EPICENTER playoffs preview

EPICENTER continues on Saturday with the semi-finals, with SK and Astralis facing off before Virtus.pro attempt to upset G2. In our playoffs preview, we take a look at each team's run to the playoffs, the match-ups, and the best players.

Four days of competition in St. Petersburg have led us to this moment, the playoffs of EPICENTER, which exclude red-hot favorites FaZe, who were bested by the tournament's surprise, Virtus.pro.

SK, who switched João "felps" Vasconcellos with Ricardo "boltz" Prass at the last minute, clinched first place in Group A to set up a match against Group B's second-placed team, Astralis, in the first semi-final tomorrow.

G2, who have looked like an unstoppable beast, will then try to fend off the threat of the Poles, who are looking to get back on the horse after undoubtedly the worst period of their careers.

Ratings used are from the group stage of EPICENTER
Saturday, 12:00
SK (EGB.com Rate: 7.576)
  Astralis (EGB.com Rate: 4.839)
Brazil Marcelo "coldzera" David 1.42   Denmark Nicolai "device" Reedtz 1.21
Brazil Gabriel "FalleN" Toledo 1.40   Denmark Andreas "Xyp9x" Højsleth 1.16
Brazil Fernando "fer" Alvarenga 1.35 vs. Denmark Peter "dupreeh" Rasmussen 1.06
Brazil Ricardo "boltz" Prass 1.13   Denmark Markus "Kjaerbye" Kjærbye 0.94
Brazil Epitacio "TACO" de Melo 0.98   Denmark Lukas "gla1ve" Rossander 0.87
      Denmark Danny "zonic" Sørensen

Yet to sweat

Despite next to no practice with boltz and changing positions on some maps, SK had an unexpectedly comfortable journey to playoffs. The one-sided Virtus.pro series wasn't much of a surprise, but even FaZe failed to make the Brazilians sweat, as FalleN & co. flew past Finn "karrigan" Andersen's squad on two of the three maps.

Meanwhile, Astralis were on the receiving end of a beating by G2 at the beginning, but the Danish powerhouse quickly stabilized, eliminating Liquid and North without dropping any more maps.

Limiting SK's aggression - a key to winning the series?

Given SK's uncontested run to the playoffs, it's not surprising to see the trio of coldzera, FalleN, and fer among the five best-rated players of the group stage. They were allowed to do anything they wanted, especially fer, who couldn't be prevented from venturing into the opponents' zone every chance he got.

device shut down FalleN in their last encounter, at PGL Major Krakow

That aggression will become much harder against Astralis, who have had in device and Xyp9x their main difference makers and stable contributors. Their map control phase is thorough enough to limit fer as well as FalleN, who will have to tread carefully when going into duels with device.

Overpass - the deciding factor

Barring any curveballs from either team in the veto, we're bound to get three maps SK and Astralis are comfortable on. Nuke and Cobblestone are off limits, while Inferno and Cache aren't either team's strong suit at the moment.

That leaves us with Train - a likely pick for Astralis -, Mirage and Overpass. SK could choose to go either way, but having Overpass as a decider would be a fantastic prospect, because that's where the two go 50-50. The Brazilians are currently on a six-map winning streak on it (since their loss to the Danes at the PGL Major) and it has been Astralis' most successful map this year.

Saturday, 15:00
G2 (EGB.com Rate: 11.208)
  Virtus.pro (EGB.com Rate: 25.788)
France Kenny "kennyS" Schrub 1.52   Poland Filip "NEO" Kubski 1.05
France Dan "apEX" Madesclaire 1.38   Poland Jarosław "pashaBiceps" Jarząbkowski 1.00
France Alexandre "bodyy" Pianaro 1.33 vs. Poland Paweł "byali" Bieliński 0.96
France Richard "shox" Papillon 1.28   Poland Wiktor "TaZ" Wojtas 0.92
France Nathan "NBK-" Schmitt 1.21   Poland Janusz "Snax" Pogorzelski 0.81
France Edouard "SmithZz" Dubourdeaux   Poland Jakub "kuben" Gurczynski

The uncontested vs. the inconsistent

G2's run to the playoffs was even more confident than SK's. The Frenchmen were tested on Cache against Astralis but lost an unbelievable three rounds on average in the other three games.

