Northern Arena Group C & D preview
This is our preview for groups C & D of Northern Arena 2016, set to take place from September 1-4. We're exploring the recent history of the teams as well as their chances to make a deep run.
Picking up where Milan 'Striker' Švejda left off, we will now look into the other side of the coin in Northern Arena 2016. These two groups sport an interesting balance of underdogs and favorites.
You have the giants in Cloud9 and Heroic split up to take on the rest, creating a lot of tension for the second position. Now without any further delay, let us take a look at the storyline between these teams and their recent history.
|Michael "Uber" Stapells||19||1.10|
|Cory "APE" Bate||24||0.99|
|Bradley "ANDROID" Fodor||22||0.96|
|Rory "dephh" Jackson||24||0.88|
|Kia "Surreal" Man||20||0.87|
* Ratings used in this article are from the past three months
An upset over Gambit aside, Uber and company have not been able to achieve any notable victories over strong teams. Even their run at SL i-League S2 Americas Qualifier came to a jagged end, where they fell to Prospects and the then Vincent "Brehze" Cayonte-powered Kaliber.
Some may point to their recent BO1 victories in ESL Pro League and say it is a sign of improvement, but I doubt that they can recreate any of that upset potential in an offline setting.
Uber has shaped up into the star of Complexity Gaming
Also, there seems to be a shift in the carry seat. It used to be ANDROID by a good margin, but upon tracking the last 30 matches they have played, he seems to fall off more often than not. This forced Uber to step up and fill in for some of the missing firepower, explaining his recent spike in rating.
Couple this with the competition they will be facing in this group and you can expect this to be a rigorous journey for the warriors in Red and Black.
|Ludovic "tiz" Emond||19||1.20|
|Maxime "maxmeister" Lapierre||24||N/A|
|Mikael "knave" Denis||24||N/A|
|Mathieu "INCRED" Bergeron||22||N/A|
|Simon "monne" Desrosiers||22||N/A|
Every once in a while you stumble across a team that sparks very little effect on your mind, ACE despite the name, is one of them. To make matters even more befuddling, they are set to compete with a completely different lineup than the one that qualified due to issues unknown to me. However, the rulebook says that the show must go on, so here we go.
The only two players with some feasible history in CS:GO are maxmeister and tiz, the latter showed up at CyberPowerPC Summer 2016 Qualifier #2 and the former gave out some presence in the Canadian team Boreal in ESWC 2015 before joining this team.
I was a meister before it was cool
The rest are up and coming Canadian talent the organization felt were fit as replacements, but have almost no relative background in competitive Counter-Strike: Global Offensive to dig into.
Therefore, it is fair to say that there really isn’t much to expect from the sudden replacements and they will probably end up getting gobbled up by the far more experienced squads. Though on the flipside it will be a bizarre experience if they do end up pulling off a miracle.
|Kevin "HS" Tarn||19||1.15|
|Casper "cadiaN" Møller||21||1.10|
|Nicolai "glace" Jensen||23||0.99|
|Jesper "TENZKI" Plougmann||22||0.92|
|Mathieu "Maniac" Quiquerez||26||0.88|
It is rare to see a team name perfectly fit the squad it is presenting, but this is one those exceptions. Rogue houses of the most interesting personalities that always fell out of place, regardless of where they went.
Now that they have finally found a home consisting of others in a similar situation, maybe players like Maniac, who left a normal life to pursue a career in competitive Counter-Strike can reinvent themselves into more stable grounds. Though the mockery addicted side of the internet would have you believe that cadiaN’s 1v1 loss to Julia "juliano" Kiran was a harder pill to swallow.
Maniac realized he can’t go on without competing
We also have a read on their recent form as they are coming fresh off of Power-LAN 2016, where they took down Tricked and gave Dignitas a run for their money on the back of a solid performance from HS (1.02 rating and 80 ADR), putting him in prime position to become the star among this squad of misfits.
If it wasn't for a certain North American powerhouse, they would have been the favorites in this group.
|Jake "Stewie2K" Yip||18||1.14|
|Mike "shroud" Grzesiek||22||1.13|
|Timothy "autimatic" Ta||19||1.09|
|Tyler "Skadoodle" Latham||23||1.08|
|Jordan "n0thing" Gilbert||26||1.05|
The North American powerhouse riding all the momentum at the time is, of course, Cloud9, a team that many started to count out after accomplished IGL’s like Sean "seang@res" Gares and Alec "Slemmy" White had their run with the squad.
The most impressive thing about their recent form is not the ridiculous win rate but the dominance shown while achieving it. Even in the grand final of CyberPowerPC Summer, Liquid were not able to break into double digits against this version of Cloud9.
Young Stew grew more than anyone expected
The boys in blue looked efficient with everyone pulling their own weight, especially the new addition in autimatic looked right at home, pulling off aggressive plays without any hesitation, resulting in an impressive 1.25 rating and 86.8 ADR. Couple that with Skadoodle’s return to form and Stewie2K’s consistent growth and Cloud9 look formidable.
