MLG Americas Minor preview
The MLG CS:GO Americas Minor Championship, taking place in Columbus, Ohio, will see eight teams competing for a prize pool of $50,000 and two precious spots at the ESL One Cologne Main Qualifier. This is the preview for the event.
A field sporting eight CS:GO teams will be competing for the lion's share of the $50,000 prize pool at MLG Americas Minor Championship. The prize pool will barely turn any heads given the standard nowadays, but the real award lies in the ESL One Cologne qualifier spots that will be given out to the top two teams who will fight their way to the grand finals.
With potential life changing opportunities on the line for the teams competing, we felt it deserves an event page that has all the information you will need. However, if you are not keen on exploring it now, keep reading, as we kick off the preview below:
The world of CS:GO has changed a lot and a big part of that is due to the rise of the Brazilian teams. Luminosity Gaming led the way to conquer the Scandinavian powerhouses and Tempo Strom followed in their footsteps, but like any talented disciple, they eventually broke free from the shadow and became a recognizable team in their own right.
Currently ranked 11th in the world, Tempo Storm are the obvious favorites going into this tournament. They won CEVO Gfinity Season 9 finals and finished second in DreamHack Austin, falling short only to the best team in the world, Luminosity Gaming.
Statistically, the brothers of destruction in HEN1 and LUCAS1 were the best players at DreamHack Austin, boasting a 1.03 and 1.00 rating, which is surprisingly lower than what most of the stars in other teams had in Dreamhack Austin. However, this shows that contrary to what many may believe, this Brazilian squad relies a lot more on consistent performance across the board.
The eye of the tiger, hen1's flicks will bring the hype
The Brazilian squad have shown great consistency as of late, winning 16 of the last 20 matches they have played and, coupling that with the newfound momentum from DreamHack Austin, they look like a team that will be really hard to crack. So unless the absence of old coach Luis "peacemaker" Tadeu greatly affects Tempo Storm, expect them to get off to a solid start in the opening match of the MLG Americas Minor Championship against Team SoloMid.
Housing the returning ptr and the legendary IGL in gob b, you would expect NRG to be a dark horse going into this event. However, their lackluster performance at DreamHack Austin pokes some serious holes into that idea. The only one bringing in big numbers in an offline setting has been their primary AWPer in ptr and unless you are Titan-era Kenny "kennyS" Schrub, that won't be enough
NRG have produced multiple upsets in online leagues like ECS Season 1 and ESL Pro League Season 3, but whether that transitions into the MLG Americas Minor Championship remains to be seen. The squad might have the ability to pull off some upsets in an offline setting as well, but it will require some vintage performances from the likes of just9n and ptr.
gob b will have a lot riding on his shoulders
Their opening match against Kaliber (formerly Without a Roof) will set the tone for the rest of the event. I don't expect them to overcome the might of Tempo Storm, but it won't be surprising to see them move past Team Kaliber and Team SoloMid either, securing the second place in Group A.
With the impressive growth of CS:GO, it is only natural to see more organizations from other games jump in. Team Kaliber are no different, as they acquired Without a Roof after they had a close series against Ze Pug Godz at the ESEA Premier Season 21 NA finals.
Going into this tournament, Team Kaliber are probably the biggest question mark. Similar to their former name, we don't know the skill ceiling of this squad yet and there is simply no roof to compare them against! They lost both of their recent matches as Kaliber, making them the clear underdogs in Group A.
APE & co. will try to compete for Kaliber
As for notable players, Brehze has been the main driving force for this squad. He had an impressive showing against Team Liquid at ECS Season 1 and was responsible for the teams ESEA Premier finals win against Pug Godz as well.
The squad led by the 'Adderall-famed' SEMPHIS is riding an underrated high going into MLG Americas Minor Championship. They had a great showing at the MLG Regional Minor North America Qualifier and continued similar performances in online leagues such as ECS Season 1.
Also during this spike in performance, Twistzz cemented his position as the star of the team. The 16-year-old has been racking up big numbers in most of the matches and carrying through deficits. Assuming Tempo Storm maintain their usual level, Team SoloMid will probably be going up against NRG in order to move forward in second place, which should be an entertaining clash between raw firepower and structured executes.
A bit of complexity and a spoon of Twistzz
Either way, this will be an important event for the TSM squad since, despite the online success and good showing at MLG Regional Minor North America Qualifier, they aren't yet near the top echelon of North American teams at the moment.
