Article written by: John "JAYEL
It’s crazy to think that we’ve already reached the half-way point of the regular season for ESEA Season 36. But, alas, here we are. The Counter Nature Top 10 has changed pretty significantly since our Pre-season rankings that released in Mid-January. There haven’t been any big surprises in the ranking changes, mainly just some unlucky losses due to teams needing to play with a coach or other stand-in caused by unforeseen circumstances.
1. paiN Gaming (9-0)
Potentially one of the biggest surprises of the season--just kidding. The only comments we have about this paiN roster are of the highest regard. The entire NA community (and potentially entire world) agree that this team would be competing at the top-level of Premier. However, the Advanced division is forced to buckle-up for yet another Brazilian domination.
For those of you who didn’t know, paiN Gaming is currently ranked #36 in the WORLD (as of February 17th, 2021). Most of this weight comes from their impressive 1st place finish at the NA DreamHack Open in January of 2021. This $16,000 baggage claim came after their long and enduring run from the Open qualifiers, to the Closed qualifiers, and finally to the main event. During this process they took down Levitate, Eclipse, Pryde, High Coast (twice), Triumph, and Rebirth.
Over 8 matches played (9-0 with a FFW), they have given up only 40 rounds, for an average of 5 lost rounds per match. paiN Gaming will have 3 of their most suitable matches coming up next versus Counter Nature, eRa Eternity, and Flash Point; All of these teams are in Counter Nature’s Top 10.
2. Recon 5 Black (7-1)
The ex-Springroll roster has been on a tear this season. Their only loss comes from the paiN Gaming juggernaut, and they hold impressive wins across the first-half of the season. While not every game has been a convincing victory, an overtime win versus the difficult Big Chillin, a dismantling of Counter Nature on Overpass, and a modest win against Villainous, all prove that this team is putting themselves on track for a top finish this regular-season.
Teams will be looking to veto Overpass coming up against this team when they see their 16-2 scoreline versus Counter Nature the other week…
3. Team Veloz (6-2)
Veloz is another team that was faced with unfortunate circumstances in their week 1 loss. CoreRed (Coach) was forced to step in and the team fell to Villainous in a close Overtime match. Since then, they have had decent results with a mediocre schedule. Their real proving of worth has come from their non-league victories. Veloz has pulled off victories versus three different Premier teams in recent Cash Cups; Specifically, Eclipse, Rebirth, and Recon 5. Their schedule in Advanced gets a little more difficult moving forward, so we will see if their ranking remains valid moving forward.
4. Flash Point (6-1)
After an unfortunate week 1 loss due to DDoS issues, Flash Point was able to string together 6 wins in a row and keep their lofty expectations intact for Season 36. Their Week 1 loss may have affected their start of the season schedule, but now they are back where they belong. This team’s next 5 matches may be the toughest in the division for this stretch, seeing them get paired up with the likes of Counter Nature, InFinity, Recon 5, and paiN Gaming.
We will soon get to see if this team is as serious as they’ve been made out to be.
5. InFinity Esports (5-1)
Probably the most surprising team of this season thus far, InFinity Esports has been putting their name back on the map in NA CS. They have been dominating opponents with their newfound loose and aggressive playstyle, with aim and accuracy to back it all up.
Ever since their granted entrance to Premier three seasons ago, this team has been plummeting downard. After being demoted from Premier, the team was just barely able to finish 9-7 in S35 of Advanced and missed playoffs. This season, things seem much different for the returning roster of 5. They are motivated and hungry to get back into Premier and are an opponent to not take lightly for anyone going up against them.
6. eRa Eternity (7-1)
These guys are sitting nicely with a 7-1 record and solid recent wins against Able, Valkyrie, Tidal, and HeadShotKings. The addition of moopey seems to be paying dividends, as he leads the team with a 94 ADR. The team will be looking to make a return to playoffs for the first time in three seasons.
7. Counter Nature (6-2)
THE MONKES. Counter Nature keeps their #7 spot after a going through some difficult tests in the beginning of the season. Solid wins against Big Chillin and Villainous help make up for prominent losses versus InFinity and Recon 5. If this team wants to continue to be a competitor towards the end of the season and into playoffs, they will need to expand their map pool and get some wins on other maps. Nuke is currently played at a rate of 50% by them as of now, and will not be able to be relied on for every match-up.
8. Big Chillin (5-2)
I don't think anyone is doubting Big Chillin this season; Unfortunately, they have had one of the more difficult schedules thus far in Advanced. Wins against Eros, Villainous, and Tidal help make their case for top 10. Their losses include an OT fall to Recon 5 and a disappointing showing on Nuke versus Counter Nature (their strongest map). Xzen is a man on a mission this season, after being removed from the ex-GSG9 roster upon their move-up to Premier. Xzen is currently leading the team with a 97 ADR and improving by the match.
9. PDHM Gaming (6-1)
The ex-Thunder Logic team is lurking in the shadows waiting to pop-up and make a run--again. It's hard to tell what this team's intentions are, like the past two seasons, but so far, they look good. Their schedule has been relatively weak thus far, but matches coming up against eRa Eternity, Recon 5, and InFinity should quickly tell us if this team is for real or not. Expect them to make playoffs for the third season in a row in S36.
10. Eros (6-2)
This squad has some explaining to do, but they deserve to be in the top 10 as of now. Upcoming matches versus InFinity, eRa, Villainous, and Veloz will give the squad a chance to prove if they're for real or not. Counter Nature alumni, beaKie, will be looking to carry the torch for this team as his 102 ADR is atop the team. As long as beaKie is firing and the team is following his lead, this team will have the chance to climb the rankings through the end of the season.
This article was rushed a bit due to some time constraints, but we will hope to get the Mid-season player awards released ASAP. See you all soon.
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