SL i-League Invitational Shanghai Preview

The Jing’an Sports Center is getting ready to host the StarLadder i-League Invitational in Shanghai, where eight teams from around the world will compete for a total prize pool of $150,000, of which $75,000 will be going to the victors.

The four-day event will kick off with GSL format groups to be played out integrally in best-of-threes, followed by semifinals, a third-place decider, and a grand final, after which the champions of the second invitational tournament by StarLadder and i-League will be crowned.

The tournament, which was supposed to feature Major winners Gambit and EU qualifier winners Space Soldiers, will finally have Virtus.pro and HAVU, EU qualifier runners-up, in their stead as visa issues and scheduling conflicts marred the aforementioned teams’ plans to attend. After those changes, here is what the group stage looks like:

Group A Group B
Denmark Heroic Poland Virtus.pro
China TYLOO Australia Renegades
Europe HellRaisers Finland HAVU
Russia Spirit China Flash

*All ratings from the past three months on LAN except HellRaisers whose ratings are online

Group A

Denmark Heroic #16 Age Rating 2.0
Denmark Nikolaj "niko" Kristensen 19 0.99
Denmark Jakob "JUGi" Hansen 20 0.97
Sweden Andreas "MODDII" Fridh 28 0.94
Denmark Patrick "es3tag" Hansen 21 0.86
Denmark Marco "Snappi" Pfeiffer 27 0.86

Offline placings in the past three months

5-8th United States ELEAGUE CS:GO Premier 2017
7-8th Greece ESG Tour Mykonos 2017

Heroic, one of the invited teams to Shanghai, are the top seed—ranked #16 in the world—and the favorites to take Group A. Other than being the highest ranked team by a fairly large margin (over 10 positions to the next team in Group A, HellRaisers at #27) they are the only team that consistently play offline against top competition. The Danes eliminated SK from the ELEAGUE Premier group stage and then went on to play the quarterfinals of the Atlanta based tournament where they lost to local rivals North. Before that, Heroic were present at ESG Tour Mykonos, although their showing there was less than stellar going out in last place with losses to Gambit and to the eventual champions of the Greek tournament, mousesports.

Heroic have a clear shot at the final if its stars show up

The Danish team hasn’t been as active as during other periods and has only played those two LANs in the past three months. Before that, however, the Danes maintained a continuity through time larger than most of their Group A opposition, having been a staple at events such as DreamHack Opens and other tournaments both large and small alike. The RFRSH-owned team is also the one with the most stable lineup as they haven’t made any changes to the starting roster since Valdemar "valde" Bjørn Vangså’s benching and es3tag’s signing in June, whereas all the other Group A teams in Shanghai have had movement in their ranks.

On top of being the only top 20 team in the group, they have maintained a solid top 20 ranking since the beginning of the year with only a slight dip to #21 during valde’s departure. Having the most contact with top-flight teams in leagues like ESL Pro League and ECS as well as playing at events like ESG Mykonos and ELEAGUE Premier on LAN puts Heroic one step above all Group A opposition.

This will be the first event for Heroic without a coach since the departure of Henrik "FeTiSh" Christensen, but having Snappi calling the shots should give the team enough security on the server to top the group. Added to that is JUGi’s ability to single-handedly turn the tables with his AWP if in good form and a best-of-three opener in which Heroic will have the chance to play some of their more comfortable maps like Overpass or Mirage against Spirit.

Europe HellRaisers #27 Age Rating 2.0
Ukraine Kirill "ANGE1" Karasiow 28 1.10
Jordan Issa "ISSAA" Murad 20 1.07
Hungary Bence "DeadFox" Böröcz 22 1.03
Estonia Kristjan "fejtZ" Allsaar 20 1.18
Slovakia Patrik "Zero" Žúdel (substitute) 19 1.05

Offline placings in the past three months

N/A

HellRaisers is one of the teams that suffered the most after the PGL Major Main Qualifier as the team completely fell apart. After the PGL Major rumors had ANGE1 moving, although it was finally Martin "STYKO" Styk who went to mousesports and Vladyslav "bondik" Nechyporchuk who also departed the team. Not long after that, Zero left the active roster disintegrating the core of the team. Since then HellRaisers has been rebuilding around IGL ANGE1 and AWPer DeadFox, first signing young Turkish prospect Özgür "woxic" Eker, world wanderer fejtZ—who was unable to find stability in North America or China and will now have a shot at settling with HellRaisers at home, and ISSAA, the first Jordanian professional Counter-Strike player.

Zero will be brought back to the active lineup for Shanghai, however, as woxic was unable to secure a visa for the Chinese event, further murking predictions surrounding the team. Despite being ranked #27 in the world there is actually little to go off of as Zero and fejtZ haven’t actually played together, and a key figure in this new lineup, woxic, will be missing.

ANGE1's side is an enigma offline as this team hasn't been to a LAN yet

If we’re to go by recent results, however, HellRaisers is a mixed bag. They have been performing decently in ESL Pro League, where they have a fatigue advantage over teams that have been traveling a lot to play top flight offline events while they stay home—HellRaisers hasn’t attended a LAN since DreamHack Atlanta with their old roster in July.

