Given yet another trial period to make the European-American squad work, NRG eSports qualified for the ESL Pro League LAN Finals with a regular season record of 17-9. Yet with a hint of misfortune, NRG would find themselves placed in a feisty Group B, facing off against the likes of elite tier teams – specifically SK Gaming, Ninjas in Pyjamas, Team Dignitas and the side boys of Cloud9 and FaZe Clan. Living up to their expectation for disappointment, NRG choked and failed to prove their critics wrong once again.
Since the original iteration – then featuring Justin “just9n” Ortiz and Samuel “Silent3m” Portillo – NRG eSports have consistently placed last and second-to-last at every LAN event they’ve attended. With the exception of their first LAN, Counter Pit League Finals, the team have been suffering through a drought in success since early May.
With the likes of European mastermind Faith “gob b” Dayik and ex-PENTA star Johannes “tabseN” Woodarz, you would have thought NRG would be contesting for the top spot at each LAN they attend. In reality, NRG have failed to show efficient play on a daily basis – struggling against mid-tier North Americans teams.
On paper, you may assume gob b is holding the team back. In exchange, you may receive an objections along the lines of, “gob b’s strategical mind outweighs his lack of fragging power!”. Gob b’s strategic knowledge is essential to NRG’s success, but gimmicky plays can only get a team so close to securing a win.
Analysing NRG’s play style, you immediately notice that during economical resets or pistol rounds, gob b’s squad prefers to do a triple save instead of the normal double save:
“I like the fact that NRG are saving a third time. During the gun rounds, NRG have been short on grenades and are aiming to get the AWP on ptr.
“NRG saving will be an attempt to mitigate the troubles they’ve had on their gun rounds.”
Jason “Moses” O’Toole commentating NRG vs Dignitas
Rather than saving for substantial utility, they also gear up Peter “ptr” Gurney, the primary AWPer on NRG. Frankly, watching ptr play on LAN and online leagues is excruciatingly irritating.
Ptr fails to deliver consistent impact and frequently chokes on LAN – that’s not to slander the former Counter Logic Gaming man or to bring him down to the depths of Eric “adreN” Hoag or Edouard “SmithZz” Dubourdeaux – it’s just obvious that ptr is not the right fit for this team.
NRG already have the support player in gob b, and the scale must be balanced by impact performances from ptr. He has failed to deliver during his stay, and its seems incomprehensible that gob b retains so much faith in him.
When just9n and Silent3m were replaced, NRG eSports snatched tabseN and ex-Liquid player Jacob “FugLy” Medina following his recent release from CLG. I’m not sure what qualities made FugLy stand out in the free agent market, but surely he has failed to deliver on any of the potential he showed during his time with the roster – perhaps his reputation is sustained by his performances with Team Liquid.
NRG eSports seem set on enforcing strategies that lack the bite to dominate a game. With a roster that appears to be perilously unbalanced, change is needed to return the squad to winning ways.