After 8 weeks of double round robin in two continents, the top 4 best teams from each region qualified for LAN Finals, which are set to take place in Anaheim, California, starting on December 12. All in all, Astralis, Team EnVyUs, FaZe Clan, Team Dignitas, SK Gaming, Cloud9, OpTic Gaming, and Immortals are going to fight over three days to show that they are the most deserving of the biggest slice of the $750,000 prize pool. Let’s discuss the teams, trying to assess their chances of taking the trophy.
As the first seed out of Europe and with their recent upswing in form following Lukas “gla1ve” Rossander taking over as the team’s Captain despite being a rookie, after which the team made the Semifinals of IEM XI Oakland, Astralis stands a decent chance to make it deep into the tournament. It will not be an easy stroll by any means.
The rest of the teams to qualify from Europe are also very strong. While EnVyUs hasn’t been one of the top contenders for a long time, this is not likely to change in ECS Season 2 Finals, especially when FaZe Clan has been performing so well in recent times, reaching the Semifinals of IEM XI Oakland as well, where they lost to the eventual winners, Ninjas in Pyjamas. The most hyped team coming to Anaheim out of Europe will definitely be Team Dignitas, the winners of EPICENTER 2016. While they failed in their next big event, EPL Season 4 Finals in Brazil, it was due to a reported stomach bug their newest star, Emil “Magiskb0Y” Reif, caught in Russia.
Looking at the NA side of the participating teams, two immediately stick out as the favorites — SK Gaming and Cloud9. Both teams have recently had some promising results. SK Gaming placed second at IEM XI Oakland and EPL Season 4, while Cloud9 actually WON EPL Season 4 against SK, surprising everyone, probably including themselves if they were to be honest.
As for the last two teams to qualify, OpTic Gaming and Immortals… OpTic practically always qualifies and rarely get deep into the tournament, while Immortals constantly reinforce their image as the little Brazilian team that could, almost, by doing somewhat well but not winning the whole tournament with some rare exceptions.
To be frank, SK Gaming, Astralis, FaZe Clan and Team Dignitas are probably the only teams to stand a chance in this tournament. That said, DIG has to perform or risk losing the high place they receive in most power rankings at the moment. The possible results of this tournaments are hard to call because with the rise of Astralis, FaZe, and Team Dignitas, SK Gaming’s dominion over the rest of the CS:GO elite is not as foolproof as it used to be.