EPL S14 Power Rankings | A Closer Look at the Best Contenders at the Upcoming ESL Pro League Season 14
Roughly a week separates us from the first group stage matches on ESL Pro League Season 14. The players’ summer break is almost all wrapped up; the transfer window produced plenty of action in the top flight, and we can’t wait to see how some of these teams react to changes in the upcoming weeks.
As for our EPL S14 Power Rankings, we opted for a shorter version. Instead of listing all 24 participants, we’ll focus on the 10 most notable names that should contest for the playoffs.
EPL S14 Power Rankings
Two of these 10 teams made delicate changes this transfer window, but more on that later on. Right now, we’re going to kick things off with our EPL S14 Power Rankings from the number one spot, which, as if there were any doubts, belongs to Natus Vincere.
NaVi is hands-down the best team in the world! They led an awesome fight with their CIS brethren in Gambit but pulled out in the front space following two titles in the last two outings. Gambit is still in close second, with mere nuances separating the two sets of players; that is when they’re both playing their A-game.
Of course, a big part of NaVi is S1mple, but I’ll dare to say NaVi’s recent successes have more to do with the entire roster than S1mple’s displays. That’s not the say the latter didn’t have an impact. It’s just that the likes of electronic and B1T had a much bigger role in recent titles than what they usually do. If they can keep playing like this, it would be a surprise to see them fail to reach the top four in this one.
Like we’ve just mentioned, Gambit is in close second place following two unsuccessful campaigns last month. And, mind you, they weren’t unsuccessful – it’s just that NaVi placed better than them on both occasions. Not to mention the fact they defeated them in the grand finals of StarLadder CIS RMR.
Gambit’s exit to FaZe Clan on IEM XVI Cologne was a huge surprise, but everyone expects them to get back up and turn a new page for ESL Pro League Season 14. And why wouldn’t they – the likes of sh1ro and Ax1Le will be fancying their chances no matter who’s on the receiving end, and such an attitude is of crucial importance for getting more wins.
Plus, we’re looking at another online event, and we all know just how powerful Gambit is in an online environment.
Moving on with our EPL S14 power rankings, let’s talk about the team that’s always among the top contenders – Astralis. They justified people’s expectations in their LAN return on IEM XVI Cologne. Astralis reached to the semifinals and were just a few rounds away from overcoming G2 and reaching the finals. I guess it just wasn’t meant to be.
But, the Cologne campaign was nothing but a great step in the right direction for Astralis! They finally had a good outing following an entire year of poor results (except BLAST Premier Global Finals in January). The question is – can they build upon this result, or are they going to sink back down knowing their issues with online play.
Well, they signed Lucky and have reestablished their six-man roster. The 18-year-old will be their designated AWPer and could squeeze into the starting roster right off the bat. We all know how much Astralis needs a good AWPer. The young Danish prodigy ought to be a good fit for the team.
Next up, G2! NiKo and the boys will be coming into this event following a successful run on IEM XVI Cologne. Even though they failed to take the title, G2 looked superb and could finally string together a few wins against top-notch competitors.
NiKo, as expected, is leading the G2 pack, followed closely by the likes of huNter and AmaNEk. Yep, AmaNEk is enjoying his gameplay in 2021, pushing nexa and JaCkz to the bottom of the pecking order.
He’s been superb over the last three months, showing off improved mechanics and game sense. He’s still struggling with other stuff, but everything seems to be in an upwards spiral, at least for the moment. G2 is in group B with Virtus.pro, Complexity, OG, Renegades, and Sinners. Looking at the group as a whole, G2 shouldn’t have major issues with qualifying for the playoffs.
Their focus is going to be on securing the semifinals right away. Virtus.pro ought to put up quite the fight, but everything else should be a smooth sail for G2… assuming they bring forth their A-game, of course.
Heroic is still a force to be reckoned with despite falling in form over the last two events. A part of that has to go down to the whole hunden drama. We won’t touch on that topic here as it’d take way too long. Let’s say EPL S14 will see Heroic in a new light and perhaps with a new coach that will think twice before breaching his contract.
What can we expect from Heroic on ESL Pro League Season 14? Well, they are the reigning ESL Pro League champions, having won the thirteenth season against Gambit in what was a fiery 3:2 clash. But, they won’t have an easy task here.
