APM Season 2 Finals preview
The Acer Predator Masters Season 2 finals are set to get under way at TaKeTV’s studios tomorrow in Krefeld, Germany. Eight teams will play out a double elimination bracket with $40,000 up for grabs. Following is our official preview to get you up to speed with the format, prizes, and teams competing.
The APM Season 2 finals are due to kick-off at the TaKeTV studio in Krefeld, Germany, where 8 teams will be facing-off in a double elimination bracket with best-of-three matches all the way up to the grand final, where the two finalists will play a minimum of three maps for the bulk of the $40,000 pool.
HR stalwarts kUcheR and ANGE1, reigning champions
It was known two days ago that PANTERS, the Norwegian team who had been playing under the London Conspiracy banner up until recently, would not be able to attend the event due to funding issues and had forfeited their spot. LDLC White, who made headlines last week by winning Assembly Winter over crowd favorites ENCE, were then quick to snatch it up.
The initial match-ups for the first day of the Acer Predator Masters Season 2 finals are set and as follows:
|17:00||mousesports||vs. LDLC White|
|23:00||Alternate aTTaX||vs. E-Frag.net|
CSGL vs. FlipSid3
The first best-of-three of the day will be between the Poles of CSGL and the Russian-Ukranian lineup representing FlipSid3 Tactics, kicking the tournament off at 14:00 .
CSGL have had a rough end of 2015 and beginning of 2016, particularly at offline events. The Polish side made an appearance as the only European squad at the RGN Pro Series Championship at the eSports Arena in California in November, where they lost two out of three best-of-ones to Games Academy (at that time still with Lincoln "fnx" Lau and Epitacio "TACO" de Melo amongst their files) and Team Liquid and were sent packing despite managing to best SKDC.
Similarly, CSGL qualified to play the ELEAGUE Road to Vegas match beating the previous dignitas lineup in the qualifier final. While on paper it could have been an interesting final between two modestly placed teams on our ranking, with OpTiC ranked 16th at the end of the year and CSGL coming in 20th, it ended up leaving much to be desired in a fairly one-sided affair as the North Americans took it without excessive trouble in two maps.
Finishing fourth on the online stage, CSGL aren't coming into the offline finals looking particularly solid and should count their blessings if they manage to go past F3 or win a few matches in the lower bracket.
After the loss to OpTiC and failing to qualify for ESL Barcelona by losing to the current dignitas lineup, youngster Oskar "oskarish" Stenborowski was given the boot and MINISE has been standing-in for the team since.
Michu's play will be elemental to CSGL getting positive results
Player to watch: Michał "MICHU" Müller.
MICHU will be the player to watch this match and tournament as the 19 year old youngster, who has already been talked about as having the potential to become the next big Polish talent, will look to regain his confidence after poor performances as a stand-in for Janusz "Snax" Pogorzelski at IEM San Jose—only one match, and the whole Polish side were off, in all fairness—, and at ELEAGUE Las Vegas.
FlipSid3 has been a perennial satellite at the top of CS:GO since the team's inception, orbiting around elite teams but never being able to breach the surface. After failing to qualify for Dreamhack Open Leipzig 2016, F3 had their first shot at a LAN this year last week in Vilnius. The GEC 2016 finals could have been a good start to the year for FlipSid3, as only two top teams were present and three teams out of four moved on from both groups and into bracket play.
F3 lost to dignitas and CLG consecutively, unable to lift a map during either bout, and while dignitas has been on a meteoric rise—jumping from 14th to 7th on our ranking since the beginning of the year—, and CLG seems to have been improving as well, losing 2-0 against both of them raises the proverbial red flags.
FlipSid3 need to get bondik and WorldEdit to show their best side by putting up big numbers, while B1ad3 is going to have to find a way to revamp his tactics—especially on the terrorist side—, which were slow and clumsily executed at the GEC finals, if the team is to go far in this tournament.
