CPH Wolves15Wizards15fnatic0Western Wolves2EventMaps / statsnuke_se (8:16)dust2_se (13:16)OtherDemo - MatchpagemyDGB.net2f2^1EventMaps / statsdust2_se (16:13)mirage_go (20:22)inferno_se (16:0)OtherNo demo - Matchpagefnatic16Natus Vincere4
ESEA Invite Season 11 Finals will take place on the weekend in Dallas, TX and the time has come to preview the upcoming finals where Jordan "n0thing" Gilbert makes his return to active LAN play.
Gilbert's new team Need Sponsor (formerly known as Back2Back) are the heavy favorites going into this season's finals and are likely to return home with another championship.
However, this season has a couple of contenders at least on paper as Paul "pauLy" Guerboyan, Derrick "impulsivE" Truong and Danny "fRoD" Montaner will be looking to upset the reigning champions.
The numbers in front of each team are not the predicted finishes (which are listed at the end of each team's written preview) but rather their seedings heading into the finals which will see six teams attend.
1. Need Sponsor
(ele1Nt, n0thing, semphis, sgares, swag)
Need Sponsor's record against the teams attending the finals is 7-1 with their only loss coming in against sixth seed SK with Kory "semphis" Friesen being replaced by their manager in the final match of the season. They won the last season's finals convincingly with Christian "sobo" Soboleske as their fifth, and have since then added arguably the best North American player in Jordan "n0thing" Gilbert. To top that off, the map selection process at ESEA finals has also improved with maps no longer being pre-determined as teams now have the ability to remove maps and pick theirs (while the possible deciding map is set by ESEA) which will also benefit the reigning champions.
On paper this team has by far the most firepower with arguably the best three riflers in North America on the team, a good roleplayer in Brennan "ele1Nt" Webster and the second best AWPer in Sean "sgares" Gares. Gilbert, Friesen and youngster Braxton "swag" Pierce have all proved they are capable of being the best fraggers in the league and it will be hard for a team to stop all three of them at once. Their only weakness going into the event is lack of practice, which according to Friesen has been a problem with the team, but he also stated they haven't practiced less than their opponents, simply less than in the previous seasons when they were determined to prove they were the best team on the continent.
Looking at the bracket, Need Sponsor will face the winner of Check Six versus HRG in round two after their first round BYE win which could turn out to be an interesting match if the defending champions aren't in good form. Upper bracket final will likely set them up against Paul "pauLy" Guerboyan's UMX, who I assume they will also make their way through without too much hassle. Grand final is harder to predict, but the fact is this team is a sizeable favorite against any team in attendance and most likely will find a way to win even if they lose maps here or there or go down early, because they are the most complete team in North America.
2. Ultimax Gaming USA
(flowsicK, kiko, pauLy, sobo, steno)
Ultimax Gaming ran into trouble early on in the season when Steve "cutler" Cutler found out he would not be able to attend the finals due to his work schedule. The team brought back Nazar "steno" Vynnytsky's long time teammate Paul "pauLy" Guerboyan but as I've understood they haven't been able to practice and prepare anywhere as much as they would have liked due to Guerboyan's real life commitments. UMX is 5-3 against teams who made finals including two wins over mouseSpaz and a loss over SK.
The core of this team in Kyle "flowsicK" Mendez, Vynnytsky and Guerboyan has a fair amount of experience playing together and Francis "kiko" Lao joined before the season started. They have some good players in Mendez and Guerboyan who have both been among the best fraggers in the league for multiple seasons, and both Lao and Christian "sobo" Soboleske have showed promise during their young careers. Vynnytsky's teams have a long history of second place finishes that he will be hoping to improve on during this tournament, but their lack of practice could spoil those plans as they have practiced under twenty maps together in June with a majority of that crammed within the last week. Furthermore, in an interview with ESEANews he stated that their team will rely heavily on going over strategies and their gameplan on-site in Dallas.
I don't think SK or mouseSpaz have a very good chance of upsetting UMX and they should easily make it to the upper bracket final without any real trouble. For UMX to have the best chance at winning ESEA, they should hope that either HRG or Check Six would upset NS in the other upper bracket semi-final. Realistically I can't see UMX placing under third due to the way the upper bracket works out for them at ESEA finals, but I also don't think they will beat HRG or Check Six, whoever makes it to the consolidation final, to make top two. They have a fair shot against either one, but due to not getting to play as many matches as they would need in order to make up for lack of practice, I think they will fall short and place third. In that sense, I actually think getting upset by mouseSpaz/SK in the upper bracket semi-finals could push UMX to a second place finish due to getting to play more as a team which would improve their level.
