Posted 25th November 2015 By: para
The FACEIT Pro League finals is taking place at Dreamhack Winter for a total prize pool of $250,000. Despite not being a Valve sponsored Major, DH Winter will boast a comparative prize pool as the Majors and will feature a wide range of international talent. The prize pool should serve as the biggest motivator for these teams, but this tournament has quite a few underlying storylines that may affect certain teams and how they perform. The first round will be bo1s and I assume the next round will begin the bo3 sets. Bo1s are always dangerous bets and many a bettor has lost all their winnings on a single upset. So bet carefully as bo1 can be more about random factors and luck than actual skill.
The by-and-far favorite for to win the tournament is the Dreamhack Open Cluj-Napoca winner, Team EnvyUs. What needs to be said about this French line up? Ever since they picked up apex and kennyS, they have been projected to be near, if not at, the top of the professional scene, and while they fell short at their first Major together, they were able to succeed at the second. After winning Cluj-Napoca, EnvyUs went on their traditional break period, pretty much not caring about Counter Strike for a while to rest. This should quell any worries people have about their lackluster online performances soon after the Major as it has pretty much become customary for nV to lose online games after a big LAN they attend. EnvyUs has been going strong and are looking poised to take another big tournament before the year is out. Their first match is against NIP and no surprise, EnvyUs are the favorite. While I doubt NIP could pull this kind of upset out based on their recent form, EnvyUs has been a team that have lost these kind of bo1 games where they are the favorite in the past. They seem to be slow starters sometimes and don’t get rolling till the later stages of the tournament, but I feel with kennyS and apex on the squad, they should be motivated to perform well at this tournament to show that Cluj was not a fluke and that this squad is as good as everyone thinks it is.
Ninjas In Pyjamas
NIP have been taking a ride on the struggle bus for a while now. They showed some life at Cluj, beating TSM and making it to the semis, but they didn’t make it much farther. They were lost pretty convincingly to Na’vi in the semifinals and since then have been slumping pretty hard. They have lost online match after online match, against teams they really shouldn’t have been losing to and even when they win it seemed like a struggle. There have been talks of changing players for a long time with the recent results of this lineup and honestly, NIP need to change something if they want to stay relevant. The win against TSM was impressive, but it wasn’t indicative of the NIP to come, instead it is more of a combination of TSM choking and individual efforts on the NIP side. The biggest proof in my mind of NIPs struggles is their choice to pull out of IEM San Jose. While not the biggest tournament, it was a decent size and had a good prize pool, yet NIP chose to step away from the tournament. It could have been a decision made based on personal problems, maybe they had real life things to attend to at the time, but I am of the camp that believe they took a breather to try and fix some of the problems they have been having in preparation for DH Winter, a bigger tournament with a bigger prize pool. It really shows, while NIP’s online game haven’t been the best, they have at least had good results in the FACEIT matches, most likely an effort to maintain their spot and attend this LAN. If NIP want to show something, anything for their future fans to hold onto, they need to show it here. Unfortunately, they have to play against the Cluj champs, EnvyUs. It is going to be a tough match and no one is expecting them to be able to win even a bo1 against a team they used to stand toe-to-toe with. If NIP want to pull things back together, it needs to start here. An upset is unlikely considering how these two teams have been looking, but NIP have a lot of reasons to win this one, and anything can happen in a bo1.
How frustrating it is to see such a good team fall onto hard times. IEM San Jose should have been their tournament, but once again, they dropped the ball and lost it in the finals against Na’vi in a pretty one-sided affair. Cluj was to be the starting point for all their woes, and whatever problems they had during their quarterfinal choke against NIP, seems to still be there despite their efforts. Going into DH Winter, it does not look good for the Danish team as they no longer seem to be able to duke it out at the top level, or possibly reverted back to how they were months ago with choking problems in big pressure situations. This may sound pretty drastic to make statements like this, but it has been a long time since we have seen TSM play like this and those were not the best times for the team. There have been rumors of TSM dropping the team and they having to look for a new sponsor, DH Winter may be the last time we see this TSM team play it out. Against Liquid, their first opponent they SHOULD not have a problem, but if many of these rumors have some truth to them, there could be even more outside pressures on the team. The prize pool itself should allow them to focus and make it past Liquid, but there is still some doubt.
Fnatic is another top team that has dropped down a few pegs from their hay day. They looked untouchable at the top and were rolling over even their best competition for a time, but now it looks like their reign of terror has finally stopped. The big signal for this change was Pronax stepping down and adding dennis, formerly of Gamers2, to their starting roster. This is the first change fnatic have made in a while and the first since their rise to power. Changing an IGL is a big deal for many reasons, there is a change is strategies, a change in dynamic and now a new person has to step up and take charge. This in turn could affect their individual efforts as was apparent when Flusha tried being the IGL for a time. However, their old ways were no longer working, so making a change like this could always be a good thing to breathe new life into the team. If anything, Pronax could fill a coaching role and help along the new IGL as they are getting started. The future is still in question for this team, as even with dennis, their results haven’t been the greatest, but they have yet to truly be tested like they will be at DH Winter, so this will be the real measure of whether or not they made the right choice. It is still early after the changes have been made, so there still might be a few kinks the team need to work out, but overall I think they are looking okay for now. The problem for fnatic is they are facing a team they have lost to before in a bo1, back when they were at the top, Luminosity. When it comes to underdog bets, this may be the best one there is for the first round. Speaking of Luminosity…
Fnatic are not the only team going into the tournament with a new squad. LG have been looking kind of lackluster lately, and their showing at IEM continues that trend. They choked pretty hard against Na’vi in the first round and threw away a chance to finally win that bo3 match. LG were definitely not happy about their performance and decided it was time to bring in new talent. They decided to drop steel and boltz and picked up fnx and TACO from Games Academy, another Brazilian CS:GO team. If those two names sound familiar, then you may have been watching the RGN tournament that just happened and watch these two, along with the rest of GA, tear it up. Games Academy had a great LAN at RGN and surprised quite a few people. They showed a huge amount of individual skill and teamwork that won them many a match during the long tournament. You could even say this was a breakout tournament for GA, and LG noticed. I should mention that from what I can tell, GA and LG have a good relationship and are friends, so they already have a bond they can bring into game without spending that much time together on a team. GA regularly practices with LG from what I can tell so they should have an easier time learning the particular play styles and strategies of LG. Overall, I think the normal learning period new recruits have when joining a new team shouldn’t effect fnx or TACO as much as most other and this could mean good thing for LG going into DH Winter. If fnx and TACO can perform like they did at RGN, they might have a chance to beat a struggling fnatic who are making adjustments themselves. It is hard to say how these two will perform on the big stage, but I expect big things from LG going into the new year.
Virtus.Pro, Liquid, Legacy eSports
There really isn’t much to say for these teams going into the tournament as much as the others. VP have been on the downswing, but I think they are still a decent team. Their poor performance at IEM can be chalked up to having a stand-in. The big issue is whether or not Snax will be 100% for this tournament. If he is not, they will fall just as quickly as they did at IEM. Liquid have been doing well recently and have been improving, but their win over VP at IEM wasn’t the biggest thing to happen to them since picking up Hiko, and with the amount of tournament they have been attending, they should really be feeling it now. They are going up against TSM for the first game and I just don’t see Liquid pulling off a victory here. There is no chance for Legacy here. They are the one random OCE team that qualified and while they may be good in their region and surprises have come the OCE region before, not this time unfortunately.
Written by MagikMan for CSGOhub.gg
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