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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|
|Natus Vincere||vs. mousesports|
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.
* Ratings used are from the past three months on LAN
|Robin "flusha" Rönnquist||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.
When it mattered most, Robin "flusha" Rönnquist'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.
|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.
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.
|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.
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.
|Kirill "ANGE1" Karasiow||27||1.10|
|Bence "DeadFox" Böröcz||21||1.02|
|Vladyslav "bondik" Nechyporchuk||23||1.00|
|Patrik "Zero" Žúdel||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.
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" Böröcz'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.
|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.
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
Post edited 2017-01-18 18:04:19
Post edited 2017-01-18 18:04:18
Post edited 2017-01-18 18:04:43
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
Post edited 2017-01-19 02:14:54
both fnatic and HR #19 kk
mmm, one of the favorites exactly. just stupid hltv rating...
Its a dead roster which will change after the major.
you were saying ?
Being underdogs is better since a lot of teams tend to be overconfident which makes them worse
"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
Also, Go HR!
Post edited 2017-01-18 18:26:43
real underdogs are mouz, navi and envyus
If they can play half as well as they did in the online dreamhack masters qualifier, they will go far.
what about gambit?
its the best team out of this shitty teams
you will see
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
what the fuck johnny?
Have I missed something? Why is he inactive? injury?
Ez for VP tho lets go NEO TaZ one more time wohooooo
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
ps: i honestly believe that this major is gonna be shit