Five key storylines of StarSeries i-League S4

With 16 teams in attendance and a $300,000 prize pool, StarSeries i-League Season 4 is the first big event to be held after the Major. To get you warmed up for the action, we took a look at the tournament and outlined the five key storylines.

StarSeries i-League Season 4 will be the third consecutive 16-team StarLadder event to be held in Ukraine's capital, with the previous instalments having been won by NiP and FaZe. The Swedes lifted the trophy in 2016 while playing with Mikail "Maikelele" Bill as a stand-in, while in 2017 Finn "karrigan" Andersen and co. won their first trophy of the year in the Ukrainian capital, settings themselves up for a great year.

After the last two finals took place in the National Palace of Arts "Ukraina", this event will be held at the Kiev Cybersport Arena

Teams hailing from all over the world will be present at StarSeries i-League Season 4 as North American, South American, European and Asian squads have been included in the competition. The tournament also features a very stacked team list, as out of the current top 10, only NiP are missing, with a notable squad in North, currently ranked 13th, also absent.

You can find all of the teams and the first round Swiss system draw below:

United States Cloud9 vs. Denmark Heroic
Brazil SK vs. Korea MVP PK
Sweden fnatic vs. Kazakhstan Gambit
Europe FaZe vs. China TYLOO
Ukraine Natus Vincere vs. Europe HellRaisers
France G2 vs. Australia Renegades
Denmark Astralis vs. North America Liquid
Europe mousesports vs. Poland Virtus.pro

With a hefty break since the Major, as well as a lot of roster changes having taken place in the meantime, it's not simple to judge who will do well in Kiev.

SK and FaZe ended the year as the two best teams in the world, but recent results have called their dominance into question, and new challengers have risen up. Meanwhile, five teams will debut on LAN with new players aiming to impress.

Without further ado, let's take a look at the key storylines of the StarSeries i-League Season 4.

Will the old kings rule again?

The rivalry between SK and FaZe defined most of 2017 as the two teams faced each other ten times (three of them in finals) at big LAN tournaments and won a combined number of 12 events over the course of the year. With SK ending the year at the top of the world following a victory at the ESL Pro League Season 6 Finals, and FaZe claiming the title at the ECS Season 4 Finals, the two teams were miles ahead of the competition in the ranking as the year came to a close. But only two tournaments later, the situation has changed significantly.

FaZe were unable to capitalize on SK's misfortune at the Major, as they failed to close out the grand final against Cloud9—a team they had easily defeated multiple times throughout 2017—despite having several match points in hand.

A second-place finish was far from a bad result for FaZe, but the loss to Cloud9 revealed that they can lose to teams that are not called SK after all, and other teams will now be hunting for them as they sensed blood.

SK and FaZe will have to fight off some strong opposition in Kiev to stay on top

Considering they were playing with João "felps" Vasconcellos, SK's semi-final run at the Major was respectable, but they were expected to be back in prime form at cs_summit 2, which they attended with their full roster. However, the Brazilians only defeated Torqued and North there, and looked well off the pace against Cloud9 (16-9 Overpass, 16-9 Inferno) and Liquid (19-17 Cobblestone, 16-11 Train).

At the event in California, SK displayed a very slow and somewhat uninspired playstyle that resulted in them having pretty poor Terrorist sides, with Ricardo "boltz" Prass' individual struggles, perhaps the result of his previous LAN outing dating back to the start of December, not helping the cause.

There could be a chance that SK simply didn't want to show any of the things they have been working on recently, as they have three more important tournaments to attend in the next month (StarSeries S4, IEM Katowice and WESG 2017) and won't have a lot of time to innovate and add new things to their repertoire in the meantime. However, that only makes them a more exciting team to watch in Kiev, as they will be out to prove that cs_summit 2 was a one-off.

Can North American success continue?

So far, the teams who have impressed the most in 2018 are Cloud9 and Liquid. The North American sides have both pulled off impressive feats, giving North American fans back-to-back trophies of this calibre for the first time in CS:GO history. 

