ELEAGUE Group A final preview
CS:GO will hit the big screen late this Friday evening in North America as Luminosity will take on Cloud9 in the ELEAGUE group A final for a spot in the weeks 9-10 championship bracket. Here is our preview for the match-up.
The two teams to make it to the top of the summit in Group A of ELEAGUE's $1.4 million first season were Luminosity and Cloud9. With the former currently ranked #1 in the world and the latter ranked #18, you could say that the result was not the most likely one but definitely a possibility, as was acknowledged in your author's Group A preview.
The North American Cloud9 squad took advantage from Liquid's extreme weaknesses in the seeding stage and undoubtedly made good on their dark horse potential whereas Luminosity played the stable and consistent Counter-Strike that's been expected of them as the world's best team.
We've been busy digging through the statistics and can now paint a fuller picture ahead of tonight's best-of-three showdown, which will be aired live on TBS in the United States and play out globally via other providers (in addition to an Observer Feed on Twitch).
What can Cloud9 do to stop FalleN from yawning his way through the final?
Namely, we have been able to confirm statements from the players given during their interviews and witnessed during the semifinals matches, such as that Cloud9's greatest asset is their firepower and that Luminosity utilise their role players to a level of near flawless acuity.
Let us first take a look at the past match-ups of these two teams to get an idea of the bigger picture behind the showdown.
The complete head-to-head record between the core of these two teams is 9-5 in maps, with Luminosity triumphing in the work shift. The series score (counting each match as one rather than as a series of maps) is meanwhile 8-4, with each side having won one best-of-three against the other (although Luminosity won the recent series with both current lineups intact).
On that note, quite a few of these matches occurred when both teams had different lineups and it is actually the Brazilians who have won all five of the recent matches where the squads were the same as they are now.
Cloud9 clearly profited from Luminosity's struggles as an outfit in the fall of last year before they swapped out Lucas "steel" Lopes and Ricardo "boltz" Prass for Lincoln "fnx" Lau and Epitacio "TACO" de Melo, and the North American team also had an uptick in form in that month overall by winning both the iBUYPOWER Cup and the RGN Pro Series, two offline events.
Following the pattern of maps is also a little murky, although it does seem that Jordan "n0thing" Gilbert's statement that "I feel like we're good at Cache, Cobble, Dust2, Overpass, Train" from the ELEAGUE press conference does play out slightly in the above head-to-head graph.
Cloud9 last beat Luminosity in the ESL Pro League Season 3 on Overpass (although with Ryan "freakazoid" Abadir instead of Alec "Slemmy" White in the lineup) and they've had strong previous showings against the Brazilians on Train and Cobblestone. The belief that they're good on Dust2 however, much like as was witnessed in Cluj-Napoca, seems to simply be not true for Cloud9 (aside from a win at the iBP Cup) and Luminosity themselves have declared that they're good on Dust2 now.
The bans will likely see Luminosity strike down Cache (a good map for Cloud9 and historically an Achilles heel for the Brazilians) and Cloud9 strike down Nuke. I assume Luminosity will then opt for either Mirage or Cobblestone and Cloud9 for Train or Overpass. Dust2 is a mystery for both teams considering past results.
NA fans brace for impact if the maps go awry
In any case, it would not be unreasonable to think that Cloud9 can garner a map in the series, particularly since they have been so good this tournament at unlocking the inherent potential of both Mike "shroud" Grzesiek and Jake "Stewie2K" Yip as well as due to the fact that n0thing has been doing an excellent job as a role player. Let us examine that statement.
Cloud9 on fire
In their press conference after defeating Renegades, Cloud9's young fragger Stewie2K suggested that the team's greatest strength was "their firepower." This statement drew plenty of comments from our positive-as-ever readers, with many doubting its veracity.
However, the numbers suggest that the firepower is very real for Cloud9. Three of their players have 87 ADR or higher in Group A, namely shroud, Stewie2K, and n0thing, meaning that the team are doing damage frequently and constantly across all rounds in all their games.
18-year-old Stewie2K has certainly been the team's best player so far and he is also the fourth best fragger of the entire tournament to date (i.e. Group A).
Stewie2K also has the most opening kills in the tournament per round (.14) and is thus living up to his reputation as an over-the-top aggressive entry fragger, even securing knife kills on other players.
shroud lifting in-ears and Stew doing mouse back rows as the duo warm up
Cloud9 will need Stewie2K's presence in the game more than anything as when he doesn't get a kill, the North American team have only won 37% of their rounds, which is the worst percentage of all ten players in the final. In this sense he has to show up to the server, much like he did against Renegades in the semifinal where he went 44-28, with a 1.35 rating and 102.2 ADR.