(arya, blade, BOG, FNS, n0swal)
mouseSpaz underwent massive roster changes after last season's fiasco where their star fragger Ramin "robot20" Tavazo departed the team's roster in order to dodge the LAN finals due to not being allowed to participate anymore. Since then the squad has lost four of its six original members and have been forced to bring in Jonathan "n0swal" Lawson and two less known players without previous experience in ESEA's invite divisoin.
The team has a record of 2-4 against playoff teams and cruised to a high seeding mostly due to an easier schedule that only saw them face NS, Check Six and UMX once with a fourth loss dealt to them in an upset loss. This team hasn't had much practice and did not seem very focused in an interview on ESEA News. However, as this roster consists of fairly inexperienced players apart from Lawson, being expected to not do well or beat anyone might actually bode well for this team as it takes off all the pressure. Furthermore, they have been given the best possible first round matchup so they actually stand a decent chance of scoring a win at the LAN.
Unfortunately for them, due to the format of ESEA finals where only six teams make it and the top two seeded teams receive a BYE win in the opening round, scoring that possible win over SK would not grand them a higher placing as they are still heavy underdogs versus UMX and later on Check Six or HRG in the lower bracket. If they beat SK and UMX struggles I think they can be competitive against Vynnytsky's team, but I still expect them to fall short in the end and finish 5-6th.
4. High Rollers Gaming
(happa, hostile, impulsivE, khayes, perez)
High Rollers Gaming consists of three former Turmoil/Gravitas members in Shaun "hostile" Catron, Derrick "impulsivE" Truong and Joe "perez" Perez. If Christopher "happa" McDonald and Kevin "khayes" Hayes show up and actually play well at LAN despite of not having much experience past local Southern California tournaments, this team has a legitimate chance at placing in the top two, especially if Hayes can play as well as he did in last season's finals. The trio is realied on heavily by this team as they were all important players in their old teams with Truong being both the AWPer and main fragger of his Turmoil and Gravitas players while Catron was very good at playing the smaller sites alone as CTs.
Over the regular season they finished 2-5 against other playoff teams due to getting upset by both SK and mouseSpaz, but most importantly they beat Check Six in their both head-to-head matches with the team they will likely collide with twice at the upcoming LAN finals. The team was motivated earlier on in the season according to Truong, but haven't been able to practice recently due to Catron having been in Paris for the Shootmania tournament. However, they were smart enough to practice with a ringer in order to at least feel individually prepared for the finals.
HRG's tournament will be decided in the second match up with Check Six. The first round match in the upper bracket won't likely matter at all for either team unless they also upset NS, as they will go head-to-head once again in the lower bracket finals. Both teams should be able to beat mouseSpaz and SK easily in the opening round of lower bracket but are heavy underdogs versus Need Sponsor, so it might in fact be better to lose the opening match, gain some knowledge on how the other team plays and gain confidence from an easy win in the lower bracket. If they overcome Check Six in the lower bracket, I think at that point they will be a favorite over UMX due to having already beaten a good team and can cruise to a second place finish.
5. Check Six
(dizzaman, fRoD, Storm, Warden, Xp3)
Check Six looked to become the other main contender in North America when they removed Spencer "hiko" Martin after season ten and were hoping to recruit Jordan "n0thing" Gilbert, who winded up in NS after all. Instead of recruiting a new player, they used their backup from the previous season, long time teammate of Danny "fRoD" Montaner and Tyler "Storm" Wood, Matt "Warden" Dickens. This team has a questionable way of playing where instead of using an AWP at all times, you can catch Montaner rifling in order for David "Xp3" Garrido to AWP. No disrespect to the Frenchie, but when you have an AWPer that is better on the team, it makes little sense to make him rifle instead of using the most powerful weapon in the game.
