Just like its 2016 predecessor, EPICENTER 2016 is turning out to be one of the most exciting non-Major CS:GO events of the year with plenty of exciting action and even surprising results. On Oct. 28, the Semifinals of the $490,000 tournament will start and here’re our thoughts about how it’s likely to go.
First of all, here’s the bracket for the event:
Starting on Oct. 28, at 12:00 CEST, the EPICENTER 2017 Playoffs will be played in a best of 3 format in the Semifinals, with a best of 5 Grand Final and a best of 3 match for the third place in the event and $60,000, double the money the 4th place team will receive.
The first match to be played will pit SK Gaming against Astralis, two of the top 5 CS:GO teams in the world.
Judging from stats, SK Gaming should win this match despite playing with a loaned player, Immortals’ Ricardo “boltz” Prass. They have definitely put up the numbers in the event, earning themselves a 1.26 HLTV 2.0 Rating, the second best among all four Semifinals competitors.
In comparison, Astralis is struggling with 1.05 despite playing together for a long time now. Despite the worse stats, numbers aren’t everything in CS:GO. That’s part of the game’s charm. At the level these two teams play, anything could happen.
Looking at head to head results in the matches between SK Gaming and Astralis, the Brazilians hold the advantage, though it isn’t huge by any means. They are ahead by one map, with the record of 5-4 in SK Gaming’s favor.
There is a wild card this time, however, because the two teams haven’t played against each other with boltz representing SK. As it turns out, having to play with a loaned player might not be a hindrance to the Brazilians at all because boltz seems to be fitting in very well with his temporary team.
Over the five maps he played under the flag of SK Gaming, he averaged a 2.0 Rating of 1.13, a respectable number from a player unused to playing with his teammates. On Immortals, he’s been putting up better numbers.
While SK Gaming placed lower than Astralis in the last tournament both teams played at, ELEAGUE CS:GO Premier 2017, which Astralis took 2nd place at, their form in EPICENTER 2017 seems to be superior to the Danes’ showing.
For all these reasons, we are cautiously predicting that SK Gaming will win their best of 3 series against Astralis and advance to the Grand Finals of EPICENTER 2017 to fight for the $250,000 first place prize.
Now, for the other match of the Semifinals scheduled to start on Oct. 28, at 17:00 CEST:
If the match between Astralis and SK Gaming was extremely hard to judge, this contest between G2 Esports and Virtus.pro is considerably easier. G2 Esports should win. And without too much difficulty at that.
First of all, G2 Esports is putting up the best team-wide stats in the whole tournament, with an HLTV 2.0 Rating of 1.34 to Virtus.pro’s 0.95—a significant difference.
Of course, stats aren’t everything once again. FaZe Clan would have defeated Virtus.pro in the Group Stage decider if they were, but the fact of the matter is that Virtus.pro has been underperforming for a long time now with some unexpected bright spots, like their Semifinals exit at the PGL Major Kraków and now the EPICENTER 2017 surprise.
Nobody is putting down Virtus.pro’s talent. Their results over the years speak for themselves. On the other hand, it cannot be disputed that there’s a stark difference in approach from their two young players and the three veterans. It looks like where the young blood is hungry for more, the veterans have nothing left to prove and are content sitting back and enjoying their long-ass contract.
In contrast, G2 Esports seems to have found its mojo once again, allowing the team to put forth the often unrealized potential of their French roster.
Over this year, ignoring the ELEAGUE Major Atlanta 2017, where G2 Esports didn’t have their current line-up, G2 Esports and Virtus.pro played each other six times and the French won four of the matches.
Can Virtus.pro at the peak of their skill win against the current iteration of G2 Esports? For sure. Is Virtus.pro at said peak right now? No. This is why we’re predicting that G2 Esports will win their series.