ESEA Premier S21 EU Finals preview

ESEA Premier Season 21 Europe Finals, whose winner will get a spot in ESL Pro League Season 4 and runner-up will go home with a place in the relegation match versus Virtus.pro, is set to be played out tomorrow, on May 7th. Here is HLTV.org's preview for the four-team, $20,000 tournament.

The stakes at the upcoming ESEA Premier Season 21 Europe Finals will be high, as the winner will go home knowing they have earned a spot in the ESL Pro League Season 4, while the runner-up will have to fight their way through Virtus.pro for another.

Four teams from the online phase have made it to the all-important Finals - MK, ENCE, PENTA and HellRaisers will fight it out for $20,000 and the aforementioned Pro League spot.


Virtus.pro are eagerly awaiting the Premier runner-ups in the relegation match

However, Tomáš "oskar" Šťastný's squad will have to attend with Richard "queztone" Strnátko instead of their latest addition Vladyslav "bondik" Nechyporchuk, as roster rules don't allow HellRaisers to change the lineup anymore.

Let's take a look at the four attending teams one by one and see what their recent history looks like, what their chances are at the event and how they fare against each other:

 

MK

  Age  Rating (2016)
Bulgaria Kamen "bubble" Kostadinov 24 1.14
Bulgaria Simeon "dream3r" Ganev 19 1.10
Bulgaria Viktor "v1c7oR" Dyankov 21 1.03
Bulgaria Emiliyan "spyleadeR" Dimitrov  26 1.03
Bulgaria Nikolay "nkl" Krastev 22 0.85

For how much we've been used to seeing E-frag.net (now MK) at LAN events in previous years—almost not at all—, the Bulgarian squad have attended quite a few offline tournaments in 2016, practically one every month.

Most of the tournaments they've played this year was with Nikolay "pNshr" Paunin, but this time they will be able to field their starting roster in Leicester, and that is a silver lining in what's about to come.

They can't be happy about meeting HellRaisers in the semi-finals, seeing as their record versus the European mixture is poor at best. MK lost two grand finals to HellRaisers on LAN this year, once at the PGL Minor (1-2) and once quite recently at Copenhagen Games (0-2).


bubble has been MK's best player for some time now

MK were also never able to come out with a win online, where they have the same history as on LAN (1-4 over two series). That's two wins out of ten maps over the course of over four months.

If they do manage to tackle HellRaisers successfully, they're looking at a possible ENCE match-up in the grand final. While that duel looks much better history-wise, it's still not great as they split two series online, both matches were very close and very recent.

As for PENTA, the second possible grand final match-up with MK in it, the two teams played a couple of times as well in the exact same lineups, albeit online. They split maps in one best-of-two, while the Bulgarians won a best-of-three series in a somewhat narrow fashion.

It's very unlikely we will see MK getting past their nemesis which they were unlucky enough to get right off the bat, but if they do, the job will get easier no matter who wins the second semi-final.


HellRaisers

  Age  Rating (2016)
Czech Republic Tomáš "oskar" Šťastný 24 1.22
Slovakia Martin "STYKO" Styk 20 1.03
Slovakia Richard "queztone" Strnátko  20 1.03
Slovakia Patrik "Zero" Žúdel 17 1.01
Ukraine Kirill "ANGE1" Karasiow 26 0.99

A first glance at the table above already tells a big part of the picture, and that's the huge disparity (around a 0.2 Rating difference) between oskar and the remainder of the team in 2016.

While everyone else on HellRaisers matches the Czech's speed at times, their overall performance isn't anywhere near as consistent as their AWPer's, who has been the star of the team from the get-go.

We were able to witness the same trend at CEVO Gfinity Professional Season 9 Finals, where the difference was even more ridiculous and all the more impressive considering oskar had the most opening kills per round (0.16) and the highest success in opening duels (62.7%) at the event.


oskar needs a bit more consistency from his teammates

According to oskar's post on Facebook, HellRaisers underestimated SK in the semi-finals in London, and they should be able to learn from that mistake and avoid making it now against quite clearly inferior competition.

Their first opponent at the Leicester event will be MK, who have only won two maps in four best-of-three's against the core of this HR lineup since the start of 2016. Since then HR have only gotten better and steadily climbed the HLTV.org Team Ranking (currently sitting at #14), while MK haven't shown signs of significant improvement for a while now and fell out of the top 20 last month.

