After the first day of the ELeague Major qualifier, many teams are one step closer to securing their place at the Major in January. Day 2’s games have been announced, and as with the first day’s match ups, there are going to be some extremely tough games.
Game 1 of day 2 is CLG v Renegades, both losing their first game on day 1. Although CLG only just lost to Vega Squadron at 14-16, many fans expected them to take the map with ease seeing as this is Vega Squadron’s first Major qualifier, as well as the fact that CLG placed 5th-8th at MLG Columbus Major earlier this year. In my opinion however, Renegades will take this match, especially as they put up a fair fight against one of the toughest teams in the tournament, Ninjas in Pyjamas. Although the score line was much wider than that of CLG’s first game at 9-16, Renegades had some great clutch rounds, and should be able to take more rounds from a team of lower skill level, if they continue to play confidently.
Game 2, mousesports v Team Spirit, should be an easy one to call, considering that mousesports have been competing in higher tier tournaments for a much longer length of time. Although I still predict that mousesports will take this match, it’s hard to have total faith in them, considering they lost to Hellraisers on day 1. Having said this, Train, which they played against Hellraisers, is one of mouseports’s weaker maps, with a win rate of only 39%. Statistically speaking both mousesports and Team Spirit have very similar map pools, although Spirit have played far less games in total. Both teams have had reasonable success on Cache, Mirage and Dust 2, meaning the ban situation may be very difficult to call for this match. Simply because of their past success and experience with top tier tournaments, in my opinion, mousesports will take this game.
NiP v Hellraisers make Game 3 of the day, with NiP undoubtedly taking the spot as winners of this match up. NiP, although having had a few shaky rounds, looked confident against Renegades, with everyone except Xizt having a positive KDR. Forest, with a 2.15 KDR, has been playing very consistently recently, and combining this with strong eco rounds makes them a threat to all teams in this qualifying stage. Their map pool has also widened recently, with Pyth stating that “Train will become one of our best maps in the future”. They’re also a force to be reckoned with on Nuke, as whilst many other teams haven’t found their feet on it, NiP have a 80.2% win rate. This is going to be an extreme threat, not only when facing Hellraisers who have only have a 52% win rate, but also when facing other teams who may not be so confident.
Game 4 is one of a selection of games that are incredibly hard to call, comprising of Team EnVyUs v G2. Both teams haven’t been on top form recently, which makes this match up even more difficult to call. For this reason, I’m very much undecided, as this match could go one of two ways. We saw kennyS and apEX playing particularly well today in their match up against Immortals, but the team didn’t appear to be to be in sync between all 5 players. If they can manage to all sync up, then they should be able to overpower G2, as we saw from the pistol rounds they played on T side against Immortals. However, I think the threat from G2 will come if shox and ScreaM perform consistency, which we started to see in many rounds of their game against Godsent.
Game 5 should be another relatively easy match, this time for Immortals, playing against Vega Squadron. Firstly Immortals have a much wider map pool than Vega Squadron, having much higher win rates on Cobble, Mirage and Train. boltz and felps also had a particularly good game today against Team EnVyUs, so in theory, should be able to dominate a lower tier team such as Vega Squadron. Although Vega Squardon did beat CLG in their first match of day 1, Immortals have been performing consistently better than them, hence why I predict they’ll win this second game.
Godsent v Dignitas make up Game 6, another match that could turn out to be close, considering Godsent’s roster, and Dignitas’s recent history at large tournaments. Due to Dignitas’s recent successes however, I’m confident that they will be able to win against Godsent, although the score line will likely be close. Although Dignitas have a 76% win rate on Nuke, it’s very likely that Godsent will pick this, considering they have only played this map in a large scale tournament once, and lost. Both teams seem to favour Mirage, with a very similar win percentage, so it could be an extremely close game if this map ends up being played. If Diginitas are to win however, players like MSL will have to play more consistently, who didn’t show his full potential in the first match against Team Spirit with only 56.0 ADR.
Game 7 of day 2 is Cloud9 v Tyloo, a game that the vast majority believe that Cloud 9 should have the upper hand on. Their game today against FaZe started very well, but the team play as a whole got much less consistent towards the end, taking it to the only overtime of Day 1, and ultimately losing. However, C9 v FaZe was one of the toughest matches of day 1, so I believe that C9 should sail through this second match against a team that isn’t used to playing in top tier tournaments. Stewie2K has also been on top form recently, with him falling behind many of his other teammates in their first qualifying match. If he can regain his confidence and play more consistently as we have been seeing in previous tournaments, then C9 should have a much easier match up.
The 8th and final game of day 2 is FaZe v OpTic, a game seen recently at the ELeague Season 2 semi-final. Optic managed to beat FaZe and claim the title of ELeague Season 2 champions, standing them in good stead for their major qualifying games. OpTic’s day 1 game however, wasn’t particularly tough, against Tyloo, with Optic winning 16-9. Both teams have quite different map pools, with FaZe having a much higher win percentage on Nuke and Dust 2, whereas Optic have an upper hand on Cache and Cobblestone. Simply due to their recent form, arguably slightly wider map pool, and overall team performance on day 1, I predict OpTic will win their day 2 match up against FaZe, although the result will likely be close. The only player that didn’t show his full potential on Optic was Rush, who may need to up his game to play well against some of the more experienced players from FaZe.