Playing against worse teams but in a more competitive environment, HellRaisers has also struggled, as they only qualified to DreamHack Denver out of myriad qualifiers—including the one for this event, which they were ultimately invited to—and missed it because woxic was unable to secure a visa to North America.

Playing in HellRaisers’s favor will be the fact that despite going through major structural changes, their group is not particularly strong. With the exception of Heroic, TYLOO has given up its throne as best team in Asia after struggling with teams like Renegades and Flash, and Spirit is a squad that has also been quiet internationally for well over half a year when they went 0-3 at the Major Qualifier in Atlanta. With these rivals, HellRaisers can still hope to sneak through to the playoffs if the opener against TYLOO goes their way. With Cache, Cobble, and Inferno highly likely to be thrown in the mix, chances are the team that can get comfortable in the server first will take the opener.

China TYLOO #39 Age Rating 2.0
Indonesia Hansel "BnTeT" Ferdinand 22 1.16
Ukraine Vladyslav "bondik" Nechyporchuk 24 1.13
China HaoWen "somebody" Xu 22 1.07
China Hui "DD" Wu 23 0.96
China Ke "captainMo" Liu 28 0.95

Offline placings in the past three months

2nd Korea Asia Minor - ELEAGUE Major 2018
3-th Russia EPICENTER 2017 Wild Card Qualifier
5-8th China WESG 2017 China Finals (3/5 of lineup)

Since YuLun "Summer" Cai, YuanZhang "Attacker" Sheng, and QiFang "Karsa" Su left TYLOO to create Flash, the Chinese giant has been losing momentum. Looking to expand outside national borders, TYLOO signed Luis "peacemaker" Tadeu as coach, BnTeT as their star player, and most recently bondik on loan from the team they will be playing the opening match against. More and more, TYLOO has lost the title of best team in Asia after losing two best-of-threes against Renegades in the Asia Minor and barely qualifying against Flash, winning in the last round of the decider map in the consolidation final.

Other than the Asia Minor and the EPICENTER 2017 Wild Card Qualifier which they expectedly lost 2-0 to FaZe, TYLOO hasn’t played at any other event other than the WESG 2017 China Finals where they played with Zhen "HZ" Huang and ZhenDong "Not7" Mo and finished in 5-8 place after losing to Flash. With such little activity it is hard to really see what TYLOO’s progression has been, and especially if the team’s communication has become any better—something many are skeptical about.

TYLOO’s fate could very much be intertwined with that of their opening match rivals, HellRaisers, as chances are they will end up facing each other once again in the Group A decider match unless Heroic somehow choke or Spirit surprise. If so, who gets out of the group may well come down to who can adjust quicker and more effectively in a rematch.

Russia Spirit #43 Age Rating 2.0
Russia Vadim "DavCost" Vasilyev 21 1.16
Russia Dmitry "S0tF1k" Forostyanko 23 1.16
Ukraine Pavel "COLDYY1" Veklenko 25 1.15
Russia Dmitriy "Dima" Bandurka 22 1.08
Ukraine Vladyslav "arch" Svistov 21 1.08

Offline placings in the past three months

3rd Romania CIS Minor - ELEAGUE Major 2018
1st Russia Binary Dragons Prestige LAN

Spirit made it to Shanghai after winning the CIS qualifier by beating AVANGAR in the final, a team they since lost to 2-0 on LAN in the CIS Minor. DavCost & co. don’t have much to go off of as their only two recent events were the CIS Minor where they came in third and the Binary Dragons Prestige LAN which they won. As far as online play goes, Spirit are in ESEA MDL Season 26, but aren’t looking too solid as they hold a subpar 2-6 record.

The core of this team has been together for a long time, but the replacement of Sergey "starix" Ischuk for arch doesn’t seem to have had a vast change in Spirit’s results. Going into the Shanghai event the Russian-Ukrainian team is the underdog in their group, especially opening up against the group favorite, Heroic. As several of the other teams in the group have been fairly inactive and have undergone structural changes, however, nothing is off the table as a lot of ends are open going into the Chinese event.

Group B

Poland Virtus.pro #6 Age Rating 2.0
Poland Paweł "byali" Bieliński 23 1.04
Poland Jarosław "pashaBiceps" Jarząbkowski 29 0.99
Poland Filip "NEO" Kubski 30 0.95
Poland Janusz "Snax" Pogorzelski 24 0.93
Poland Wiktor "TaZ" Wojtas 31 0.88

Offline placings in the past three months 

2nd Russia EPICENTER 2017
13-16th United States ELEAGUE CS:GO Premier 2017
7-8th United States ESL One New York 2017
4th Greece ESG Tour Mykonos
13-16th Sweden DreamHack Masters Malmö 2017

Last week the Polish players of Virtus.pro would have been the favorites as the #13 team in the world, although more by virtue of not having much opposition than because of being a particularly feared team. This week, however, everything changed after the Polish side put in an extremely solid showing at EPICENTER 2017 beating teams like Gambit, FaZe, and G2 on their way to one of the most exciting finals we’ve seen this year where they went down to SK in overtime of the fifth map, jumping to the #6 spot in the world in the process.