Their record was 2-5 against other playoff teams with their only wins coming in against weaker competition in the form of mouseSpaz and SK. It's clear they have the potential to be the second best team in North America based on their lineup if everyone is motivated and both Garrido and Dickens show up in good form, but it's hard to tell if that will happen. This team needs Montaner to play up to his normal level, Wood to be a solid fragger in his backup roles and Dickens to show up in form. Dickens had the worst stats in all of Invite during the regular season, recording a measly 0.475 FPR and -83 in K/D ratio. I realistically can't imagine him playing that way at the finals, and if he can play reasonably well while Garrido, whose playing style is known to make him inconsistent, can be the third best fragger in this squad, they can make the top two and think about beating NS.
As I already mentioned in the part for High Rollers Gaming, their tournament results will heavily depend on the head-to-head matchup unless they manage to upset NS in the upper bracket. While Check Six practice at least as much as anyone else if not the most in North America according to member Dustin "dizzaman" Dilyerd, it's hard to tell what kind of form they will be in at the finals. If everyone is playing at the top of their game, they could upset NS, but I doubt you will see more than one or two of them shining at once. Knowing the core trio of the team, Check Six should be pretty smart overall but Garrido's calling seems to be slightly inconsistent as it reflects his risky playing style. I believe they will end up beating HRG and UMX in the lower bracket and finish second.
(btk, els, knc1, OceaN, ScorpioN)
sapphirekelownadotcom sneaked into the playoffs in their very last match of the season by upsetting Need Sponsor who were 15-0 before the match and played with their manager instead of Kory "semphis" Friesen. The team finished out the season with a 4-4 record against other playoff teams which is actually better than mouseSpaz's, Check Six's and HRG's record against the other teams at the finals. However, if you count out the fluke overtime win versus NS, a 3-5 record sounds a lot less impressive especially considering they finished sixth for the final seed.
They have practiced a fair amount for the LAN and have shown that they are capable of upsetting some of the higher ranked teams, as they defeated High Rollers Gaming, UMX, Check Six and Need Sponsor during the regular season online. Their players are very inexperienced among the bigger tournaments as only Seth "ScorpioN" Nagelberg has experience in attending an ESEA finals event or big international tournaments in the form or Arbalet Cup Dallas and World Cyber Games. That could cause a problem for them, but luckily the bracket is laid out the best possibly way for them.
SK will face mouseSpaz in the opening round which is a close match that I can see either team winning. Should they come out with the W, I think they have a small chance of upsetting UMX due to it being the first match of the LAN for Guerboyan's team, which is somewhat of a tradition for them to lose. Quick two wins in the upper bracket could propel SK up to a top three finish thanks to the bracket they were given, but if they drop down to the lower bracket against mSpaz or UMX, I can't see them beating HRG or Check Six who await in the lower bracket.
Who do you think will win and how will the top three look? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think will happen this weekend in Dallas, TX where the top of North American Counter-Strike will once again gather!
Follow HLTV.org's @lurppis_ on Twitter.
and have since then added arguably the best North American player in Jordan "n0thing" Gilbert
and have since then added the very best North American player Jordan "n0thing" Gilbert
Post edited 2012-06-29 04:49:21
Anyway, I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who felt lost... It's no big deal, though.
Just a friendly advice. :)
if it was up to me i would only use their nicknames, but as long as i don't run this site i'll happily write them the way the people above me in the food chain ask me to.
Post edited 2012-06-30 05:10:46
Not trying to piss you off! I'm not trying to change the rules, as well. heh
I think fRoD, n0thing, swag, pauLy, sgares would be better....(sgares calls I am pretty sure) if not sgares then put in Xp3 or steno or even lurrpis the faggot
Post edited 2012-06-29 14:04:52
Btw Good article lurppis,you should be journalist instead being pro cs player :p
"Their players are very inexperienced among the bigger tournaments as only Seth "ScorpioN" Nagelberg has experience in attending an ESEA finals event..."
btk and els have both attended the finals before.
Good right up though!
Post edited 2012-06-29 16:15:54
Post edited 2012-06-29 16:43:59
178/261 in 375 rounds for 0.475 FPR and -83
scrims (in june):
572/837 in 1177 rounds for 0.486 FPR and -265
of course those are just statistics and it's been online, but it still doesn't look good for his teammates (who are all positive in the league and dizzaman is -18 in scrims, rest positive)
Yeah that guy talks shit, but I will give him he's a very good player and has shown it on LAN in the past.
no shots there, you're just trying to read too much into it - he even had a solid performance stats wise last lan.