ESL One Katowice 2015 preview
Here is our official preview for the fifth $250,000 CS:GO major, ESL One Katowice, scheduled to kick off in a few days at Spodek Arena.
ESL One Katowice will once again feature the standard format Valve has utilized for all of their majors, starting with four groups of four teams each played out using a double elimination system.
From there on out the top eight teams will advance to the single elimination best-of-three playoffs, beginning on Friday, which will culminate in a grand final on Sunday.
You can find the full schedule for ESL One Katowice 2015 here. As you can see, only three quarter-finals take place on Friday, with the fourth one on Saturday, together with the semi-finals.
In this article we will preview the sixteen teams who will be in attendance in Poland, and predict who will be standing on the podium on Sunday afternoon at Spodek Arena.
The Spodek Arena will house this year's first major action
EnVyUs (Happy, kioShiMa, NBK, shox, SmithZz)
EnVyUs are the defending champions from DreamHack Winter while also having won MLG X Games Aspen in late January. At Pantamera Challenge they didn’t fare so well, finishing in a disappointing third place, but there’s no case to be made against them not belonging in the top two of the world rankings.
Recently it seems Richard "shox" Papillon has woken up from a prolonged coma, possibly set on by his having to play an unfavorable role in Vincent "Happy" Schopenhauer’s system. Most notably he had an MVP-like performance in the MLG grand final, though outside of that the team’s in-game leader has still been their most noticeable star, and best player.
At offline tournaments in 2015 Happy has racked up a 1.25 rating, second best in the world after another Frenchman. shox and Nathan "NBK-" Schmitt come in next at 1.10 and 1.08, whereas the team’s weakest player Edouard "SmithZz" Dubourdeaux has expectedly struggled. However, the key issue has been Fabien "kioShiMa" Fiey’s weak play at just a 0.98 rating.
Group stage should be easy pickings for EnVy. Titan are a real threat to them, as they have struggled against their fellow countrymen in the past, but nV should not have any issues moving past PENTA or LGB. However, there is a big difference between advancing to the playoffs as the top seed, and as second seed.
|Vincent "Happy" Schopenhauer||23||1.25|
|Richard "shox" Papillon||22||1.10|
|Nathan "NBK-" Schmitt||20||1.08|
|Fabien "kioShiMa" Fiey||20||0.98|
|Edouard "SmithZz" Dubourdeaux||26||0.97|
The biggest worry for EnVyUs is their reliance on kioShiMa getting all the important entry kills in big matches. Led by Happy, EnVy do not rely on clever strategies or even good mid-round calls; they mostly overpower their opponents, and with that their entry fragger is in the deciding role. In 2015 so far, he hasn’t been up to the task like he was in the past.
Realistically EnVy must be considered a favorite to be playing on the big stage come Sunday, but a slip versus Titan (or one of the other heavyweights), and finishing second in their group could easily mean a rough quarter-final and potentially an early exit. Despite all their success, their playing style doesn’t strike me as incredibly consistent.
Expect EnVyUs to be one of the best teams in Katowice and to probably end up in the grand final. I would be surprised if they were not a top four finisher once it is all said and done. However, there are a number of teams who can compete with nV – and the Frenchmen are much more susceptible to a weak showing than many others.
Will 2015 continue to be nV's golden year?
The other team currently in the conversation for the title of the world’s best, fnatic, obviously come into Katowice with strong expectations and as one of the absolute favorites to win the organization’s second major title in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive – a feat the other three heavyweights are also competing for.
fnatic disappointed in Aspen with a fourth place finish and a best-of-three series loss against dignitas, now known as TSM, but then bounced back with a win at Pantamera Challenge. They also won ClutchCon in-between, but the event hardly offered competition for Markus "pronax" Wallsten and his troops.
Unlike the Frenchmen before them, fnatic do have a consistent playing style in terms of their strategic approach, and they have so many highly skilled players that they do not have to rely on just one of them to get some important kills in big matches. Though pronax is outdone by SmithZz, the rest of fnatic are better than EnVyUs individually.
The top performer for fnatic in the past three months has been Freddy "KRIMZ" Johansson, who keeps building a stronger and stronger case for him belonging among the absolute elite in the world. His former LGB teammate Olof "olofmeister" Kajbjer comes in second, followed by the mega-aggressive AWPer Jesper "JW" Wecksell.
|Freddy "KRIMZ" Johansson||20||1.12|
|Olof "olofmeister" Kajbjer||23||1.06|
|Jesper "JW" Wecksell||20||1.03|
|Robin "flusha" Rönnquist||21||0.98|
|Markus "pronax" Wallsten||23||0.93|
A huge disappointment in the past three months has been flusha, who has practically not shown up since DreamHack Winter, recording a measly 0.98 rating after finishing 2014 at a 1.17. That could be a problem in the future, as he has been such a huge part of fnatic’s success in the past with stellar individual plays.