The Slovakian-Czech-Ukrainian team have never played ENCE before, which is the most likely grand final match-up. They only have one best-of-three encounter with PENTA in their record, which was in the PGL European Minor semi-finals and it was a close match, but again, HellRaisers are a better team now.

Even with queztone—who should be accustomed to the team from standing in for them for over a month—in the lineup, HellRaisers are quite clear favourites of the tournament, which can become a double-edged sword.

 

ENCE

  Age  Rating (2016)
Finland Aleksi "allu" Jalli  23 1.10
Finland Tom "stonde" Glad  22 1.03
Finland Miikka "suNny" Kemppi 21 1.00
Finland Juho "juho" Lampinen 20 0.98
Finland Mikko "xartE" Välimaa 24 0.92

ENCE are heading into ESEA Premier Finals having a reputation to fix after their atrocious display at Copenhagen Games, where they finished dead last, and two narrow losses to Preparation and GODSENT (then Ancient) at Pantamera Challenge.

Online the Finns have looked much better shortly after Copenhagen, they won 13 out of 15 encounters since the beginning of April. That included winning Operation Kinguin: 2 over teams such as SK, as well as qualifying for DreamHack's EU Minor over AGG.


ez4ence? Not by a long shot.

Looking at their previous results with teams who will be present in Leicester: Their first opponents PENTA have played the Finns once before with Christian "loWel" Garcia Antoran in the lineup, and lost two double-digit map in CEVO Gfinity Season 9.

HellRaisers, the most likely grand finalists, are the only ones they haven't played, while MK, as mentioned above, met ENCE twice recently, both times in a narrow fashion.

Unless the former NiP player suddenly goes absolutely crazy, ENCE have a tough road ahead, as both PENTA and MK are at more or less their level, while HellRaisers are at least a step ahead. If I were to put my money on them, I'd say they'll win versus PENTA and fall to HellRaisers in the grand final.


PENTA

  Age  Rating (2016)
Spain Christian "loWel" Garcia Antoran 19 1.14
Netherlands Mike "mikeS" Tuns 23 1.00
Germany Johannes "tabseN" Wodarz  21 1.00
Germany Tahsin "tahsiN" Broschk 25 0.96
Germany Kevin "kRYSTAL" Amend 22 0.90

It's now been over two months since loWel was added to PENTA's roster and it paid dividents. Maybe not achievements-wise, but in terms of individual performance the difference between him and the rest of the players is close to the one of oskar in HellRaisers, obviously against worse competition and only online.

Their online results are all over the place, and that's why they lack significant achievements. They have a win over FlipSid3 and HellRaisers and two close series with Gambit in their record, but also losses to Escape and Epsilon.


loWel has proven to be a great pickup for PENTA so far

It's hard to say what to make of the results as online competition is largely different to LAN, but it's clear the only consistently good player on the team has been the newest addition. For the team to be able to at least go to the grand final, they need more than that.

Previously mikeS was able to put the team on his back at the PGL European Minor, the team's last and only LAN appearance in 2016, which featured a similar level of competition.

If he manages to go back to the same level in Leicester, PENTA should be able to at least be competitive in their semi-final versus ENCE, whose form seems to be on the rise. However, due to their questionable form I see them as the worst team out of the four.

 

