Despite ELeague’s first group only just concluded, we already have learnt a few things regarding the four teams featured in the first group – Mousesports, FaZe Clan, Immortals and Cloud 9, with Mousesports and FaZe Clan advancing to the play-offs. The group delivered on answering questions we still had from previous tournaments such as ESL One: New York and Epicenter. Today we review the things we have learnt from the event so far.

Karrigan is fitting into Faze well…

After part owner of Astralis Finn “karrigan” Andersen announced his transfer to FaZe Clan just a few days ago, the Danish player cemented his place on the starting roster after he started over Fabien “kioshima” Fiey at the ELeague event. Cloud 9 beat Faze on Day 1 in a best of 1 but on Day 2 Faze avenged their bad performance by winning best of 3s against both Immortals and Cloud 9. Under the new player karrigan, FaZe went on to come second in the group, just under German side Mousesports.

While karrigan didn’t have the best individual performance, he did have his moments, like the 1v2 post plant clutch he pulled off against Cloud 9 on Mirage. The score was 18-18 as the two teams had just gone into overtime 2, and with Shroud and Autimatic eliminating Allu, karrigan was left to defend A site alone. Karrigan was sat in the A ramp position, managed to find Shroud, and then eliminate Autimatic during a defuse attempt. It was a very important round for Faze to win as it gave them the round advantage and topped back up their economy.

Karrigan is sure to have a bigger impact overall though. His past experience as in-game leader for Astralis (a team that he lead to legend status multiple times) means that he has great knowledge of the game overall, including some good strategies and can help out a Faze who have had some respectable months recently; 9 wins and 6 losses in August and 12 wins and 9 losses in September. So far in October, Faze have lost only 1 game and won 13, including wins over Natus Vincere and #1 HLTV team Virtus.Pro.

…but not all is clear for Faze.

On the topic of Faze Clan once again, there could be a deeper problem within the European team. The decision making for Faze seems to be a bit peculiar. For example, the fox and allu roster change occured in early August, when Faze had just had a good month in June. July wasn’t a good month, and of course the roster change was successful and a good change as we’ve seen, but it almost doesn’t make sense why Faze would be so fast to switch out a player.

The same thing has happened again. On the 20th October, it was announced that former Astralis player karrigan would be replacing kioshima. This decision was also very strange as the European side had won 11 games in October and lost 0 at this point. In my opinion, kioshima was one of the top players on the team, and with him being traded out, the team could be hurt by missing his rifling ability.

Of course, karrigan is a top player too, but coming in after being the in game leader for Astralis, does it mean he will now lead the Faze side? Another point, karrigan is sure to want to pick up the AWP, but with allu being the AWPer, what will the Dane be doing at Faze? Who will take over the entry fragger role from kioshima? There are a lot of questions that need to be answered, and we’re sure to find out over the coming weeks.

However, don’t let these points count out Faze. Despite this being their first tournament with the new player karrigan, they definitely showed what they were capable with doing, beating some of the top teams in the world in Cloud 9 and Immortals.

EU beats NA again

After a good performance from the North American teams Team Liquid and Optic Gaming at ESL One: New York, it seemed that while there was no true best team in the world, the American teams would rise up and become serious challengers to the top European teams. However, this tournament completely proved that North America has no depth when it comes to teams.

According to hltv.org’s World Rankings, Cloud 9 are rated 7th best team in the world, while Immortals are rated 13th best team in the world, whereas Mousesports are rated 14th and Faze are rated 15th. Considering Europe have teams such as Virtus.Pro, Dignitas, G2 and NiP all above the top NA team Cloud 9 (7th), it just shows that even some of the lower EU teams can beat the top North America stars.

Especially now with teams like Faze and Dignitas rising up, the North America stars are going to need to up their game in order to be seen as a serious contender for much longer. If the lower ranked European teams are beating the top North America teams, it doesn’t bode well for the American teams.

Cloud 9 are still not to be counted out

Despite losing in the end, North American side Cloud 9 should not be counted out by all means. They had very close matches throughout the event and were honestly unlucky to not go through to the group stages after taking Faze to overtime twice (winning once and losing the next overtime), also taking Mousesports to overtime in their best of 1 which would have put them in the play-offs should they have won.

The talent in the Cloud 9 roster is arguably one of the best lineups in North America too. Mike “Shroud” Grzesiek and Jake “Stewie2k” Yip bring the firepower, while Tyler “Skadoodle” Latham is a top player on the AWP. Jordan “n0thing” Gilbert also does a good job in leading the team to success and the newest player Tim “Autimatic” Ta has fit in very quickly and has become a staple in the roster for Cloud 9.

Cloud 9 showed us that they are still a great contender, but their inability to close out the games meant that they couldn’t advance to the group stages. However, I’m sure that Cloud 9 will have a good tournament run soon and be proven as a top team in the very near future.

My name is Reece "Maestro" Barrett and I am a CS:GO content creator for splitpush.net. At the age of 14, I have written for various sites and am a big fan of both CS:GO and Overwatch.