In Katowice fnatic are in a tough group with two Ukrainian sides Na`Vi and FlipSid3, as well as the Australians of Vox Eminor. Na`Vi continue to be fairly inactive compared to other top teams so it’s hard to judge their form, but they can be scary when on-point, and FlipSid3 have proven to be a solid team – only they won’t have their best player in Poland.
fnatic should finish on top of group A, but a second place finish is possible if Na`Vi catches them on one of their good days. In terms of the playoffs, fnatic would be my bet to make the grand final if I had to pick one team. They are, in my opinion, favored against every team in a best-of-three series, and as a result should be competing for a major title on Sunday afternoon.
fnatic are the favorites to be the first to claim a second major
NiP’s tenure with Mikail "Maikelele" Bill came to an abrupt end after Pantamera Challenge despite seemingly putting up very good results until then: a second place finish at DreamHack followed with another grand final loss in Aspen, and a win at ASUS ROG.
It remains unclear why exactly NiP decided to cut ties with Maikelele, as his individual play or the team’s results do not exactly explain the decision, but they have added an even more skilled player, Aleksi "allu" Jalli, in his place. So far results are promising, and the Ninjas still have a few more days to try to integrate the Finn into their team.
allu’s communication with the rest of NiP remains a question mark, though we do know he speaks mostly in English – with some Swedish mixed in-between – while the team speaks back to him in Swedish. It should turn out just fine – Lars "guardiaN" Wickler is a good example of that – but some issues may arise in big matches.
The most interesting part will be seeing how NiP plays in terms of strategies. Former player Robin "Fifflaren" Johansson has in the past criticized them for not changing up their game plan enough, and continuing with the same set of strategies would be a huge mistake, as allu simply doesn’t fit the same mold as a player.
NiP clearly remain one of the top three teams in the world at this point in time, but their decision to make a roster change one month before a major raises some questions, as from an outsider’s point-of-view it would’ve made more sense to attend with Maikelele.
Something was possibly up in NiP, but either way now the pressure is on them again to prove that this roster change was the right decision. In general, roster changes seem to have sparked Patrik "f0rest" Lindberg in the past, and it’s definitely something this team will be hoping for in Poland.
allu has the best offline rating in 2015 out of this team, but it comes from zero matches with NiP. Number two is Christopher "GeT_RiGhT" Alesund followed up by f0rest, with Richard "Xizt" Landström at a questionably low 0.96 rating – something that could be a problem going forward if he cannot right the ship in terms of his individual play as well.
|Aleksi "allu" Jalli||22||1.15|
|Christopher "GeT_RiGhT" Alesund||24||1.10|
|Patrik "f0rest" Lindberg||26||1.06|
|Adam "friberg" Friberg||23||1.01|
|Richard "Xizt" Landström||24||0.96|
NiP were given an easy group in Katowice with the no longer-scary HellRaisers team, one-map wonders Keyd Stars and CLG. The Swedes should have absolutely no issues getting past this group with a first seed going into the quarter-finals.
In a best-of-three setting it all changes, and that’s when we’ll finally see how well allu works in the team. There’s a number of teams who could either be rolled over by NiP, or be a real challenge. They are favorites to make the semi-finals, but also the most likely to lose in the quarters out of this bunch.
It might come down to how well this Finn can mesh with the Swedes
The beginning of 2015 has not been kind to Virtus.pro. They crashed out in the group stage of ASUS ROG, and likewise disappointed at the much more competitive Pantamera Challenge. Online they’ve played well at times, but with how many games take place online these days, who hasn’t?
Last year’s Katowice major was the coming out party for the Polish team in CS:GO, with Paweł "byali" Bieliński, Janusz "Snax" Pogorzelski and Jarosław "pashaBiceps" Jarząbkowski leading the team to an incredible win on their home soil. They have been a consistent top four team ever since.