On the other side, Virtus.pro stumbled numerous times on the way to playoffs, as the Poles failed to show up against SK and survived a tough marathon in the elimination match with Gambit. Despite a 2-16 loss on Mirage to FaZe, VP then bested the No.1 team on Cobblestone and on a tough Inferno, which was decided by a series of unlikely scenarios in the last round.

Team efforts

shox's squad turned up with all they've got in the group stage. All five of their players ended up in the top-ten best-rated players, with kennyS at the summit, boasting an other-worldly 1.52 rating going into the playoffs.

Virtus.pro's Inferno could throw a wrench in G2's plans

Virtus.pro's side of things was also very much a team effort overall, with NEO standing out in the Gambit series especially. Snax, on the other hand, has a lot of room for improvement as the worst-rated player of the groups.

A clash of explosive styles

Many were hoping for a clash of FaZe and G2 at this tournament, but the possibility of the Virtus.plow making an appearance again in what will be the premiere between the two lineups creates an exciting aura surrounding the second semi-final. There are similarities to be drawn in the two components, which are bound to explode when mixed. As long as Virtus.pro turn up, we can expect an action-packed, reactive series.

The maps could go many ways, although we can count on Train and Overpass being left out. G2's most likely pick is Cache, while Virtus.pro could be aiming for Nuke as they usually do whenever it's left in the pool. Inferno then seems like a possible decider as G2's most played map lately due to Virtus.pro's successes on the newest map in this tournament.

