We covered the Legend teams in an earlier post. Now we take a look at the Challenger teams ahead of the carnage, which commences today.
Straight from the fire are our eight teams, making it through the qualifiers to take centre stage at this year’s ELEAGUE Major 2018.
Cloud9 had the chance to come into the event with Legend status, but were forced to bow out after their loss against VP at the Krakow Major. Qualifying for the event on a 3-0 score, if any US team was to go far in the Major, it would be C9.
They steamrolled through Sprout (16-5), EnVyUs (16-11) and mous (16-5), and should do well considering their decent map pool and how well the team is functioning. RUSH was quoted saying that all players on the roster are currently at their highest peak so we’re expecting good results. The player to highlight would be automatic, who led the team with a 92.7 ADR and 64 kills. However, as a team who so heavily relied on firepower and fragging ability, coming up against teams like Astralis who play a more tactical game could pose a challenge.
Unsurprisingly, the EU powerhouse, and second best team in the world, blazed through the qualifiers with relative ease. They entered into the event having been crowned the winners of the ECS Season 4 in December.
It would be shocking to see these guys fall early on – they have talent on every corner of their line-up, with smart tactics, a good IGL, deep map pool and one of the best players in the world. If their performance in 2017 is anything to go by, expecting big things from FaZe is logical. Let’s just not think about how NiKo has failed to make the playoffs of every Major Championship he’s ever been in.
Recently Na’Vi have struggled to keep their game on point. Their performance during the qualifiers got them through on a score of 3-2, winning matchups against Liquid, Sprout and QBF, but they failed to put up much of a fight against Faze (4-16) and mous (2-16).
S1mple is still a beast though; he was voted best player of the qualifiers and picked up a total of 30 kills against Liquid, pulling Na’Vi through to the main stage.
mous entered the event off the back of a finals appearance at ECS Season 4. They defeated teams such as Renegades and Na’Vi with sweeping results, 16-4 and 16-2 respectively. It’s worth noting though that they played Mirage four out of five times, winning 75% of the time, which could be a potential weak point for other teams to exploit. If this suggests a shallow map pool, the prospect of winning consistently is challenged, as they go into the BO3 playoffs.
Another point to highlight is that all players on the team, apart from STYKO, finished with a 1.00 rating, or above, at the qualifiers. There’s no doubt the team has the raw skill, but whether or not they can pull it together and show up strong at the main event is yet to be seen.
Vega Squadron made their name when they took down NiP last year at the ELEAGUE Major Qualifier. They didn’t make it through, but was a valiant effort in any case.
They upset FaZe (16-6), Liquid (16-14) and Renegades (16-14) in the qualifiers for this year’s event, boasting a score of 3-1, and finding strength in players mir and chopper. Finishing with a 1.57 rating, chopper has some impressive clutches which propelled the team to victories, however the underwhelming performances by hutji and keshandr may force the team to rely on their aggressive playstyle and chopper’s skill to pull off victories.
Space Soldiers made it through the qualifiers on a 3-1 score, however it wasn’t a convincing journey. They clung to victory against mous, Misfits and AVANGAR, finishing on 19-17, 16-13 and 18-9, respectively.
Heading into the event, player XANTARES looks to be the highlight of the roster. He has the raw skill and is a pretty talented aimer, coming out of the qualifiers with a 1.39 rating.
Quantum Bellator Fire
No one really expected the CIS team to make it through the qualifier, which they navigated 3-2. But the road wasn’t as arduous as it could have been. It was the path of least resistance, coming head-to-head with teams like EnVyUs and Flash Gaming. QBF have the capability to take on lower tier teams who do little to really challenge their comfort zones, but put them on the main stage where they have little experience, up against tier one teams, and the path to the exit starts flashing in neon.
One player to watch out for though is Boombl4. He picked up some pretty decent impact frags in their match up against FaZe, and given time he could develop and work up the ranks in the CIS scene.
G2 breezed through to the Major, qualifying on a 3-0 score. It’s worth noting though that their match ups weren’t too challenging, giving G2 an easy route to the Major.
G2’s performance will come down to how they show up, if they’re on their best form and if their concentration is on point. They have some of the best French players on their roster, and a skill set that is deserving of a Major title. The capability is there, but how they perform will come down to their form on the day.