Now, anything other than completely smashing every other team attending the event in Shanghai will be seen as a defeat for the Poles, whose group is several tiers below the play NEO & co. showed they are capable of in Saint Petersburg after defeating two top 5 teams and a top 10 team. This being said, the ghosts of group stage exits at ELEAGUE Premier and ESL One New York could easily come back were Virtus.pro to flounder against such feeble opposition, making this an easy event but also one filled with pressure for just that reason.

Anything but a victory would be a disaster for the Poles after EPICENTER

In China, Virtus.pro will kick their run off against Flash, a team that wasn’t able to make it to the Main Qualifier of the upcoming ELEAGUE Major and that is well out of the top 20 at #40. Being as matches are best-of-three there is not much leverage for Summer and the rest of Flash as they and Virtus.pro share a similar map pool with Train, Mirage, Cache, and Inferno all being viable maps for their clash.

TaZ tweeted he hopes this will be the rebirth of Virtus.pro. As the veterans of the scene keep pushing the envelope it now remains to be seen if they can keep their momentum going and if they can try to consolidate themselves as a top contender again or if they will just have spurts of genius as they have had the past year, going dark for long periods of time and lighting up intermittently. This should be a good event for Virtus.pro to keep regaining confidence and closer to a permanent spot in the top 5, but could also go awry were the Poles to not secure a solid finish.

Australia Renegades #18 Age Rating 2.0
Canada Keith "NAF" Markovic 19 1.23
United States Noah "Nifty" Francis 19 1.04
Australia Aaron "AZR" Ward 25 1.02
Australia Karlo "USTILO" Pivac 24 1.00
Australia Justin "jks" Savage 21 0.97

Offline placings in the past three months

1st Korea Asia Minor - ELEAGUE Major 2018
3-4th United States DreamHack Open Denver 2017
13-16th United States ELEAGUE CS:GO Premier 2017
9-12th Sweden DreamHack Masters Malmö 2017

The Australian-American team is on an upward trajectory having broken into the top 20 for the first time this year. While Nifty has been coming into his own little by little and proving himself a worthy prospect both with the big green and calling in-game as Aleksandar "kassad" Trifunović’s protege, Renegades hit the jackpot picking up ex-OpTic NAF to the fill the slot of fifth player that had been open since Nemanja "nexa" Isaković was let go.

Renegades has had a rough go in recent history at events that are a bit out of their reach, such as DreamHack Masters Malmö and ELEAGUE Premier, the former with David "Jayzwalkingz" Kempner and the latter with NAF, where they ended in 9-12th and 13-16th place respectively. At events a little bit more attuned to their level, Renegades shone, like at DreamHack Open Denver where they made the semifinals before falling to BIG or the Asia Minor in which they finished first giving up but one map—which they lost in overtime—out of nine.

With SL i-League Shanghai Invitational being more akin to a DreamHack Open than a DreamHack Masters, Renegades has a good chance at making it out of the group behind Virtus.pro as the American-Australian team has recently proved they can cleanly beat Flash 2-0 and shouldn’t have much trouble with the rather inexperienced HAVU. Renegades shouldn’t be happy with anything less than a semifinal finish, and should strive to give Heroic and Virtus.pro a run for their money.

Finland HAVU #36 Age Rating 2.0
Finland Aleksi "Aleksib" Virolainen 20 1.38
Finland Jere "sergej" Salo 15 1.32
Finland Otto "ottoNd" Sihvo 19 1.25
Finland Jesse "KHRN" Grandell 27 1.22
Finland Mikko "xartE" Välimaa 25 1.16

Offline placings in the past three months

1st Finland Finnish Esports League Season 3 Finals
1st Finland Connection LAN 2017
1st Finland ROG MASTERS 2017 Nordic Qualifier
1st Finland Nordic Championship Season 1 Finals
1st Finland ESPORTSM.fi 2017 Finals

HAVU ended up with a spot in the Shanghai Invitational somewhat by chance, as Space Soldiers had a scheduling conflict and would be unable to attend the Chinese event. As the next team in line thanks to being the runners up in the European qualifier HAVU got the spot. The Finns have become the biggest team in their home country as iGame.com has been slowly disintegrating, and this union of veterans xartE and KHRN with three of the most talented youngsters in finland, Aleksib, ottoNd, and particularly the "too-young-to-play" sergej, has started to pay dividends as they rack up trophies locally. Now, HAVU will have to step it up against foreign opposition.

This team, which has been around with this lineup since summer, is completely unproven. Not only together, but the youngsters in this team will be at their first big international LAN this week in Shanghai, which could be an unsettling factor for some. Luckily for the Finns, other than Virtus.pro if they play like they did at EPICENTER, none of the teams in the group are amongst the best in the world, and HAVU will have a shot at playing several maps against a couple different teams to get into the groove of things.

sergej, the 15-year-old Finnish prospect, will debut internationally in Shanghai

Offline, HAVU only have local and regional results, all of which they have won and none of which are particularly worth mentioning. Online, it’s a handful of deep runs in qualifiers, including the one for this event in which they ultimately lost to Ismailcan "XANTARES" Dörtkardeş & co. For the young HAVU players, this event will certainly be a milestone. However, don’t expect them to go to far.

