IEM Oakland semi-finals preview

Striker
November 18th, 2017 15:27

IEM Oakland has moved from the studios in Burbank to Oakland's Oracle Arena for the semi-finals, set to begin later today with NiP versus SK, followed by FaZe and Cloud9. Here is our in-depth preview of today's two match-ups.

After the group stage, four teams played the quarter-finals in Burbank, California, as SK defeated OpTic without breaking a sweat while Cloud9 edged Gambit on their way to the Oracle Arena stage.

The semi-finals begin later today with the Brazilian side taking on NiP at 22:00, followed by FaZe versus Cloud9 — a rematch from ESL One New York's semi-finals.

Ratings used are from IEM Oakland
Saturday, 22:00
SK (EGB.com Rate: 4.308)
  NiP (EGB.com Rate: 10.664)
Brazil Fernando "fer" Alvarenga 1.31   Sweden Fredrik "REZ" Sterner 1.46
Brazil Marcelo "coldzera" David 1.20   Sweden Patrik "f0rest" Lindberg 1.38
Brazil Gabriel "FalleN" Toledo 1.12 vs. Sweden William "draken" Sundin 1.18
Brazil Ricardo "boltz" Prass 1.01   Sweden Christopher "GeT_RiGhT" Alesund 1.15
Brazil Epitacio "TACO" de Melo 0.90   Sweden Richard "Xizt" Landström 0.91
      Sweden Björn "THREAT" Pers (coach)

SK's journey to playoffs was surprisingly quite bumpy, considering how strong they had looked early at EPICENTER, three weeks ago. At IEM, the Brazilian squad saw their winning streak on Overpass come to an end against Astralis — the only team who seem to be able to contest FalleN's roster on that map —, just barely survived Cobblestone against EnVyUs, with their other Cobble match getting scarily close as well (16-13 vs. NiP), and lost to Cloud9 on Train.

Meanwhile, NiP's path looked much more comfortable. There's an asterisk next to the Swedes' 4-1 record in the groups due to Astralis missing Nicolai "device" Reedtz in their opening match, but their loss to SK aside, they were always in control of their matches.

REZ has never looked better in NiP, which may be a sign of a brighter future for the Swedish squad, who were hoping to reinvigorate the team with his addition earlier this year. The 19-year-old has played a huge part in NiP's run as the highest-rated player of IEM Oakland so far, with f0rest hot on his heels as the second-highest, and GeT_RiGhT and draken also playing consistently well throughout the group stage.

NiP are liking their chances against SK

On the other side, it is no surprise to see fer, coldzera, and FalleN as SK's top three performers — that's how it's almost always been —, as well as boltz with a steady contribution, his slow start in the EnVyUs opener aside.

SK's shaky showing thus far gives NiP the best chance this lineup has ever had of making the final at a big event like IEM. Their map pool is looking quite good against the Brazilians for several reasons, first of all due to one of NiP's worst maps, Inferno, being a pain in SK's side as well. Thanks to that, the Swedish side can get away with banning Mirage without getting punished.

SK will almost undoubtedly find themselves forced to play Cache for only the second time since the last Major. FalleN's squad will either pick Overpass, a map they feel most comfortable on and one NiP likes very much as well, or one of Cobblestone and Train. Whichever map gets picked, SK remain the favourites simply because they are the better team on paper, but the Swedes will fancy their chances very much.

Saturday, 01:50
FaZe (EGB.com Rate: 4.562)
  Cloud9 (EGB.com Rate: 13.997)
Bosnia and Herzegovina Nikola "NiKo" Kovač 1.18   United States Tarik "tarik" Celik 1.15
Norway Håvard "rain" Nygaard 1.16   United States Tyler "Skadoodle" Latham 1.15
Slovakia Ladislav "GuardiaN" Kovács 1.12 vs. United States Jake "Stewie2K" Yip 1.03
Sweden Olof "olofmeister" Kajbjer 1.11   United States Timothy "autimatic" Ta 1.02
Denmark Finn "karrigan" Andersen 1.00   United States Will "RUSH" Wierzba 0.97
Sweden Robert "RobbaN" Dahlström (coach)   United States Soham "valens" Chowdhury (coach)

A good chunk of FaZe's matches at IEM Oakland so far were quite challenging for the European superteam. A close match with G2 in the opener was to be expected, but Renegades almost pulling off a comeback from a massive deficit on Train and Gambit crushing karrigan & co. on Mirage — less so. Nonetheless, FaZe clinched first place in the chaotic round robin and earned a direct ticket to the semis.

Meanwhile, Cloud9 were part of Group A and managed to grab uncontested wins over two of the group's favorites, SK and Astralis, but fell in similar fashion to NiP on Overpass and EnVyUs on Cobblestone. Placing second after all, the Americans faced Gambit in the quarter-finals and ran away with a tight win, conceding Overpass in overtime before grabbing Cobblestone and Mirage.