This week we will find out if the added incentive of getting to play in front of a mostly Polish crowd can really help Virtus, who are still looking for their first strong finish since losing a three map nail-biter to NiP in the semi-finals of DreamHack Winter, over three months ago.
|Janusz "Snax" Pogorzelski||21||1.20|
|Paweł "byali" Bieliński||20||1.07|
|Filip "NEO" Kubski||27||0.99|
|Jarosław "pashaBiceps" Jarząbkowski||26||0.91|
|Wiktor "TaZ" Wojtas||28||0.89|
Snax has been very good lately with a three month rating of 1.20, followed by byali at 1.07. The biggest issue for Virtus.pro on an individual basis has been pashaBiceps, who hasn’t been the top five player we described him as last summer, instead having a lackluster 0.91 rating, second worst in the team.
In Poland Virtus.pro are in a fairly tough group with two teams they have lost against in the past – Team SoloMid and Cloud9 – as well as a fairly weak Finnish 3DMAX team who should pose no challenge after the departure of allu.
Virtus.pro should make it to the playoffs from that group, but if they continue playing as they did in Helsinki and Stockholm, they could also face an early exit – and they are the only top four team for whom this is a realistic worry, which says a lot in itself.
On the other hand, Virtus.pro are capable of beating anyone at any point, so if they practiced harder for this event due to it being a major and in Poland, we could also see them trying to repeat their performance from last year. They are the most interesting wildcard of this tournament.
Can Virtus.pro repeat last year's miracle run?
So far so good for Team SoloMid under Finn "karrigan" Andersen’s reign. Their only offline showing was that third place finish at MLG X Games Aspen, where they defeated fnatic in their final match. Online they’ve been solid, but when has that not been the case? As for the change from Henrik "FeTiSh" Christensen – individually karrigan is not any better, and leadership-wise the jury is still out on him.
Considering their inactivity in terms of offline events, Katowice comes at a very good time for TSM to finally get a chance to play against the big boys and see how good they truly are with this new roster. My guess is not much better than before – unless Nicolai "device" Reedtz and Peter "dupreeh" Rasmussen learn to play in big matches – but we will see.
|Nicolai "device" Reedtz||19||1.14|
|Peter "dupreeh" Rasmussen||21||1.09|
|René "cajunb" Borg||25||1.06|
|Andreas "Xyp9x" Højsleth||19||0.99|
|Finn "karrigan" Andersen||24||0.86|
TSM were placed in the toughest group in Poland, with Cloud9 and Virtus.pro fighting for a spot in the playoffs with them – as well as 3DMAX, who should not be much of a threat. There is a legitimate chance the Danes could crash out in groups here, but their consistency should help them pass.
It seems they have been bootcamping this entire week in Denmark, and their online results have been good enough to expect them to beat Cloud9. However, the North Americans are always a question mark, and if Virtus show up in form, it very well might come down to a single best-of-one to decide their fate.
If TSM makes it to the playoffs, I wouldn’t hold high hopes for them. They can win a quarter-final against some of the possible opponents – though probably only if they win group D, or if one of NiP, EnVy and fnatic gets upset – but there’s a very minor chance they could get further than that.
TSM will try to break their quintessential semifinals curse
The French-Belgian-Swiss team has been very good at times, especially in certain match-ups, and very disappointing at others. A standard VeryGames-like collapse cost them map two at ASUS ROG versus NiP, but their second place finish at Pantamera Challenge was very encouraging for any Titan fan.
Kenny "kennyS" Schrub has been the world’s best player for a while now – with an offline rating of 1.39 in 2015 – and it’s obvious that the team’s strategic system built around Kévin "Ex6TenZ" Droolans’s leadership is in fact working. However, individual plays for the supporting cast of kennyS remain an issue for Titan.
Dan "apEX" Madesclaire had an incredible showing at ESL One Cologne with LDLC last August, but he has been underwhelming since, with only some maps of strong play at times. For Titan to win best-of-three series versus top teams with this roster, they absolutely need him to frag more than he has been – though in 2015 he has been fairly good.
|Kenny "kennyS" Schrub||19||1.39|
|Dan "apEX" Madesclaire||22||1.13|
|Cédric "RpK" Guipouy||25||0.95|
|Mathieu "Maniac" Quiquerez||24||0.95|
|Kévin "Ex6TenZ" Droolans||24||0.86|
On top of that, RpK must continue improving individually, so that he can contribute more in the fragging department. Maniac mostly does his job; he isn’t expected to frag much, as isn’t Ex6TenZ. Titan simply does not have enough firepower right now, even with the world’s best player – let alone if he were to have a bad game.