France Nathan 'NBK-' Schmitt
Nathan 'NBK-' Schmitt
Age:
25
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
1.04
Maps played:
1652
KPR:
0.70
DPR:
0.66
APR:
0.15
Brazil Marcelo 'coldzera' David
Marcelo 'coldzera' David
Age:
25
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.19
Maps played:
1086
KPR:
0.80
DPR:
0.61
APR:
0.12
Brazil Epitacio 'TACO' de Melo
Epitacio 'TACO' de Melo
Age:
24
Team:
Rating 1.0:
0.94
Maps played:
996
KPR:
0.62
DPR:
0.64
APR:
0.12
France Edouard 'SmithZz' Dubourdeaux
Edouard 'SmithZz' Dubourdeaux
Age:
30
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
0.96
Maps played:
1161
KPR:
0.65
DPR:
0.67
APR:
0.14
Brazil João 'felps' Vasconcellos
João 'felps' Vasconcellos
Age:
22
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
1.06
Maps played:
731
KPR:
0.75
DPR:
0.71
APR:
0.16
France Richard 'shox' Papillon
Richard 'shox' Papillon
Age:
27
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.10
Maps played:
1580
KPR:
0.75
DPR:
0.66
APR:
0.12
Poland Paweł 'byali' Bieliński
Paweł 'byali' Bieliński
Age:
25
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
1.02
Maps played:
1449
KPR:
0.70
DPR:
0.67
APR:
0.14
Denmark Markus 'Kjaerbye' Kjærbye
Markus 'Kjaerbye' Kjærbye
Age:
21
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.05
Maps played:
1329
KPR:
0.72
DPR:
0.66
APR:
0.15
Denmark Danny 'zonic' Sørensen
Danny 'zonic' Sørensen
Age:
33
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
0.75
Maps played:
20
KPR:
0.49
DPR:
0.68
APR:
0.11
France Dan 'apEX' Madesclaire
Dan 'apEX' Madesclaire
Age:
26
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.04
Maps played:
1535
KPR:
0.74
DPR:
0.70
APR:
0.16
Denmark Andreas 'Xyp9x' Højsleth
Andreas 'Xyp9x' Højsleth
Age:
24
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.04
Maps played:
1580
KPR:
0.67
DPR:
0.61
APR:
0.17
Poland Wiktor 'TaZ' Wojtas
Wiktor 'TaZ' Wojtas
Age:
33
Team:
Rating 1.0:
0.98
Maps played:
1791
KPR:
0.67
DPR:
0.67
APR:
0.13
Poland Jakub 'kuben' Gurczynski
Jakub 'kuben' Gurczynski
Age:
31
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
0.95
Maps played:
168
KPR:
0.62
DPR:
0.63
APR:
0.16
Poland Filip 'NEO' Kubski
Filip 'NEO' Kubski
Age:
32
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
0.97
Maps played:
1681
KPR:
0.66
DPR:
0.67
APR:
0.17
Denmark Peter 'dupreeh' Rasmussen
Peter 'dupreeh' Rasmussen
Age:
26
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.09
Maps played:
1523
KPR:
0.74
DPR:
0.65
APR:
0.14
Brazil Gabriel 'FalleN' Toledo
Gabriel 'FalleN' Toledo
Age:
28
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.09
Maps played:
1158
KPR:
0.71
DPR:
0.60
APR:
0.11
Denmark Nicolai 'device' Reedtz
Nicolai 'device' Reedtz
Age:
24
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.17
Maps played:
1403
KPR:
0.79
DPR:
0.62
APR:
0.13
Denmark Finn 'karrigan' Andersen
Finn 'karrigan' Andersen
Age:
29
Team:
Rating 1.0:
0.93
Maps played:
1543
KPR:
0.63
DPR:
0.68
APR:
0.13
Denmark Lukas 'gla1ve' Rossander
Lukas 'gla1ve' Rossander
Age:
24
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.01
Maps played:
1246
KPR:
0.68
DPR:
0.65
APR:
0.17
Brazil Fernando 'fer' Alvarenga
Fernando 'fer' Alvarenga
Age:
28
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.10
Maps played:
1146
KPR:
0.76
DPR:
0.68
APR:
0.16
France Alexandre 'bodyy' Pianaro
Alexandre 'bodyy' Pianaro
Age:
22
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
0.96
Maps played:
762
KPR:
0.65
DPR:
0.67
APR:
0.14
Brazil Ricardo 'boltz' Prass
Ricardo 'boltz' Prass
Age:
22
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.06
Maps played:
955
KPR:
0.71
DPR:
0.64
APR:
0.17
