The ELEAGUE Major 2017, an event run by Turner in the ELEAGUE studios and the G Fuel ELEAGUE Arena, has reached the stage of single elimination Playoffs. For the first time in a long while, there won’t be any North American teams in the Playoffs, but that’s just a glimpse of what you should know to have a clue what’s happening once you tune in to watch the matches.
Natus Vincere vs. Astralis
The first match of the Playoffs, the series between Natus Vincere and Astralis will start on January 27, at 10:00 EST. While before the tournament many people would have picked Astralis to win despite the stacked roster from Na’Vi, actual in-game performance in the tournament flipped this around. Now, Natus Vincere are definitely the favorites due to their dominating form on the server over the whole tournament.
While Astralis struggled a little bit to get into the Playoffs, Natus Vincere simply ran over most of their opponents due to the efforts of their two juggernauts, Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev and Egor “flamie” Vasilyev. Astralis does have a chance, especially if Na’Vi don’t ban the strongest map for Astralis, Train, and their star player Nicolai “dev1ce” Reedtz keeps up his good performance.
Gambit vs. Fnatic
The second match of the Quarterfinals, which is supposed to start at 12:30 EST, will feature Gambit and Fnatic. Strengthened by Daniil “Zeus” Teslenko, Gambit have gotten far in the tournament. On the other hand, Fnatic are weaker than ever, despite their record of losing against teams led by Zeus, namely Na’Vi. They have lost two of their old players. While the replacements have their good moments, it’s hard to say whether the team will be able to stand up to the Russians. Albeit cautiously, we have to give the nod to the CIS team, led by Zeus and Dauren “AdreN” Kystaubayev.
Virtus.pro vs. North
This match, the third of the Quarterfinals, will be played starting at 15:00, if all goes to plan. As for the match itself… Even though North are definitely a world-class team, their performance at the ELEAGUE Major left a lot to be desired while the Polish Virtus.pro with Janusz “Snax” Pogorzelski at the help were like an unstoppable locomotive, plowing away anyone who dared to stand against them. At the peak of their form, North might have been able to stand up to Virtus.pro, maybe even winning a Best of 3; however, they are not at their best at the moment. Who knows, maybe it’s the whole thing with the contract with FC Copenhagen, but North seem… distracted. That is not the state you want to be in when facing Virtus.pro in the Playoffs of a Major.
FaZe Clan vs. SK Gaming
The final match of the Quarterfinals should start on January 28, at 10:00 EST. This is SK Gaming’s match to lose, to be honest. And lose it they might, when you keep in mind that they are playing with a stand-in, a Portuguese AWPer Ricardo “fox” Pacheco. While SK Gaming can buckle down and win when the going gets tough, the FaZe Clan team has been showing that they have become a vastly better team with the arrival of Finn “karrigan” Andersen. It’s hard to say who is going to win this match, however, FaZe definitely stand a better chance than they have ever did.