In Katowice Titan has a very favorable – not to say it could not be dangerous – group draw. EnVyUs is a team they have beaten in the past and match-up well against, while they should be clear favorites versus both PENTA and LGB, even if either can pose a serious challenge to Ex6TenZ’s team.
If Titan make it to the playoffs, they become a whole lot more dangerous. Despite their lack of skill, this isn’t a team anyone wants to face. kennyS is playing some of the best Counter-Strike ever played, and when apEX is on, Titan can beat any team in the world.
Titan are going to need extra firepower this event if they want to advance
Natus Vincere have not attended an offline tournament since DreamHack Winter 2014, which ended over three months ago. That is a long time in the world of Counter-Strike in 2015, when it seems there are countless online matches every single day and at least two meaningful tournaments every single calendar month.
Na`Vi have never been known for attending many tournaments, but it has definitely gotten to the point where it’s downright weird. Is this a true professional team who wants to become the best in the world, or simply a combination of players good enough to practice for two weeks and make the quarters, or semis, and then cruise until the next major?
The video blog by Sergey "starix" Ischuk stating he may wind up being cut from the team suggests the former, but who really knows what will happen. As far as I am concerned Na`Vi are the largest question mark when it comes to performance, and as a result they are going to be a fun team to watch in Katowice.
|Lars "guardiaN" Wickler||23||-*|
|Ioann "Edward" Sukhariev||27||-*|
|Denis "seized" Kostin||20||-*|
|Danylo "Zeus" Teslenko||27||-*|
|Sergey "starix" Ischuk||27||-*|
*Lack of rating is due to Na'Vi's absence from offline events in 2015.
Online Na`Vi’s results have been poor, but that has been the case for Zeus’s team for ages. In my mind it is entirely possible they will come into Poland well prepared and put up another semi-final run, but I could just as easily see them fall out in the group stage.
They have been paired up with fnatic, an all-of-a-sudden dangerous Vox Eminor team, and FlipSid3 in group A. If it weren’t for Oleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev’s absence, you could be excused for thinking Na`Vi aren’t even favorites to go through. That’s how hard it is to judge them at this point given the lack of reliable results.
If Edward is in great shape, and seized preferably returns to the player he was ten months ago – while guardiaN is a top AWPer – they can be a threat to anyone. At this point it’s simply uncertain whether that ship has sailed for Natus Vincere.
Na'Vi are for sure the biggest question mark at this event
Cloud9 had an extremely disappointing run of events at the end of 2014, and actually had to travel to Katowice a month or so ago to qualify for this major. They lost their previously best player Spencer "Hiko" Martin after a weak showing at DreamHack Winter, and added Shahzeb "ShahZaM" Khan.
At MLG Cloud9 took down NiP on de_nuke – convincingly – but then fell short against dignitas and KaBuM.TD (the current TSM and Keyd Stars, respectively) to go out in groups. At the offline qualifier they defeated weak Polish team INSHOCK – whom Mariusz "Loord" Cybulski now represents – and mousesports, to secure a spot at the major.
This team could do well if Jordan "n0thing" Gilbert played like the star this team badly needs, and if Mike "shroud" Grzesiek took the next step to becoming a real star outside of his Twitch channel as well. It’s unclear whether he’s been capped out or if he’s having motivational issues, but there’s been very little to no improvement in his game since Cologne on a consistent basis, even if he had a good showing at the qualifier.
|Mike "shroud" Grzesiek||20||1.29|
|Jordan "n0thing" Gilbert||24||1.16|
|Kory "SEMPHIS" Friesen||25||0.98|
|Shahzeb "ShahZaM" Khan||21||0.92|
|Sean "seang@res" Gares||26||0.88|
I believe seang@res's leadership is the way to go, and SEMPHIS will put in his share of the work. As a result, the two youngsters named above, as well as the team’s new AWPer ShahZaM, are in key roles. They are the swing votes who can make this team go, or watch it witness another group stage exit.
Cloud9 is in the toughest group of ESL One, with both Team SoloMid and Virtus.pro up against them for two playoff spots. Odds are against Cloud9 at this point, but they are entirely capable of beating either team. It’s just unclear how much further they could go, should they reach the playoffs.
