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ELEAGUE Season 1 Playoffs Preview

July 21, 2016 - Esports

The first televised Counter-Strike: Global Offensive league is almost over, with the playoffs of its Season 1 starting today. Amidst the gambling controversy, the ELEAGUE didn’t avoid its own share of drama when the managers of the league made the decision to exclude the undisputed best team in the world, SK Gaming from the Playoffs. According to the rules, the decision was correct, however, it will make the victory mean less for the eventual ELEAGUE Season 1 Champions, as they will win without the strongest team in the world having the chance to take the title.

Let’s forget about that for now, however. The Quarter-final matchups will be as follows:

Thursday, July 21st:

EnVyUs vs. Fnatic

Natus Vincere vs. Cloud9

Friday, July 22nd:

Astralis vs. mousesports

Virtus.pro vs. Ninjas in Pyjamas

The Semi-finals and the Grand Final will be played a week from now, on Friday, July 29th and Saturday, July 30th.

EnVyUs vs. Fnatic

This Quarter-finals matchup has been played several times in various stages of many different CS:GO tournaments. Despite Fnatic being called the better team quite often, they lost to EnVyUs quite often. It’s possible that the Swedes have an irrational fear of facing EnVyUs by this point. Even though they are a much better team on paper and in recent tournaments, making the Semi-finals of ESL One Cologne 2016, when EnVyUs didn’t even make it out of the groups, the French team could possibly use the psychological advantage they have to take the win. Looking at it objectively, however, there’s no way Fnatic loses, unless they royally screw up.

Natus Vincere vs. Cloud9

The replacement for SK Gaming, Cloud9 got matched up against a beast of a team. While Na’Vi is known to choke in the Finals, they usually do make it there. If Cloud9 were in superb form and didn’t have to carry the dead weight that is Slemmy’s in-game mechanics, they might stand a chance. Now, however… No. Na’Vi is supposed to easily win this match. Even if GuardiaN isn’t as good as he used to be due to his injury, Na’Vi is playing against an American team. Betting on them losing would be sacrilege. Unless the American team is Liquid with s1mple at the helm. Cologne 2016, anyone?

Astralis vs. mousesports

While mousesports have been on a tear lately, winning against G2 Esports and FaZe Clan to make it into the ELEAGUE Season 1 Playoffs, Astralis has showed up in the most recent Major, even without kjaerbye and dupreeh having to be rushed to the hospital due to appendicitis. In the same tournament, mousesports didn’t make it out of groups. Yes, mousesports’ NiKo is one of the, if not THE, best players in the world right now, however, he likely won’t be able to carry his team to victory against Astralis. Yes, Astralis is sometimes known as Choketralis, but mousesports are also quite renowned for not taking the final step when the chips are down, especially if it involves a best-of series. Looking at it objectively, the Danish roster looks stronger, even accounting for the phenomenon called NiKo.

Virtus.pro vs. NiP

Normally, I would say NiP all the way. This time, however, I wouldn’t entirely believe in what I was saying. I get an impression that Ninjas in Pyjamas are on their way down, while Virtus is rising. Keeping in mind the fact that they lost against Flipsid3 Tactics in the Major and didn’t even make Playoffs, where Virtus.pro even took a game off of SK Gaming in the Semi-finals of the same tournament, I believe that the Polish team has a decent chance of actually making it into the Semi-finals of ELEAGUE Playoffs.

It’s been said that Ninjas in Pyjamas aren’t tactically diverse. According to pundits and pro players, if you take the time to study how NiP plays, you can predict them and take that information to win. Virtus.pro isn’t one of those extremely strategical teams. They prefer to smash their opponents with brute force. Despite that, if you don’t analyze your Quarter-finals opponent, you are being stupid. I don’t believe that Virtus.pro players and coaching staff are stupid. The difference in raw skill is close between the two teams, however, Virtus.pro has the advantage of greater momentum. It will be a close series, however, I think that the Polish will emerge as the winners. I would like that for another reason too. If it happened, the likely semi-finalists, Astralis, would have a chance for a rematch from Cologne 2016, this time with their full roster. Now THAT would be exciting to see.

Conclusion

Whether you agree with my predictions or not, you should turn in today and tomorrow to see how the cookie crumbles. I certainly will. To cover all bases, I will say that I am not claiming to be certain about who’s gonna win. I am not eating a sock or something similar in case I’m wrong. See you in Twitch chat!