likely to take the top spot in the EU league and potentially the entire title. We’ll be looking at multiple teams who I think are the top contenders for the first place space.
Evaluating the top teams at ESL Pro League Season 4: Europe
Natus Vincere, also known as Na’Vi, have recently undergone the biggest roster change yet, swapping out Danylo “Zeus” Teslenko for former Team Liquid player Aleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev. The 18-year old has a ton of potential and has already immortalized himself due to his amazing double no-scope vs Fnatic led the de_cache creator FMPONE to add graffiti as a tribute to this amazing play.
S1mple brings a new skill to the team after Zeus had begun to lose his value; he was more of a coach than a star player and he helped to prevent Flamie from raging, but after Flamie had matured and after Starix began making more of the strategically calls as a coach, Zeus lost his value. With Ukrainian Alexsandr becoming a free agent, it just made sense for Na’Vi to bring in the amazing youngster for the seasoned veteran.
Natus Vincere now has one of the best rosters in the world, if not the best. They hold the former best AWPer in the world Ladislav ‘GuardiaN’ Kovács who was only dethroned due to a wrist injury, and undoubtedly has the potentially to rise to the top spot again. Na’Vi also boast the “Pistol King” Ioann ‘Edward’ Sukhariev, a 1.6 legend who has been dubbed the best pistol player in Counter Strike today. The youth of Denis ‘seized’ Kostin (21 years old) and Egor ‘flamie’ Vasilyev (19 years old) shows that Na’Vi have loads of potential, so if they aren’t the best team in the world today, they will be the best team in the world in the future.
One thing to note however is that this is the first tournament Na’Vi will play in the aftermath of the Zeus and s1mple roster change. This could show some cracks in Na’Vi as they may have not fully jelled together as a team yet, but the individual skill the team has should allow them to advance to the ESL Pro League Season 4 Finals, if not win them the entire tournament.
FaZe Clan are a worldwide clan known best for their Call of Duty trick shots and their Call of Duty team.
Their Counter Strike team is also very good with a European roster packed with talent; the former G2 eSports European squad; except for one change.
The one and only roster change Faze made was the release of Maikel “Maikelele” Bill for the former-Envyus French player Fabien “k1oshima” Fiey.
Faze’s talent-packed roster came into their true form when Kioshima joined the team. Players like Håvard “rain” Nygaard and Philip “aizy” Aistrup woke up and began to do amazing things with the team; both are currently sitting on a 1.07 HLTV rating, the highest on the team. Faze will want to put aside a disappointing performance at ESL One Cologne where they failed to escape the Group of Death with a good run in the ESL Pro League Season 4.
The only real flaw with Faze is that the roster doesn’t shape up to the world-class rosters of Na’Vi and the new Godsent. Faze can still definitely pull something big off in their first ESL Pro League season and should advance to the finals.
Ninjas in Pyjamas
Ninjas in Pyjamas are one of the biggest Counter Strike teams of all time and are probably the best-known brand when it comes to the team name. The name Ninjas in Pyjamas originated in 2000 as the team began as a CS 1.6 team who dissolved in 2007, before being resurrected in September of 2007. The team went on to win ESL One Cologne: 2014; going on an 87 match win streak before they suffered their first loss against Virtus Pro.
NiP also have an undoubtedly great roster. Christopher “GeT_RiGhT” Alesund boasts the top HLTV rating with a rating of 1.20 and he shows it; Christopher is a consistent performer who has clutched many rounds and is a player with the influence to get NiP back into a game. Patrik ‘f0rest’ Lindberg is another top player for NiP. The 28-year old has a 1.02 HLTV rating and shows no sign of slower down as his age progresses.
Roster changes have been rumored for the current NiP lineup so the players will be at the top of their games to show they deserve to stay on the starting roster. The Ninjas haven’t got a lot of good form heading into this tournament as the last time they won a major tournament was the 17th of April (Dreamhack Malmo Masters 2016).
In conclusion, I believe that either Faze, Natus Vincere or Ninjas in Pyjamas will win the ESL Pro League Season 4: Europe. One thing to also remember is that Virtus Pro have won their wildcard match so they could be another big team with a big chance to win the league.
My personal favourite out of those top three teams is Natus Vincere, I believe this have the best roster in the world right now, maybe only SK can compare talent-wise, and I think Na’Vi are destined for greatness with the new addition of s1mple who is already a great player at the young age of 18 who can help the team greatly.