Hope you guys have survived through Day 1, where we predicted most matches right with the exception of CLG winning over EnvyUS and the return of the Polish Plow. However, the stakes are a lot higher today, as we enter elimination matches. Therefore, let’s not waste any time and get right into it!
Flipside Tactics vs Mousesports
So we start off with a fairly interesting match between the Germans and the Ukrainians. As expected, both teams were able to put up a solid fight against superior teams but failed to close it out due to skill distribution across the board. However now they will be going up against each other and as a result, the skill gap drastically dwindles down, making it a potentially great series. Therefore, the veto process will be key here since both teams have gone up against each other multiple times in the past. Mousesports should steer clear from Cobblestone and Train while FlipSid3 Tactics will probably veto out Cache and Dust 2, as a result, the remaining options are Overpass, Inferno, and Mirage. Which slightly favors Mousesports as they will happily take on FlipSid3 on either of those. At an individual level, Niko is undoubtedly the best player in the server going into this match. While the likes of WorldEdit and Bondik can create a lot of buzz around them, Niko’s impact is a lot more consistent and can have a lasting effect in the game. Then you add in the fact that while inconsistent, Nex and ChrisJ also sport ridiculous peak forms and are capable of simply overpowering the guys over at FlipSid3 tactics and it hints towards a victory for the Germans.
Our Pick: Niko carries Mousesports to a victory
Key players: Niko and ChrisJ
Splyce vs Faze Clan
Davey and jasonR put up a good performance yesterday against the best team in the world, showing some signs of potential in them to be better players in the long run. However that time is not now and Faze Clan are the clear favorites going into this. While they haven’t shown anything impressive lately, even falling to Team Liquid in rather sad fashion yesterday, they still sport a lot of individual skill among the team. Which alone should be enough to trump Splyce and take it home, I simply don’t see Splyce being able to hold off long enough against the likes of Rain and Jkaem, who are undoubtedly some of the most talented up and coming players in the world at the moment. So as long as the Veto does not go horribly wrong for Maikelele and co, this should be a win on the board for Faze.
Our pick: Faze Clan overpowers Splyce
Key players: Rain and Jkaem
EnvyUS vs Gambit Gaming
Right now, EnvyUS are in a position that I never expected them to be in. They are heavily struggling at all levels and even their insane skill level is having no real impact anymore. Just let the fact sink in that a team sporting KennyS, Happy, NBK and Apex lost to CLG in almost humiliating fashion. Things are simply in a bad place for them and this is the best chance Gambit Gaming will ever have to make the upset happen. Dosia and co showed some great plays against Astralis and managed to garner respectable 10 rounds over the Danish giants, which suggest that an upset here is very much possible. So playing the odds and keeping the current situation in mind, we have to go with Gambit Gaming here.
Our Pick: Gambit Gaming takes down an unstable EnvyUS squad
Key players: Dosia and MOU
Gamers2 vs Cloud9
Going into MLG Columbus, I expected Gamers2 to finally make out of group stage, especially with both RPK and EX6 showing good form online. However, all that expectation was squashed with a Polish boot from Virtus Pro, who simply plowed through the French squad. It was a humiliating defeat for Shox and co and something they will surely try to avenge with a victory over Cloud9.
The American squad themselves are coming off fresh from a beating at the hands of Natus Vincere, who despite a shaky start stabilized mid game and took down Nothing and co in impressive fashion. This is definitely one of the harder games to call today, but we are actually going to favor the G2 squad here. While Gamers2 looked really frail yesterday against Virtus.Pro, it was simply the plow effect that rarely happens with the Polish squad anymore, so chances are it completely took Gamers2 by surprise and they weren’t able to adapt mid game. However, this one should differ greatly, since EX6’s tactical style heavily counters Cloud9’s puggy approach, so as long as Smithzz remains patient and doesn’t throw himself away against Skadoodle, the others should be able to hold off long enough for a win. Not to mention that G2 sports the higher seed, so the Veto process should also allow them to land on a favorable map.
Our pick: Gamers2 wins over Cloud9, using their extra ban and superior structure
Key players: Shox and RPK
NIP-Gaming vs Luminosity Gaming
The Swedes would have a legitimate chance going into this if they sported their original roster, but with the whole Pyth situation thrown into the mix, this should be a fairly easy victory for Luminosity Gaming. Fallen and co have the superior skill across the board and while Get_Right & Forest have shown signs of greatness again, it won’t be enough against a squad where everyone can turn up at any given moment. A good example that would be Luminosity’s match against Mousesports, where Niko was by far the best player on the server, yet they still overcame the superstar using their overall structure and firepower across the board. I expect a somewhat similar match today, where Get_Right and Forest end up taking some rounds for the squad but eventually fall to the constant pressure from Luminosity Gaming. Not to mention that a player like Fallen won’t simply let Threat play behind the stars and will exploit any weakness that is out there. An unfortunate situation overall, but should be a win for the Brazilian squad.
Our Pick: Luminosity Gaming wins against an incomplete NIP
Key players: Fallen and Fer
FNATIC vs Team Liquid
While Liquid put up a solid performance yesterday against Faze, FNATIC is a different beast entirely. The Swedish giant’s sport the perfect balance of firepower and tactics likes of which Team Liquid just aren’t ready yet to contest yet. Not to mention the much superior map pool, in a state where the pick and ban phase will probably end up in the Swede’s favor as well. In the end, expect S1mple and Hiko to do some damage, but not enough to kill off the beast entirely.
Our Pick: FNATIC continues their reign of dominance by squashing the American dream
Key players: Olofmeister and JW
Astralis vs Counter Logic Gaming
Yes CLG took down the reigning major champions yesterday, but let’s not forget that the French giants are only a shadow of their former selves and we should not dig too much into it. Astralis, on the other hand, have shown a return to form and have become a top 5 team in the world again. Their specialty has always been taking down lesser teams early on in an event and CLG should be no exception. The way Tarik and reltuC abused the chinks in the armor of the French giants simply won’t work against the likes of Astralis. Even in terms of raw firepower Astralis edge out the American squad by a good margin, sporting world class players like Duphree and Device. Not to mention even their support player in Xyp9X has evolved into a really skilled defensive player and can make miracles happen on the CT side, so any way you slice it, the end of CLG’s major will probably start with a defeat at the hands of the Danes.
Our Pick: Astralis overpower CLG to continue their run in this major
Key players: Device and XyP9x
Vritus.Pro vs Natus Vincere
A great showing for Virtus Pro yesterday against the French squad, but the question now is whether or not they can actually keep it up and take down Natus Vincere, who are without a doubt a much more scary opponent to go up against. Neo and Snax have been the pillar of the Polish squad and if an upset were to happen, they would have to be the key players. Unfortunately hoping for the plow mode to continue is just wishful thinking and the CIS kings will probably overpower them regardless. Let’s not forget that Guardian has been the best AWPer in the world for a while now and his sidekick in Flamie has also evolved to a more consistent entry fragger who can open up a site himself, with firepower like that backed up by Edward and Seized, the CIS kings can systematically take down anyone not named FNATIC. Also, they share much of the same map pool, so as long as Na`Vi don’t hand Virtus Pro too much of an advantage, it should be a win for Guardian and co.
Our Pick: Natus Vincere brings an end to the plow
Key players: Guardian and Flamie