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EL Major preview: The Underdogs
Time: 2017-01-18 18:03
Game: Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

The ELEAGUE Major is four days away, kicking off on January 22 with the Swiss group stage. Here is the first part of our series of previews, featuring teams ranked from #16 to #20: GODSENT, Liquid, FlipSid3, HellRaisers and fnatic.

The ELEAGUE Major will take place at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia, from January 22-29, with a $1 million prize pool up for grabs once again, as has been the case since MLG Columbus 2016.

This Major will be the first to use the Swiss format in the group stage, which we saw in play at several Main Qualifiers as well as ESL One New York. Teams with the same win-loss record will be randomly matched in each round before they reach three wins (at which point they advance to playoffs) or three losses (and exit the tournament in groups).

The first round match-ups are the following:

Sunday, January 22nd
16:00 Gambit vs. North
17:15 fnatic vs. G2
18:30 SK vs. HellRaisers
19:45 Virtus.pro  vs. OpTic
21:00 Natus Vincere  vs. mousesports
22:15 Liquid vs. EnVyUs
23:30 Astralis vs. GODSENT
00:45 FlipSid3 vs. FaZe

As always, the upcoming Major will be one of the most stacked tournaments of the year, featuring 16 of the top 20 teams according to our ranking.

Our series of previews begins with the bottom five, whom we call The Underdogs: GODSENT, Liquid, FlipSid3, HellRaisers and fnatic, ranked from #16 to #20.

* Ratings used are from the past three months on LAN

GODSENT (#16) Age Rating
Robin "flusha" Rnnquist 23 1.10
Jonas "Lekr0" Olofsson 23 1.09
Andreas "znajder" Lindberg  23 1.09
Jesper "JW" Wecksell 21 1.05
Markus "pronax" Wallsten 25 0.79
Alexander "rdl" Redl (coach)    

First of all, who would've thought after the last Major that all players from the old fnatic would be considered underdogs at the next one? That's how things stand at the moment, as both of the Swedish teams have so far failed to live up to their previous standards. GODSENT have been the better of the two up to this point, although mostly because the new fnatic squad have been absent at most events.

After a disappointing couple of months, Markus "pronax" Wallsten and co. qualified for the Main Qualifier (as Freddy "KRIMZ" Johansson left for fnatic and GODSENT lost the spot at the Major). However, even against lower-tier competition, the Swedes faced issues and barely escaped some of the matches with their lives, playing overtime battles with numerous teams on their way to the victory in Bucharest.

GODSENT then attended DreamHack ZOWIE Open Winter, where they finished first in their group with wins over FlipSid3 and Kinguin, but were stopped in the semi-finals by a solid looking Gambit.

GODSENT skipping WESG due to little practice doesn't bode well

When it mattered most, Robin "flusha" Rnnquist's team showed up, cruising through the Main Qualifier with three wins in a row, against dignitas, G2, and HellRaisers. It seems Jonas "Lekr0" Olofsson fits in quite well, showing solid individual form at the aforementioned two events.

Their newest member Lekr0 took an extended vacation until the end of the first week of January, which gave them zero time to prepare for WESG. A loss to PRIDE in the DH Masters Las Vegas closed qualifier made GODSENT realize they wouldn't stand a chance at the Major without practice and controversially skip the $1,500,000 event only two days before the event started.

As the Major approaches, GODSENT's chances at advancing to playoffs are in doubt, not only by the community but quite obviously by the team itself. While most teams played for a solid portion of a month, the Swedish roster will have had one week of practice, which is simply not enough for a Major.

Liquid (#17) Age Rating
Jonathan "EliGE" Jablonowski  19 1.14
Nick "nitr0" Cannella 21 1.00
Spencer "Hiko" Martin  26 0.89
Josh "jdm64" Marzano 26 0.89
Jacob "Pimp" Winneche  21 0.88
Wilton "zews" Prado (coach)  

Another team who haven't quite been able to live up to some of their past results are Liquid. After a disappointing group stage exit at ESL Pro League Season 4 Finals, the American-Danish team brought in Wilton "zews" Prado for much-needed guidance, as they were back in their in-game leadership shenanigans since Luis "peacemaker" Tadeu's departure.