You can follow HLTV.org's Milan "Striker" Švejda on Twitter

Slovakia Richard 'queztone' Strnátko
Richard 'queztone' Strnátko
Age:
23
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.02
Maps played:
659
KPR:
0.71
DPR:
0.69
APR:
0.15
Finland Tom 'stonde' Glad
Tom 'stonde' Glad
Age:
26
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
1.01
Maps played:
219
KPR:
0.67
DPR:
0.63
APR:
0.11
Bulgaria Nikolay 'nkl' Krastev
Nikolay 'nkl' Krastev
Age:
26
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
0.90
Maps played:
642
KPR:
0.60
DPR:
0.67
APR:
0.15
Ukraine Kirill 'ANGE1' Karasiow
Kirill 'ANGE1' Karasiow
Age:
30
Team:
Rating 1.0:
0.99
Maps played:
1643
KPR:
0.70
DPR:
0.71
APR:
0.17
Ukraine Vladyslav 'bondik' Nechyporchuk
Vladyslav 'bondik' Nechyporchuk
Age:
26
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.03
Maps played:
1177
KPR:
0.70
DPR:
0.65
APR:
0.13
Bulgaria Viktor 'v1c7oR' Dyankov
Viktor 'v1c7oR' Dyankov
Age:
25
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
1.03
Maps played:
1535
KPR:
0.71
DPR:
0.67
APR:
0.16
Bulgaria Simeon 'dream3r' Ganev
Simeon 'dream3r' Ganev
Age:
22
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.14
Maps played:
716
KPR:
0.76
DPR:
0.61
APR:
0.13
Spain Christian 'loWel' Garcia Antoran
Christian 'loWel' Garcia Antoran
Age:
22
Rating 1.0:
1.06
Maps played:
832
KPR:
0.71
DPR:
0.64
APR:
0.14
Slovakia Patrik 'Zero' Žúdel
Patrik 'Zero' Žúdel
Age:
21
Rating 1.0:
1.03
Maps played:
598
KPR:
0.69
DPR:
0.63
APR:
0.12
Czech Republic Tomáš 'oskar' Šťastný
Tomáš 'oskar' Šťastný
Age:
28
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
1.13
Maps played:
977
KPR:
0.77
DPR:
0.66
APR:
0.11
Finland Juho 'juho' Lampinen
Juho 'juho' Lampinen
Age:
24
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.03
Maps played:
724
KPR:
0.73
DPR:
0.72
APR:
0.14
Germany Johannes 'tabseN' Wodarz
Johannes 'tabseN' Wodarz
Age:
24
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.06
Maps played:
1302
KPR:
0.74
DPR:
0.71
APR:
0.15
Germany Tahsin 'tahsiN' Broschk
Tahsin 'tahsiN' Broschk
Age:
29
Team:
Rating 1.0:
0.96
Maps played:
560
KPR:
0.67
DPR:
0.71
APR:
0.14
Finland Miikka 'suNny' Kemppi
Miikka 'suNny' Kemppi
Age:
25
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.08
Maps played:
1043
KPR:
0.75
DPR:
0.69
APR:
0.15
Bulgaria Emiliyan 'spyleadeR' Dimitrov
Emiliyan 'spyleadeR' Dimitrov
Age:
30
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.02
Maps played:
885
KPR:
0.73
DPR:
0.72
APR:
0.18
Bulgaria Kamen 'bubble' Kostadinov
Kamen 'bubble' Kostadinov
Age:
28
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.04
Maps played:
1556
KPR:
0.70
DPR:
0.64
APR:
0.15
Finland Mikko 'xartE' Välimaa
Mikko 'xartE' Välimaa
Age:
27
Team:
Rating 1.0:
0.92
Maps played:
959
KPR:
0.61
DPR:
0.66
APR:
0.15
Germany Kevin 'kRYSTAL' Amend
Kevin 'kRYSTAL' Amend
Age:
26
Team:
Rating 1.0:
0.93
Maps played:
1453
KPR:
0.63
DPR:
0.67
APR:
0.14
Finland Aleksi 'allu' Jalli
Aleksi 'allu' Jalli
Age:
27
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.10
Maps played:
1393
KPR:
0.75
DPR:
0.64
APR:
0.11
Slovakia Martin 'STYKO' Styk
Martin 'STYKO' Styk
Age:
23
Team:
Rating 1.0:
0.99
Maps played:
1093
KPR:
0.67
DPR:
0.66
APR:
0.14
Netherlands Mike 'mikeS' Tuns
Mike 'mikeS' Tuns
Age:
27
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
1.00
Maps played:
306
KPR:
0.67
DPR:
0.64
APR:
0.10
Bulgaria Nikolay 'pNshr' Paunin
Nikolay 'pNshr' Paunin
Age:
27
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
0.92
Maps played:
590
KPR:
0.63
DPR:
0.68
APR:
0.15
#1
ZELIN | 
Portugal spmb 
n1
2016-05-06 13:35
I suppose I'm famous now :D
2016-05-06 13:36
EZ FOR ENCE
2016-05-06 13:38
