ECS Season 1 Finals preview
We take a look at who are this weekend's ECS Season 1 Finals participants and the story lines surrounding them, all while trying to figure out who has the most to gain and lose at this pre-major event.
With $3.5 million total set to be handed out to teams across two seasons this year, ECS is threatening to be as profitable for teams and players as a major is (when we include sticker money). But with the actual prize distribution not revealed by FACEIT and Twitch, we don't really know what kind of motivation this event presents for the teams and how much they'll be saving their energy for the major.
Timing and prize money aside, ECS will have a great lineup of teams who will have a lot to prove, both to themselves and to us spectators. The list of teams is actually practically the same as ESL Pro League S3 Finals had six weeks ago (with TSM instead of OpTic this time), but still a lot of their story lines have evolved quite a bit since then.
In fact, G2's performance at EPL alone makes ECS a more competitive tournament since they were unproven back then and are now ranked 6th in the world. Add to that Olof "olofmeister" Kajbjer's return, Astralis and Liquid bringing in fresh blood in the meantime, and 5 of the world's top 6 teams in attendance (with Na`Vi notably missing, albeit of their own volition having withdrawn early on in the season), and we have a great tournament on our hands.
To remind you of what lies ahead, here are the groups, which will feature the now almost standard GSL format with opening round and winners' matches played in Bo1 on Friday, while the elimination, decider matches and playoffs will be in Bo3 mode the following two days.
|Group A||Group B|
|Ninjas in Pyjamas||TSM|
Without further ado, here's a preview of all eight teams, with the story lines I find interesting about them and some numbers I could squeeze in about their recent performances and what that might tell us about their styles and form.
Luminosity [ranked #1]
|Marcelo "coldzera" David||21||86.5||1.29|
|Gabriel "FalleN" Toledo||25||77.3||1.18|
|Fernando "fer" Alvarenga||24||89.8||1.15|
|Lincoln "fnx" Lau||26||84.8||1.11|
|Epitacio "TACO" de Melo||21||67.4||0.96|
Let's start with the world's #1 team, Luminosity, who climbed to that spot on May 9th and have held on to (and even firmly grasped) it for 7 weeks now.
Since the end of ECS S1 online portion, where they finished with a flawless 9-0 record with only 1 map loss, Luminosity won EPL S3 and topped the opening group of ELEAGUE, so you could say they've been in pretty good form lately.
In fact, they're currently on a 12-match winning streak (their last loss was in the EPL opener against G2). Or if we look further back they have a 29-1 record in their past 30 matches (including online), ever since that wake-up call they received at DH Masters where they lost to mousesports and TyLoo.
Back then the Brazilians purged Cache from their map pool since realizing what it cost them in Sweden (with key losses to both of above mentioned teams on it) and they introduced Dust2 into the rotation with rising success.
As we can see in the above graph, Dust2 has actually been their most played map in the past 3 months along with Mirage, and they've won 12 of the 14 times on it.
Granted, 11 of those wins were against regional competition in NA, but the 12th victory was perhaps the most important one – against G2 when they were down 1-2 in the grand final of EPL. And besides, they looked really good on it after that at ELEAGUE against C9 and Liquid, dropping only single digit rounds.
But Dust2 aside, this is a team that is world class on at least four other maps – Train, Overpass, Mirage & Cobblestone. They've also shown they can play Nuke over at ELEAGUE with a comeback win against Liquid, so their opponents will have a tough time choosing the battlefield this week.
It also helps that the major champions have four potential superstars in their team, with each of them sitting above 1.10 rating in the past 3 months and contributing in around 70% of rounds (which is in the 94th+ percentile, world class level).
21-year-old coldzera in particular has been the most in-form and the most consistent player in the world in that period, sporting a 1.29 rating (with off the charts numbers on LAN as well), and similar could be said for FalleN's AWPing and clutching.
But with their elite status, incredible form and expanded map pool pointing us to why they're the main favorites to grab another title, we have to consider the other side of the coin - some reasons that could cause them to not finish first this time.
One of those is that Luminosity might fly in rusty to London, as their last official match took place exactly 4 weeks ago (longest inactive period out of the 8 teams in attendance). They'll also have to worry about defending their major title in two weeks, so they might not show all their cards (maybe they'll experiment with maps again) or their A-playbook.