At their first event with the new Brazilian coach, Liquid didn't show too much improvement. Northern Arena Montreal saw the North American squad exit in 5th-6th place, losing to both European teams (Heroic and G2) in the group stage.

zews had two months to work with in Liquid

Their IEM Oakland showing was significantly better, even though they still finished just below the playoffs teams. Liquid couldn't stand a chance against Astralis, but they destroyed Natus Vincere and TyLoo and lost narrowly to Immortals and G2.

That being said, zews barely had a chance to make significant changes due to very limited time and already seemed to have some sort of effect in Oakland. If that curve keeps going upwards, we might see a very different Liquid at the Major, especially as they have now had more than two months to figure out their flaws.

FlipSid3 (#18) Age Rating
Georgi "WorldEdit" Yaskin  25 1.14
Denis "electronic" Sharipov 18 1.13
Jan "wayLander" Rahkonen 22 1.00
Yegor "markeloff" Markelov 28 0.94
Andrey "B1ad3" Gorodenskiy  30 0.84

Bringing Denis "electronic" Sharipov into the team in September, FlipSid3 had to wait for their international debut until November, when they were set to attend iBUYPOWER Masters, the qualifier for IEM Oakland.

Last-minute visa issues prevented their new member from attending the event in Costa Mesa, however, and the team went out in last place with a stand-in, Owen "smooya" Butterfield .

Finally, FlipSid3 could show what they had in store at DreamHack ZOWIE Open Winter later that month. After losing to GODSENT in the initial round, Andrey "B1ad3" Gorodenskiy's team eliminated dignitas in a tight series but couldn't overcome Kinguin and exited another tournament in groups.

FlipSid3's victory in Leipzig is a good sign, but the Major is a whole other level

After the Christmas and New Year's break, FlipSid3 were quickly back in business at DreamHack ASTRO Open Leipzig. The group stage saw them defeating the new German team BIG as well as Vega Squadron following double-digit scorelines. In the playoffs, F3 took down LDLC and BIG in a comfortable manner, clinching their very first international trophy.

That achievement will surely bring some confidence into the CIS camp, although it needs to be said that the competition there was no match to the one FlipSid3 will face at the Major. It is hard to see B1ad3 and company keeping their Legends status over so many big names, but they were able to surprise us before at ESL One Cologne 2016 by eliminating NiP and shouldn't be counted out.

HellRaisers (#19) Age Rating
Kirill "ANGE1" Karasiow 27 1.10
Bence "DeadFox" Brcz 21 1.02
Vladyslav "bondik" Nechyporchuk  23 1.00
Patrik "Zero" del 18 0.94
Martin "STYKO" Styk 20 0.92
Ivan "Johnta" Shevcov (coach)

HellRaisers started their journey to the Major at the European Minor, where they finished second in their group with series wins over Heroic and ENCE. Defeating Space Soldiers and GODSENT in narrow fashion in playoffs, they earned their place at the Main Qualifier for the third time in a row.

HellRaisers are coming into the Major as one of the bigger surprises of the Main Qualifier. Kirill "ANGE1" Karasiow's team were up 2-0 after defeating mousesports easily and NiP in overtime, but they had to fight in three more rounds due to losses to GODSENT and OpTic.

In the end, they survived a narrow Overpass battle with Cloud9 to become the last team at the Major, their first one with this core of players.

Facing the right teams, HellRaisers could make a solid run at the Major

Over the last several months, ANGE1 has clearly become HellRaisers' best player despite also being the in-game leader and entry-fragger, although lately he had more help with Bence "DeadFox" Brcz's addition. The Hungarian turned a few heads at EPICENTER, his first event with the team, and continued to do so at the Minor and the Main Qualifier, where he carried HR in the overtime win against NiP.

Overall, HellRaisers' chances at making it through aren't great, but they showed they could play with some of the best teams in the world at the qualifier. They will need a little bit of help from the randomizer, but if they face the right teams (such as any of the other Underdogs, mousesports, Gambit...) and their stars play well, they could squeeze in the three wins.

fnatic (#20) Age Rating
Dennis "dennis" Edman 26 1.00
Simon "twist" Eliasson 22 0.98
Olof "olofmeister" Kajbjer 24 0.95
Freddy "KRIMZ" Johansson 22 0.93
Joakim "disco doplan" Gidetun  21 0.90
Jimmy "Jumpy" Berndtsson (coach)

As mentioned above, fnatic have largely been inactive even before the addition of Joakim "disco doplan" Gidetun back in November. With their previous lineup (with Lekr0 and John "wenton" Eriksson instead of KRIMZ and disco doplan), they only attended two events, ESL One New York and EPICENTER: Moscow, and exited in 5th-6th place at both.

