ESWC 2013 group stage preview

Here is our official preview for the group stage of ESWC 2013, which will be played out during the next two days before the event shifts to playoffs.

This year's ESWC will feature a $25,000 prize purse with half of it going to the champions, but with the recent results between NiP, VeryGames and Astana Dragons, there's a lot more on the line.

DreamHack Winter's $250,000 tournament, a clear goal for every top team this fall, is less than a month away and that means every result from now on can make a big difference in teams' confidence levels.

Unlike most recent events, ESWC will use a traditional group stage format, where each team will play one another once and the top two from each group will advance to the playoffs.

You can find out the exact match schedule in our viewer's guide. First round matchups in the playoffs will be drawn randomly, with first place finishers playing second place finishers.


ESWC kicks off tomorrow

Group A (Sweden NiP, United Kingdom fm.TOXiC, Norway AGENT.no, Finland ENCE)

Despite their recent struggles against VeryGames and Astana Dragons at SLTV StarSeries VII Finals and last week's RaidCall EMS One Fall 2013 Finals, NiP are still clearly the second best team in the world, and as of right now it's really hard to imagine them dipping below the top three. It's not impossible for them to place outside of the podium because the random draw could pair them up with one of the two teams who beat them recently, but short of those two it's hard seeing them getting upset in a series. That being said, they could get upset in a best-of-one, but I very highly doubt it will happen here in group A.

ENCE seem more promising on paper than they are in their current form, because when thinking about the squad you keep thinking back to last year's THOR Open, where they took NiP to their limits with three of the same players. They haven't had time to gel as a team yet and they clearly aren't well prepared for ESWC as they were only contacted yesterday about attending the event. I think they are favorites on LAN to take down both fm.TOXiC and AGENT.no and advance to the playoffs, but it also wouldn't be ground breaking to see them drop a map to fm.TOXiC, which would be catastrophic in the regular group format.

There isn't a whole lot to say about fm.TOXiC and AGENT.no. The latter have taken part in all four of this season's RC EMS One Cups, and have four first round exits to show for it. fm.TOXiC are potentially a solid team, as they have had good enough results in the past to suggest they could take down ENCE, but without having seen them play anything in a while it's hard to predict how they will do, and that's why I'd rather go with the more experienced Finns.

Prediction: 1. NiP, 2. ENCE

The battle for the trophy beginning

These guys need a win in Paris

Group B (France VeryGames, Denmark Cph Wolves, Portugal k1ck, Algeria C3 Gaming)

Had we not witnessed the match between VeryGames and Copenhagen Wolves in Cologne last weekend this group wouldn't seem so straightforwarded. I actually think k1ck can mount a real challenge to either team in a best-of-one format, as the duo of Xavi "Aguila" Casals Sabi and Ricardo "fox" Pacheco have proven online that they can take down some of the world's finest squads on a good day, so what it will all come down to is how tomorrow feels for the duo. Regardless of it, I think VeryGames is untouchable, especially on homesoil, and I can't imagine anyone, even Copenhagen Wolves, being able to take them down here.

Copenhagen Wolves on the other hand are a team that if I were them, I'd be a little scared of k1ck. However, the Danes have proven they can hang with the best as showcased by their 1-13 comeback win against NiP on the first map of their semi-finals, so they are still clear favorites to make the playoffs. If Peter "dupreeh" Rasmussen can continue playing as he's been for the last few months and Jacob "Pimp" Winneche can put up frags for the team they can pose a real threat to making the final four, but for now obviously their only goal should be to get into the quarter-finals.

k1ck is the most intriguing team of the trio as they could theoretically mess things up really badly in a three-way tie here, but unfortunately they face a group draw where the two higher seeded teams are very solid strategically and play in a smart cohesive way. I hope for C3 Gaming's sake they like Paris a lot more than I do, because their tournament will be over in about three hours and they will have a lot of time to spend roaming around the streets of Paris.

Prediction: 1.VeryGames, 2. Copenhagen Wolves


Will they do it again?

Group C (Ukraine Astana Dragons, Sweden fnatic, Germany ALTERNATE, India ATE)

Astana Dragons are arguably the world's third best team, but they face a squad in fnatic who seemingly can get under their skin and pose real issues for them, as we saw in the opening round of SLTV StarSeries VII Finals. The Ukrainians are still big favorites in this group, and assuming even two of their three very skilled fraggers show up, and the more than capable duo of Kirill "ANGE1" Karasiow and Dauren "AdreN" Kystaubayev don't disappear, we will see them take down fnatic, whose only glimpse of hope from recent months is that one almost-robbed-from-them overtime win against NiP at DreamHack Bucharest on de_train_se.

fnatic are somewhat of a question mark and with the way they've been playing even getting upset by ALTERNATE really wouldn't be that big of a surprise. The fact they are very inconsistent is the worst quality you can have in the group stage, especially when it's played using a standard round robin format instead of the newer and arguably much better GSL style format, which eliminates the possibility of three-way ties. Regardless, you shouldn't go against one of the nine best teams in the world, even if ALTERNATE boast a few players who have upset better teams in the past.