HAVU will open against Renegades, a team that has been going onward and upward as stalwarts AZR and jks got a solid youngster in Nifty and a lethal all-arounder in NAF. That being said, it is not impossible that a team like HAVU could give Renegades a run for their money despite a lack of experience, although it is more likely that they end up playing Flash for a spot in the decider and a few more maps under their belts.

China Flash #40 Age Rating 2.0
China YuanZhang "Attacker" Sheng 20 1.25
China YuLun "Summer" Cai 20 1.24
Malaysia Andrew "Kaze" Khong 23 1.23
China KunHua "LOVEYY" Bai 28 1.05
China QiFang "Karsa" Su 25 0.97

Offline placings in the past three months

3rd Korea Asia Minor - ELEAGUE Major 2018
1st China eXTREMESLAND Asia Finals 2017
3rd China eXTREMESLAND 2017 China Regional Finals
2nd China WESG 2017 China Finals (4/5 of team)
1st China CS:GO Super League 2017 - Summer Season Finals

Last but not least is the second Chinese team, Flash, where Summer and Attacker now ply their trade. Flash has been unable to dethrone TYLOO as the best in China, but Summer & co. also manage to beat them on occasion. They’re currently ranked #40, just one below their local rivals, and are at a fairly similar level to that of their domestic opponent.

Flash drew the short stick and will be kicking the tournament off against Virtus.pro, the heavy favorites to take the event after displaying fantastic Counter-Strike in Saint Petersburg last week. Flash’s options rather lie in beating HAVU and Renegades, although even the latter seem like a bit much to bite for the Chinese team as they lost to them 0-2 just two weeks ago at the Asia Minor.

On the positive side, this will be a good event to see what Flash has in store against international opposition, as most of their history is domestic, with a few matches against regional opposition scattered here and there. If Flash were able to make it to the decider, that should be considered a minor victory rather than a defeat.


The four day event will kick off with GSL format groups to be played out integrally in best-of-threes, followed by semifinals, a third-place decider, and a grand final, after which the champions of the second invitational tournament by StarLadder and i-League will be crowned.


The tournament, which was supposed to feature Major winners Gambit and EU qualifier winners Space Soldiers, will finally have Virtus.pro and HAVU, EU qualifier runners up, in their stead as visa issues and scheduling conflicts marred the aforementioned teams’ plans. After those changes, here is what the group stage will look like:


Group A


Heroic


Heroic are one of the invited teams to Shanghai, are the top seed—ranked #16 in the world—and are the favorites to take Group A. Other than being the highest ranked team by a fairly large margin (over 10 positions to the next team in Group A, HellRaisers at #27) is that they are the only team that consistently play offline against top competition. The Danes eliminated SK from the ELEAGUE Premier group stage and then went on to play the quarterfinals of the Atlanta based tournament where they lost to local rivals North. Before that, Heroic were present at ESG Tour Mykonos, although their showing there was less than stellar going out in last place with losses to Gambit and to the eventual champions of the Greek tournament, mousesports.


The Danish team hasn’t been as active as other periods, however, and has only played those two LANs in the past three months. Before that, however, the Danes have maintained a continuity through time larger than most of their Group A opposition, having been a staple at events such as DreamHack Opens and other tournaments both large and small alike. The RFRSH owned team is also the one with the most stable lineup as they haven’t made any changes to the starting roster since valde’s benching and es3tag’s signing in June, whereas all the other Group A teams in Shanghai have had movement in their ranks.


On top of being the only top 20 team in the group, they have maintained a solid top 20 ranking since the beginning of the year with only a slight dip to #21 during valde’s departure. Having the most contact with top flight teams online in leagues like ESL Pro League and ECS as well as playing at events like ESG Mykonos and ELEAGUE Premier on LAN puts Heroic one step above all group A opposition.


This will be the first event for Heroic without a coach since the departure of FeTiSh, but having Snappi calling the shots should give the team enough security in the server to make top the group. Added to that is JUGi’s ability to single-handedly turn the tables with his AWP if in good form and a best-of-three opener in which Heroic will have the chance to play some of their more comfortable maps like Overpass or Mirage against Spirit.


HellRaisers


HellRaisers are one of the teams that suffered the most after the PGL Major Main Qualifier as the team completely fell apart. After the PGL Major rumors had ANGE1 moving, although it was finally STYKO who went to mousesports and bondik who decided to take some time off from the team. Not long after that, Zero left the active roster disintegrating the core of the team. Since then HellRaisers has been rebuilding around IGL ANGE1 and AWPer DeadFox, first signing young Turkish prospect woxic, world wide wanderer fejtZ—who was unable to find stability in North America or China and will now have a shot at settling with HellRaisers at home, and ISSAA the first Jordanian professional Counter-Strike player.


Zero will be brought back to the active lineup for Shanghai, however, as woxic was unable to secure a visa for the Chinese event, further murking predictions surrounding the team. Despite being ranked #27 in the world there is actually little to go off of as Zero and fejtZ haven’t actually played together, and a key figure in this new lineup, woxic, will be missing.


