iBUYPOWER Masters preview
iBUYPOWER Masters, the qualifier for IEM Oakland, kicks off on Saturday, November 12th. We have previewed all eight teams taking part in the $100,000 tournament.
The Hangar at Orange County Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa, California, will play host to iBUYPOWER Masters, which will have four IEM Oakland spots on offer as well as $100,000 in prizemoney.
|Group A||Group B|
The eight participants will play in two groups featuring a GSL format, from which the top two teams advance to best-of-three semi-finals and lock their spot at IEM Oakland.
|Timothy "autimatic" Ta||20||1.17|
|Jake "Stewie2K" Yip||18||1.13|
|Mike "shroud" Grzesiek||22||1.10|
|Tyler "Skadoodle" Latham||23||1.05|
|Jordan "n0thing" Gilbert||26||1.04|
The North American squad grabbed second place in their group following four wins and a loss to SK, and went on to dominate the first two playoffs series, against OpTic and MOUZ. In the grand final Cloud9 faced SK again and began with a tough loss on Overpass after they were in a 13-2 lead, but they decimated the Brazilians on Mirage and Dust2.
Cloud9 should grab another trophy in Costa Mesa
Cloud9 are the clear favourite of iBUYPOWER Masters, and perhaps the only team who shouldn't be too worried about exiting in groups and missing out on IEM Oakland. None of the other teams have matched their success, as you can see by Cloud9's relative ranking to the other teams; they're the single top-ten team present.
|Owen "smooya" Butterfield||17||1.29|
|Georgi "WorldEdit" Yaskin||25||1.12|
|Yegor "markeloff" Markelov||28||0.96|
|Jan "wayLander" Rahkonen||22||0.86|
|Andrey "B1ad3" Gorodenskiy||30||0.78|
FlipSid3 recently brought youngster Denis "electronic" Sharipov into the roster to replace Oleksandr "Shara" Hordieyev. Since then they've garnered second place at Adrenaline Cyber League and qualified for DreamHack ZOWIE Open Winter, defeating Epsilon on the way.
However, the 17-year-old will be unable to travel to the States due to visa issues. In his place, FlipSid3 have brought in an unknown force in the form of a British player smooya, who most recently played with Endpoint and VATIC in various qualifiers. Apart from his recent tenure in British teams there isn't much to be said about the 17-year-old, other than that he seems to be a very dedicated AWPer.
WorldEdit could end up having even more pressure on his shoulders with an unproven player by his side
Needless to say, smooya doesn't speak Russian, which will cause communication issues in-game. FlipSid3 have some experience in playing with an English speaking stand-in, as they've gone a similar route and beat the odds before. They played with Spencer "Hiko" Martin at ESWC 2015 and beat NIP on their way to semi-finals.
A similar scenario seems unlikely in this case, but FlipSid3's group isn't too hard to get out of and that's all the team needs to advance to IEM Oakland. A lot will come down to what the British player can show at his first international LAN and how FlipSid3 can use him considering they already have a primary AWPer.
|Hui "DD" Wu||22||1.20|
|HaoWen "somebody" Xu||21||1.14|
|Ke "captainMo" Liu||27||1.14|
|YuLun "Summer" Cai||19||1.10|
|YuanZhang "Attacker" Sheng||19||1.07|
We've seen quite a bit of TYLOO on the international scene in recent times. The Chinese played a part in the elimination of Natus Vincere at StarSeries Season 2 Finals, as they took Mirage off the giants before falling short to Heroic and Astralis.
They haven't been as dominant within the Asian scene as before. They had to work their way up the lower bracket at the Asia Minor due to an early loss to Chinese rivals VG.CyberZen, whom they later on beat in the rematch for a spot at ELEAGUE Major's Main Qualifier and triumphed over Renegades in the grand final.
TyLoo's chances to go through are looking good
Whether that will mean something in the international scene is arguable, though TYLOO are quite fortunate FlipSid3 are attending with a stand-in, while Echo Fox have been on poor form. I'd favor the Chinese to advance over both of them and have a fighting chance against Cloud9.
|Echo Fox (Unranked)|
|Shahzeb "ShahZaM" Khan||23||1.06|
|Ronnie "ryx" Bylicki||23||1.02|
|Daniel "roca" Gustaferri||21||1.02|
|Ryan "freakazoid" Abadir||23||0.91|
|Sean "seang@res" Gares||28||0.87|
Echo Fox are coming into iBUYPOWER Masters after a series of disappointing results, losing 0-3 to Immortals in ECS Season 2 Development league before falling to a fairly unknown side Muffin Lightning in WESG NA qualifiers.
They completely collapsed in ELEAGUE Season 2's Group B, where they were in a tough group alongside Virtus.pro, NIP and G2. Echo Fox could only muster six rounds across three maps, two of which were Nuke, their best map statistically.