Once again, as was the case with group B, ATE don't have much of a chance of doing anything in group C as the three European sides are simply far superior. ALTERNATE is definitely the most interesting team in this group because it's so hard to tell how good they are. They defeated the new mousesports team in ESWC Germany, and despite being an unproven team, could potentially mess things up. Don't count on it, though.

Prediction:1. Astana Dragons, 2. fnatic


Can markeloff win another ESWC, this time in CS:GO?

Group D (United States compLexity, France Clan-Mystik, Sweden LGB eSports, Libya ETERNiTY)

Group D is by far the most interesting group at ESWC 2013. First of all we have the sole North American team in compLexity, a team who took a map from NiP at ESEA Invite Season 14 finals, but whom we haven't seen playing anywhere in a long time. ESWC will be a good warmup for them and a chance for others to gauge their level, but they also have MSI Beat it! and DreamHack Winter coming up within the next month. The squad of Jordan "n0thing" Gilbert could be headed for a podium finish, but without a bootcamp in Europe and months having passed since playing against Europeans, it's hard to predict how good they will be.

Clan-Mystik surprised many, yours truly included, by their performance at DreamHack Valencia three months ago. Since then we haven't seen too much of the Frenchmen, and even then their results weren't exactly against top level competition, but they are definitely a team who can do damage, especially in France. Unfortunately for them, the Swedes of LGB eSports have proven to be a very solid team, possibly good enough to even take down coL for the first seed; it wouldn't be much of a surprise to me as of right now.

ETERNiTY are the outmatched team of group D, and likely won't do much that matters in Paris. However, this group still has enough fire in it that it won't matter at all. Realistically even compLexity could go out in the group stage if they have two rough starts and don't show up in top form. Regardless of all of that, I still have faith in coL to finish first, and I think LGB eSports are a better team than Clan-Mystik, although their upside on their home soil could make a difference, especially if they play any stage matches.

Prediction: 1. compLexity, 2. LGB eSports


n0thing & co have a tough task ahead of them

ESWC 2013 will kick off on Thursday morning and you can find our full viewer's guide for the event here. HLTV.org ison-site at Paris Games Week to provide you full coverage of the event.