Poland Janusz 'Snax' Pogorzelski
Janusz 'Snax' Pogorzelski
Age:
26
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.04
Maps played:
1604
KPR:
0.70
DPR:
0.66
APR:
0.13
Poland Jarosław 'pashaBiceps' Jarząbkowski
Jarosław 'pashaBiceps' Jarząbkowski
Age:
31
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.02
Maps played:
1592
KPR:
0.72
DPR:
0.69
APR:
0.13
France Kenny 'kennyS' Schrub
Kenny 'kennyS' Schrub
Age:
24
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.14
Maps played:
1589
KPR:
0.77
DPR:
0.63
APR:
0.11
Go go SK
2017-10-27 17:36
ez 4 VP and SK
2017-10-27 17:36
#13
 | 
Other anarh1st47 
tothestars
2017-10-27 17:37
#43
NEO | 
Poland kola5410 
you mean ez 4 vp and astralis
2017-10-27 17:57
#45
NEO | 
Poland kola5410 
or chokestralis (ur decision)
2017-10-27 17:57
EZ 4 SUPERTEAM G2 and SK
2017-10-27 17:57
#49
 | 
Portugal azetecapt 
why? G2?
2017-10-27 18:04
yeah ezyy fr sk no1 can beat sk expect vp
2017-10-27 17:37
Congratulations VP for winning their last title before disband.
2017-10-27 17:43
#59
 | 
Portugal dabl1w 
GOGO SK GAMING I BELIVE
2017-10-27 18:31
#2
 | 
Russia Rusev 
True
2017-10-27 17:36
#3
 | 
Brazil WWWWWWW 
O
2017-10-27 17:36
#4
rain | 
Norway ElectroZz 
faze?
2017-10-27 17:36
Hahaha cry
2017-10-27 17:40
#57
 | 
Europe no_u 
LUL
2017-10-27 18:23
#85
 | 
Brazil Caioo410 
VP>Faze
2017-10-27 23:14
#6
kissmyass | 
Denmark raaVz 
ez
2017-10-27 17:36
#7
 | 
Czech Republic WhyAmIHere 
ez faze
2017-10-27 17:36
#8
 | 
Liechtenstein Snufkin 
ez 4 vp
2017-10-27 17:36
#9
 | 
Sweden bananablast900 
lol faze fans are gone now because they became sk fans stupid bandwagoners
2017-10-27 17:36
wtf faze fans r gone ..faze is out of tournament....
2017-10-27 17:40
yeah and now they will become SK fans cuz they are just fans of the team thats winning. Facts Facts Facts
2017-10-27 17:45
pls xburg..................................
2017-10-27 18:35
#11
 | 
Poland Serinek 
Ez 4 sk and g2
2017-10-27 17:37
#12
 | 
Brazil cadik 
gut reading thanks mr. Professeur
2017-10-27 17:37
np
2017-10-27 17:54
wtf!
2017-10-27 23:26
#98
 | 
Russia xtkjdtr01 
Haha
2017-10-28 13:09
VP is a teamplay don't care about frags and ratings
2017-10-27 17:37
#16
SmithZz | 
Australia Kyr0xZ 
16th? XD
2017-10-27 17:39
youtube.com/watch?v=KjUz8-tXTOc&t=18s FALLEN VS DEVICE AT MAJOR
2017-10-27 17:39
#53
ZywOo | 
Brazil smm1le 
fake flag detected
2017-10-27 18:18
All flags are fake, its pixels
2017-10-27 18:21
#66
 | 
Bosnia and Herzegovina Mancow 
...zzzz
2017-10-27 19:19
SK gonna win this
2017-10-27 17:39
go vp 2;1
2017-10-27 17:39
Sad that my two favourite teams play vs each other. Atleast one of my favourite teams will be in finals gogovp gogog2
2017-10-27 17:39
Vp has no chance my friend
2017-10-27 17:43
Actually they do, everyone said the same before the match against Faze Though now with things happened this way G2 will try to play perfect and take it 100000% serious and it will be much harder for VP to do something, but not impossible surely
2017-10-27 18:01
#52
 | 
United States jaeger_steam 
Yeah the element of surprise is gone. But inconsistent2 could also come in after 2 days off and be completely different too. Tbh it's hard to predict anything about this matchup...
2017-10-27 18:16
Yeah, both team have showed GREAT levels of inconsistency before... Anything might happen I just hope it will be exciting not a one sided match
2017-10-27 18:26
#23
 | 
Brazil vinnyzeraNTC 
ez for SK
2017-10-27 17:40
#24
 | 
United States EmperorTrump 
eZaF 4 FaZe
2017-10-27 17:42
#76
 | 
Spain VIKTORAL 
go cry faze fanboy, faze got rekt and shown that teamwork is more important than frags
2017-10-27 20:27