If we’re to go by recent results, however, HellRaisers is a mixed bag. They have been performing decently in ESL Pro League, where they have a fatigue advantage over teams that have been traveling a lot to play top flight offline events while they stay home—HellRaisers hasn’t attended a LAN since DreamHack Atlanta with their old roster in July. Playing against worse teams but in a more competitive environment, HellRaisers has also struggled, as they only qualified to DreamHack Denver out of myriad qualifiers—including the one for this event—and missed it because woxic was unable to secure a visa to North America.


Playing in HellRaisers’s favor will be the fact that despite going through major structural changes, their group is not particularly strong. With the exception of Heroic, TYLOO have given up their throne as best team in Asia after struggling with teams like Renegades and Flash, and Spirit being a squad that has also been quiet internationally for well over half a year. With these rivals, HellRaisers can still hope to sneak through to the playoffs if the opener against TYLOO goes their way. With Cache, Cobble, and Inferno highly likely to be thrown in the mix, chances are the team that can get comfortable in the server first will take the opener.


TyLoo


Since Summer, Attacker, and Karsa left TYLOO to create Flash, the Chinese giant has been losing momentum. Looking to expand outside national borders, TYLOO signed peacemaker as coach, BnTeT as their new star player, and most recently took bondik on loan from the team they will be playing their opening match against. More and more, TYLOO have lost the title of best team in Asia after losing two best-of-threes against Renegades in the Asia Minor and barely qualifying against Flash, winning on the last round of the decider map in the consolidation final.


Other than the Asia Minor and the EPICENTER 2017 Wild Card Qualifier which they expectedly lost 2-0 to FaZe, TYLOO haven’t played any other event other than the WESG 2017 China Finals where they played with HZ and Not7 and finished in 5-8 place after losing to Flash. With such little activity it is hard to really see what TYLOO’s progression has been, and especially if the team’s communication has become any better—something many are skeptical about.


TYLOO’s could very much be intertwined with that of their opening match rivals, HellRaisers, as chances are they could end up facing each other once again in the Group A decider match were Heroic to somehow choke or Spirit to surprise. If so, who gets out of the group may well come down to who can adjust quicker and more effectively for a rematch.


Spirit


Spirit made it to Shanghai after winning the CIS qualifier by beating AVANGAR in the final, a team they since lost to 2-0 on LAN in the CIS Minor (although they were eventually able to qualify by beating pro100 in the consolidation final). DavCost & co. don’t have much to go off of as their only two recent events were the CIS Minor where they came second to Quantum Bellator Fire and the Binary Dragons Prestige LAN which they won. As far as online play goes, Spirit are in ESEA MDL Season 26, but aren’t looking too solid as they hold a vastly subpar 2-6 record.


The core of this team has been together for a long time, but the replacement of starix to arch doesn’t seem to have had a vast change in Spirit’s results. Going into the Shanghai event the Russian-Ukrainian team is the underdog in their group, especially opening up against the group favorite, Heroic. As several of the other teams in the group have been fairly inactive and have undergone structural changes, however, nothing is off the table as a lot of ends are open going into the Chinese event.



Group B


Virtus.pro


Last week, Virtus.pro would have been the favorites as the #13 team in the world, although more by virtue of not having much opposition than because they were a particularly feared team. This week, however, everything changed after the Polish side put in an extremely solid showing at EPICENTER 2017 beating teams like Gambit, FaZe, and G2 on their way to one of the most exciting finals we’ve seen this year where they went down to SK in overtime of the fifth map.


Now, anything other than completely smashing every other team attending the event in Shanghai will be seen as a defeat for the Poles, whose group is several tiers below the play NEO & co. showed they are capable of in Saint Petersburg after defeating two top 5 teams and a top 10 team. This being said, the ghosts of group stage exits at ELEAGUE Premier 2017 and ESL One New York could easily come back were Virtus.pro to flounder against such feeble opposition, making this an easy event but also one filled with pressure for just that reason.


In China, Virtus.pro will kick their run off against Flash, a team that wasn’t able to make it to the Main Qualifier of the upcoming ELEAGUE Major, and that is well out of the top20 at #40. Being as matches are best-of-three there is not much leverage for Summer and the rest of Flash as they and Virtus.pro share a similar map pool with Train, Mirage, Cache, and Inferno all being viable maps for both teams.


TaZ said he hopes this will be the rebirth of Virtus.pro as the veterans of the scene keep pushing the envelope, it now remains to be seen if they can keep their momentum going and if they can try to consolidate as a top contender again or if they will just have spurts of genius as they have had the past year, going dark for long periods of time and lighting up intermittently. This should be a good event for Virtus.pro to keep regaining confidence and closer to a permanent spot in the top 5.


Renegades


The Australian-American team are in an upward trajectory having broken into the top 20 for the first time this year. While Nifty has been coming into his own little by little and proving himself a worthy prospect both with the big green and calling in-game as kassad’s protege, Renegades hit the jackpot picking up ex-OpTic NAF to the fill the slot of fifth player that had been open since nexa was let go.