Group A is pretty tightly packed with Astralis, Vitality, Spirit, and ENCE aiming for the playoffs. Bad News Bears will be hoping for an upset or two, which will further complicate things for the Danish side.
Virtus.pro is in a bit of a slump right now! They started the year off significantly, with two great campaigns in January and February. A quick reminder, VP won cs_summit 7 and placed second in IEM XV World Championship. Those two campaigns racked in $280,000 in prize pool money, which is great in these trying times.
However, VP’s excellent form didn’t last for too long. They played okay on ESL Pro League Season 13, but everything after that was one big mess. They did reach the grand finals of EPIC CIS League Spring but practically lost the only match they played against a high-caliber team in Gambit.
Virtus.pro is currently the fifth-best team in the world, according to HLTV.org rankings, which suggests they should have an easy road to the playoffs. However, they are in group B with G2, Complexity, OG, Renegades, and Sinners. It’s not the hardest group in the world, but they will need to present themselves in a good light to climb out of it and reach the quarterfinals.
FaZe Clan is a relatively new discovery. Real talk here – FaZe Clan always had great rosters but could not do anything noteworthy on the international stage. Sure, they did win a tournament or two now and then, but they were nowhere near the heights that would perfectly reflect the names on their team sheet.
And while that’s still true, we’re finally starting to see them budge. A semifinal finish on IEM XVI Cologne, the first post-COVID LAN, is a massive leap for FaZe. Before that, they couldn’t make things work and had to resort to roster alterations to mix things up and turn a new page.
At the moment, FaZe Clan’s roster consists of rain, olofmeister, broky, Twistzz, and Karrigan, with the latter being their IGL. Olofmeister was reinstated back in June following Coldzera’s move to the bench.
However, they are in group C, which is being labeled as the group of death. NaVi, BIG, Mousesports, EG, and Fnatic. We’re talking about top-notch contenders here, meaning FaZe Clan’s playoffs run won’t be easy.
Next up, Vitality! The French team has been awfully quiet recently. They couldn’t get into their zone over the last few months, even with superb performances by ZywOo. And while the world-class young prodigy is still doing his thing (more often than not), we have to say it hasn’t been at the same level as S1mple. Oh, come on – we have to keep comparing these two. They’re like Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo of CSGO.
Vitality is in group A with Heroic, Astralis, Spirit, ENCE, and Bad News Bears. Their group stage will be all but straightforward, with three top-notch contenders for the playoffs. I can’t see ZywOo and the boys doing anything notable even if they qualify for the playoffs. On the bright side, a bad result on ESL Pro League Season 14 would likely result in roster alterations… and I’m certain that’ll help Vitality (and ZywOo) in the long run.
Even though it’s the weakest link in the top flight CIS teams right now, Team Spirit is not to be taken for granted! They kicked 2021 off with a bang, winning DH Open January and Winstrke CIS Cup Spring. In between those two, mir and the boys reached the IEM XV World Championship semifinals, where they got eliminated by their brethren from Gambit. Still, 3rd/4th place finish racked in $80,000 in prize money, their biggest win ever.
The second quarter wasn’t really good for Spirit. They mixed things up in the coaching department, but there weren’t any notable improvements until late June and early July. In that period, they had three notable events: winning third place on StarLadder CIS RMR, suffering through a harsh IEM XVI Cologne campaign, but turning things around with a marvelous title run on Pinnacle Cup II.
Fun fact – the latter equalized their biggest prize pool. That’s right; Spirit earned $160,000 from Pinnacle Cup II and IEM XV World Championship alone.
Ninjas in Pyjamas are the last team we’re going to be talking about today! The Swedish organization is the one we’ll use to finish off our EPL S14 power rankings. For the record, they barely squeezed into the 10th spot.
The competition was tough, with BIG and Mosuesports leading the charge. But, for the sake of keeping one of the world’s best players in the mix (device, of course), we just had to go with NiP.
Unfortunately, NiP doesn’t have solid results to show off over the last couple of months. They did well in April and May, but everything after that hasn’t been that good. Surprisingly enough, they’re not struggling with consistency.
They’re pretty good against weaker teams – it’s the big names that usually stop them in their place. Virtus.pro, on two occasions, Mousesports on two occasions, as well as G2 and Gambit once – all of NiP’s eliminators over the past four months. They need that extra bit of firepower to squeeze through in matches like these. If they can find it on ESL PL S14, they might end up more than just another hit and miss!