Cloud9's last encounter with FaZe ended with massive disappointment, but karrigan's team showed their weaknesses since then and the Americans have only grown

FaZe's group stage run was very much a team effort, with rain and olofmeister more or less back to normal after a rough showing at EPICENTER — a good sign going forward. On Cloud9's side, the top performers were not the usual suspects, Stewie2K and autimatic, but instead tarik and Skadoodle, who led the way in their team's important wins.

We're on course to see Train as Cloud9's best map (where they currently hold a 7-0 winning streak on LAN), while FaZe's most likely pick is Overpass, being a team that likes to alter vetoes based on their opponents' weaknesses. Mirage would be a fantastic decider as it's a strong map for both teams, but karrigan could instead steer the veto towards Inferno, which would be bad news for Cloud9. The series seems destined to go to three maps should Cloud9's streak on Train survive, but ultimately FaZe are the favorites here.

Brazil Marcelo 'coldzera' David
Marcelo 'coldzera' David
Age:
23
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.22
Maps played:
686
KPR:
0.82
DPR:
0.60
APR:
0.12
Brazil Epitacio 'TACO' de Melo
Epitacio 'TACO' de Melo
Age:
22
Team:
Rating 1.0:
0.96
Maps played:
595
KPR:
0.63
DPR:
0.63
APR:
0.13
Sweden Robert 'RobbaN' Dahlström
Robert 'RobbaN' Dahlström
Age:
-
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
0.91
Maps played:
3
KPR:
0.47
DPR:
0.55
APR:
0.03
United States Soham 'valens' Chowdhury
Soham 'valens' Chowdhury
Age:
-
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
0.77
Maps played:
166
KPR:
0.51
DPR:
0.70
APR:
0.15
Slovakia Ladislav 'GuardiaN' Kovács
Ladislav 'GuardiaN' Kovács
Age:
26
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.15
Maps played:
1045
KPR:
0.77
DPR:
0.62
APR:
0.11
United States Tarik 'tarik' Celik
Tarik 'tarik' Celik
Age:
21
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.07
Maps played:
749
KPR:
0.74
DPR:
0.68
APR:
0.15
United States Tyler 'Skadoodle' Latham
Tyler 'Skadoodle' Latham
Age:
24
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.08
Maps played:
826
KPR:
0.69
DPR:
0.58
APR:
0.11
United States Jake 'Stewie2K' Yip
Jake 'Stewie2K' Yip
Age:
19
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.08
Maps played:
619
KPR:
0.75
DPR:
0.69
APR:
0.15
Bosnia and Herzegovina Nikola 'NiKo' Kovač
Nikola 'NiKo' Kovač
Age:
20
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.17
Maps played:
725
KPR:
0.82
DPR:
0.68
APR:
0.14
Sweden Patrik 'f0rest' Lindberg
Patrik 'f0rest' Lindberg
Age:
29
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.15
Maps played:
1241
KPR:
0.78
DPR:
0.65
APR:
0.13
United States Timothy 'autimatic' Ta
Timothy 'autimatic' Ta
Age:
21
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.08
Maps played:
648
KPR:
0.76
DPR:
0.68
APR:
0.14
Sweden Björn 'THREAT' Pers
Björn 'THREAT' Pers
Age:
29
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
0.81
Maps played:
49
KPR:
0.54
DPR:
0.67
APR:
0.14
Sweden Christopher 'GeT_RiGhT' Alesund
Christopher 'GeT_RiGhT' Alesund
Age:
27
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.16
Maps played:
1270
KPR:
0.78
DPR:
0.63
APR:
0.15
Sweden William 'draken' Sundin
William 'draken' Sundin
Age:
22
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.09
Maps played:
552
KPR:
0.74
DPR:
0.64
APR:
0.10
Brazil Gabriel 'FalleN' Toledo
Gabriel 'FalleN' Toledo
Age:
26
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.10
Maps played:
732
KPR:
0.72
DPR:
0.59
APR:
0.11
Denmark Nicolai 'device' Reedtz
Nicolai 'device' Reedtz
Age:
22
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.16
