ESEA Premier Season 37 Group A Preview

Group A is absolutely stacked with the likes of paiN, Party Astronauts, oNe, and RBG all battling for the top seed.

With ESEA Premier Season 37 set to start tonight, Dust2.us has returned with a preview of the teams and their recent form heading into the second season of 2021.

As a reminder, 18 teams will be split into two round robin best of three groups, with the top four from each making playoffs at the end of the season.

In our first preview, we'll take a look at Group A, and the teams most suited for playoff contention among the field of nine. 

Playoff Contenders

 paiN (PKL, biguzera, hardzao, NEKIZ, saffee)

paiN edged out the likes of Party Astronauts for the top spot in our Group A preview on the basis of the stability of their roster and the fact that only Bad News Bears and Extra Salt have been able to consistently challenge them this year. Additionally, paiN have been playing in Europe for some time, and while they failed to win any matches against Heroic and FURIA, the value of European practice can't be understated and is a luxury for tier 2 NA squads. paiN should be a comfortable shoo-in for playoffs, especially as many of their potential rivals are still rebuilding their rosters. The only chance for intrigue would be against oNe as a Brazilian domestic matchup.

United States Party Astronauts (PwnAlone, ben1337, djay, Infinite, viz // Muenster)

Despite losing their organization and the entirety of their old lineup with the exception of Josh "PwnAlone" Pigue and Ben "ben1337" Smith, Party Astronauts are still a lineup to be feared this season as PwnAlone is one of the division's highest rated players, and ben1337 is a well-regarded IGL. Additionally, Jonathan "djay" Dallal had previously played with the duo for over a year, meaning he can likely slot into his old positions and get to work. The main questions with this lineup are whether Gage "Infinite" Green can return to form after his jaunt in VALORANT and if Wesley "viz" Harris can return to form after a disappointing stint on Triumph. Should they manage to bring these two players online, Party Astronauts are likely to be one of the most dangerous teams in the division.

 oNe (Maluk3, prt, pesadelo, malbsMd, xns // righi)

oNe's homecoming after spending the start of the year in Europe is exciting as they are one of North America's top adopted squads, and they have consistently been one of the most dangerous teams in Premier/MDL. Considering this squad won ESEA MDL Season 35 just six months ago there's a lot to be excited about. The only question mark is Enzo "xns" Henrique, who will need to step up in a big way after playing in the lower levels of the Brazilian domestic scene. It must also be said that Pedro "Maluk3" Campos was underwhelming in Europe, but he should hopefully be able to smash heads in North America.

United States RBG (Walco, HexT, wiz, chop, CLASIA // ara)

RBG are one of the most exciting new rosters Premier has seen in a number of seasons, with the team impressing greatly during Season 36 playoffs. Jadan "HexT" Postma has been one of North America's strongest players this season, and with the addition of Anthony "CLASIA" Kearney, the team has two star-level players. Their opening match on June 2nd will be against Party Astronauts, and would be a coup for RBG after they beat the previous iteration of this roster when they were High Coast.

Challengers

United States Veloz (Domorin, Aidan, Feedalee, consti, sherps // LAJT)

Veloz narrowly missed out on playoffs during Season 36 thanks to a week two loss to GGPR which was an unfortunate negative mark on an otherwise breakout season for the new Premier squad. While the replacement of kber with Richie "sherps" Sherpa is somewhat of a horizontal upgrade, Veloz's core is still quite strong and should Kevin "consti" Yi and Filip "Feedalee" Mitevski continue their strong performances from last season, they are likely to claim a top five finish in Season 37 and potentially challenge for a playoffs spot.

United States Third Impact (DaneJoris, insane, brett, walker, grape // becker)

Third Impact finishing Season 36 with a 3-6 record betrays the real narrative of their performance last season as the new lineup managed to take maps off of High Coast and Triumph while besting Recon 5 2-0. Additionally, as one of the few teams to not make changes in the off-season, Third Impact should be able to hit the ground running while all the teams ranked above them are still bedding in new members. Third Impact's opening matches are against PDHM and Mythic and the expectation should be for Third Impact to claim two solid 2-0 victories. Following these series they will play RBG on May 18th and should they play a close series against them, it will set the stage for Third Impact to try and challenge for a spot in playoffs.

Dark Horses

United States Mythic (fl0m, DAVEY, JoJo, LeX, ?)

Coming into Season 37, Mythic looked fairly decent as the trio of Erik "fl0m" Flom, David "DAVEY" Stafford, and Eric "adreN" Hoag are liable to play close games and put up strong numbers against a number of top domestic teams despite being a stream team. However, the loss of adreN to Liquid today raises questions about who they could realistically bring into the lineup to replace him, especially on such short notice. Additionally, the addition of retired player Alexander "LeX" Deily raises questions about how much firepower Mythic will be able to bring to the table, with his last match being nearly two years ago. With Group A being as strong as it is, Mythic are unlikely to make playoffs but they should be able to hold their spot in the division depending on if they can find a competent fifth.

Relegation Reservations

United States Magic School Bus (hate, Noxio, Delta9, Swahn, kber // rdb)

Magic School Bus narrowly limped out of ESEA Premier Season 36 Relegation following three close 2-1 wins over Recon 5 Black, Big Chillin, and ImPerium. Their difficulty retaining their spot in Premier bodes poorly for their prospects this season as the majority of teams in Group A are of a higher caliber. While they have recently switched out Andrew "Ghostii" Kehler for Edward "kber" Vaudry, a general improvement, it likely won't move the needle far enough forward to consider them a dark horse this season. 

Magic School Bus have a brutal season ahead of them as their first three matches are against oNe, Party Astronauts, and RBG. Optimistically if they want to survive this season, they will need to try and take maps if not win outright against one of these teams as they all have made recent additions.

United States PDHM (Spoice, Brian2K, Sharkie, pao, 1goon)

Despite a second place finish in ESEA Advanced Season 36, PDHM arguably comes into Season 37 as one of the most underwhelming lineups in large part because of their recent roster changes. While Alexander "knightmare" Sozzi and Malick "dangle" Abid can't be considered "star players" in the traditional sense, the duo have far more experience and firepower than the incoming duo of Paolo "pao" Lope and Roheen "1goon" S. This is especially true for 1goon, who was not added for excellence on the server but rather for being a friend of the lineup. As such, a large burden will fall on the original PDHM trio especially as they face some of North America's top teams in Group A.

PDHM will make their debut with their new lineup on May 11th against Third Impact and should they lose in a blowout fashion, they can likely be written off as the remainder of the season will see them face off against higher ranked teams.

#1(With 0 replies)
May 5, 2021 01:51AM
el_jack0
ESEA
Group A definitely seems to be the harder group. I think PDHM might surprise though. I have faith in brian2k
#2(With 0 replies)
May 5, 2021 02:12PM
B0b3rT
Let’s go this is the season for party astronauts!
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