They are gonna keep the top spot for most of the first half of the year. A lot of t1 contenders have made roster changes and need time, while Astralis still haven't shown any good signs of slowing down.
But their downfall is bound to happen, they will eventually drop in motivation and other teams will catch up with their profesionalism and efficiency and will anti strat them even more. It isnt possible for them to dominate for much longer.
I don't seem them making any until late 2019. They are all one the same page seemingly with what they have been able to achieve and are real profesionals and hardworkers so i dont think they will be down to changes so fast. If they would be down to pick up another player to try and reinvent their dominance i'm sure they would choose someone from the newer generation like refrezh, valde, mertz or stavn.
2. Natus Vincere
Since Zeus is set to retire midway through 2019 or later on in the year i reckon there are two scenarios for this team.
> They are going all in with no pressure since the roster is coming to and end and could outpreform Astralis if maybe Flamie regains some of his old form
> They dont start off well, and drop in motivation since the roster is finished, drop to top 7-12.
I dont think they will make any until Zeus leaves, its possible but im not so sure. FaZe could go all in for S1mple if NaVi is falling apart. I believe this organization's future lies within Jame, he is really a interesting prospect. Flamie or Edward could find themselves leaving NaVi before the end of 2019.
Even without s1mple, a team with Jame and Electronic as firepower and decent replacements for Zeus, Flamie qnd Edward could regain their way on the top. The question of a leader still remains. Jame led but his potential isnt to be wasted and he could co lead.
Maybe seized can grind his way back he is still not old and play support again instead of Edward lol.
They will remain top 5. Some individual performances will drop due to having to play bitch roles since Taco left, but i believe they are profesional guys and will be able to sort it out with no ego issues. It seems like Taco had a big impact in terms of chemistry as well so im not so sure how this willl pan out. Their performance won't change much from this year in terms of achievements, i believe they will get some t1 wins this year tho. Stewie is a oddball, he has the potential of being a top 10 player but its uncertain how he will mash with the rest of the team.
I don't see any in the first half of 2019 unless their performance drops massively which is unlikely. They have an almost perfect NA roster and will look to improve over time and fix possible issues. Tarik could get picked up if things dont work.
Felps seems to be a different player than what he used to be and he sacrificed his individual perormance a lot in his latest teams, so there wont be many problems about team structure, roles and his clashing with Fer's role like it used to be the case in 2017.
But i still don't think he is the solution, its gonna end like 2017 Fnatic. They need fresh blood, yuurih, kscerato or kng.
- taco ( maybe ) - felps ( for sure )
+ Two upcoming brazillians is the solution.
If Taco is getting removed one of those two new players has to be low ego and aware that he needs to become a Taco like player.
Taco does his job well, but he really isnt on par skill wise. Im sure they could train a more talented individual player to be selfless and a support like Taco.
Their level will be better than in 2017/18. But they won achieve the same results with this lineup after the early period ( when the roster changed teams kick in )
Their potential is capped and its great what they achieved with these players, but the trio of Ropz, Sunny and the 50 year old Oskar cant compete in the top 5 with other t1 teams firepower when they get their shit together.
They will be top 6-10 and get top 4s in the begining of year.
Really not sure about this one, maybe some of the Valiance talent could find their way into this lineup and a Kova? may again perform in a mousesports jersey.
-styko + a better fragging support might edge them into the top 5 with the new roster changed giants
Thats if they want more than being a playoff team, but honestly they should realize they cant achieve much more unless they completely reform their core and buy out other stars. Even then it might not work bc of egos like we saw in FaZe, so i'd suggest them to keep the core, work profesionally, be ok with top 8 and not make changes.
I dont see them doing better than what they did late year with this roster, also the old guys' performance are slowly worsening over time getting close to the end of their career. I believe the core of NiP will shift from Get Right and F0rest to Lekr0 and Rez, they will be the ones around who the rosters are made.
They will get a odd t1 win for sure, tbh i feel right now whether they upset others or fail depends on Rez, in most of their deep runs he was the key.
Maybe hampus could find his way into the roster as a leader, i dont think they will be making any changes in teh first half of the year, there arent really any notable upcoming Swedish players to replace dennis or gtr.
And Fnatic seem to be on the rise so a new major shuffle isnt happening soon.
I dont think Adren is the fitting fifth if they want to dominate again, i mean they could be a decent top 5 contender like they've been before and maybe get some titles with the fresh blood but this roster seems to have much deeper problems to solve.
The fact that a lineup with this firepower isnt atleast top 2 is insane alone, this mix of players just isnt the winning formula and they dont work. Changing the fifth wont do anything, they need selfless, hardworking and positive supports instead of all big egos and stars. Also ynk will improve their structure and hopefully control these egos, as Robban was just a figure, so there is still hope for them reaching the very top again and a better year than 2018 is likely.
They are gonna be the first to dethrone Astralis and will be in the top 5 later in the year. They alrrady came very close yo beating them at IEM Chicago. They have all the pieces needed and seem to be on a rise.
Krimz is still a god, Twist is showing the t1 potential we all knew he had, Xizt is doing his job, is very calm and the most experienced leader in their scene, JW meh not that impressive as a rifler so far, but he is still fairly young and has the potential to improve and Brollan is beasting.
Cerq, Breehze and Ethan ( really deserved the top 20 this year ) are truly a top 5 core. Tarik could elevate them if he gets in and they couls be top 5ish for the first half of the year.
And the last team i want to talk about is G2. They are imo going tk be the biggest surprise of 2019. The French scene is coming back to the top with g2.
The organization and the coach have finally taken over and there is no power anymore in the politic heavy, privileged, biased and unprofesional French scene players.
Kicking two Shox's buttfriends is the first step.
Youve been underestimating what Shox and Kenny can do in the same team, when they get put to work by the organization with their career and money on the line you'll see ehat they ae capable of.
Ocelote has started this project and will do everything he can and make all the changes to make them work.
Maybe not with this exact roster, but its a guarantee that the time of Kenny's and Shox's rise is coming.
A co leader and support instead of bodyy and jackz to relieve shox some of his work so he can frag while calling like in 2016 will be the final move. They are getting into the top 3.
Fnatic, G2 and Nrg may be the surprises in 2019