Maps played:
1011
KPR:
0.78
DPR:
0.63
APR:
0.13
Denmark Finn 'karrigan' Andersen
Finn 'karrigan' Andersen
Age:
27
Team:
Rating 1.0:
0.95
Maps played:
1112
KPR:
0.65
DPR:
0.68
APR:
0.14
Sweden Richard 'Xizt' Landström
Richard 'Xizt' Landström
Age:
26
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.03
Maps played:
1269
KPR:
0.70
DPR:
0.65
APR:
0.17
Brazil Fernando 'fer' Alvarenga
Fernando 'fer' Alvarenga
Age:
26
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.12
Maps played:
728
KPR:
0.78
DPR:
0.67
APR:
0.17
Sweden Olof 'olofmeister' Kajbjer
Olof 'olofmeister' Kajbjer
Age:
25
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.11
Maps played:
1000
KPR:
0.76
DPR:
0.65
APR:
0.14
Norway Håvard 'rain' Nygaard
Håvard 'rain' Nygaard
Age:
23
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.08
Maps played:
750
KPR:
0.75
DPR:
0.69
APR:
0.15
Brazil Ricardo 'boltz' Prass
Ricardo 'boltz' Prass
Age:
20
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.08
Maps played:
691
KPR:
0.73
DPR:
0.64
APR:
0.17
United States Will 'RUSH' Wierzba
Will 'RUSH' Wierzba
Age:
23
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.04
Maps played:
672
KPR:
0.72
DPR:
0.67
APR:
0.16
Sweden Fredrik 'REZ' Sterner
Fredrik 'REZ' Sterner
Age:
19
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.07
Maps played:
506
KPR:
0.72
DPR:
0.65
APR:
0.14
#1
 | 
Mongolia Tendies 
Good luck nip, sk, faze and c9, may the best win
2017-11-18 15:28
#5
 | 
Brazil GKR48 
+1
2017-11-18 15:37
ezyy for faze.... faze sk final and faze 3-1 ezyyyyyy..
2017-11-18 15:59
#48
 | 
Brazil Bullitt2k 
Dream
2017-11-18 16:04
faze never won vs sk bo3.. i want faze to win but its true it will be hard matchup
2017-11-18 16:06
#52
kNgV- | 
Brazil RaelG 
that is a Bo5, will be a really hard matchup.
2017-11-18 16:35
#57
 | 
Brazil igricardf 
*if* it comes to happen, nip has realy good team
2017-11-18 17:37
#58
kNgV- | 
Brazil RaelG 
Historically yes, and they are also making a good campaign this tournament.
2017-11-18 17:41
#62
 | 
United States STERBENVII 
I feel like NiP is still weak atm, but I feel as if NiP magic will come in today, causing SK to lose...
2017-11-18 18:07
#84
 | 
Brazil igricardf 
I hate when I am rigth :(
2017-11-19 01:26
#59
 | 
India kunji 
it will be b03 as SK will wind up the game in 3 maps. ez SK
2017-11-18 17:44
lol sk out gg .........good bye sk nubs
2017-11-19 01:47
i actually hoped to see c9 vs sk like esl one cologne and epl s4 but it never happens :(
2017-11-19 04:51
cloud9 cant win against faze
2017-11-19 14:30
#22
fer | 
Brazil qmatt 
amazing games shall come
2017-11-18 15:30
#26
 | 
India L1nu5 
+1
2017-11-18 15:33
Gl all
2017-11-18 15:27
Sk
2017-11-18 15:27
#4
L.K.S | 
Turkey xAiakos 
ez clown9
2017-11-18 15:27
EZ for SK Gaming.
2017-11-18 15:28
#7
TACO | 
Brazil TonimSan 
top #10
2017-11-18 15:28
#8
f0rest | 
Yugoslavia Bodhii 
let's go GOAT f0rest!
2017-11-18 15:28
#9
 | 
United States mbolton1990 
yooo
2017-11-18 15:28
Ez SK
2017-11-18 15:28
#11
 | 
Brazil LuCkY1z 
Final = SK x FaZe
2017-11-18 15:28
#15
 | 
Venezuela RetrybuterZ 
Not today.
2017-11-18 15:29
#23
 | 
Brazil GKR48 
Yes, the final will be tomorrow
2017-11-18 15:30
#24
 | 
Venezuela RetrybuterZ 
Ez nip
2017-11-18 15:31
#30
device | 
Russia el1zzy 
nip vs eZaF in final
2017-11-18 15:36
Lol wp
2017-11-18 21:06
Lol wp
2017-11-18 21:06
Lol wp
2017-11-18 21:06
#28
 | 
Brazil LuCkY1z 
SK is the best team currently, despite having the TACO
2017-11-18 15:34
SK having to carry TACO only makes them a better team
2017-11-18 15:46
#39
 | 
Brazil LuCkY1z 
kkkk
2017-11-18 15:46
#12
 | 
Venezuela RetrybuterZ 
NiP
2017-11-18 15:29
