CS:GO Matches of the Week April 17-23: Proving grounds

by Dennis Gonzales Apr 17
Thumbnail image courtesy of Valve

There is no shortage of CS:GO happening from one week to the next and it can be tough for even hardcore fans to keep track of it all, so we've narrowed down your choices to the few must-watch matches of the week.

FaZe Clan vs. mousesports

  • Where: ESL YouTube
  • When: April 18
  • Why: NiKo facing his old teammates

Nikola "NiKo" Kovač is the best player in CS:GO right now, and it shows. He has an explosive playstyle and is capable in every economic situation. Whether he has an AWP, an AK-47 or a Desert Eagle, he should never be underestimated and even fictional assassins should be wary.

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Given the impact he can have on a game, it was understandably a big blow to mousesports when the Bosnian star parted ways for FaZe Clan over two months ago. However Tomáš "oskar" Šťastný's return to the roster and Denis "denis" Howell stepping up his game softened that blow. And now that mouz recently picked up rising star Robin "ropz" Kool, NiKo will be facing a very different mouz than the one he left.

Though mouz seem to be on the come up, it's still FaZe's games to lose in the upcoming matchup. They're hot off of their win at SL i-League Season 3 over the likes of Astralis and G2 Esports, meanwhile the new mouz have yet to really find their stride. However, mouz have one thing going for them in that they should know exactly how NiKo plays and can use this against him.

Counter Logic Gaming vs. Detroit Renegades

  • Where: ESL YouTube
  • When: April 21
  • Why: Rickeh facing his old teammates

Renegades have gone under a number of changes recently — Ricky "Rickeh" Mulholland and Yaman "yam" Ergenekon departed in March and they've since, somewhat surprisingly, picked up two non-Australian players as replacements. They've acquired NA up-and-comer Noah "Nifty" Francis from Selfless Gaming, as well as Nemanja "nexa" Isaković, a Serbian player who undoubtedly came under the recommendation of their Serbian coach Aleksandar "kassad" Trifunović.

The end result is a Renegade roster fielding players from three completely different regions, NA, Europe and Oceania. It's a project, on its face, very similar to Splyce's multi-region roster, which featured The MongolZ player Enkhtaivan "Machinegun" Lkhagva and EU players Asger "AcilioN" Larsen and Joey "CRUC1AL" Steusel. That was a project, mind you, that was ultimately deemed a failure as all non-NA players eventually parted ways six months later.

Rickeh seemed to elevate Renegades when he was on that team and he's done the same with CLG as they qualified for the SL i-League Season 3 LAN Finals soon after the roster change. That in itself was an achievement for the struggling North America team, but CLG pulled off even more surprises after they advanced to the playoffs following victories over UYA, Gambit Esports and Immortals. CLG ended up losing in the quarterfinals 2-0, but considering their opponent was eventual Grand Finalist Astralis, it wasn't too much of a surprise.

This will be Renegades first matchup with their new roster and they will get no fairer test than former teammate Rickeh. Time will tell if Renegades will go the way of Splyce, but given how CLG have been playing lately it's their matchup to lose.

Misfits vs. NRG Esports

  • Where: ESL YouTube
  • When: April 21
  • Why: First few games for Misfits with devoduvek and AmaNEk

North American teams importing European talent is nothing new, but Misfits' latest roster came as somewhat of a surprise. Their Canadian player Russel "Twistzz" Van Dulken was sniped by Team Liquid, but they also decided to bench Skyler "Relyks" Weaver in lieu of two French players, David "devoduvek" Dobrosavljevic and François "AmaNEk" Delauney.

devoduvek was originally part of Team EnVyUs, but as Adil "ScreaM" Benrlitom's negotiations with FaZe Clan fell through, he was brought into the roster instead of devoduvek. Both he and AmaNEk have done good damage against Tier 2 French and EU teams, but it's yet to be seen whether they can keep up that form against the best in North America.

Misfits will face off against Winterfox on April 19, who are currently ranked second last in ESL Pro League Season 5 and should be a simple match, even if it's Misfits' first match with this roster. A better test for them will be against NRG Esports, who have a pretty unassuming roster, but are performing well in the league and on track for the LAN Finals.

NRG are currently ranked in fifth place with an 11-5 record. They've yet to be tested by the likes of SK Gaming or Cloud9, who are respectively the first and second placed teams in the league. However, they've split their best-of-ones against both Team Liquid and Immortals, who are in third and four place respectively. So this is NRG's series to lose.

Dennis "Tarmanydyn" Gonzales is a news editor for theScore esports who enjoys whiskey, D&D and first-picking Abaddon Slardar Clinkz Medusa Oracle a P90 my Souvenir Negev Discipline Priest Pharah. You can follow him on Twitter.