If Echo Fox show up on their ELEAGUE form, their journey will quickly come to an end
If we see the same Echo Fox as we did in Atlanta, their chances will be atrocious, but we know they can play better. They showed us that at the first Northern Arena event, where they took down OpTic and played reasonably well against Immortals.
|Håvard "rain" Nygaard||22||1.07|
|Aleksi "allu" Jalli||24||1.06|
|Fabien "kioShiMa" Fiey||22||1.02|
|Philip "aizy" Aistrup||20||1.00|
|Finn "karrigan" Andersen||26||0.93|
FaZe's results have significantly improved after the change which saw kioShiMa benched while karrigan entered the roster to bring some much-needed leadership. They immediately found success at ELEAGUE, defeating Immortals and Cloud9 with next to no preparation, only basing their play on improvisation.
FaZe weren't able to repeat the same success at Pro League Finals, where they lost narrowly to Cloud9, which likely cost them a spot in the playoffs. NRG took them by surprise on Dust2, though FaZe stabilized at the end to win in overtime. Their win against Dignitas is perhaps the most significant, as they did it decisively on one of the Danes' best maps, Mirage.
kioShiMa's return shouldn't affect FaZe's chances at iBUYPOWER Masters too much
Considering how much the European mixture were able to do with a brand new in-game leader, this shouldn't affect FaZe too much at iBUYPOWER Masters. Even with the roster change, they have the best chance to advance out of the four teams in Group B.
|Henrique "HEN1" Teles||21||1.22|
|Ricardo "boltz" Prass||19||1.15|
|Lucas "steel" Lopes||22||1.15|
|João "felps" Vasconcellos||19||1.14|
|Lucas "LUCAS1" Teles||21||1.05|
Immortals have been one of the most successful teams in North American leagues after the off-season. With a superb 20-6 record in ESL Pro League, the Brazilian number two advanced to the $600,000 Finals which took place on their home turf.
However, they began their journey in Brazil awfully, with Envy and OpTic grabbing decisive victories on Cobblestone. Immortals then took Mirage off MOUZ in front of their home crowd, but a narrow loss to Liquid put them in last place of the group.
Immortals have had very little time with steel
Shortly after the event, in-game leader Wilton "zews" Prado was relieved of his duties in the team less than three months after his signing and a former Luminosity (who later on signed with SK) member, steel was brought in.
What that will mean in terms of Immortals' leadership is yet to be seen. Before they signed zews, the role was tossed around and fell on boltz, who was unhappy with the added pressure. The roster change should be an upgrade in terms of performance, but they've had little time to get used to the new player, which could end up costing them a spot at IEM Oakland.
|Aaron "AZR" Ward||24||1.17|
|Justin "jks" Savage||20||1.12|
|Karlo "USTILO" Pivac||23||1.11|
|Ricardo "Rickeh" Mulholland||24||1.11|
|Yaman "yam" Ergenekon||27||0.95|
The past few months saw Renegades travelling between the States and Asia. The Australian side took part in eXTREMESLAND in late September, where they only faced regional competition and reached the grand final with ease. They fell short after three close maps with China's number two, VG.CyberZen.
After that event, yam's roster finished ESL Pro League Season 4 in fifth place, which would have earned them a place at the Finals, but they decided to skip it due to a clash with the Asia Minor.
Renegades have been playing well in North America
That turned out to be the correct decision, as Renegades topped their group over VG.CyberZen before beating them again in the upper bracket final for a place at the ELEAGUE Major's Main Qualifier. In the grand final it was TYLOO who stopped them after two close maps, Train and Mirage.
With a very tough match-up in the form of FaZe in their group, Renegades will have to hope to break their 0-5 streak against Immortals in online competition across the last few months, which they very well could considering the Brazilians have just cut their in-game leader.
|Hunter "SicK" Mims||18||1.04|
|Skyler "Relyks" Weaver||21||1.01|
|Russel "Twistzz" Van Dulken||16||0.99|
|Kory "SEMPHIS" Friesen||27||0.96|
|Pujan "FNS" Mehta||24||0.92|
In an attempt to make a reappearance in ELEAGUE, TSM took down Selfless before falling short in the deciding series with Immortals. iBUYPOWER Invitational saw them playing OpTic close, but TSM once again finished in 5th-8th place.
TSM have a shot against Immortals and Renegades
Their chances in Group B at iBUYPOWER Masters aren't great, as they have a solid FaZe in front of them as well as Immortals, who have been quite succesful against North American teams. Although, the Brazilians are coming into the event on the back of a significant roster change, which TSM could take advantage of. There are also Renegades, who have found a little bit of stability and are slight favourites in the match-up, but their duel against TSM won't be easy.
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