While there are many $100,000-200,000 CS:GO events to be played in a year, bigger prize pool tournaments are harder to come by. For a second year in a row, EPICENTER, organized by Epic Esports Events, is coming to our computer screens, promising to deliver some exciting Counter-Strike action.
The tournament starts on Oct. 23 with some Wild Card action to determine the final two teams to join the tournament’s Group Stage.
As you can probably guess, there are two overwhelming favorites in the Wild Card stage—FaZe Clan and Team Liquid. FaZe Clan will face the Chinese TyLoo team, while Liquid is going to play against Vega Squadron.
A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away, TyLoo was considered among the top teams in the world, however, they have fallen from grace since then, resulting in our doubts about their chances in the match against FaZe.
While TyLoo has been playing and losing against mediocre teams in WESG 2017 China Finals or the best at ESL Cologne, the FaZe Clan’s Real Madrid experiment, where they signed a roster-full of stars, seems to be working out stupendously. They are on a huge win streak.
Honestly, it’s almost impossible to conceive of a turn of events which would make FaZe lose this match.
The other matchup between Team Liquid and Vega Squadron is a little bit less clear, however, Team Liquid is still vastly favored to come out on top.
While they haven’t been the ones going on a tear through tournament after tournament, their recent results were achieved in much higher level tournaments than Vega Squadron’s World Cyber Arena. With them getting dropped out of the PGL Major Kraków, the team showed itself to not be ready to compete at the top level just yet. Unfortunately for them, Team Liquid is.
After all, they have managed to finish second at ESL ONE New York 2017.
Unless a major upset happens and either Vega Squadron or TyLoo manages to get to the Group Stage, there will be no weak teams in the tournament.
Assuming that everything goes to plan, the two strongest teams in the group are likely to be SK Gaming and FaZe Clan. Where SK Gaming has been struggling in recent months and is forced to use Immortals’ Ricardo “boltz” Prass in place of João “felps” Vasconcellos, FaZe Clan has been on a huge roll, winning two tournaments in a row.
Gambit Esports lost Daniil “Zeus” Teslenko following the PGL Major Kraków. While they weren’t able to translate their Major victory into a dominating run with Bektiyar “fitch” Bahytov on the roster, they were still somewhat successful, getting to the Semifinals of DreamHack Masters Malmö and ending their run at ESG Tour Mykonos in 5-6th place.
Virtus.pro, on the other hand, has been doing extremely badly over the last several months. The conflict between the young blood and the veterans in the team, coupled with the long contract players signed with the team, means that VP has been underperforming for a while now.
FaZe Clan and SK Gaming should be able to make it into the Playoffs with Gambit as the most likely team to challenge the other two, unless FaZe gets upset by TyLoo.
In Group B, Astralis, G2 Esports, North, and Team Liquid are going to be the four teams to fight for the two spots in the Semifinals. The outcome of this group is even harder to predict that in Group A because there is no real favorite here.
Yes, Astralis and G2 Esports should be the two strongest teams there by all rights, but North has been playing very well after Valdemar “valde” Bjørn joined the roster and Team Liquid can never be truly discounted. It could only be more difficult if this NA team was replaced with Cloud9.
While the favorites are there, sorta, they haven’t been playing their best Counter-Strike in recent times. To reach their old level, they would have to get a bit more serious. That, coupled with North’s recent success at the ELEAGUE CS:GO Premier 2017, means that the two giants are in danger of falling.
No matter what, this is going to be an exciting tournament featuring many of the best CS:GO teams in the world. The $490,000 prize pool is nothing to laugh about too. The wild card action is set to start on Oct. 23, while the Group Stage will begin in earnest on Oct. 24. The best of 5 Grand Final is set to be played on Oct. 29. Head over to DrakeLounge and pick your favored teams.