Everyone will be gunning to take down the world's best team
In addition to that, their three group stage opponents will all be highly motivated for revenge, each having lost an important series to the Brazilians recently - Liquid at ELEAGUE 0-2, NiP in the EPL semis 1-2 (and the Swedes might be hungry for vicarious revenge against any Brazilians) and G2 most of all having lost the big Bo5 after a 2-1 lead in the EPL grand final.
And if they pass the group stage as they're expected to, they might end up meeting a revitalized fnatic who are eyeing to take back the #1 spot that they lost right after their now returned star player succumbed to injury. Oh, and I should mention they've never won a Bo3 against fnatic, so that could be a problem as well.
|Luminosity's record against potential ECS opponents|
|Team||Current lineups||Core lineups (min. 3 players)|
|Ninjas in Pyjamas||1-0||1-1||2-2||2-0||3-1||5-3|
Looking at the table above, it seems that the Brazilians still have a lot to prove, not only against fnatic, but against most of the others who they haven't met too often with the current lineups, with the exception of Cloud9.
At EPL they went 3-3 in maps vs. G2; NiP have managed to push their series to three maps despite losing both times; Astralis and Liquid have been favorable opponents for them, but both are coming in with refreshed lineups, and even TSM won a map the two times they met online.
Luminosity have shown signs of struggle in Bo1s, especially at the start of a tournament (DH Leipzig, EPL S3, DH Masters Malmö and their debut at DH Winter). But even if they falter at the start once again, this lineup has only ever lost a Bo3+ series on LAN to fnatic, Na`Vi and TyLoo, so making the playoffs through Bo3s shouldn't be a problem for them.
And I reckon if you were to simulate the tournament a 1,000 times it's likely that the Brazilians would usually get straight As early on and we'd end up with the current #1 against the former, fnatic, in the grand final.
But if it were up to me, I'd rather see that in Cologne two weeks from now and instead have, say a semi-final battle in London, which would just remind us of how this match-up tastes and make us yearn for the full meal later on.
Luminosity will open up the tournament tomorrow with a Bo1 clash against NiP, looking to extend their 12-0 run on LAN against the squad whose core once went 87-0.
Liquid [ranked #14]
|Oleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev||18||85.9||1.17|
|Spencer "Hiko" Martin||26||74.9||1.05|
|Josh "jdm64" Marzano||26||75.4||1.02|
|Jonathan "EliGE" Jablonowski||18||81.1||1.02|
|Nick "nitr0" Cannella||20||79.8||1.01|
Liquid's stay in the top 10 of our world ranking finally ended this week as they moved from one major-semifinalist quartet to another by temporarily re-adding s1mple to the lineup and at the same time snatching jdm64 from rivals CLG.
This lineup, at least on paper, demands respect from everyone, and the fact that the team had a one week bootcamp in Amsterdam speaks to how seriously they're taking this tournament. Also, this will be a part of s1mple's goodbye from Liquid, along with the major, as he is only holding a place for Jacob "Pimp" Winneche, so they might not be as inclined as other teams to save their energy since another fresh start is just around the corner.
Another reason why they might not want to hold anything back is that maybe they don't have much to show yet, with the lineup only being 10 days old and a work in progress. Their map pool was decent with the old squad(s), as they were solid on all maps except Overpass and the departed Inferno, but with little time for the new coach Luis "peacemaker" Tadeu to prepare the team, it's unlikely they'll be able to keep up in that regard just yet.
What could also be the case is that Liquid might have focused on Nuke (which they actually picked vs. Luminosity in ELEAGUE), looking to get a small edge over teams that are probably still avoiding the new map in the pool.
Regardless, Liquid will mostly have to rely on improvisation and sheer skill of the lineup, which might actually work even in a stacked tournament like this considering the starpower of their roster.
s1mple can explode at any time and carry the team to victory, jdm64 will provide stability with the AWP and ability to take on any opponent in that role, while EliGE has been arguably the best youngster in NA this year.
A semi-final run is never out of the question with both Hiko and s1mple on the team
A fun fact for Liquid fans to keep the optimism alive is that Hiko and s1mple have an impressive record when playing together – they made the semi-finals in two of their three big LANs (ESWC 2015 under FlipSid3 and MLG Columbus 2016 under Liquid), so why couldn't they do it again?
The match-ups in the group certainly don't favor Liquid though, as Hiko & co. never even won a map against this Luminosity lineup (in 12 attempts) and lost the only time they met the current NiP lineup in a heartbreak (18-22 on Dust2) a month ago.
The opener against G2 will be a novelty for both sides, as these teams' cores never met even while the Frenchmen were under Titan, so that might be the best chance for the American-Ukrainian mixture to make their mark in London.