Winterfox are also coming off of a good performance at the MLG Regional Minor North America Qualifier. Admittedly this was against much weaker teams than the ones competing here, but it should act as a mental boost for the squad. However, there is no denying that they are clearly one of the weaker teams at this event when previous results are considered.
Statistically, the team is led by anger, who has a modest rating of 0.98. Which is another reason why I don't see them being able to power their way through any of the squad in Group B and even in terms of tactical approaches Winterfox are yet to impress, although new addition hades may spice things up.
Awaiting the perfect opportunity like a fox in the winter
Their opening match against Selfless should be what makes or breaks the event for them, assuming OpTic Gaming doesn't bomb out early. It will be between those two teams to decide who gets to move on in second place and keep their dream of a Cologne qualifier spot alive.
There was a lot of excitement riding behind Big Gods, the winners of the MLG Minor SA Qualifier. After all, they bested Raphael "cogu" Camargo's INTZ to earn the spot. Unfortunately, due to visa issues, Big Gods had to drop the slot and it went to the newly formed WinOut roster.
Going into this event, WinOut are a bit of a mystery. Some of their players do not have any previous experience of attending an offline qualifier of this scale in CS:GO. Fortunately, their team captain nak and support player bit are true veterans, sporting a lot experience in previous versions of the game.
Both of them were part of the legendary mibr organization and nak served the role of a coach for the 2015 Luminosity squad before returning as a player, which balances out the experience factor a bit. For this team to make any sort of impact in this event, these two players will have to pave the way for the younger, more explosive players to flourish.
The face of a man surrounded by untried players
Statistically, DeStiNy seems to be the star player in this squad with an impressive 1.11 rating. Unfortunately, the numbers don't tell much of the story since they were gained against much weaker teams in comparison to the ones they will be facing here.
As a result, the MLG Americas Minor will be their proving ground and an opportunity to grow as a team via the lessons learned in the process. Anything beyond that should be considered a bonus for this Brazilian squad. Still, it would be something special to see a fairy tale-like story, where they somehow clutch victories by the skin of their teeth. Unfortunately, more often than not life stamps out the idea of such things.
In a world plagued by NA CS jokes, OpTic Gaming have slowly broken free from the shackles of ridicule. This notable spike in performance took place at the ESL Pro League Season 3 finals, where they shocked the world by taking down Astralis on Inferno (#RIPInferno) and followed it up with a close series against Luminosity Gaming.
As a result, they now sit at the 20th place in our rankings and ride a great deal of momentum going into MLG Americas Minor Championship. The glaring weakness, however, remains the fact that this is a squad where the stars don't seem to click together during important matches.
mixwell and NAF have both proven to be potential star players that can turn the course of a match in OpTic's favor. However, unless they spice that raw talent with some much needed consistency, the squad will remain a best-of-one upset team instead of a series winner.
They call me the Spanish tarik
That being said, OpTic Gaming are still the favorites in Group B going into this event and if they can reproduce the form from the ESL Pro League Season 3 finals, then Tempo Storm will have a real challenge on their hands beyond later on. Fortunately, they will have time to ease into this event, seeing as how WinOut will be their first opponents.
An organization made famous by a departing Kenneth "koosta" Suen, Selfless have gone on to become an interesting team in their own right. Although now out of our Top 20 rankings, they have shown signs of life every now and then. Hinting that in a tournament like this, where most of the big names are missing, they can come up with some upsets.
However, in order to do some real damage, Nifty must show up. He has been the key player in whatever little success they have had so far in this year and is the only one with proven consistency in an offline setting recently.
Dealing with nerves will be key for Selfless
In the end, it is unfair to expect that Selfless will achieve much in this tournament. Granted they have arguably one of the easier opening matches against WinOut, but beyond that they will struggle to make a dent against the stronger teams beyond the group stage.
As a reminder, the prize-pool distribution for the MLG Americas Minor is:
1. - $30,000 + ESL One Cologne Main Qualifier spot
2. - $15,000 + ESL One Cologne Main Qualifier spot
3. - $5,000
Both groups will have their opening matches played out on Thursday, May 19, which of course will be covered by HLTV.org, so keep an eye out for match reports and social media updates.
You can follow HLTV.org's Salman "Zenith" Chowdhury on Twitter