It's not simple to carry
Player to watch: Georgi "WorldEdit" Yaskin.
While bondik has shown a lot of promise, it hasn't quite materialized yet, and since Aleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev's departure and Vadim "DavCost" Vasilyev's signing by Team YP, it seems F3's destiny is currently tied to WorldEdit being able to turn up offline and put the team on his shoulders since they are struggling to find solutions in the tactical department.
mousesports vs. LDLC White
The second match of the day will feature German side mousesports, who made it all the way to the grand final last year, and recently crowned Assembly Winter champions LDLC White at [17:00].
As far as the online portion of the APM Season 2 goes, mousesports showed they weren't messing around by being—with HellRaisers—one of only two teams to go undefeated in the group stage and ending up seeded first on their side of the bracket.
mouz played their first event of the year on home soil at DH Leipzig where they fell out in the group stages despite a strong start beating Virtus.pro (16-5) on de_dust2 and taking Astralis to overtime on de_mirage despite finally losing. Their last match of the tournament was against dignitas, a team we already mentioned who took everyone by storm, which they lost in two maps.
While mousesports have plenty of firepower in AWPer chrisJ and rifler nex, questions have risen around the team's decision to put their strongest fragger, NiKo, in charge of leading the squad in game after Fatih "gob b" Dayik and Navid "Kapio" Javadi's departures. While it didn't seem to affect NiKo's fragging ability in Leipzig, as he left with the team's highest rating (1.18) tied with chrisJ, the new arrangement is still a question mark coming into the APM Season 2 finals.
mousesports are favorites and are expected to go all the way to the grand final, anything else would be incredibly disappointing for the German side, as they will surely be seeking to gain some momentum they can carry into upcoming events such as the MLG Main Qualifier for the next Major or IEM Katowice.
Can he do it all?
NiKo is one of, if not the hottest prospects in Europe, and one of those players that always shows up at important events offline. Seeing him take on a leadership position at such a young age could further drop jaws if it ends up panning out. It could end up being too much to chew for the youngster, however, if things go sour for a second event in a row.
nex didn't show up at DH Leipzig, posting some of his lowest numbers since joining mousesports last year, something quite uncommon. nex has shown glimmers of brilliance, but he will have to do it more consistently if the team want to move up in the rankings, and no better place to start than at a smaller tournament.
Already going into their third offline event of the year, the French side will be looking to keep adding and gaining experience in Krefeld. While they will be starting the event as underdogs, LDLC White will no doubt be trying to learn how to morph into dark horses.
LDLC White had a terrible online stage, ending up at the bottom of their group and only making it to the offline finals due to PANTERS dropping out. They are, however, coming hot out of Assembly Winter where they beat ENCE in two maps to take the trophy which could play in their favour.
While LDLC White have shown they can rub shoulders with some of the lower tiered yet still relevant teams, look for them in the lower bracket early on, as a miracle would have to happen for them to take two maps off of mousesports.
Will DEVIL be able to keep up the heat at this level?
While to1nou was the hot player everybody was expecting to see bloom last year, it seems he is having trouble living up to expectations not quite being able to find the necessary consistency to move on to the next level.
Meanwhile, bodyy and DEVIL have silently exploded since the beginning of the year against teams with a similar skill level to theirs, raking up LAN ratings of 1.21 and a whopping 1.40 respectively. This tournament is their time to show they can still deliver against tougher opposition.
HellRaisers vs. Vexed
The first match leading into the night will see reigning champions HellRaisers and Vexed butt heads at 20:00 .
HellRaisers are another team that have started the year on the right foot, earning a ticket to play the MLG Main Qualifier in Columbus to fight for a spot at the next Major later this year by winning the PGL Regional Minor Qualifier in Bucharest earlier this month.
HellRaisers looking to keep the streak going
HellRaisers are also the reigning champions of the Acer Predator Masters, as they won the final against mousesports in an excruciating best-of-seven series in the Season 1 finals. That team had very little to do with the current one, though, as only the Ukrainians ANGE1 and kUcheR remain from last year's lineup.