Cloud9 have a hard group for carrying NA dreams
Since the roster changes that saw Yegor "markeloff" Markelov and s1mple removed to recruit Dauren "AdreN" Kystaubayev and Egor "flamie" Vasilyev, HellRaisers have done exactly nothing that you wouldn’t have expected from the previous team. They remain, for all intents and purposes, the very same team.
flamie is turning into a star of his own, and AdreN looks like a better player this time around in the system. This team looked decent at ASUS ROG, but could not really put up a fight against NiP in Helsinki, and have yet to attend another tournament since then.
|Egor "flamie" Vasilyev||17||1.14|
|Kirill "ANGE1" Karasiow||25||1.09|
|Mihail "Dosia" Stolyarov||26||1.06|
|Dauren "AdreN" Kystaubayev||25||0.99|
|Emil "kUcheR" Akhundov||26||0.86|
Online, most recently this team suffered a disappointing loss to FlipSid3 – the team with two players they cut from their team. It’s unclear what HellRaisers is doing at this point as they seem like a team either completely capped out at where they are, or simply unwilling to put in more work to improve. Either way, the end result is the same.
In Katowice HR have a good chance at making the playoffs with the Brazilian team Keyd Stars and the North Americans of CLG in their group, together with NiP. At the same time HR are inconsistent enough that it’s a dangerous group for them, but ultimately none of these teams will make much noise in the playoffs, so the second place isn’t very meaningful.
HR have an ideal chance of making the top eight in Katowice
PENTA were a fun, promising team to begin with, and though I disagreed with Hendrik "strux1" Goetzendorff’s departure at the time, it’s hard to not agree with them bringing onboard Tobias "Troubley" Tabbert from mousesports. That’s a decent trade, assuming someone on the team can call the shots.
This team has been impressive since Acer A-Split in December, and their wins over Virtus.pro and HellRaisers at ASUS ROG only built a stronger case for them. If skill were an issue, Troubley adds in that department, though - "nex" still remains their biggest star overall, despite a so-far mediocre performance in 2015.
|Timo "Spiidi" Richter||19||1.09|
|Kevin "kRYSTAL" Amend||21||0.96|
|Tobias "Troubley" Tabbert||22||0.91|
|Denis "denis" Howell||20||0.66|
For PENTA, ESL One Katowice marks a chance to make a case for them being a top eight team. They are in a tough group, but it is not an unwinnable one. They won’t be beating EnVyUs anytime soon, but Titan is a team within their reach if a few things break their way in a game.
As with anyone else in these groups, they likely won’t be making any noise in the playoffs, but for them this tournament is about making the playoffs, and then building up on it in the future. Even if they are clear underdogs for now.
The Germans have been on a roll as of late and seek to keep it up at Katowice
Considering their recent online results, FlipSid3 would actually be an interesting team to watch, if it weren’t for s1mple’s ban that led to this team having to use Vadim "DavCost" Vasilyev as a stand-in for their very best player at both the offline qualifier and the major itself.
F3 are actually in a group that could allow them to advance, as they could conceivably beat Na`Vi in a best-of-one, as well as Vox Eminor. However, there’s little hope for this team to make a playoff run, and even their odds of advancing from the group stages aren’t great.
|Georgi "WorldEdit" Yaskin||23||1.30|
|Yegor "markeloff" Markelov||27||1.17|
|Vladyslav "bondik" Nechyporchuk||21||1.04|
|Vadim "DavCost" Vasilyev||18||1.01|
|Andrey "B1ad3" Gorodenskiy||28||0.87|
If they had s1mple with them this would be an exciting team to watch, but though DavCost played reasonably well at the qualifier with a plus-1.00 rating, he is replacing an incredibly skilled player whose boots are simply too large for him to fill.
There is no simple solution for topping the group for this team
Not many expected Vox Eminor to qualify for this event, and that includes me as well. They probably should not have beaten allu’s 3DMAX at the qualifier, and they definitely shouldn’t have racked up twelve terrorist rounds against dignitas – at least before we knew how disappointing that team would be.
It’s entirely possible this team could break out as a borderline top ten team in the near future if they were able to spend some time in Europe practicing against the best, but it seems that will not be possible due to real life obligations. That will stop them, in all likelihood, from making the playoffs in Katowice.
|Justin "jks" Savage||19||1.12|
|Aaron "AZR" Ward||22||1.02|
|Chad "SPUNJ" Burchill||25||1.00|
|Luke "Havoc" Paton||24||0.96|
Vox can beat FlipSid3, and could upset Na`Vi in some universe, but to beat a bootcamped Na`Vi team fresh off of travel from Down Under? Not something I would bet on. Hopefully the Australians will continue their improvements in Katowice, but they have a tough road ahead of them.