After swapping the two players, Dennis "dennis" Edman went inactive due to personal reasons. fnatic attended ELEAGUE Season 2 with coach Jimmy "Jumpy" Berndtsson standing in and, understandably, the Swedes didn't make playoffs with losses to dignitas and OpTic.

Due to dennis' inactivity, the Major will essentially be fnatic's debut

We have yet to see the current lineup in play offline, which essentially makes the Major their debut, which doesn't help fnatic's case at all.

They also have little to no true leadership, swapping the IGL role around a few times, agreeing to play more loosely. That can work, but only if the individual players deliver. fnatic have a fairly agreeable match-up in G2 to start it off, but the competition will be harder the further they go; with an untested team, keeping the Legends spot will be tough.

You can follow HLTV.org's Milan "Striker" Švejda on Twitter

GL GODsent

Post edited 2017-01-18 18:04:19
2017-01-18 18:04:02
2 #19?

fnatic "is" #20

Post edited 2017-01-18 18:05:04
2017-01-18 18:04:28
flipsid3 fucking legend after 2-1 vs nip the hell they are underdogs
2017-01-18 18:06:47
if you look how they have played after cologne shouldnt be surprise they are underdogs . :)
2017-01-18 18:23:22
> after cologne
and before too
2017-01-18 18:29:29
ye true but though just to remind the latest "big" lan they were in (was cologne could be wrong as well havent watched that closely f3 =D )
2017-01-18 20:14:03
The last major was in what, July? 6 months in CSGO is a long time.
2017-01-18 19:03:40
2017-01-19 02:26:27
They are underdogs based on HLTV ranking, but they will be legends again :)
2017-01-19 19:17:44
2 maps and HOMEsent
2017-01-18 18:17:07
3 maps :( I think they'll use swiss chess system again
2017-01-18 18:30:50
EL Godsento win EL Majoro !
2017-01-18 18:20:52
gudo jokeo amigo
2017-01-18 19:41:05
2017-01-18 19:43:52
NiP, C9 and Immortals are the underdogs for me

Post edited 2017-01-18 18:04:18
2017-01-18 18:04:02
2017-01-18 18:04:16
NiP are you drinked?
2017-01-18 18:16:54
Nice bait mate

Post edited 2017-01-18 18:31:34
2017-01-18 18:31:21
no body cares about your shit opinion
2017-01-18 18:39:54
2017-01-18 20:47:11
2017-01-20 17:29:29
2017-01-18 18:04:03
Fnatic aren't really underdogs to me. I have them making quarters.

Post edited 2017-01-18 18:04:43
2017-01-18 18:04:04
+1 HLTV logic is so retarded lol
2017-01-18 18:10:39
It's about the ranking...
2017-01-18 18:20:10
Who underdog for u? Navi, gambit, optic, g2?? Make ur prediction;)
2017-01-19 01:40:56
Liquid, Flipsid3, HR, and mousesports are much bigger underdogs than anyone else

Then GODSENT, G2, nV and gambit are all about the same to me

fnatic is a little better than them, so i have them making playoffs

then optic north faze navi sk I'm pretty sure make playoffs, maybe one of these teams loses

And I'm quite certain VP and astralis will make it
2017-01-19 02:08:50
I made the same prediction, except -fnatic +gambit because of my preferENCE)) And I think godsend beat fnatic

Post edited 2017-01-19 02:14:54
2017-01-19 02:13:27
That's fair. Gambit has looked pretty promising recently. I didn't put Liquid or Flipsid3 as my 0-3 (put HR) just cuz i like liquid and flipsid3 haha
2017-01-19 02:14:11
The same put HR at 0-3)) liquid play at home tournament

Post edited 2017-01-19 02:17:22
2017-01-19 02:15:59
Godsent can't beat fnatic, that is impossible. Too much firepower for them to handle. And without any preparation, it will be that much harder. I don't know if fnatic prepared more, maybe they didn't, but against G2 the other day they came out blazing, wrecking shox and scream to the ground. Online sure, but if that's any indication, Godsent and G2 would be at least 2 very easy games for Twist and co.
2017-01-19 19:45:04
2017-01-18 18:04:06
This is going to be a good major