Renegades have had a rough go in recent history at events that are a bit out of their reach, such as DreamHack Masters Malmö and ELEAGUE Premier 2017, the former with Jayzwalkingz and the latter with NAF, where they ended 9-12 and 13-16 respectively. At events a little bit more attuned to their level, Renegades shone, like at DreamHack Open Denver where they made the semifinals before falling to BIG or the Asia Minor in which they finished first giving up but one map—which they lost in overtime—out of nine.


With SL i-League Shanghai Invitational being more akin to a DreamHack Open than a DreamHack Masters, Renegades has a good chance at making out of the group behind Virtus.pro as they have recently proved they can cleanly beat Flash 2-0 and shouldn’t have much trouble with a rather inexperienced HAVU. Renegades shouldn’t be happy with anything less than a semifinal finish, and should strive to give Heroic and Virtus.pro a run for their money.


HAVU


HAVU ended up with a spot in the Shanghai Invitational somewhat by chance, as Space Soldiers had a scheduling conflict and would be unable to attend the Chinese event, and their spot was given to the next team in line, HAVU, the runners up in the European qualifier. The Finns have become the biggest team in their home country as iGame.com has been slowly disintegrating. The union of veterans xartE and KHRN with three of the most talented youngsters in finland, Aleksib, ottoNd, and particularly the too-young-to-play sergej has started to pay dividends.


This team, which has been around with this lineup since summer, is completely unproven. Not only together, but the youngsters in this team will be at their first big international LAN this week in Shanghai, which could be an unsettling factor for some. Luckily for the Finns, other than Virtus.pro if they play like they did at EPICENTER, none of the teams in the group are amongst the best in the world, and HAVU will have a shot at playing several maps against a couple different teams to get into the groove of things.


Offline, HAVU only have local and regional results, all of which they have won and none of them worth mentioning. Online, it’s a handful of deep runs in qualifiers, including the one for this event in which they ultimately lost to XANTARES & co. For the young HAVU players, this event will certainly be a milestone. However, don’t expect a deep run.


HAVU will open against Renegades, a team that has been going in an upward trajectory as stalwarts AZR and jks got a solid youngster in Nifty and an experienced and lethal youngster in NAF. That being said, it is not impossible that a team like HAVU could give Renegades a run for their money despite a lack of experience, although it is more likely that they give Flash a run for their money in the Group B losers’ match.


Flash


Last but not least i the second Chinese team, Flash, where Summer and Attacker now ply their trade. Flash have been unable to dethrone TYLOO as the best in China, but they’ve also managed to beat them on occasion. They’re currently ranked #40, just one below their local rivals, and are at a fairly similar level to that of their domestic rivals.


Flash drew the short stick and will be kicking the tournament off against Virtus.pro, the heavy favorites to take the event after displaying fantastic Counter-Strike in Saint Petersburg last week. Flash’s options rather lie in beating HAVU and Renegades, although even the latter seem like a bit much to bite for the Chinese team as they lost to them just two weeks ago.


On the positive side, this will be a good event to see what Flash have in store against international opposition, as most of their history is domestic, with a few matches against regional opposition scattered here and there. If Flash were able to make it to the decider, that should be considered a minor victory rather than a defeat.


