The third time could be the charm or more growing pains for the freshest iteration ATK

What to expect from ATK v. ENCE

After a rocky start to the new lineup, can ATK bring it back against ENCE with a fresh fifth of their own?

ATK’s form entering ESL Pro League leaves much to be desired since the integration of Macedonian talent Aleksandar “CacaNito” Kjulukoski. Their 1-7 map record as a team is not the start that fans of the lineup were hoping for. Despite the team’s recent struggles, ENCE may be the most favorable opening-round matchup for ATK for a multitude of reasons.

Learning from mistakes

ATK and CacaNito have been able to rack plenty of reps together over the past two weeks, regardless of success. Since his debut, they’ve participated in European events Elisa Invitational Winter and BetBoom Playlist Urbanistic where they were fortunate to build experience against European teams as opposed to the same domestic teams the ATK core is familiar with. One can assume that ATK coach Daniel “sprayxd” Kogan has been working off the demos from those two events to build up the foundation and chemistry of the team with CacaNito. ATK undoubtedly has talent on the team, but time will tell if they can show it off in this iteration

  • Despite the slow start, stars Michael “Swisher” Schmid and Jonathan “b0denmaster” Bodenmalm still maintain 1.10+ ratings with ATK

  • The duo with in-game leader Gareth “MisteM” Ries has been rather successful as a trio, it will just come down to how far they can go with the new talents

  • CacaNito has shown star-like qualities under the BLUEJAYS banner, making him a key component as the lineup progresses together.

No stranger to an upset

ENCE are debuting a new lineup in EPL thanks to the recent addition of Israeli talent Guy “NertZ” Iluz. However, it is no secret that the core has been rather prone to an upset. Since February, the core lineup has dropped online and LAN matchups to the likes of Complexity, Eternal Fire, and HONORIS. Most recently, it was #31 HLTV-ranked Eternal Fire that bested the ENCE core in two BO3s in the CCT Central EU Malta Finals just a month before EPL group play. Looking beyond recent results, the core four of ENCE has been unable to get beyond a “treadmill team” status with a win percentage just below 53%, making them ripe for ATK’s taking in an opening round upset.

  • 42-38 map record (52.5%) between the core four of ENCE without NertZ

  • It has been only a month since adding NertZ, how much has ENCE worked out prior to their first official?

  • Losses to Complexity, HONORIS, and Eternal Fire show their ability to be upset by an underdog

  • When combined with their debuting status, ENCE is perhaps the best higher-ranked opposition for ATK to start groups against

Likely vetos

ATK with CacaNito has Ancient and Inferno as the only two maps played multiple times together, three and two times respectively. With such little data in front of us, it is tough to claim with confidence how it will exactly go out. The certainty that can be made for ATK is that Nuke will be banned and either Ancient or Inferno will be picked.

  • ATK ban Nuke as it is their perma

  • ENCE ban Inferno, creating an even tougher journey for ATK without one of their favored maps on the table

  • ATK pick Ancient, ensuring one of their comfort choices

  • Fair to assume ENCE stick with their guns and go Vertigo, as it was their first choice nearly 60% over the ten matchups.

  • The prospect of Anubis or Overpass being the decider is exciting if you're rooting for ATK to win it in the final hours. Although Mirage is typically a comfort map for ATK, that is a map anyone can play and play well on, especially at the professional level

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