Yet, there is a diminutive blemish on all this new found propulsion for Cloud9. Their 10-game win streak took place online and whether they can shift it to a LAN setting against international teams is up for debate. So this tournament will also act as a confirmation for all the new hype around this squad and set the tone for things to come.
|Christopher "dexter" Nong||22||1.09|
|Chris "emagine" Rowlands||25||1.05|
|Chris "ofnu" Hanley||23||0.91|
|Ryan "zewsy" Palmer||19||0.90|
|Mike "ap0c" Aliferis||28||0.83|
Kicking off the final group we have the new Aussie lineup in Winterfox, which came to light after David "Xp3" Garrido announced that the core of the original has parted ways with the organization.
As a result, Winterfox reached out to some Australian talent just weeks ago and here we are with a mixed formula consisting of players from Immunity, Legacy and & Chiefs.
With so little time to prepare for this event and get into the swing of things, there isn't much hope for the Australian squad. They have only been able to get four matches as a team in ESL Pro League and ended up losing three of them.
Zewsy must show up to keep the team afloat
Statistically, the strongest players used to be zewsy and ofnu, but as of late, only the latter showed up in online matches. Almost forcing dexter to step up his game during this short time, suggesting that the Aussie squad is still figuring out the proper roles for themselves.
Expect Winterfox to use this as a learning experience, but the chances of them actually making it out looks rather slim.
|Matthew "no_one" Congdon||20||1.01|
|Vincent "Brehze" Cayonte||18||0.94|
|Noah "Nifty" Francis||18||0.91|
|Mitch "mitch" Semago||20||0.90|
|Jake "kaboose" McDonald||16||0.87|
It has been a rough ride for Selfless as they lost their strongest player in Skyler "Relyks" Weaver to TSM, which drastically decreased their firepower. The squad tried to shake it off and grind through ESL Pro League and CyberPowerPC Summer, but fell to Immortals in rather devastating fashion on both.
Yet, in the midst of this shift, no_one evolved into a much better player, he was the engine that forced the series to Map 3 with an impressive 1.77 rating against the tough Immortals squad during CyberPowerPC Summer. If anything, Selfless might have found a new star among them who is willing to shift to a carry role now that Relyks has moved on to TSM.
Someone had to carry the load, so it was no_one
Besides, it’s not like there are many other options for them to try out either. In the past, both mitch and Nifty were pushed forward as the star player, only to crumble down time and time again to offline pressure.
Expect Selfless to be fighting towards the bottom of this group with Winterfox, hanging on for dear life to pull in some results. Unfortunately, given their history against international opposition and the departure of Relyks, it is doubtful that they will go far.
|Joey "CRUC1AL" Steusel||19||1.16|
|David "DAVEY" Stafford||20||1.12|
|Arya "arya" Hekmat||23||0.96|
|Asger "AcilioN" Larsen||19||0.91|
|Chris "buZZa" Buzza||N/A||N/A|
Splyce started out as a team with decent structure powered by the individual talent of DAVEY. The squad showed potential, but failed to create any mark in CEVO Gfinity Professional Season 9 Finals or Dreamhack Austin 2016. As time went on they fell behind the likes of OpTic, Immortals, and NRG in the race between the up and coming teams.
One of the things that lead to this situation was the lack of a star player who could take the load off of Davey and allow others to focus on their roles. This is where Enkhtaivan "Machinegun" Lkhagva could come in and offer a great deal of stability. Unfortunately, it was just announced that due to visa issues the Mongolian talent won't be able to make it and buZZa will be standing in instead.
When you finally have someone to share the load with and they fail to get the visa
This puts Splyce in a very difficult position and it is hard to see them having any impact in this tournament. Expect the squad in yellow to use this as an oppurtunity to let loose and play a more aggresive style, after all, there should not be any realistic expectations from them given the situation.
|Valdemar "valde" Bjørn Vangså||21||1.14|
|Andreas "MODDII" Fridh||27||1.08|
|Lukas "gla1ve" Rossander||21||1.04|
|Michael "Friis" Jørgensen||27||1.02|
|Marco "Snappi" Pfeiffer||26||1.00|
Finally, we have the favorites of Group D, the ex-SK squad turned Team X turned Heroic. I am glad they are finally set on a proper name because it was becoming a mess during ESL Pro League.
Despite the unfortunate end to their tenure with SK Gaming, the Danish squad have been able to pick themselves up and make progress. This showed up in the form of an upset over Astralis and Dignitas at Power-LAN. They key player during their impressive offline run was valde, sporting a solid 1.05 rating and 82.8 ADR, instead of the usual suspect in MODDII.
Valde’s heroics drove the squad to victory
Yet, domestic results are hard to rely on when it comes to international tournaments. While there is no doubt that this team possesses the pieces necessary to lead the group, whether they can actually replicate the same confident approach against unfamiliar teams is the big question mark here. Still, it is hard to see Heroic fall to any of the teams in this group under normal circumstances, just based on the edge they have with individual skill and experience.
As the month ends and the tournament approaches, keep an eye on our site and social media for more coverage and real-time updates.
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