Of course, Cloud9's victory in Boston was the bigger and more significant tournament win, as Tarik "tarik" Celik and co. defeated G2, SK and FaZe—whom they had a miserable record against up to that point—to secure the first Major for North America. However, Liquid's cs_summit 2 win can't be taken lightly either; it came just a few days after they had brought in Keith "NAF" Markovic, with whom they fought through the Lower Bracket all the way to the title after a slow start to the event.

Both teams are coming to StarSeries i-League Season 4 in hot form, with Cloud9 probably being the best team in the world judging on short-term results—their first place at the Major was followed up by a final appearance at cs_summit 2.

Cloud9 and Liquid had success on home soil, it's time to replicate that in Ukraine

Interestingly, both teams have settled on a somewhat similar player dynamic, with star players turned into in-game leaders and strong rifling cores being the backbones of the team. Even though Cloud9 may have more confidence in Tyler "Skadoodle" Latham's AWP than Liquid have in Nick "nitr0" Cannella's, both snipers aren't the main instigators of action but rather a part of the supporting cast. This makes Cloud9 and Liquid stand out when compared to the likes of SK, FaZe and G2, who all set up their AWpers to shine.

After the two best North American teams started the year really well, now it's time for them to prove the ELEAGUE Major 2018 and cs_summit 2 weren't one-off events, but that their success will continue throughout the year. With highly competitive teams, a full BO3 format and a lot of eyes trained on them after the recent results, Cloud9 and Liquid will prove a lot if they can make a deep tournament run in Kiev.

Is changing one player enough to turn things around?

Three big names are coming into StarSeries i-League Season 4 after making one roster change as they tried to reinvigorate their squads: Astralis, Gambit and Virtus.pro.

The Danes finished the year on a low, as their early-2017 form went missing after the player break, with Nicolai "device" Reedtz's illness only making things worse. The Peter "dupreeh" Rasmussen AWPing experiment was scrapped after an unsuccessful Major, and then they were hit by an unexpected departure as Markus "Kjaerbye" Kjærbye left for North.

In a way, that move may end up benefiting Astralis, who at times looked like they needed a shake-up to get things going once again. With Emil "Magisk" Reif coming in, Astralis have got a player with undeniable raw skill, but it remains to be seen if that potential will be utilized by Astralis. If they want to return to the top, the Danes will have to get long-term consistency from Magisk, not just bursts of form like the ones he showed at the end of 2016 with dignitas and in the second half of 2017 with OpTic.

magisk will be hoping for more stability in Astralis

After holding the roster together for more than four years, Virtus.pro finally made the change that seemed inevitable, replacing Wiktor "TaZ" Wojtas with Michał "MICHU" Müller. Even though he didn't attend many top-tier events in 2017, which skews his rating, the 21-year-old will obviously be an upgrade for Virtus.pro in terms of firepower, something that was a grave issue for the Poles. It's hard to argue against the addition of MICHU being a step in the right direction; however, the question remains if just one change will be enough to get Virtus.pro back to winning ways.

The Poles will be hoping that Janusz "Snax" Pogorzelski will go back to his best with the addition of his former teammate. Without the 24-year-old pulling off his signature high-impact plays, Virtus.pro still don't look on paper like a team capable of contending for titles.

MICHU made the long-awaited move to Virtus.pro

Gambit also made a roster change, bringing in Denis "seized" Kostin to replace Bektiyar "fitch" Bahytov. Out of the three changes, this one had the smallest fanfare, but it was far from an uninteresting or unimportant one. Even though seized has been in poor form since he was forced into the in-game leader role in Natus Vincere, with him, Gambit get a seasoned player who is able to fill in the gaps and let the team's stars take the majority of the workload, giving the team more stability and reliability compared to when they had fitch.

However, unlike Virtus.pro and Astralis, Gambit didn't address their main issue with the roster change—the lack of leadership. After both Dauren "AdreN" Kystaubayev and Mihail "Dosia" Stolyarov took turns calling for the team—and neither excelled at the task—, the captainship has been passed on to Abay "Hobbit" Khasenov, the team's best player in 2017. It seems that an individual fall-off from Hobbit is inevitable, but StarSeries will give us an answer if it will at least improve the team's results.