CM > CoL
2013-10-30 21:47
be real pls
2013-10-30 21:49
france pls
2013-10-30 22:09
haha ofc CM > coL and also LGB > coL , coL are noobs, i cant wait to see them crushed
2013-10-30 22:12
coL aren't noobs, they are easily a top10 team, and on their day can compete at a high level ofc they still wont win eswc tho ;)
2013-10-30 22:19
^^^^
2013-10-30 22:31
sweedn pls
2013-10-30 22:19
#60
United States HVK 
"coL are noobs" - i.imgur.com/S9zXYuU.jpg
2013-10-31 00:49
okay man, u will see your noobs soon :)
2013-10-31 04:35
#84
United States HVK 
I had to come back here to say this WHAT UP NOW SWEDES?!?
2013-11-01 17:57
LGB > coL +1
2013-10-31 02:18
CM > LGB
2013-10-30 22:22
+1
2013-10-30 22:25
#3
Sweden Salcc 
"NiP are still clearly the second best team in the world" Ok
2013-10-30 21:47
yeah, they are second best team atm
2013-10-30 21:52
Obviously. VG are a better team at the moment. Winning the 2 finals that have been played the last month pretty much speaks for itself. sry for bad english:PPP
2013-10-30 21:53
I really doubt that
2013-10-30 22:12
VG are the best atm and it's proven now, they beat NiP twice on lan and once online. And the unofficial rank; VG is now #1. Tror dock inte de är det allt för länge ;PpPppPp Swe #1
2013-10-30 22:20
English only please. Thank you.
2013-10-30 23:24
Haha, VG gonna dominate the scene like in source. But you are right if you mean't that VG would become official top1 soon :D
2013-10-31 00:18
sad but true
2013-10-30 22:19
Haha, I laughed at that. ENCE is obviously number one by several miles.
2013-10-30 22:22
+1
2013-10-30 22:55
if they had joelz they would be top1 ez
2013-10-30 22:59
#67
Brazil chqr 
+1 VG won 2 or 3 times in a roll and now the are n.1 haha ok! So now it is about NIP 15 x 3 VG or something like that ? haha Ok.
2013-10-31 05:01
So if NIP beat VG 500 times trough the years and VG beat NIP the last 50 times, would NIP still be better right now? Nice logic you got there Brazilian mate.
2013-10-31 08:45
gl
2013-10-30 21:47
Great read!
2013-10-30 21:51
#9
 | 
France cedd 
clan mystik has warmed up, apexxx and kqly will just kill all those swedes and muuricans. true story.
2013-10-30 21:54
Well, let's hope they don't pick de_season then xD.
2013-10-30 22:11
No they will veto this time ! ahah
2013-10-30 22:16
Group D most unpredictable
2013-10-30 21:56
great article
2013-10-30 21:58
CM should place second in their group. There's no chance that LGB will perform
2013-10-30 22:03
prepare to eat your words. LGB is gonna win group D
2013-10-30 22:10
Agent will go true!
2013-10-30 22:08
ClanMystik > coL , LGB > coL , even these guys from ETERNiTY are probably better than them XD
2013-10-30 22:13
you might be the most retarded person on this site. coL took a map off of NiP before Verygames ever did.
2013-10-30 22:21
man, they are noobs, deal with it :D
2013-10-31 00:27
lel
2013-10-31 00:28
mad cause bad coL are good teAm.
2013-10-31 06:23
Indeed, I'm pretty sure CM will surprise
2013-10-30 22:18
Mystik > LGB It will come down to coL vs LGB and this is LAN so I pick anyone except for olofm.
2013-10-30 22:21
exactly
2013-10-30 22:24
olofm destroyed everybody in lan . see coverages tard.
2013-10-31 06:25
ON lan u sucker ps. olof sucks
2013-10-31 10:03
#38
ZELIN | 
Portugal Cyborgy 
lol you just say random things,you didnt even see olofm play at lan xD
2013-10-30 22:31
" I hope for C3 Gaming's sake they like Paris a lot more than I do, because their tournament will be over in about three hours and they will have a lot of time to spend roaming around the streets of Paris." That was a bit harsh wasn't it? Could have given them the benefit of the doubt and said an upset would be improbable without having to stomp their confidence.
2013-10-30 22:24
i laughed
2013-10-30 22:26
It's funny for the general audience but it seems like the other teams got a politer approach to "you're definitely not winning, don't even try". With words such as "not likely to do much" or "don't have MUCH of a chance". Though being told to unpack your travel shorts to go sight seeing is kind of harsh honestly >.<.
2013-10-30 22:32
Did you expect some kind of empathy or kindness with an article written by lurppis?
2013-10-31 00:12
touché
2013-10-31 00:39
+1. I don't like some expressions used by lurppis . In groupe B for example , he could say : " I don't know the level of C3 Gaming ,GL to them " but saying that they are here for tourism before he even see them playing is kind of harsh really ! You lost my respect Lurppis ^^
2013-10-31 00:45
I support this. We don't know these teams well, if not at all, they might be decent for all we know. I wish we have some unpleasant upsets so people will stop looking down on teams just from their origin or their lack of fame/visibility.
2013-10-30 22:34
+1
2013-10-30 22:43
+1 that was unnecessarily harsh. Hope they do some damage and hopefully an upset, improbable though it may be
2013-10-31 03:54
lurppis is a douchebag anyway
2013-10-31 15:56
need more international tournaments
2013-10-30 22:25
great read. just group D- LGB and clan mystik :)
2013-10-30 22:26
GL AD & col
2013-10-30 22:26
GL AD & fnatic :)
2013-10-30 22:34
GL coL !
2013-10-30 22:42
CM>coL>LGB
2013-10-30 22:45
#47
Finland pulu 
atleast we can hope ence gets top2, but at the moment best what they can do is go to 3rd or 4th. but still surprises might happen so to come 2nd is still possibility, lets wait and see. and for rest of the prediction i agree (well col might still come 2nd)
2013-10-30 23:03
k1ck will surpriseeee xdd
2013-10-30 23:16
#50
gob b | 
Iceland shine4t 
can't wait to see Group D. I'm calling it now, coL will take that group with 9 points, and LGB and CM will draw their match, letting it come down to a round diff.
2013-10-31 00:03
definitely an interesting prediction
2013-10-31 00:14
fm.TOXIC > ENCE
2013-10-31 00:33
my expectations 1/ 1. NiP 2. fm.TOXIC 2/ 1. VG 2. k1ck 3/ 1. AD 2. ALTERNATE 4/ unpredictable
2013-10-31 00:37
k1ck shutup some mouths
2013-10-31 02:16
A: 1. NiP, 2. ENCE B: 1. VeryGames, 2. Copenhagen Wolves C: 1. fnatic, 2. Astana Dragons D: 1. LGB eSports, 2. compLexity
2013-10-31 03:40
#66
Bulgaria R4D1 
nip agent vg chw astana ate col lgb
2013-10-31 04:43
You are right! ATE gonna kick ass...
2013-10-31 05:42
haha
2013-10-31 06:36
#72
 | 
Hong Kong SHiFT^up 
AD vs fnatic and Group D are the ones to watch for.
2013-10-31 07:34
#76
Sweden pyth 
Group A: NiP, ENCE Group B: Cph Wolves, VeryGames Group C: Astana Dragons, Fnatic Group D: Clan-Mystik, LGB
2013-10-31 08:49
Pretty accurate but I would put VG 1st and Cph Wolves 2nd easily in group B and I would also swap CM and LGB in group D.
2013-10-31 12:41
#83
Sweden pyth 
I just think CPH Wolves will win the groupstage match against VG, 15-13 atm! go CPH :D ok CPH Wolves won 16-13 now, well predicted!
2013-10-31 17:37
Group A: LGB Group B: LGB Group C: LGB Group D: LGB
2013-10-31 09:11
#79
 | 
France Kairos1g 
LGB vs LGB LGB 2:0
2013-10-31 10:07
yes ! GL & HF C3 Gaming. go Audio ;)
2013-10-31 12:26
none of the predictions worked out x.x
2013-11-01 18:19
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