Post edited 2017-01-18 18:04:25
2017-01-18 18:04:07
ez for vp
2017-01-18 18:04:07
ez nip
2017-01-18 18:04:09
2017-01-18 18:04:11
f3 ftw
2017-01-18 18:04:13
2017-01-18 18:04:13
ez for F3
2017-01-18 18:04:16
HR the underdogs xD we will see..
2017-01-18 18:04:23
no nip no party
2017-01-18 18:04:26
no roster change no party*
2017-01-18 18:08:55
expected from you, you little rascal
2017-01-18 18:09:24
but he's right
2017-01-18 18:32:29
ez for dennis
2017-01-18 18:05:46
fnatic became underdogs just in 1 year keeping 3 players from the roster
2017-01-18 18:05:58
age of counter strike where players like flusha or olof are "underdogs"...
2017-01-18 19:13:58
ez for F3 the underdog
2017-01-18 18:06:05
uhh yeah
2017-01-18 18:06:07
fnatic underdogs?
mmm, one of the favorites exactly. just stupid hltv rating...
2017-01-18 18:06:44
HLTV are using their rankings and they think fnatic are underdogs, #JUSTHLTVTHINGS
2017-01-18 18:07:24
one of the favorites xddddddddddd

Its a dead roster which will change after the major.
2017-01-18 18:08:09
"a dead roster". lol, they haven't even played on lan with this roster yet. you must be psychic.
2017-01-18 19:11:42

you were saying ?
2017-01-18 19:18:22
then they were never alive in that case. i mean what is the point of being a team if you dont play.
2017-01-18 19:40:32
If you get a better oppertunity then you take it of course lol.
2017-01-18 19:45:22
yeah sure but i mean, how do you know if it's a better opportunity if you've never played with each other on lan? personally i think it would be better if they swapped again like the rumors suggest, it just seems stupid that they never even tried with this iteration.
2017-01-18 21:52:21
2017-01-20 07:59:03
rip fnatic
2017-01-18 18:06:44
dem 30 ya
2017-01-18 18:07:24
Lul it says they're both #
2017-01-18 18:07:36

Being underdogs is better since a lot of teams tend to be overconfident which makes them worse
2017-01-18 18:08:46
NiP :(
2017-01-18 18:09:15
Fnatic at #20... fucking ridiculous!

"they only attended two events, ESL One New York and EPICENTER: Moscow, and exited in groups at both."

Ehm no.... they played Dig in QF ffs

Post edited 2017-01-18 18:13:43
2017-01-18 18:09:34
qf is not tournament lmao
2017-01-18 18:32:29
QF as in quarter finals...
2017-01-18 20:08:55
Maybe learn to write words before you make further comments instead of making your own abbreviations.
2017-01-19 06:03:52
not as cool
2017-01-20 08:00:44
No Nip no fun
2017-01-18 18:10:56
ez for hellraisers
2017-01-18 18:11:41
2017-01-18 18:12:34
#17? Fuck, Liquid has skydropped in these ranks. I'm sure they will go up a few positions though.

Also, Go HR!
2017-01-18 18:16:23
I hope flipflop tactics upset again
2017-01-18 18:23:57
nip will win this ohh wait! kappa
2017-01-18 18:23:58
Liquid will get fucked
2017-01-18 18:24:02
Still can't believe nV won an 800k 1st place event. What a travesty, lol.

Post edited 2017-01-18 18:26:43
2017-01-18 18:26:25
Fnatic are not underdogs
2017-01-18 18:27:55
based on the shit rankings they are
2017-01-18 18:30:01
oh this major will take place in Georgia? That is so nice, very beautiful country and also part of the CIS!
2017-01-18 18:28:12
gl fnatic
2017-01-18 18:28:45
How the fuck is fnatic in this list and shitsports isn't? LOL
2017-01-18 18:28:56
Hahah so true!
2017-01-18 20:10:40
Fnatic underdogs 4head
2017-01-18 18:29:52
When fnatic is underdog but Gambit isnt xD
2017-01-18 18:31:44
2017-01-18 19:18:37
I feel like this will be one of those weeks where I won't get enough sleep
2017-01-18 18:34:34
m8 living in us east coast i went the whole 9th grade year with 5 hours of sleep a night due to how late the eslpl, ecs, etc games used to be
2017-01-18 18:52:26
F3 can win major actually
2017-01-18 18:37:25
Gr8 b8
2017-01-18 18:55:14
If you close your eyes and believe hard enough anything can became a reality
2017-01-18 19:04:02
EZ for Godsent. Also hyped to see fnatic with DISCO DOPLAN
2017-01-18 18:39:49
Dennis is so handsome (no homo)
2017-01-18 18:45:36
I would fuck the shit out of him (No homo )
2017-01-18 19:04:47
Me too (no homo)
2017-01-18 19:11:55
It's not gay as long as you avoid eyecontact
2017-01-18 19:14:44
ofc faze plays middle of night
2017-01-18 18:59:58
pronax lol btw EZ ENCE
2017-01-18 19:01:44
Lol that rating on fnatic players :)