#13
 | 
World zebra_man3 
2 ez for mr nip
2017-11-18 15:29
#20
 | 
Venezuela RetrybuterZ 
Ezzz Mai frend #GONINJAS
2017-11-18 15:30
ez for rez
2017-11-18 15:29
Ez for NiP
2017-11-18 15:30
#17
 | 
Argentina FoxterGaming 
Ez 4 faze
2017-11-18 15:30
NiP can win this
2017-11-18 15:30
Finals SK x C9 3:0 again i believe
2017-11-18 15:30
#21
God | 
Russia STDGod 
Have fun, semifinals today.
2017-11-18 15:30
#25
ropz | 
Sri Lanka Maze789 
Too ez for SK and Faze
2017-11-18 15:31
#27
 | 
Sweden ragge13 
#GONINJAS
2017-11-18 15:34
#29
 | 
Norway skaio 
I really hope NiP wins
2017-11-18 15:36
#31
 | 
United Kingdom MansNotHot 
#GONINJAS
2017-11-18 15:37
Ez 4 GOATzera
2017-11-18 15:40
SK - FAZE BOIS
2017-11-18 15:41
papa fallen come on
2017-11-18 15:42
#35
 | 
Hungary Tschonti 
faze will ban train, save this comment and thank me later
2017-11-18 15:43
no then c9 pick cobble and rip to faze
2017-11-18 15:54
#51
 | 
Hungary Tschonti 
Faze can prepare for c9's cobble, while c9 has no idea what faze will ban
2017-11-18 16:21
#36
 | 
Moldova OptimusBlyad 
Ez faze vs nip grandfinal
2017-11-18 15:45
final sk vs faze winner 50/50
2017-11-18 15:46
dream schedule for every EU fan
2017-11-18 15:48
#76
 | 
Andorra RuleFive 
eu > na anyway
2017-11-18 19:22
gl
2017-11-18 15:49
#FaZedown
2017-11-18 15:50
#43
Slovakia pgb1 
Nip will demolish sk and then fallen will begin cheat as usually
2017-11-18 15:51
#44
 | 
World sexhaver_420 
Looking forward to another great best of 5 finals
2017-11-18 15:53
Let's go C9
2017-11-18 16:01
Hoping C9 wins, they got off good after beating SK, if they beat faze then that'd be impressive.
2017-11-18 16:35
Same!
2017-11-18 21:05
nip gonna beat sk and win iem oakland again? it can be happen
2017-11-18 16:09
#54
TACO | 
Brazil GuedyS 
fer MVP!
2017-11-18 16:53
#55
 | 
Poland zector 
nip 2-1 sk faze 2-0 c9 faze 2-0 nip
2017-11-18 17:19
#87
 | 
Poland zector 
tfu its bo5 faze 3-1 nip
2017-11-19 06:52
#56
 | 
Poland GALA014 
GG
2017-11-18 17:24
Would like to see a NiP vs C9 finals!
2017-11-18 17:47
If both teams play to the best of their abilities and all the players play well then these semi's are gonna get crazy. Or ya know faze and sk will 2-0 nip and c9.......I hope it will be at least close.
2017-11-18 17:57
SK ezzz
2017-11-18 18:08
GL NiP. So nice having the legendary team make a semi-final at a bg event. Missed them. Hopefully Rez and Draken continue the ascent.
2017-11-18 18:08
Would like to see C9 vs NIP in finals, but i guess none of them will make it sadly
2017-11-18 18:20
#67
 | 
Netherlands HetIsPatat 
The final is at like 3AM anyway, so whatever who cares.
2017-11-18 18:27
ah true ....well usually i just baited university when i wanted to watch stuff like that on sundays but these days are over, rip finals then :(
2017-11-18 18:29
SK & FAZE on finals ,no doubt
2017-11-18 18:21
#69
 | 
Canada Overdoer35 
EZ 4 FaZe
2017-11-18 18:38
#70
 | 
Venezuela Angush 
c9 readyyyyyy
2017-11-18 18:44
american cunts stupid tournamet -7 hrs FUck iem and california bitchiz
2017-11-18 18:57
Final probably will be against FaZe vs SK. I hope FaZe win but SK is really strong tho. Gl to both
2017-11-18 19:10
#73
 | 
Sweden stew2k 
GL c9
2017-11-18 19:15
#74
World berd 
C9 vs NiP final mark my words plebs
2017-11-18 19:19
NiP 2-1 SK FaZe 2-1 C9 FaZe 3-1 NiP
2017-11-18 19:20
#77
 | 
Pakistan d1ckweed 
NiP 2 - 1 SK FaZe 1 - 2 C9
2017-11-18 19:33
#78
 | 
Netherlands EJVN 
let's do it baby. skadaddy gonna roll on train dawg.
2017-11-18 19:45
#79
f0rest | 
China ZerOck 
Go Ninjas
2017-11-18 20:29
#89
 | 
Morocco smokepurpp 
eZaF
2017-11-19 20:51
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