Round 1 of the Swiss system (BO3)
TL vs NRG
Coming off of a 3-1 loss to Astralis at the EPL S7 Finals, TL are looking good, in comparison to NRG who have not translated their online performance over to LAN performance so much. Ergo, TL are looking to take this BO3 well, unless NRG had worked their absolute hardest to improve following their group stage at the tournament.
Map pool wise, the two American teams mirror each other, with their two most common maps are Mirage and Inferno, with Train and Overpass being interchangeable for third place between the two. Individually, TL have more firepower and composure than NRG do, again taking the EPL S7 Finals as basis. As such, TL should take this matchup 2-0 confidently, maybe 2-1 even if Cerq goes ham.
SK vs VG.Flash
With SK making their first playoffs appearance in a long time at the EPL finals, they should be able to overcome the Chinese side. Adding to the fact that the Brazillian side has recently won the Adrenaline Cyber League (despite the tournament not really having teams of peak performances), so the confidence going into this should be pretty high
VG.Flash are a relative unknown in terms of synergy and team chemistry on the international level, despite both teams having had appearances in international tournaments at some point in their main rosters before forming this team.
Even with SK’s map pool depth being rather shallow at this point, they should be able to take this matchup easily based on experience alone, including the aforementioned two events.
AGO vs VP
VP, coming off of a loss to both SS and North at the ESL One Cologne EU Qualifier, can be argued to have a decent form going into this. That being said, AGO have been quite a threat in the tier 2 scene, in which VP is no stranger to. As such, this matchup is very hard to predict given how both teams have.
Map pool taken into consideration, AGO hasn’t ventured into Dust 2 yet, and as such, to predict how this veto will go as well would be a tad difficult. A surety would be Overpass and Nuke being banned by VP and AGO respectively, but aside from that both teams are on fairly even ground.
I’m going to hazard a 2-1 win for VP, but it could easily be the same thing for AGO honestly, given how the VP stars rarely shine in the current environment.
Na’Vi vs Tyloo
The semi-finals showing by Na’Vi should be a very good benchmark for the Ukrainian-Russian mix, despite having a close match versus Heroic at the EPL finals. Losing to an in-form Liquid, but defeating FaZe 2-0 throughout the tournament should also be a good sign, if a little worrying. It can be argued that s1mple’s average game during the semi-finals was the reason they missed the finals, but against a team like Tyloo, both s1mple and electronic should be having a field day.
Tyloo at this point are a question mark, as their only LAN form that shows any good news would be their Top 4 finish at IEM Sydney. It feels little nullified given their miss at an appearance at ESL One Cologne after a close 2:3 loss to B.O.O.T-d[S], so at the moment it’s too soon to say if they’ll do a lot versus Na’Vi
In terms of map pools, Na’Vi have the upper hand, even taking Dust 2 into consideration (despite losing their one appearance on that map 14-16 to Team Liquid), because they have the firepower to back it all up. Even with BnTet being the main carry, versus a team with s1mple on it should be enough to tame him a little for this matchup. 2-0 for Na’Vi.
Mouz vs North
On paper, mousesports should be the ones to take this matchup, even taking North’s previous 5 wins versus good teams into consideration. The EU mix having come back from a quarter-finals exit at EPL S7 Finals, the Danish team will be in for a difficult time to try and win this.
Noting the form of both teams, as well as Oskar’s returning form, Mouz are looking very likely to take this win. North’s Dreamhack Tours open versus pretty good teams are something to consider as well.
Even so, the map pool favours mousesports more. Am inclined to believe Mouz wins this 2-0, depending on North’s momentum on the first map.
Avangar vs Gambit
Gambit going into this are looking to be the favourites, despite mir still being new to the team. As an individual, mir has been performing pretty decently, only having one map with a negative rating out of five. Though it’s too soon to say, mir as one of the star players of Vega Squadron, is a good switch with seized in terms of firepower. Up against AVANGAR, who have been performing pretty good as of late, the Kazakhstani-Russian mix are more than capable to overrun AVANGAR.
With both teams going on an upward climb, Gambit’s map pool are looking to have the team win this game 2-0.
GODSENT vs Renegades
The Australian team has been up and down since the end of EPL S7, having recently qualified for ESL One Cologne. With that said, GODSENT’s best achievement as of late is a semi-finals exit over at Dreamhack Tours after topping their group, but whether or not the same performance is repeated here is still a mystery. In terms of experience, the Aussie team should be able to overcome GODSENT, especially considering how they’ve been constantly pitted against Tier 1/ Tier 2 teams, while GODSENT have so far been staying in Tier 2 for a very long time.
For the map pool, the two teams have a similar three most commonly played maps, so it’s likely that it all boils down to individual performance, of which Renegades are not strangers to.
All in all, it seems like a probable 2-0 for Renegades.
HR vs NiP
Hellraisers, having missed out on their chance to attend ESL One Cologne, will be itching to prove themselves here after losing to North 0-2 in the Dreamhack Open Tours finals. Conversely, NiP will want to prove themselves her as well, especially after their dead last exit at EPL S7 Finals.
And considering the Swede’s past matches, it doesn’t seem like the team is improving that much, but then again, there was a lot of time in between to improve. So far, HR have shown themselves to be pretty dangerous, but NiP are still fairly unknown in terms of form since they only played 2 games at the EPL finals.
Considering the map pools, NiP may have a chance at taking a map, maybe even take the whole matchup as well. But with NiP’s individual forms still being a huge question mark, it’ll be hard to say for sure. In any case, HR should be able to take Round 1 comfortably in a 2-0.