We have the 5th and final slate from Group A of ESL Pro League. All 3 games start at once on Friday so that no teams can tactically throw for seeding/to eliminate a certain opponent. That means lock is at 2pm EDT. The games are:
Heroic (61% implied win probability) vs Astralis
Vitality (63%) vs Spirit
Ence (92%) vs Bad News Bears
Sub Risk/Roster Changes
Allu, Alter, and Xyp9x are not playing. Everyone else is despite any Draftkings injury designations.
Last but not least, Ence get their turn against the Bad News Bears on Friday. If Ence win they advance, so they should be fully focused and come out to destroy Bad News Bears. The aggressive players like Spinx and Dycha should do well in this matchup, while the more supportive players like Doto might not have as many opportunities for big rounds. Still though, all 5 players on Ence are in play, and both Doto and Snappi are fairly cheap. I do actually like the idea of a Spinx/Hades/Dycha stack if you can make the salary work, as I imagine the vast majority of Ence stacks will have at least one of Doto or Snappi.
One way to make that salary work is the Heroic vs Astralis game. Gla1ve, refrezh, Bubzkji, sjuush, Lucky, and Stavn are all under 7k. Neither team is really playing for much, as Heroic have 1st place locked up and Astralis are all but eliminated (they’d need Ence to lose to BNB to have a shot at advancing), but this is the battle for supremacy within Denmark and I’d expect both teams to be giving it their all. I like the Heroic side better, but either side is viable for GPPs. Lucky has looked good since joining Astralis, and Stavn has been outstanding so far this tournament.
Zywoo still hasn’t had a huge pop off game yet this tournament. He’s been over 70 every game but he’s yet to break 85. Eventually the 90+ is coming. It could be Friday, in a match where both teams may try out some new strats as neither is really playing for anything as Vitality are locked into the 2 seed and Spirit are eliminated. Again, these are pros still so expect max effort, but map choices and/or strats could get a little wonky. Spirit without any pressure on them should also play better than they have been (against non-BNB teams) so far this tournament. They’ve definitely underperformed expectations, and this is a sneaky spot for them against Vitality. If this game were on Monday, I bet the odds would’ve been closer. Non-Zywoo Vitality will also likely be low owned again, and they’re always a solid GPP play. Misutaaa showed off his upside on Thursday, and really everyone except Kyojin has had their moments at some point this week.
My favorite strategy on this slate is a mid to lower priced captain in order to fit expensive Ence players. I like both Stavn and Lucky a lot at captain. Doto is also fine but of course means you can only fit 2 of the 3 pricey Ence guys. Vitality/Spirit is the game where I’ll likely stick with the studs, as both teams have a much more defined killshare than either Heroic or Astralis. Zywoo is always in play as are mir and degster on the other side. Degster is venturing into that “mid-range” territory too at only $7.6k flex price.
Good luck on Friday!