Another factor to keep an eye on is how coach Tadeu will perform in his in-game leading role, after not having a very good debut at ELEAGUE, going 8 straight maps without a win.
All things considered, Liquid might be able to surprise G2 in a best of one on the back of some skillful displays by their stars and good reads by their coach, but winning a best of three seems like a tall order for the new squad. Instead, it will be a good test from which they'll collect data about the mistakes they need to fix in their bootcamp 2.0 ahead of the major.
Ninjas in Pyjamas [ranked #3]
|Christopher "GeT_RiGhT" Alesund||26||85.8||1.10|
|Patrik "f0rest" Lindberg||28||77.5||1.10|
|Jacob "pyth" Mourujärvi||22||69.9||0.99|
|Richard "Xizt" Landström||25||77.6||0.98|
|Adam "friberg" Friberg||24||73.4||0.93|
In one short weekend NiP went from a serious title contender based on their recent form to proving Robin "flusha" Rönnquist right, who said in an interview with my former colleague Tomi "lurppis" Kovanen that his Swedish rivals are soon going to be one of the teams on the way down in the rankings due to playing a slow style that's easy to counter.
And it seems that's exactly what GODSENT did to them last weekend in the group stage of DreamHack Summer, which ended with the Ninjas losing to Immortals in the grand final.
Although I don't attribute the loss to the Brazilians to the same cause, instead more so to GeT_RiGhT's below average display, there have been many warning signs for their decline in form, such as the close battle with Epsilon and previously with OpTic in ELEAGUE, two teams they should be beating more comfortably.
The Ninjas do usually end up coming out on top of the close matches against any level of opponent, proven again versus Astralis in the semis last weekend. And they have a pretty solid track record of making the playoffs since coach Björn "THREAT" Pers and pyth joined, only missing out at IEM Katowice. And with NiP in the playoffs anything is possible, as their run at DH Masters showed.
Looking at the maps, their rise into the top 3 over the last few months came at the back of a near flawless Cache, which they had a perfect record on (8-0 with the current lineup) until Immortals finally broke their streak.
NiP are no slouches on Cobblestone, Dust2 and Train either, having an over 70% LAN win rate on each of those. But their Mirage and Overpass (due to some big losses) have been worrying, and they've been vetoing Nuke so far.
NiP still depend on f0rest & GeT_RiGhT to carry the weight
The old superstar duo f0rest and GeT_RiGhT are still the main stars of the team (1.10 rating in the past 3 months each), and as DH Summer has shown they both need to contribute in a big way for the team to succeed.
I'd even argue that they make the rest of the team play better when they're on point, as friberg starts winning clutches and getting big multi-kill rounds, while pyth gains confidence and steadies his hand. Xizt though is hardly ever affected by anything, so his performance probably doesn't depend on momentum or rest of the team's inspiration.
Luminosity opener should prove to be a tough one for NiP, who despite having a 2-2 map record with the current lineup against the Brazilians are yet to score a big win against them. The two maps they won didn't carry much weight, as Dust2 was in a series they lost (and Luminosity are now somewhat improved on it) and Mirage was in a match that didn't have any real meaning at the end of IEM Katowice group stage.
A positive sign for their playoff hopes is their recent victory over G2 in ELEAGUE, where they swept the floor with the French-Belgian squad in the group's final after losing to them in the round robin phase.
Should they meet Liquid, it would probably be in a best of three elimination or decider, which will favor NiP due to their preparation and experience, but the NA squad will have a chance to surprise them with explosive play of their stars.
G2 [ranked #6]
|Richard "shox" Papillon||24||86.9||1.17|
|Adil "ScreaM" Benrlitom||21||86.1||1.16|
|Cédric "RpK" Guipouy||26||73.1||1.01|
|Alexandre "bodyy" Pianaro||19||72.3||0.97|
|Edouard "SmithZz" Dubourdeaux||27||66.2||0.91|
Although G2's meteoric rise through our rankings has been a result of one surprising 2nd place finish at ESL Pro League S3 Finals, they had shown improved form online even before that.
Since the addition of bodyy in place of long-time leader Kévin "Ex6TenZ" Droolans, G2 managed to secure a top 4 finish in both ECS and ESL Pro League online portions, and are sitting on a 34-19 map record (64% win rate).
But after spending three weeks in the top 5 of the world, G2 have now fallen to 6th this week and their big result has started to come under question with the need of further proving becoming more apparent.
