CS:GO’s ECS - or Esports Championship Series - is underway, and now, with almost two weeks of games played, we’re starting to get an understanding of which teams could be the teams to watch for this season. And of course it’s still everyone’s game at this point, but with these early leads it’ll take some great CS:GO play to see the top spots knocked from their pedestals. So to help you get up to speed with the ECS Season 2 and the teams that stand a chance of taking the whole tournament, we take a look at some of the teams to keep an eye on after only two weeks of play.
ECS Season 2 - The American Teams To Watch...SK GamingGames played: 10 Games won: 7
Since SK Gaming and Luminosity’s controversy surrounding contracts earlier this year, SK Gaming has been in a bit of an upheaval - but now that things have settled down, it seems the Brazilian roster is starting to come into its own. With the majority of its games played already, SK Gaming is currently topping the table making them an obvious choice as one of the top competitors for the league. But that’s not to say they’re dominating by any stretch. There are tables with a much better ratio already with the sheer fact that they’ve not played as many games that keeps them lower on the table - Cloud9 and OpTic the more obvious choices. With that said, SK Gaming has yet to lose a game, which is a positive start. However it won two and has drawn in three, and that could be a significant difference between it and the teams that have yet to play its full number of games. All the same, those games it did draw in weren’t actually wash-overs, especially its tied game with Counter Logic Gaming where it went into overtime before CLG finally claimed victory at 22-20. OpTic Gaming Games played: 6 Games won: 5 OpTic Gaming is easily one of the more recognisable teams in CS:GO, and it’s holding on to its reputation in this tournament with some exceptional performances. It’s trailing in the league table but only by the sheer virtue of having not yet played as many games as SK Gaming. It’s only lost one of its six matches, meaning it’s won two games and drawn one. In the majority of those victories, however, OpTic managed to win by a significant lead, often with at least 10 rounds over its opposition. In the game it did lose - against Immortals - it did so after going into overtime, and though it wasn’t able to claim any further rounds it does highlight how close a game it was. At this early stage we’d wager that OpTic Gaming could be the ones leading by the close of Week 2 and by halfway through the tournament expect to seem them as a significant threat. Cloud9 Games played: 6 Games won: 5 Alongside OpTic Gaming, Cloud9 has a similar number of successes and - having not yet played as many games as SK Gaming - could be one of the teams to watch out for. Its victories haven’t been quite as strong as OpTic’s, however, with much closer matches being played. They’ve not often been as confident as OpTic’s and it’s hard to image Cloud9’s current form could survive the pressure. Even against Team Solomid, who hasn’t been much of a threat in the ECS Season 2 just yet, Cloud9’s two victories came in at 16 rounds to 12 and 13 rounds respectively - by no means strong. But Cloud9 is never a team to count out, especially this early on, and so these early results certainly give them a good foundation to build on. Immortals Games played: 12 Games won: 7 Having already played all of its games gives Immortals an advantage in that it can see where it lies while the rest are played. It’s true that its result aren’t especially impressive on paper, especially considering both OpTic Gaming and Cloud9 have only had six games in total and are only two victories behind. But it’s still a strong position to be in as the remaining matches play out, and it’s not like the matches it’s played were easy defeats for Immortals. Many were only a matter of a handful of rounds between them, and Immortals weren’t ever so far behind taking back control. In fact it even showed a great deal of strength in some of its recent games, especially against Team Liquid where it won all 32 rounds and only gave away only 3 rounds to Liquid. It’s a strong contender and Immortals is easily getting more confident as a CS:GO competitor, so definitely one to watch out for.
EU CS:GOs To Watch At ECS Season 2...G2 EsportsGames played: 2 Games won: 1
With fewer games having been played in the EU league when compared to the US league, this is a much closer call to make right now than with North American teams. And though G2 Esports has only played two matches and lost one of them, it’s not a team to ignore right now. It placed first in the inaugural season of ECS, and placed second at the recent StarLadder Star Series Season 2. There’s not much to say here, except that G2 Esports performance outside of the ECS has given it the potential to be a big contender in this league, so watch for them. FaZe Clan Games played: 4 Games won: 4 While FaZe Clan isn’t the only team to have a 100% track record, it has managed four matches with a relative degree of control. There’s still a ways to go and many other teams in the league to still play their games - Mousesports, for example, could still bring them down - but FaZe Clan already has a strong strat and if it keeps it up over the coming few weeks then it’ll certainly be one of the most comfortable positions to be in during the later season. And let’s not forget that FaZe Clan has been making a lot of inroads in competitions recently. While its CoD roster still maintains a great deal of success, its CS:GO squad is constantly improving. Is this the tournament where we see CS:GO FaZe Clan come into its own? Well, maybe, just maybe. Godsent Games played: 4 Games won: 3 Godsent is something of an upstart in the CS:GO circuit after forming in April of this year by former Fnatic player Pronax (and later filled out by extra players from Fnatic). Where the current Fnatic squad has failed to make much success in ECS so far, Godsent is seemingly making up for that with a very comfortable start into the league table. Its three victories were very confident ones, too, taking the charge very early on and maintaining that advantage throughout each round. Godsent has been on many fans’ lips over the last few months and this hype is helping to make it something of a name to follow right now. How it performs at ECS will be something of a focus for many CS:GO fans, and could ultimately affect just how permanent this hype is. Mousesports Games played: 2 Games won: 2 There’s no denying Mousesports is tenacious. Having entered Eleague knockout finals as an underdog and placing second in Gfinity’s Invitational - perhaps it’s time we started paying more attention to the German team. It’s won both of the games it has played in the ECS Season 2 so far, but that’s not the story here. The story is everything outside of ECS, and now’s the time for Mousesports to prove it has what it takes. It has only played two games against Fnatic at the moment - a squad that isn’t performing as well as it needs to right now - and though Mousesports managed to take control of both matches, there’s no denying it wasn’t tested as much as it needs to be. How Mousesports performs in its upcoming matches will be the deciding factor, but if it can compete against FaZe Clan, Godsent or even G2 Esports then it is within a chance of finally making a name for itself as anything other than the underdog. Virtus.pro Games played: 6 Games won: 3 Virtus.pro is one of those teams that are tough to predict. Sometimes they’ll really take to a tournament and find themselves stampeding over all competition. Other times it’ll really struggle against often easier opponents. It’s still hard to predict in ECS, too. Despite three losses, its equal number of victories were confident and controlled. Its losses, even, weren’t ultimately down to a lack of skill. It beat Dignitas in both matches with a very healthy lead in rounds, while its single match lost against Fnatic was something of a surprise after a great performance in the first match. Up against FaZe Clan it struggled, admittedly, but it does currently seem like FaZe are the ones to beat, so that’s not necessarily a surprise. Virtus.pro needs to step up if it wants to make it anywhere in ECS, but it’s not necessarily in an awful position to do so.