Stewie2K's teammate shroud, widely considered a star in his own right (though whether in only the past or also the present is a debatable question), has been a consistent threat to his opponents in ELEAGUE as he gets a kill, an assist, or survives in 73% of rounds, the fourth highest percentage in the tournament.
With five clutches to his name, shroud has also been the clutch god of the group and it is easy to see how combining the fearless temerity of Stewie2K and the rock-solid play of shroud could be a legitimate threat to Luminosity in the final.
Two role players moving in tandem
n0thing has had an interesting tournament so far and there are plenty of statistics to suggest that he is on his way to being a strong playmaker for his team, instrumental in their overall success. The most obvious one is that he averages the most damage for his team at 90, meaning that while he may not always be a fragger, he is always doing his job in damaging the other opponent.
All teams should learn to beware n0thing as a multifragger in future tournaments as well, for when he got two or more kills in a round (35 times) in ELEAGUE Group A, Cloud9 won 97% of their rounds (34).
With 8.8 grenade damage per round (the second most of the tournament) and 24% of his deaths being traded (within five seconds of him dying) being the highest on his team, it is undeniable that n0thing has excelled at aiming, coordinating, and setting his teammates up for kills.
Finally, in terms of areas of improvement, Tyler "Skadoodle" Latham has been relatively muted throughout the tournament and has secured AWP kills here and there but with no special weight attached to them in particular. Slemmy's leadership has meanwhile proven invaluable in freeing up his teammates and he has played a few good series, such as a 1.34 rating against Renegades in the semifinal.
Luminosity leveraging all five
All four of the best rated players of ELEAGUE's Group A are on Luminosity. Per the interview with Gabriel "FalleN" Toledo and Wilton "zews" Prado, it is indeed true that fnx has been a monster so far in the tournament.
The semifinal against Liquid was the battleground that especially allowed fnx to distinguish himself, as he went 56-28 with 115.4 ADR and thus earned a monstrous 1.75 rating which propelled him into being the top rated player of ELEAGUE for now.
fnx is also impactful and useful as a teammate, as he deals nine damage per round with grenades (the highest per group) and 34% of his deaths are traded, which is by far the highest percentage in Group A. Interestingly enough, fnx also leads the tournament in headshots (96) and in headshot hits (115) which includes dinks.
Marcelo "coldzera" David meanwhile continues to build his case as the best player in the world (which he has been called in some corners), although the real test will come against seasoned European teams in weeks 9-10. The 21-year-old superstar leads Group A in rounds with a contribution (in 76% of his rounds he had a kill, an assist, or survived), thus making him the most consistent player of the tournament.
Finally, Luminosity only won eight rounds when coldzera didn't contribute. To put that in perspective, the Brazilians have won 131 rounds in total at this event.
"fnx, cold, fer, TACO, makes four, now we declare a thumb war"
Continuing on down the list of Brazilian beastly players, Fernando "fer" Alvarenga leads the tournament in kills per round, assists per round, and damage per round and he also has the lead in multikill rounds (2+ kills in a round). Team captain and architect FalleN is ELEAGUE's best AWPer so far with 0.51 AWP kills per round and he is also the hardest to kill with 0.52 deaths per round.
And if all that weren't enough, TACO may be -17 in his KDD and appear completely overshadowed by team, but he has been the best support player if we use rounds with only assists or surviving as a metric. Additionally, TACO has the second highest amount of trade deaths, as 31% of his deaths are traded within five seconds of him dying. Combine these factors and we can make the case for an all-around team player.
Duel for the Americas
When we look at all the metrics above for the Brazilians, then they emerge as an unstoppable machine that marches forward with all of its cogs turning. Perhaps there is a reason why the second largest German-Austrian population in the world that resides outside of Germany is in Brazil.
In any case, we will see this Counter-Strike dynamo matched up against Cloud9, a team who will bring a powderkeg of young and hungry players to try and challenge the ironclad abilities of the world's best team.
Finally, both teams have proven themselves as strong entry-fragging teams at ELEAGUE Group A, and both have around a 55% entry kill ratio. However, when we look at the full spread, Luminosity has a slight edge in entry kill conversion and opening death conversion:
|Opening kill success rate||54.7%||55.3%|
|Converted opening kill to round win||82.0%||78.1%|
|4vs5 (opening death) conversion||43.5%||30.6%|
|Traded deaths within 5 seconds||26.0%||19.9%|
|Clutch round win %||54.5%||71.4%|
|Grenade damage per round||22.1||24.8|
On the other hand, Cloud9 have been more successful in clutch rounds on average and thus will remain a danger going into the round following the first exchange of kills.
In this regard, the final could come down to a battle to gain early advantages on the map, matching firepower versus firepower as teams seek to secure the crucial first kill and then seeing explosive late round play as well. Make sure to tune in and find out.
stich writes for HLTV.org and can be found on Twitter