Turkey Ismailcan 'XANTARES' Dörtkardeş
Ismailcan 'XANTARES' Dörtkardeş
Age:
24
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.22
Maps played:
978
KPR:
0.86
DPR:
0.70
APR:
0.17
Poland Paweł 'byali' Bieliński
Paweł 'byali' Bieliński
Age:
25
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
1.02
Maps played:
1445
KPR:
0.70
DPR:
0.67
APR:
0.14
Finland Jere 'sergej' Salo
Jere 'sergej' Salo
Age:
17
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.13
Maps played:
509
KPR:
0.76
DPR:
0.63
APR:
0.15
Hungary Bence 'DeadFox' Böröcz
Bence 'DeadFox' Böröcz
Age:
24
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
0.98
Maps played:
807
KPR:
0.66
DPR:
0.66
APR:
0.13
Serbia Nemanja 'nexa' Isaković
Nemanja 'nexa' Isaković
Age:
22
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.10
Maps played:
750
KPR:
0.73
DPR:
0.63
APR:
0.14
Australia Aaron 'AZR' Ward
Aaron 'AZR' Ward
Age:
26
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.00
Maps played:
819
KPR:
0.70
DPR:
0.69
APR:
0.14
Finland Otto 'ottoNd' Sihvo
Otto 'ottoNd' Sihvo
Age:
21
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.12
Maps played:
621
KPR:
0.75
DPR:
0.62
APR:
0.11
China QiFang 'Karsa' Su
QiFang 'Karsa' Su
Age:
27
Team:
Rating 1.0:
0.95
Maps played:
358
KPR:
0.63
DPR:
0.65
APR:
0.15
Denmark Nikolaj 'niko' Kristensen
Nikolaj 'niko' Kristensen
Age:
21
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.04
Maps played:
821
KPR:
0.70
DPR:
0.65
APR:
0.13
Denmark Marco 'Snappi' Pfeiffer
Marco 'Snappi' Pfeiffer
Age:
29
Team:
Rating 1.0:
0.97
Maps played:
1042
KPR:
0.67
DPR:
0.68
APR:
0.13
China HaoWen 'somebody' Xu
HaoWen 'somebody' Xu
Age:
24
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.08
Maps played:
861
KPR:
0.74
DPR:
0.67
APR:
0.14
Denmark Henrik 'FeTiSh' Christensen
Henrik 'FeTiSh' Christensen
Age:
32
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
0.86
Maps played:
239
KPR:
0.58
DPR:
0.67
APR:
0.17
Poland Wiktor 'TaZ' Wojtas
Wiktor 'TaZ' Wojtas
Age:
33
Team:
Rating 1.0:
0.98
Maps played:
1729
KPR:
0.67
DPR:
0.67
APR:
0.13
Sweden Andreas 'MODDII' Fridh
Andreas 'MODDII' Fridh
Age:
30
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
1.00
Maps played:
1123
KPR:
0.67
DPR:
0.66
APR:
0.14
Sweden David 'Jayzwalkingz' Kempner
David 'Jayzwalkingz' Kempner
Age:
22
Rating 1.0:
0.95
Maps played:
325
KPR:
0.64
DPR:
0.67
APR:
0.11
Denmark Patrick 'es3tag' Hansen
Patrick 'es3tag' Hansen
Age:
23
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.03
Maps played:
898
KPR:
0.71
DPR:
0.67
APR:
0.15
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
Ukraine Sergey 'starix' Ischuk
Sergey 'starix' Ischuk
Age:
31
Team:
Rating 1.0:
0.97
Maps played:
573
KPR:
0.66
DPR:
0.67
APR:
0.14
Russia Vadim 'DavCost' Vasilyev
Vadim 'DavCost' Vasilyev
Age:
23
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.07
Maps played:
924
KPR:
0.72
DPR:
0.65
APR:
0.12
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
Russia Dmitriy 'Dima' Bandurka
Dmitriy 'Dima' Bandurka
Age:
24
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
0.97
Maps played:
968
KPR:
0.68
DPR:
0.71
APR:
0.15
Australia Karlo 'USTILO' Pivac
Karlo 'USTILO' Pivac
Age:
26
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.00
Maps played:
661
KPR:
0.70
DPR:
0.70
APR:
0.15
China Ke 'captainMo' Liu
Ke 'captainMo' Liu
Age:
30
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.04
Maps played:
708
KPR:
0.72
DPR:
0.68
APR:
0.12
Australia Justin 'jks' Savage
Justin 'jks' Savage
Age:
23
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.09
Maps played:
816
KPR:
0.72
DPR:
0.63
APR:
0.13
Denmark Valdemar 'valde' Bjørn Vangså
Valdemar 'valde' Bjørn Vangså
Age:
24
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.10
Maps played:
828
KPR:
0.75
DPR:
0.66
APR:
0.14
Canada Keith 'NAF' Markovic
Keith 'NAF' Markovic
Age:
21
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.09
Maps played:
1105
KPR:
0.73
DPR:
0.64
APR:
0.16
Finland Jesse 'KHRN' Grandell
Jesse 'KHRN' Grandell
Age:
29
Team:
Rating 1.0:
0.97
Maps played:
692
KPR:
0.65
DPR:
0.66
APR:
0.14
Denmark Jakob 'JUGi' Hansen
Jakob 'JUGi' Hansen
Age:
22
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.11
Maps played:
836
KPR:
0.73
DPR:
0.61
APR:
0.11
Jordan Issa 'ISSAA' Murad
Issa 'ISSAA' Murad
Age:
22
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
1.08
Maps played:
524
KPR:
0.74
DPR:
0.66
APR:
0.12
Ukraine Vladyslav 'bondik' Nechyporchuk
Vladyslav 'bondik' Nechyporchuk
Age:
26
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.03
Maps played:
1145
KPR:
0.70
DPR:
0.65
APR:
0.13
Ukraine Kirill 'ANGE1' Karasiow
Kirill 'ANGE1' Karasiow
