fnatic vs. Virtus.pro final preview
ELEAGUE's grand final between fnatic and Virtus.pro is only a few hours away, so we've put together a preview which goes in-depth into the match-up and previous head-to-head results.
ELEAGUE's two-and-a-half months long journey is nearly at its terminus, as we're only hours away from the final showdown between fnatic and Virtus.pro, both of whom stormed through the playoffs in a convincing manner.
The champion will walk away with $390,000, the highest first-place prize so far outside of the Majors, while the runner-up will receive a $140,000 cheque.
Will fnatic have lifted the trophy by the end of the day?
Without further ado, let's get into the grand final preview, where we're going over the match-up as a whole, including previous head-to-head results, best-performing players, maps and more:
Instead, we'll begin the preview by analyzing previous head-to-head results between the finalists' exact same lineups. Since fnatic swapped Markus "pronax" Wallsten for dennis in late 2015 and went on to win six titles in a row they encountered the Poles five times and ruled over the match-up almost without fail.
Those five matches include eight maps, three of which were played online (FACEIT League Stage 3 and ESL Pro League Season 3), which we'll disregard simply due to Virtus.pro's reputation of being the world's worst elite-level team in online competitions.
Virtus.pro have their eyes on the prize
The remaining two encounters are more than three months apart, with the first being FACEIT Stage 3 Finals' semis, fnatic's first LAN event after the lineup change. While dennis was still very much adjusting, his team pulled him through the series losing just Mirage, VP's pick, and winning Inferno and Cache comfortably.
The other LAN series between the two happened during IEM Katowice, fnatic's last title, that time in the quarter-finals. Virtus.pro barely stood a chance at a time when they were at their lowest point and Snax was going through a rough period, as olofmeister and JW put in other-worldly performances on Train and Inferno, respectively.
A lot has changed for both squads since then, the Swedes aren't the unstoppable force they once were following the olofmeister-less era, while Snax returned to his old self and Virtus.pro re-entered the top five with a win at SL i-League Invitational #1 and a semi-final finish in Cologne.
Both teams dominated their side of the bracket
Viktor "vuggo" Jendeby and company understandably continue vetoing Nuke first, a map they've never played officially, while VP opt out of playing good Dust2 teams on that map, and I see no reason why the trend should break today.
Things will get interesting in the second round though. Both teams are amazing on Cobblestone, which I'm sure will come out at some point, but I have to feel like fnatic won't miss out on picking Cache and the same goes for Jakub "kuben" Gurczynski's team and Mirage if both want to go for their opponent's weakness. I can't see olofmeister's side wanting to play Overpass, and Virtus isn't the world's best team on Train anymore. I have my fingers crossed for Cobblestone as the decider, which is almost destined to go down to the wire, but so could Train should it come in.
Looking at how both teams plowed through their sides of the ELEAGUE bracket with relative ease, especially the way fnatic handled Natus Vincere and Virtus.pro took NiP and mousesports by storm, we should be in for a treat almost no matter which maps out of the four biggest possibilities (Cobblestone, Cache, Mirage, Train) end up making it into the series.
Make sure to tune in to ELEAGUE Season 1's grand final, which is scheduled to kick off today at 22:00. It will be broadcasted on the TBS television channel, but the observer feed will be shown on Twitch as well as Twitter via its recently introduced livestream feature.
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