Posted 14th November 2015 By: para
The IBuyPower Invitational is a $100,000 North America LAN tournament with the first place team receiving $65,000, second place receiving $25,000 and third/fourth place getting $5,000 each. While the monetary reward is substantial, the real reward comes after the tournament. The highest placed NA team will fill the final slot for the Intel Extreme Masters San Jose tournament at the end of the month. This tournament is an international LAN with a much larger prize pool of $150,000. While two of the 8 teams competing have already been invited to IEM San Jose, one of the remaining 6 will fill that slot and have a chance at a large paycheck.
Cloud 9 has been near the top of the NA scene since they got together and have a lot of experience, not only in NA LANs, but international ones as well. While their recent performances have left a lot to be desired, they have a tendency to show up big during NA LANs and make it deep into the tournament. Their last LAN showing was Dreamhack Cluj-Napoca and they dropped out in the group stages. Since then, they have had mediocre games online and have shown weakness in their play. There could be a lot of factors going into this however, such as fatigue or strat saving. Keep in mind, C9 have already qualified for IEM San Jose and their only stake in the tournament is the money payout, so their motivations may be less than some other teams. Also, they are scheduled to play not only in the IBP LAN and IEM San Jose, but the RGN Pro Series LAN this week. They may want to conserve their strength for the big ticket LAN (IEM) with so many LANs in a row for them. However, the IBP LAN still has quite a large prize pool and a large difference in payouts, so you can expect them to show up here, if not for pride, then the large paycheck they could get.
LG has been a personal favourite of mine since they moved to NA. I feel coming from Brazil, a lesser known country whose e-sport infrastructure is not quite there, they feel like they have a lot to prove. This is shown through their dedication and work ethic that has led them to become known as the King of the 1 Map Upset. They have taken down teams much better than them on paper, like Fnatic, in best of ones at the Majors. While this holds true, they have yet to beat a top-tier team in a best of 3, but there are none of those here. When it comes to their NA performances, it has been hit and miss. In the past, they were dominating the NA scene and seemed unstoppable, but after Cluj-Napoca, they seemed to slow down a bit. Their recent online performances have been lackluster, but they are known to be a team that shows up at big LANs like this one. They have earned a spot at IEM San Jose along with Cloud 9, so they are merely playing for pride and cash. They are also scheduled to play at the RGN Pro Series LAN, so they have a lot on their plate this coming week. They may conserve strats and energy for the big IEM LAN, but I feel the large cash prize for the IBP tourney should be enough motivation for them to try.
Probably the most hyped team going into the tournament so far. They have historically been a step behind C9, Luminosity and CLG in the NA scene, but then they picked up the fan favourite Hiko and they seemed to come out guns blazing. Like Cloud 9, they left Cluj in the group stages, but you could argue they had a stronger showing. They played some close games and showed a lot of potential; post-LAN however, they seemed to struggle in their online matches. As the IBP LAN drew closer, they seemed to pick it back up and their recent form has seemed strong with good showings against the best NA has to offer. Unlike C9 and LG, Liquid is NOT qualified for IEM San Jose, so not only do they have the cash prize to play for, they also have that juicy IEM spot in mind. This should serve as extra motivation for them to perform well and should be bringing out all the stops. They are scheduled to play in the RGN Pro Series, but I feel this is the furthest thing from their mind at the moment as they contend for the last IEM spot. Liquid is a solid team and while they might not win the IBP LAN, I fully expect them to be the final team to qualify for IEM.
Counter Logic Gaming
CLG is a weird team. Sometimes they play like the best NA team, sometimes they play like the worst. It seems they only show up when they want to and there is something big on the line. This LAN would be one of those situations. Their online performances have been lackluster as of late, with no real convincing victories and some disappointing losses. CLG does have some of the biggest egos in the NA scene however (Taric), and they seem to tilt easily when pressured. This should all be considered when placing a bet on them this weekend. They fell out of the group stage at Cluj, but they did have some decent games and even a victory over Na’vi during groups. While they haven’t been doing great online, they do tend to perform better at LANs and, like Liquid, they are not IEM San Jose and will be playing for the final slot this tournament. They should be highly motivated to play well and forgo any thoughts of the RGN Pro League LAN and focus solely on the IBP LAN and hopefully IEM. They are an inconsistent team however, so it is tough to say how they will perform.
Conquest is probably the second most hyped team coming into this tournament. They had a strong showing at the recent CEVO LAN tournament, making it all the way to semi-finals at their first LAN as a team. They ended up losing to Mousesports in the semi-final game, but it was a close 2-1 series and they came out of it as a new crowd favourite. It is hard to argue the results, beating Liquid 2-0, beating Dignitas 2-1 and playing Virtus Pro, the eventual champions, in a very close set. They seemed to be in contention for a top spot in the NA scene, but it seemed a lot of that fire burned out after the LAN. They have played some rough game post-LAN with some less than spectacular results. It is tough to say whether or not they will show up to the IBP Invitational like they did in the CEVO LAN, but they are an explosive team with a lot of firepower and can play on even footing with the best NA teams when they are on point. The chances of them getting the IEM spot over teams like Liquid are slim, but they may surprise some teams early on in the tournament. They are one to watch out for and don’t be surprised if they pull an upset or two like they did at CEVO and possibly even place in the top 4, though this is unlikely.
Like Conquest, compLexity are a team that is hard to read going into this tournament. Not only have they had inconsistent results in their online matches, but they haven’t even been to a LAN as a team yet, unlike Conquest. CompLexity do have a decent amount of fragging ability as they have shown against teams like C9 and Luminosity, but it seems they are inexperienced or their team play just isn’t there as they cannot seem to pull a victory against these top teams. Every game they play, even the ones they win, seem to be a struggle and it takes a lot of individual efforts and sick plays to get them their victories. They might be able to pull an upset early on, but don’t expect them to make it too far into the tournament. I predict them to fall in the quarter finals, if they make it their at all.
The only Australian team in the mix, although they are considered NA now due to their sponsor I guess? It has been a long while since we have seen anything from this team, their last recorded match being on October 18th against Team Immunity. While they are not as popular or prolific as the other teams in this tourney, they do have talent. They have a decent amount of fragging ability and have been known to play some close games with better teams in the past, but without any recent games it is really tough to say where they stand right now. From my experience, teams that don’t have a lot on their plate, tend to do well early on in the tournaments that they go to due to more time spent anit-strating and preparing for their opponent, and this may be the case for Renegades going into the IBP Invitational. However, I do not expect them to make it very far, or even out the groups for that matter as the talent lineup is really good even from the lesser teams this LAN.
Winterfox is the last team in this tournament and in my opinion, the one with the least chance to make it out of groups. Back when they had Devilwalk, I feel like they had a good thing going with some ok fraggers and Devilwalk sharing his experience, but now that they are made of only lower-tier NA players, their chances of upsets are slim. They have an abysmal record online and have little to no experience on LAN as a team. The players they have are good, but they just cannot stand up to C9 or Liquid. I would even say Conquest are a step ahead of them in terms of firepower. While I feel bad for bashing them so much, I just don’t see them making it out of groups considering the line-up this tourney has.
Written by MagikMan for CSGOHub.gg
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