Brand new cs go rou/lette CSGOCASINO.NET to get coins use this c/ode: 199505
2016-05-06 18:15
#19
 | 
United States higgiden 
ez for ence
2016-05-06 13:36
yes
2016-05-06 13:46
ez 4 ence
2016-05-06 13:35
Not in a long shot
2016-05-06 13:36
EASY FOR ENCE eSports
2016-05-06 13:39
Shot in a long not
2016-05-06 13:50
ez 4 penta
2016-05-06 13:38
v1
2016-05-06 13:35
#72
Hong Kong bufu 
Virtus.Premier EleGiggle
2016-05-06 15:17
#4
 | 
Cyprus Swishh_ 
gl
2016-05-06 13:35
yes
2016-05-06 13:35
ez
2016-05-06 13:35
25
2016-05-06 13:35
sick, gl penta
2016-05-06 13:36
EZZ
2016-05-06 13:35
#10
 | 
Australia weedloll 
56th
2016-05-06 13:35
EZ FOR ENCE
2016-05-06 13:35
ez for ence
2016-05-06 13:35
2 ez 4 oskar
2016-05-06 13:35
Virtus Premier FeelsBadMan
2016-05-06 13:38
ez 4 ence
2016-05-06 13:35
#18
sergej | 
Finland Hyp3rrr 
EZ for Finnish eSports organisation ENCE eSports from Finland.
2016-05-06 13:36
Ez4ence, ez money4me
2016-05-06 13:37
EZ FOR ENCE
2016-05-06 13:38
#25
s1mple | 
Finland ebinzzi 
EZ for ENCE.ASUSROG
2016-05-06 13:38
gr8
2016-05-06 13:39
Not so ez for ence
2016-05-06 13:40
ez4ence
2016-05-06 13:41
EZ FOR PROFESSIONAL FINISH ESPORTS GAMING ONLINE LAN PLAYERS FROM FINLAND CALLED ENCE TEAM
2016-05-06 13:44
#33
 | 
Spain StarkForce1 
GL Penta #IBelive #InLowWeTrust
2016-05-06 13:48
Richard "queztone" Strnátko 20 1.03 replace whith bondik! How can hltv fail like this :D
2016-05-06 13:51
It isn' a fail, they have to use queztone due to roster lock.
2016-05-06 14:40
didnt know, daam :(
2016-05-06 18:55
#101
 | 
Spain Alser 
Would HR be able to use bondik in the relegation game vs VP?
2016-05-07 14:44
#73
Hong Kong bufu 
rekt
2016-05-06 15:18
#36
 | 
Portugal dascouves 
Can somebody explain me how is Dreamer able to play in this tournament? inst he banned from ESL aswell or only Valve banned him?
2016-05-06 13:53
#42
 | 
Europe MyNameIsWho 
He can't play only in Dreamhack tournaments and valve sponsored
2016-05-06 13:56
#50
 | 
Portugal dascouves 
oh ok ty
2016-05-06 14:13
He wasnt in katowice why?
2016-05-06 14:18
#63
 | 
Portugal dascouves 
yhea that was what i was thinking, that ESL banned him aswell, and since this is ESEA but also ESL cause of pro league qualifier i tought u couldnt play
2016-05-06 14:49
He isn't banned from ESEA, and has played the past seasons. However GPlay/E-Frag were never allowed to play Pro Relegation during this time.
2016-05-06 14:41
#38
 | 
Poland OvniDlix 
why is queztone here? ;p
2016-05-06 13:54
#44
 | 
Europe MyNameIsWho 
do you even read ffs
2016-05-06 13:57
#46
 | 
Poland OvniDlix 
now I see
2016-05-06 13:59
#39
 | 
Spain akproxx 
spanish players proved that they are better than their teams
2016-05-06 13:55
#40
 | 
Brazil BuddyINSANE 
i really don't know who will win, good luck to all!
2016-05-06 13:55
#84
 | 
Slovakia gr!nd 
Ofc ENCE
2016-05-06 16:58
#41
 | 
Norway Spooderman 
kkk
2016-05-06 13:56
n1
2016-05-06 13:57
Ez for ENCE! And I hope lowel plays good, gl to all
2016-05-06 13:57
EZ 4 ENCE. GOD ALLU
2016-05-06 14:01
ez for ence
2016-05-06 14:03
#49
roman | 
Palestine ndr[o] 
ez for ence
2016-05-06 14:08
#51
 | 
Europe KappaKaako 
if ence dont win this i will kill myself
2016-05-06 14:14
plz just kick VPs ass and make the disband a bit closer:)
2016-05-06 14:16
EZ 4 ENCE
2016-05-06 14:25
EZ 4 ENCE
2016-05-06 14:36
#57
 | 
Brazil P3dr0_Er3d1n 
Ez for GOD allu and your felas
2016-05-06 14:36
#58
NBK- | 
Denmark Vallerios 
Queztone bondik?
2016-05-06 14:37
They must use queztone due to roster lock. Bondik did not play for them during the regular season.
2016-05-06 14:42
EZ FOR ENCE
2016-05-06 14:41
ez for hr, queztone gonna go full adren
2016-05-06 14:53