lets go sk
2017-10-27 17:42
#26
 | 
Poland cGev 
Ez g2
2017-10-27 17:43
G2 will win this sh1ty tier 2 tournament ez
2017-10-27 17:43
SK*
2017-10-27 17:54
Nt fakeflag
2017-10-27 21:03
Major MVP with rating 0.94 LUL
2017-10-27 17:44
SK x G2 Grand Finals!!! xD
2017-10-27 17:44
#33
NiKo | 
United States skurr 
lesgo astralis
2017-10-27 17:47
Freaking VP caught a tailwind.
2017-10-27 17:48
#35
 | 
Brazil mth^ 
SK vs G2 would be INSANE...
2017-10-27 17:48
vp sk final vp to win this
2017-10-27 17:49
#37
 | 
Russia klepan 
ez for Astralis and VP
2017-10-27 17:50
#38
 | 
Spain Lorenzo_Lamas 
SK gonna win... if they dont choke against G2 on the finals...
2017-10-27 17:51
#39
 | 
Brazil davidzor 
Please Fallen do this. Let's beat the danishes and frenchs this time
2017-10-27 17:51
#40
 | 
Poland Kuboxx 
final for vp and sk
2017-10-27 17:52
SK vs G2 finals would be the dream, they always deliver.
2017-10-27 17:57
ez G2 vs SK
2017-10-27 17:59
SK win this
2017-10-27 18:08
SK vs g2 Finals SK choke once again (I hope not)
2017-10-27 18:14
#56
 | 
Singapore GOmatt 
sk vs vp REVENGE!!
2017-10-27 18:21
France Kenny "kennyS" Schrub 1.52
2017-10-27 18:33
#62
SpawN | 
Bulgaria Sickzz_ 
ez sk
2017-10-27 18:45
#63
 | 
Greece knk74 
I think sk will win this
2017-10-27 18:50
#64
 | 
Estonia jossd 
VP has no chance, whoever thinks otherwise is a delusional fanboy
2017-10-27 19:04
#68
 | 
Bosnia and Herzegovina Mancow 
Such a well prepared bait, even the team setup. Good job 7/8
2017-10-27 19:20
can't wait to laugh at you after vp lose. they won't even get 10 rounds across 2 maps
2017-10-28 10:27
#99
 | 
Bosnia and Herzegovina Mancow 
lol
2017-10-28 14:31
ahahahaha
2017-10-28 19:21
#101
 | 
Bosnia and Herzegovina Mancow 
Ahahahahhahahaha
2017-10-28 23:01
GO g2! <3
2017-10-27 19:05
SK vs G2 final? Agree? What's your prediction?
2017-10-27 19:20
#69
 | 
Ukraine kl1o 
go go VP
2017-10-27 19:33
sk 2-0 ast g2 2-0 vp sk 2-0 g2 easiest prediciton of my life
2017-10-27 19:46
#74
fnx | 
Brazil PeSAdelOz 
RT
2017-10-27 20:24
#81
 | 
Brazil Skimtlg 
finals bo5 bro
2017-10-27 22:04
good for EPIC-ENTER
2017-10-27 20:07
... but the possibility of the "Virtus.plow" making an appearance again...
2017-10-27 20:12
Without Snax LUL?
2017-10-27 20:54
#73
NiKo | 
France Bradicaa 
Faze out= Go G2!
2017-10-27 20:12
#75
 | 
Sweden Dino1 
Never really cheered for VP but i love a great come back/underdog story. GoGo VP
2017-10-27 20:26
#77
 | 
Denmark clutchkongen 
It looks like g2 is going to win this event. They looked so scary the past week.
2017-10-27 20:41
#82
huyak | 
Russia d1l1n3 
ez4navi (rofl), VP fans from Saint-Petersburg are coming)
2017-10-27 22:13
final is bo5 no one can beat SK in bo5 SK vs VP dream final
2017-10-27 22:49
#94
 | 
Indonesia FinZzz 
G2 can and always does my friend.
2017-10-28 05:38
#84
 | 
Brazil EnzoAirezZ 
If SK defeat Astralis is gg, 'cause the BO5 of SK is the best I NEED SEE SK DEFEATING VP IN THE FINAL PLZ
2017-10-27 22:54
#88
 | 
Denmark d1ckweed 
Astralis vs G2 final.
2017-10-28 00:57
#89
 | 
Denmark fm100 
Astralis always wins over SK when it matters and tey will do tommorow again
2017-10-28 01:09
G2 always struggling to win against underdog. Vp has a chance because they are unpredictable.
2017-10-28 01:27
#92
 | 
United States ViKaLiBuR 
And people thought FaZe were gonna make it to the finals... FaZe Up? FaZe DoWn.
2017-10-28 05:13
#93
 | 
Indonesia FinZzz 
No faze? Ez 4 G2
2017-10-28 05:37
Still can't believe FaZe could not make it :(
2017-10-28 06:03
#97
 | 
Europe KappaKaako 
VP vs Astralis final
2017-10-28 10:48
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