The aforementioned big loss to NiP in the ELEAGUE group final was the first to raise some questions, while their last minute qualification to the major – with losses to Gambit and mousesports before that – signified a potential end to the honeymoon phase.
That's why this tournament will provide us with some much needed data about their stature and will show whether they belong in the elite or a class below. Especially considering that the major isn't likely to do that as they'll find themselves in the group of death in Cologne.
Much like the Ninjas, G2 are built on a strong base of Cache where they have a 10-2 record with this lineup. Cobblestone has also been a big strength for them, where they are on a 6-map winning streak.
Their other two favorite maps, Dust2 & Train have been shaky - on Train they scored wins over NiP, Luminosity and OpTic (a surprisingly good team on this map), but also lost to NiP, Luminosity and Gambit. On Dust2 they had some great performances, but most recently found themselves on the wrong side of a 16-1 bashing by mousesports, which exposed many of their weaknesses.
One of those is (and it's no secret) that this team lives and dies by the performances of its two big stars – shox and ScreaM. While the other three members usually all do their part well enough and have their stand out games here and there, it's the old VeryGames duo that sets the bar for G2's success.
A motivated shox is worth double the regular shox
Well, in fact, it's shox who dictates the fate of his team most of the time, and as we've always suspected it often depends on his level of motivation. If the manner in which his previous teams fell apart isn't enough proof of that, then the team's recent results surely are.
Firstly, he took over the team from former leader Ex6TenZ and led G2 to EPL near-glory and if that wasn't enough, his performance against Cloud9 in the major qualifier was the definitive proof that when he is motivated there's nothing he can't do.
So the question then is how motivated will ECS S1 Finals make shox? With the major looming, where he has failed to reach the playoffs three times in a row now, it's hard to expect his senses will be heightened in London. On the other hand it is easier on paper for G2 to make the playoffs this weekend than in Cologne where they'll have fnatic and FaZe in addition to Luminosity in their group.
So, I do expect G2 to battle NiP for the second playoff spot from group A and at best finish 3rd-4th, but it won't be a surprise if they don't make it through at all and even finish last, leaving their best for the major after all.
fnatic [ranked #4]
|Olof "olofmeister" Kajbjer||24||79.2||1.14|
|Robin "flusha" Rönnquist||22||87.8||1.10|
|Dennis "dennis" Edman||25||78.7||1.06|
|Jesper "JW" Wecksell||21||80.1||1.02|
|Freddy "KRIMZ" Johansson||22||69.9||0.95|
The most highly anticipated part of the show in Wembley SSE Arena will be fnatic's return to the big stage with the full lineup that won 6 events in a row after it was formed. The only events fnatic didn't win since dennis joined were MLG Columbus after which their star player olofmeister announced he has a serious injury and EPL S3 Finals where they played with a stand-in.
Last week olofmeister returned to action over at ELEAGUE and already put in an MVP display, topping the charts in group D and showing how much he actually means to fnatic.
olofmeister faces his first big test since the return from injury
But that was only group stage and there were no elite teams there to battle against. ECS will be a different story and the first real test for the returning star-studded lineup.
If they win this one, the two previous events might in some people's opinion be practically removed from history and their winning streak would continue counting as if it never stopped. But if you don't want to go that far, you'd still probably have to put them as the main favorites going into ESL One Cologne two weeks from now, especially if they beat Luminosity this week.
But before we hand them another trophy they have to get through their group and two more Bo3 series after that.
Cloud9 will be fnatic's first opponent, and if their match at EPL last month is any indication, where they had no trouble beating them even with a stand-in, getting to a good start should be a given.
After that they're likely to meet Astralis, who they probably consider they owe a debt to following a big loss in the 1/4 final of MLG Columbus, and especially the timeout called by the Danes with 13 match points.
Before that loss, fnatic had beaten Astralis in four straight Bo3 series, while their long rivalry extends back to 2014 when the Danes were known as dignitas.
We shouldn't ignore their potential match-up with TSM either, as the Canadian team put up a very good fight against the Swedes last week in ELEAGUE, winning on Mirage and keeping two more maps very close.
That Mirage loss also reminded us (and hopefully fnatic too) why they dropped the map from their rotation earlier in the year after losing on it heavily during StarSeries XIV Finals. Their strongest maps with this lineup have been Dust2 and Cobblestone, where they have a 10-2 LAN record each, including a 9-map winning streak on Cobblestone.