Not many expected Vox to get this far and they can continue to impress
LGB is basically a new version of London Conspiracy, who actually were not a bad team at all. Unfortunately, this team has less of the routine that helped LC get some of their wins last summer, and their upside doesn’t seem to be significantly better as Dominik "raiN" Dettelbacher is still yet to take the next step in skill.
At Gfinity 3 raiN had a great showing – followed by strong play in Cologne – but he hasn’t improved seemingly at all since those days. They have some other solid players in Ruben "RUBINO" Villarroel especially, and Pål "Polly" Kammen, but it may not be enough given the group they were placed in.
|Ruben "RUBINO" Villarroel||20||1.07|
|Pål "Polly" Kammen||24||0.94|
|Dominik "raiN" Dettelbacher||20||0.92|
|Joakim "jkaem" Myrbostad||21||0.86|
|Morten "zeves" Christensen||23||0.75|
The Norwegians are underdogs versus EnVyUs, Titan and PENTA. To win two games against that group of teams is a tough task, especially in best-of-one format, if you were to believe zeves and his logic in our pre-event interview.
A Norwegian team will have a chance to shine at the majors once more
Can Gabriel "FalleN" Toledo and company become good on more than one map in time for Katowice? We will know in only a matter of days, but if the offline qualifier where they secured their spot for the major is of any indication, they probably will be a decent enough team to be scary for HR and CLG, two teams fairly close to their level.
The Brazilians were lucky to be put into group C, where there is only one clearly superior team and they have a realistic chance at getting out if they play well. Teams have said going back to ClutchCon that they were good in practice, so it’s possible Keyd Stars could reach the playoffs at ESL One this week.
|Ferdinand "Fer" Putra||23||1.15|
|Gabriel "FalleN" Toledo||23||1.02|
|Lucas "steel" Lopes||21||0.99|
|Caio "zqkS" Fonseca||23||0.93|
|Ricardo "boltz" Prass||17||0.91|
Their best player in 2015 has been Fer, who has an impressive 1.15 rating in their offline events so far. On de_mirage this team is ridiculously good, but their showing in Katowice will ultimately come down to whether they can deliver on other maps as well.
Keyd will need a wider range of map variation to succeed
CLG have had a solid run in the past three months. Coming from virtually nowhere, the mouseSpaz team first qualified for MLG with strong wins over some of North America’s best teams, including iBUYPOWER. At MLG they did even better, besting LDLC with Peter "ptR" Probst in carry mode, but then regressed with a poor showing, and a quarter-final loss to eLevate, at ClutchCon.
At the offline qualifier for this major they won two 16:14 games over Gamers2 and Titan, adding a second important victory over a European side in just two international events. That’s pretty good record, but the loss at ClutchCon definitely raises a red flag when it comes to their consistency. Plus, they would need two similar wins here.
|Tarik "tarik" Celik||19||1.12|
|Peter "ptR" Probst||24||0.99|
|Stephen "reltuC" Cutler||26||0.88|
|James "hazed" Cobb||25||0.88|
|Pujan "FNS" Mehta||22||0.77|
Their best player has been tarik overall, but they will need some combined magic from both him and ptR, now that the latter has shifted the calling duties back to FNS, to get through Keyd Stars and HR. I don’t see it happening, but with their track record it’s not impossible.
CLG are looking to be the little team that could
3DMAX was doomed first when allu received the offer from NiP, as they lost by far their best player, the one who had carried them to an upset victory over Titan in front of the crazy Finnish crowd at ASUS ROG just over five weeks ago. Then the groups were drawn, and it got way, way worse for the Finns.
Mikko "xartE" Välimaa somewhat broke through at the offline qualifier as a stand-in for Joona "natu" Leppänen, with a very strong performance versus mousesports in the deciding game. Still, he clearly cannot fill the gap left by the departure of allu, which means 3DMAX are in trouble.
|Mikko "xartE" Välimaa||23||1.33|
|Taneli "disturbed" Veikkola||21||1.19|
|Tom "stonde" Glad||21||0.85|
|Joona "natu" Leppänen||29||0.80|
|Jesse "KHRN" Grandell||25||0.71|
That they were placed in the toughest group doesn’t help, but they had a longshot at best at advancing in any group. Now their odds are virtually non-existent, but it will be a good experience for disturbed and company to try to learn from the better teams and try to improve for the next major.
Without allu, 3DMAX will need to go the Appian Way to survive groups
ESL One Katowice will kick off on Thursday with all four groups scheduled to be finished during the day. HLTV.org will be on-site to provide you with full coverage of the $250,000 tournament.