Age:
30
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
1.00
Maps played:
1607
KPR:
0.70
DPR:
0.71
APR:
0.17
Finland Aleksi 'Aleksib' Virolainen
Aleksi 'Aleksib' Virolainen
Age:
22
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
1.01
Maps played:
588
KPR:
0.68
DPR:
0.65
APR:
0.18
Ukraine Vladyslav 'arch' Svistov
Vladyslav 'arch' Svistov
Age:
23
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
0.94
Maps played:
590
KPR:
0.66
DPR:
0.71
APR:
0.13
Serbia Aleksandar 'kassad' Trifunović
Aleksandar 'kassad' Trifunović
Age:
32
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
0.75
Maps played:
99
KPR:
0.52
DPR:
0.73
APR:
0.13
Indonesia Hansel 'BnTeT' Ferdinand
Hansel 'BnTeT' Ferdinand
Age:
24
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.20
Maps played:
615
KPR:
0.80
DPR:
0.61
APR:
0.15
Slovakia Patrik 'Zero' Žúdel
Patrik 'Zero' Žúdel
Age:
21
Rating 1.0:
1.03
Maps played:
596
KPR:
0.69
DPR:
0.63
APR:
0.12
China ZhenDong 'Not7' Mo
ZhenDong 'Not7' Mo
Age:
29
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.00
Maps played:
133
KPR:
0.70
DPR:
0.70
APR:
0.16
Estonia Kristjan 'fejtZ' Allsaar
Kristjan 'fejtZ' Allsaar
Age:
22
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
1.10
Maps played:
572
KPR:
0.76
DPR:
0.66
APR:
0.13
China Zhen 'HZ' Huang
Zhen 'HZ' Huang
Age:
29
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
1.07
Maps played:
425
KPR:
0.74
DPR:
0.67
APR:
0.17
China YuanZhang 'Attacker' Sheng
YuanZhang 'Attacker' Sheng
Age:
22
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
1.11
Maps played:
821
KPR:
0.77
DPR:
0.67
APR:
0.14
United States Noah 'Nifty' Francis
Noah 'Nifty' Francis
Age:
21
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.01
Maps played:
767
KPR:
0.68
DPR:
0.66
APR:
0.09
Finland Mikko 'xartE' Välimaa
Mikko 'xartE' Välimaa
Age:
27
Team:
Rating 1.0:
0.92
Maps played:
893
KPR:
0.61
DPR:
0.66
APR:
0.15
China Hui 'DD' Wu
Hui 'DD' Wu
Age:
25
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.07
Maps played:
742
KPR:
0.74
DPR:
0.67
APR:
0.16
China YuLun 'Summer' Cai
YuLun 'Summer' Cai
Age:
22
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.11
Maps played:
828
KPR:
0.75
DPR:
0.64
APR:
0.14
Malaysia Andrew 'Kaze' Khong
Andrew 'Kaze' Khong
Age:
25
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.20
Maps played:
505
KPR:
0.79
DPR:
0.61
APR:
0.12
Slovakia Martin 'STYKO' Styk
Martin 'STYKO' Styk
Age:
23
Team:
Rating 1.0:
0.98
Maps played:
1015
KPR:
0.66
DPR:
0.66
APR:
0.14
Poland Janusz 'Snax' Pogorzelski
Janusz 'Snax' Pogorzelski
Age:
26
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.05
Maps played:
1515
KPR:
0.71
DPR:
0.66
APR:
0.14
Russia Dmitry 'S0tF1k' Forostyanko
Dmitry 'S0tF1k' Forostyanko
Age:
24
Team:
Rating 1.0:
0.94
Maps played:
977
KPR:
0.65
DPR:
0.69
APR:
0.14
Ukraine Pavel 'COLDYY1' Veklenko
Pavel 'COLDYY1' Veklenko
Age:
27
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.06
Maps played:
947
KPR:
0.72
DPR:
0.65
APR:
0.13
China KunHua 'LOVEYY' Bai
KunHua 'LOVEYY' Bai
Age:
30
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
1.04
Maps played:
700
KPR:
0.72
DPR:
0.68
APR:
0.15
Brazil Luis 'peacemaker' Tadeu
Luis 'peacemaker' Tadeu
Age:
31
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
0.46
Maps played:
2
KPR:
0.21
DPR:
0.66
APR:
0.17
Turkey Özgür 'woxic' Eker
Özgür 'woxic' Eker
Age:
21
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.15
Maps played:
687
KPR:
0.77
DPR:
0.62
APR:
0.11
yos
2017-11-01 18:45
#3
 | 
Spain Dayno000 
ofc
2017-11-01 18:45
ez 1st comment now i can die with no regrets.
2017-11-01 18:46
ez 4 sergej, the best young talent ever
2017-11-01 18:47
#12
 | 
Poland Oleczeq 
nt
2017-11-01 19:33
#13
dennis | 
Latvia De1Co 
Easy VP and Havu in finals
2017-11-01 19:48
NT, frozen
2017-11-02 07:13
fak
2017-11-01 18:45
#5
 | 
United States ichibaNcs 
tier 40000000 tournament
2017-11-01 18:46
#7
NiKo | 
Netherlands duudiGOD 
All in HAVU have 1.16 kd ratio + luul
2017-11-01 18:53
#8
 | 
Saudi Arabia Cookey29 
Epicentre 20017! My BOI
2017-11-01 19:08
#9
 | 
Israel Encryp7eD 
LMAO noticed that too
2017-11-01 19:14
#10
 | 
Poland sajlent 
onlineraisers xd
2017-11-01 19:14
#11
 | 
Poland Marcines 
ez for virtus.plow
2017-11-01 19:30
ez FLASH
2017-11-01 19:53
Denmark Heroic #16 Age Rating 2.0 Denmark Nikolaj "niko" Kristensen 19 0.99 Denmark Jakob "JUGi" Hansen 20 0.97 Sweden Andreas "MODDII" Fridh 28 0.94 Denmark Patrick "es3tag" Hansen 21 0.86 Denmark Marco "Snappi" Pfeiffer 27 0.86 LOL
2017-11-01 20:06
#16
 | 
Brazil Gunzel 
Ez for Sirgay
2017-11-01 20:35
HAVUJA EZ
2017-11-01 20:44
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