So how does it work? Just questioning: VP was last place in EPL right? So they will get cut if they loose to the one best of these 4 teams right? 1 for 1 trade only or?
2016-05-06 14:55
#66
 | 
Finland Choco! 
Winner from this goes straight to pro league, second plays against VP.
2016-05-06 15:03
Oh ok so will there be one more Team than in the last season or was there a Team lower placed in the EPL? What?
2016-05-06 15:05
#69
 | 
Finland Choco! 
There was a news about this on hltv recently. There are now 2 more spots actually, 1 more from this and 1 ''wildcard'' what ever that means.
2016-05-06 15:07
They will probably invite the last team. Godsent maybe.
2016-05-06 15:24
#98
 | 
Europe lalt 
"Wildcard" means VP will stay in pro league no mater what. If VP wins, then most likely 2nd finalist gets wildcard invite.
2016-05-07 14:10
IIRC Pro league grows from 12 teams to 14 teams for next season. So +1 from this tournament. Dunno where the other +1 comes from. Maybe open qualifier, some ESL tournament qualification or invitation. Might well be, that if VP loses they are invited back.
2016-05-06 15:16
* 11 teams stay from Season 3 * Winner of Premier playoffs * Winner of Relegation (VP vs 2nd from Premier playoffs) * Wild card
2016-05-06 16:05
Winner of this event is promoted to Pro League. 2nd place will play VP.
2016-05-06 15:22
ok thank you all guys :)
2016-05-06 15:23
#67
 | 
Finland Choco! 
Correction, HR and ENCE have played against each other in esea premier online phase obviously. HR won that match up 16-14 or 16-13 (cant remember).
2016-05-06 15:04
Ez 4 BubbleOnFIRE
2016-05-06 15:16
2 ez 4 HR
2016-05-06 15:20
ez 4 Finnish electronic sports organisation known as ENCE
2016-05-06 15:27
lol ez
2016-05-06 15:43
#80
 | 
Spain Donra 
goo lowel!
2016-05-06 15:51
ence have played against hr and lost
2016-05-06 15:56
#83
oskar | 
Czech Republic Skleepy 
HR and ENCE met twice actually, both Bo1s, one in ESEA online stage (obviously) and one in some dreamhack qual. (or ESL Katowice? Not sure) Overpass and cobblestone - HR won both. Neither of these matches is in HLTV database though.
2016-05-06 16:16
You are correct. Though when they played in the Katowice qualifier, HR still had kUcheR, and when they played in ESEA HR was using smike. So these exact line-ups have never met.
2016-05-06 19:01
Welcome to premeir virtus pro!!
2016-05-06 16:58
#100
 | 
Europe lalt 
ESL made last spot wildcard.. Cant you see why? Its there because ESL was worried VP would lose 2 BO3 against tier3 teams. So VP has to play only one BO3 and if they lose, they stay in pro league anyway.
2016-05-07 14:16
Let's see if Virtus.pro becomes Virtus.premier
2016-05-06 17:08
EZ FOR ENCE, a finnish eSports organization from Finland who won "DreamHack Tours 2016 Qualifier #2", "DreamHack Tours 2016 - Open Qualifier #1", "Operation Kinguin 2", "Lantrek 2014" & "ESPC #3". Consisting of the the all star AWPer Aleksi "allu" Jalli, ingame-leader Mikko "xartE" Välimaa, rifler Miikka "suNny" Kemppi, allround player Juho "Juhob" Lampinen and mad fragger Tom "stonde" Glad from the finnish eSport organization ENCE eSports from the nordic country Finland in Europe.
2016-05-06 17:08
#88
 | 
Spain Alser 
Come on loWel you have this in the bag
2016-05-06 17:19
#90
MEZi | 
Finland Sukrami 
ez for the Finnish Electronic Sports organisation ENCE eSports from the Republic of Finland
2016-05-06 18:16
VAMOS LOWEL!
2016-05-06 18:18
EZ 4 Ence
2016-05-06 19:15
#96
 | 
Czech Republic tomassks 
HellRaisers 2-0 Penta Finals thx me later. twitter.com/hellraisers_csr
2016-05-06 22:06
thank men f A)) )))
2016-05-09 10:47
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