It's possible though that with the removal of Inferno their map pool has become weaker overall, especially since they avoided playing Nuke during ELEAGUE and have only had a few weeks of practice with olofmeister back in action.
In the playoffs, any opponent from the other group will make an interesting match-up with fnatic. Starting from the world's #1 Luminosity, who they never lost to in a Bo3 series, followed by NiP and G2 who they're yet to meet with current lineups (and they lost to G2 in EPL semis last month), and lastly even Liquid if they make it through, as it was the s1mple-version of that team that beat the Swedes in the group stage of MLG Columbus.
Similarly to Luminosity's case, fnatic might not want to show all their cards and play their hearts out so close to the major, so it's likely that they'll just be feeling out the opposition to some extent.
However, KRIMZ's performances have dropped off lately as the once consistent 1.10+ rating player is now sitting at his career low 0.95 rating over the past 3 months, and that's maybe what fnatic should focus on at this event, getting him going again ahead of the major.
Cloud9 [ranked #17]
|Jake "Stewie2K" Yip||18||88.3||1.13|
|Mike "shroud" Grzesiek||22||81.8||1.11|
|Tyler "Skadoodle" Latham||22||68.1||1.04|
|Jordan "n0thing" Gilbert||25||78.6||1.02|
|Alec "Slemmy" White||25||61.0||0.84|
Cloud9 have been constantly floating around the 15th spot on our ranking since the addition of Slemmy. Although the squad has shown improvement in its performance, the results that would push them higher up the list are still lacking.
So far the new lineup's best result is a semi-final finish at DH Austin, where they bested CLG to make the playoffs and then lost to Tempo Storm in a close series. They also finished last at EPL S3 Finals (as mentioned a very similar tourney to this one), made it to 2nd place in their ELEAGUE group behind Luminosity and most recently failed to qualify for the major, albeit after a tough task and losses to mousesports, EnVyUs and G2.
But if those were tough teams to beat, this event will only make things harder for n0thing's squad. In their group, they'll have to beat either fnatic or Astralis to reach the playoffs, and history is not on the side of the North Americans as they've never beaten the Danes and have only once bested the Swedes.
If we disregard history, Cloud9 do have enough fire power to keep up with anyone in the world if all of their stars are on point, but as we've seen this year they haven't been able to make that happen like they did last summer.
shroud has to peak for Cloud9 to succeed
shroud was one of the best players of the online portion of ECS that led Cloud9 to London, putting up a 1.28 rating, 89.5 ADR and league's leading +160 K-D difference.
But when it came to the high pressure LAN events this year, the 22 year old Canadian has been more than underwhelming. In Cloud9's three big tests (MLG Columbus, EPL S3 & the major qualifier) he averaged below 0.80 rating and notably crumbled in the most important games.
On the other hand, 18-year-old Stewie2K has been playing like a star over the past 3 months (1.09 rating on LAN), having significantly improved since taking his mouse to a big LAN for the first time earlier this year.
Skadoodle is still finding his legs under new leadership, but he's getting there, while veteran n0thing's one-man show against Luminosity in ELEAGUE reminded us all what he's capable of when on form. IGL Slemmy's 61 ADR and 0.84 rating doesn't help though, as it further emphasizes the need for the other four members to be on point at all times.
Cloud9's most played maps are Dust2 and Cobblestone, which won't come in handy in the opener against fnatic who share the same affection towards those two, and are a far more experienced on them.
Cache or Train could be their go-to maps against fnatic, although they should fall back to their favorites against TSM and Astralis, whom they're likely to meet in the elimination and decider matches.
If Cloud9 do end up in the expected 5-6th place, I'm not sure they will learn anything new about themselves compared to previous three LANs with this lineup. What they have to do is give their absolute best considering they have no other LANs on the horizon and at least show improvement and come close to making the playoffs, if not actually make the playoffs. On the other hand, losing to TSM and finishing last would be unacceptable and would likely kick-start some more roster changes.
Astralis [ranked #5]
|Nicolai "device" Reedtz||20||83.0||1.21|
|Markus "Kjaerbye" Kjærbye||18||84.0||1.15|
|Peter "dupreeh" Rasmussen||23||82.6||1.10|
|Andreas "Xyp9x" Højsleth||20||75.0||1.00|
|Finn "karrigan" Andersen||26||67.0||0.89|
On one hand, the new youngster's play has been very promising and he has already expanded the device and dupreeh duo into a trio. On the other hand, the team's results and performances haven't really improved much (unless we consider their two latest group stage exits as the standard of the previous roster).