HellRaisers were seen struggling at the PGL Minor against teams like PENTA and PixelFire and will have to step up their game if they want to repeat last year's feat in Krefeld. They are still favorites over Vexed, but will have to hope oskar shows up and the rest of the team put in decent numbers, because if holes start to appear the ship could easily sink.
Player to watch: Tomáš "oskar" Šťastný.
oskar has been the talk of the town since he blew up playing FPL and got taken on board by a HellRaisers, who had fallen on hard times and were in need of a fix. Fans of the Czech player will no doubt be happy to see him on LAN again.
Vexed is a very similar team to CSGL in the fact that they qualify for events, but then rarely show up and have much of an impact at them.
This is a perfect event for Vexed to push themselves and show they are going to start 2016 on good standing and that bringing on youngster repo for Piotr "peet" Ćwikliński will pay dividends in the long run. Considering they're facing HellRaisers in their first match, however, they may just have to do it from the loser's bracket.
Vexed haven't been able to capitalize on opportunity
Player to watch: Bartosz "Hyper" Wolny.
While Vexed and CSGL share certain similarities such as being fairly inconsistent young Polish teams comprised of a generation of players that are tasked with relieving the legendary players currently in VP, there is one crucial difference: Vexed doesn't have a MICHU.
While different players have taken the lead at one point or another, and no clear carry has emerged, Hyper has to find the form he had when he put the team on his shoulders and qualified them for a major after wrecking—and singlehandedly thrashing Titan—at the ESL One Cologne qualifiers last year if the team is to be successful.
ALTERNATE aTTaX vs. E-Frag.net
The final match of the day, starting at 23:00 , between local team ALTERNATE aTTaX and PGL European Regional Minor runners-up E-Frag.net will close the first round of play.
ALTERNATE aTTaX are possibly the biggest unkown this tournament. While they have been showing steep progress in the German scene by winning the online tournament 99Damage Season 1 over PENTA and then coming runners up to them offline at the ESL Meisterschaft Winter 2015 Finals late last year while still under the KILLERFISH banner, they have not proven anything at an international level.
Having made more headlines from cheating related scandals than through their play, it is hard to imagine they won't fall out of the competition at an early stage. If they play their cards well they may steal a map, and they will certainly be able to use this event as a growing experience.
aTTaX's hopes lie in large part on big individual displays
Players to watch: Kevin "keev" Bartholomäus.
keev was crucial for his team's success at the ESL Meisterschaft Winter 2015. The AWPer's success is paramount if the team want to fare well in Krefeld. Also keep an eye out for stfN, who has posted good numbers offline before.
The Bulgarian team return to Krefeld where they were booted out of the upper bracket final by mousesports and then from the tournament in the consolidation final by eventual winners HellRaisers last year.
This is the year E-Frag.net can come back and take revenge, although odds will be against them. Having just lost to HellRaisers in Bucharest—albeit with Nikolay "pNshr" Paunin in for dream3r—, and with mousesports looking to build upon last year's successes, E-Frag.net are most probably going to have to upset both teams if they want to make their way through the upper bracket and into the grand final.
dream3r, conditio sine qua non for E-Frag.net to succeed
Player to watch: Simeon "dream3r" Ganev.
Having dream3r on their side can be the wind the team need in their sails to cruise along the bracket. While v1c7oR puts up pretty good results and bubble or even IGL spyleadeR can step it up at certain points to help the team out, young dream3r is undoubtedly the star of the team and his presence will change the Bulgarian Lions's game for the better.
APM is known for its lax demeanor, blending gaming and leisure
There will be $40,000 dollars in the prize pool—including five computers on top of that for the winning team—, and it will be split-up amongst the top four teams accordingly:
1. $20,000 + 5 PCs
Don't forget to go over to the viewer's guide to answer any inquiry about the Acer Predator Masters Season 2 finals.
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