Will fnatic extend their playoff streak?

fnatic have quietly been picking up solid placings under the leadership of their academy product Maikil "Golden" Selim. After debuting with the team at DreamHack Masters Malmö and finishing 9-12th, fnatic have secured five consecutive playoff spots.

The Swedes' streak started at ELEAGUE Premier in September and continued over WESG EU&CIS (where they used Ludvig "Brollan" Brolin as a stand-in), EPL S6 Finals, ECS S4 Finals and the ELEAGUE Major. And while fnatic were not able to achieve a big result along the way, they have been on a steady upward trend, with their world ranking peaking at #5 this week.

fnatic have been trending up since adding Golden

Even though their former teammate Dennis "dennis" Edman, considered a hot prospect by many, was on the market, fnatic didn't attempt to sign the now NiP member, skipping the roster shuffle entirely and showing faith in what they have built so far.

Overall, fnatic have been showing an impressive level of performance for a team that doesn't have a superstar player, and will be looking forward to the Kiev event in the hope of continuing their playoff streak.

Is it time for Natus Vincere to go big?

Natus Vincere welcomed Danylo "Zeus" Teslenko back into the team after the summer of 2017, but the legendary captain has not been able to turn them back into an elite team yet. The CIS squad seemingly struggle with the same issues they had during seized's tenure, as they either win confidently or lose flat out.

Under Zeus, and especially since the addition of Denis "electronic" Sharipov, Natus Vincere have become a better team overall, but they still lack big achievements. With their two newest members, they won the medium-sized DreamHack Open Winter and placed top four at the Major - where they blew hot and cold in the first two stages and got the luck of the draw in the quarter-finals. 

Since adding Zeus, Na`Vi's highest HLTV world ranking was #9

It is apparent that Natus Vincere have a roster that is capable of winning big titles, but will they finally come through? A decent finish at their last tournament, Aleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev hitting great form, and a tournament on home soil are all things that will play in Natus Vincere's favour and that will make a poor run at StarSeries i-League Season 4 a big disappointment.