They slightly struggled in ELEAGUE, losing maps to SK and CLG (whom they never lost a map to previously) before winning the group, and then once again succumbed to their arch-nemesis NiP in the semi-final of DH Summer last weekend, after having a 13-8 lead on the deciding map.
Although it's possible that in-game leader karrigan's poor performance is to blame for the NiP loss (8 kills in a deciding 30-round map just isn't enough), if the reasons are still deeper then there isn't time to make any meaningful changes in the three days between the two events.
The Danes should regardless be a lock for the playoffs, as they only have to beat Cloud9 as per usual and TSM who they never met before, but will have every advantage against. Defeating fnatic would only be a bonus and a show of strength, which is not out of the question considering the way their map pools match up.
If they meet in the Bo1 winners' match, one of them would have to play chicken and leave Nuke in play, and if Astralis have the guts to force fnatic to remove it, they'll get to play either Overpass, Mirage or Cache, all of which the Danes won last time they met the Swedes. They probably also have the most confidence on those three, as the new lineup has a 12-1 record on them combined.
They've also worked on adding Cobblestone to their pool lately, and have shown willingness to play it as the decider against NiP, but losing there might also deter them from leaving it in the pool against some of the stronger teams.
But if their Cobblestone proves to be any good, they could make a good case for a team with the most complete map pool, as even their other main veto Train isn't that bad for them historically, thus meaning they'd have a solid six-map pool.
Kjaerbye and device have been in great form
In addition to the new in-form 18-year-old, the team's superstar device will be the main threat for Astralis' opponents as he has continues with his incredibly consistent performances, leading the team with a 1.26 rating in their two LANs combined over the last month.
Astralis will start their campaign against TSM, which might bring on some painful memories of their last meeting against a mostly-Canadian team (losing to OpTic in the opening round of EPL S3) which put their recent lineup change in motion, but ultimately should be a walk in the park for the team that usually never loses to underdogs.
TSM [ranked #26]
|Russel "Twistzz" Van Dulken||16||80.1||1.12|
|Hunter "SicK" Mims||17||81.2||1.02|
|Timothy "autimatic" Ta||19||78.9||1.02|
|Kory "SEMPHIS" Friesen||27||72.3||0.97|
|Pujan "FNS" Mehta||24||74.6||0.93|
TSM are not only the underdog in their first match, they are the underdog of the whole tournament, the only team in attendance that's sitting outside of our top 20, and the least experienced roster. Their sheer qualification was a big surprise as they snuck through with Bo3 wins over OpTic and CLG in the lower bracket. Winning a map or a match in London would be a spectacle.
Or at least so it seemed when they qualified. But now, the situation isn't really that outrageous when we take into account the most recent information from their week spent in Atlanta playing ELEAGUE.
There, the Canadian-American squad put up double digits against all of fnatic, FaZe and dignitas and even took a map off fnatic in the semi-final. However, losing admirably usually only shows potential and indicates that either time or some missing pieces are needed to make the team better.
And granted, they played ELEAGUE with Casper "cadiaN" Møller as a stand-in for Twistzz who wasn't allowed to play due to his age. Now with the player who's younger than Counter-Strike itself set to return and make his international LAN debut, TSM will gain some raw talent but will lose some valuable experience that the Dane brought to the team.
Nonetheless, TSM probably don't have any outlandish expectations, so giving Twistzz a chance to gain experience himself will be more valuable to them in the long run.
A surprising aspect of the TSM squad is their relatively wide map pool, as they actively play five maps and have recorded notable wins against higher ranked opponents on each of them – vs. OpTic on Train and Cache, fnatic on Mirage, CLG on Dust2 and Luminosity on Cobblestone (although some of those were online).
While that still won't help them much against Astralis, it could lead to a good battle against Cloud9 in the presumed elimination Bo3.
autimatic played great last week at ELEAGUE
SEMPHIS will also need to play much better this week, as he had only a 0.79 rating, while his only good performance led to TSM winning a map over fnatic.
Like I mentioned already, this should be an experience-gathering mission for TSM, especially for their two youngest players, and anything except last place in group B would be a surprise. I'm not excluding the possibility of them playing a few competitive maps, like they did last week, but that would still only show potential - whereas actually winning a match would be a real achievement and a step up.
That concludes our preview for ECS Season 1 Finals, set to start tomorrow, June 24th at 13:15 in Wembley SSE Arena (day 1 is not open to the public) in London, UK. You can consult our viewer's guide for the full schedule and other necessary info.