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Before ESL Pro League, questions were asked about how well certain teams would play. In week one, Complexity and Heroic are playing well, while OG and BIG both had disappointing results. Here are five takeaways from week one.

Poizon is back

After two months on the bench due to emergency surgery, Valentin “⁠poizon⁠” Vasilev returned on February 16 after a two-month break. Since then, he was inconsistent and unable to get much started; but at ESL Pro League, nothing could be further from the truth. Poizon has played out of his mind, and his form looks even better than before his unexpected surgery. If he keeps playing well, Complexity should have no problem placing well in ESL Pro League.

Heroic Roster Changes Worked

Many analysts criticized Heroic after they dropped both Johannes “b0RUP” Borup and Nikolaj “niko” Kristensen for Ismail “refrezh” Ali and Rasmus “sjuush” Beck right before ESL Pro League. However, their flawless results have proven the choice right. Heroic played some of their best Counter-Strike this tournament. Both sjuush and refrezh played very aggressive CT sides on Mad Lions, which is a weapon in-game leader Casper “cadiaN” Møller took advantage of to catch opponents off guard during week one.

Refrezh and Sjuush join Heroic before ESL Pro League
Refrezh and Sjuush join Heroic before ESL Pro League

OG: Adding Niko Was a good decision

So far, Nikolaj “niko” Kristensen has played well and with his 30 kills on Overpass, OG beat BIG–the number seven team in the world. Niko has the ability to play any position you put him in and do well. So, IGL (Aleksi) will certainly be able to improve the team’s offensive and defensive setups. Additionally, Niko is consistent across all maps, which one of the main reasons Heroic won ESL One Cologne.

Was NBK the right player to remove?

Due to OG’s recent unsatisfactory results, analysts have been calling on the organization to make its first roster change ahead of ESL Pro League. The team formed fifteen months ago and has yet to win a grand-final in any tournament. The organization gave in and released Nathan “NBK” Schmitt and brought in niko from Heroic. However, fans and analysts are criticizing the decision saying that Issa “ISSAA” Murad should have been the one to be kicked. In OG’s games against Complexity and BIG, Issa was at the bottom of the scoreboard, leading some to wonder if the team should have stuck with NBK.

BIG are not perfect

BIG started off the year on a high note after winning Blast Premier Spring Group A and the team placed fourth on the HLTV rankings. However, they bombed out of their two most recent tournaments: IEM Katowice and now ESL Pro League with only one win against Complexity. No member has stood out as playing terribly, but keep an eye on BIG to see what changes in strategy Johannes “tabseN” Wodarz makes.