Gl cis
2017-01-18 19:11:19
fnatic and liquid underdogs?
real underdogs are mouz, navi and envyus
2017-01-18 19:29:17
No simple no win.
2017-01-18 19:49:58
We'll see.
2017-01-18 20:21:25
You know it's gonna be a shitty major when 3 outta 5 underdogs are legends hahaha
2017-01-18 19:30:38
this major its one of the best you just retard
2017-01-18 19:35:36
ez 4 fnatic
2017-01-18 19:44:53
What about Gambit?? They surely are underdogs too.
2017-01-18 19:52:42
It's about rankings why don't you take a look at what's written before posting useless stuff like that
2017-01-18 21:09:09
The fnatic team is outrageously talented but simply enough - barely seen them in 3 months. If they're not playing any lan tournaments, you can't put them above teams who are and doing well.

If they can play half as well as they did in the online dreamhack masters qualifier, they will go far.
2017-01-18 20:10:52
LUL wtf
what about gambit?
its the best team out of this shitty teams
you will see
2017-01-18 20:13:16
whopped by HR everytime they meet.
2017-01-18 20:41:17
2017-01-25 03:16:26
still true to this day tho, probably wouldnt happen today, but still.
2017-01-25 17:07:27
sad to see fnatic as underdogs
2017-01-18 20:16:09
2017-01-18 20:24:22
I know it's about the actual ranking but fnatic aren't really underdogs. I'd rather say they're that unknown team that seems to be starting back from scratch, hard to predict whether or not they'll go far but they have such a talented lineup
2017-01-18 21:08:03
Dennis "dennis" Edman 26 1.00
Simon "twist" Eliasson 22 0.98
Olof "olofmeister" Kajbjer 24 0.95
Freddy "KRIMZ" Johansson 22 0.93
Joakim "disco doplan" Gidetun 21 0.90

sick rating LUL
2017-01-18 21:27:59
Rating in past 3 months
2017-01-18 21:46:07
i know, its still pretty surprising
2017-01-18 21:47:53
Pronax's rating.
2017-01-18 21:50:18
Weird to se fnatic as a underdog :
2017-01-18 21:51:35
EL Major señor

Post edited 2017-01-18 22:35:43
2017-01-18 22:35:26
wow, fnatic as underdog, what a time to be alive
2017-01-18 22:36:25

what the fuck johnny?
2017-01-18 23:04:56
i was going to post the same thing but with pick 1 it wouldve been funnier
2017-01-19 12:46:04
2017-01-19 18:03:38
Due to dennis' inactivity, the Major will essentially be fnatic's debut

Have I missed something? Why is he inactive? injury?
2017-01-19 06:19:44
2017-01-19 13:26:50
2017-01-19 08:31:56
Re u guys that idiot ? Its rankig based for fuck sakr stop saying shitsports etc

Ez for VP tho lets go NEO TaZ one more time wohooooo
2017-01-19 08:43:22
wtf jdm is 26 years old LOL
2017-01-19 19:03:07
I picked Godsent to qualify without loosing
2017-01-19 19:54:10
Great major inc
Every team deserve the spot except of liquid
They couldnt even compete in na
Would rather see imt, nip, vega or cloud9 instead of these guys
2017-01-19 23:55:45
but what if sk wins it xd?
ps: i honestly believe that this major is gonna be shit
2017-01-20 08:30:18
Markus "pronax" Wallsten 25 0.79

LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL. nice 0.79 rating, no wonder jw and flusha will go back to fnatic. why play with a tier 10 player.-
2017-01-21 19:27:34

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