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
Kazakhstan Bektiyar 'fitch' Bahytov
Bektiyar 'fitch' Bahytov
Age:
27
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
0.99
Maps played:
567
KPR:
0.69
DPR:
0.70
APR:
0.15
United States Nick 'nitr0' Cannella
Nick 'nitr0' Cannella
Age:
24
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.02
Maps played:
1207
KPR:
0.69
DPR:
0.66
APR:
0.14
Denmark Emil 'Magisk' Reif
Emil 'Magisk' Reif
Age:
21
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.11
Maps played:
981
KPR:
0.74
DPR:
0.63
APR:
0.15
Canada Keith 'NAF' Markovic
Keith 'NAF' Markovic
Age:
21
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.09
Maps played:
1143
KPR:
0.73
DPR:
0.64
APR:
0.16
Denmark Markus 'Kjaerbye' Kjærbye
Markus 'Kjaerbye' Kjærbye
Age:
21
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.05
Maps played:
1322
KPR:
0.72
DPR:
0.66
APR:
0.15
United States Tarik 'tarik' Celik
Tarik 'tarik' Celik
Age:
23
Rating 1.0:
1.05
Maps played:
1193
KPR:
0.73
DPR:
0.67
APR:
0.15
Kazakhstan Dauren 'AdreN' Kystaubayev
Dauren 'AdreN' Kystaubayev
Age:
29
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.01
Maps played:
1434
KPR:
0.70
DPR:
0.68
APR:
0.15
Kazakhstan Abay 'Hobbit' Khasenov
Abay 'Hobbit' Khasenov
Age:
25
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.06
Maps played:
623
KPR:
0.73
DPR:
0.67
APR:
0.14
United States Tyler 'Skadoodle' Latham
Tyler 'Skadoodle' Latham
Age:
26
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
1.06
Maps played:
1047
KPR:
0.68
DPR:
0.59
APR:
0.11
Russia Denis 'seized' Kostin
Denis 'seized' Kostin
Age:
25
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
0.99
Maps played:
1224
KPR:
0.68
DPR:
0.67
APR:
0.15
Sweden Mikail 'Maikelele' Bill
Mikail 'Maikelele' Bill
Age:
28
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.02
Maps played:
956
KPR:
0.68
DPR:
0.64
APR:
0.14
Russia Denis 'electronic' Sharipov
Denis 'electronic' Sharipov
Age:
21
Rating 1.0:
1.11
Maps played:
807
KPR:
0.76
DPR:
0.66
APR:
0.14
Russia Mihail 'Dosia' Stolyarov
Mihail 'Dosia' Stolyarov
Age:
31
Team:
Rating 1.0:
0.99
Maps played:
1396
KPR:
0.68
DPR:
0.66
APR:
0.15
Poland Wiktor 'TaZ' Wojtas
Wiktor 'TaZ' Wojtas
Age:
33
Team:
Rating 1.0:
0.98
Maps played:
1786
KPR:
0.67
DPR:
0.67
APR:
0.13
Sweden Ludvig 'Brollan' Brolin
Ludvig 'Brollan' Brolin
Age:
17
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.07
Maps played:
570
KPR:
0.73
DPR:
0.67
APR:
0.13
Ukraine Danylo 'Zeus' Teslenko
Danylo 'Zeus' Teslenko
Age:
32
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
0.92
Maps played:
1400
KPR:
0.63
DPR:
0.69
APR:
0.17
Sweden Maikil 'Golden' Selim
Maikil 'Golden' Selim
Age:
25
Team:
Rating 1.0:
0.93
Maps played:
548
KPR:
0.64
DPR:
0.69
APR:
0.14
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
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:
1538
KPR:
0.64
DPR:
0.68
APR:
0.13
Brazil Ricardo 'boltz' Prass
Ricardo 'boltz' Prass
Age:
22
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.06
Maps played:
951
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:
1597
KPR:
0.70
DPR:
0.66
APR:
0.13
Sweden Dennis 'dennis' Edman
Dennis 'dennis' Edman
Age:
28
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.03
Maps played:
1087
KPR:
0.72
DPR:
0.68
APR:
0.13
Poland Michał 'MICHU' Müller
Michał 'MICHU' Müller
Age:
22
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.08
Maps played:
1462
KPR:
0.75
DPR:
0.68
APR:
0.14
Ukraine Aleksandr 's1mple' Kostyliev
Aleksandr 's1mple' Kostyliev
Age:
22
Rating 1.0:
1.23
Maps played:
1060
KPR:
0.85
DPR:
0.66
APR:
0.10
#1
 | 
Poland Astoner55 
Wow! Edit: First! Shoutout to my mom and dad.
2018-02-16 19:01
#4
smooya | 
Austria shaakeh 
To the Stars...
2018-02-16 19:00
Nice article, congratz HLTV
2018-02-16 21:05
#70
 | 
Germany No_Kappa 
NA CS LUL back to tier 2 in two weeks... record mini-era couldn't even get rank #2
2018-02-16 23:23
+++one
2018-02-17 03:03
Easy Major and cs_summit for North American Counter Strike #C9WIN #C9CSGO #USA #NACS
2018-02-17 07:11
#61
 | 
Denmark Twick_ 
Heat the Roar Hear gj autocorrect
2018-02-16 22:03
#15
 | 
Paraguay imjustmau 
Na'Vi > FaZe
2018-02-16 19:07
#30
 | 
Romania vladyy39 
nt
2018-02-16 19:36
only online
2018-02-16 19:47
#53
 | 
Canada _Dark__ 
Na’Vi > FaZe > Natus Vincere
2018-02-16 21:13
#85
 | 
Singapore Wadufuk 
Defaq ????
2018-02-17 03:15
#92
 | 
Switzerland Alzameister 
NaVi > FaZe > Natus Vincere > FaZe Clan
2018-02-17 09:41
omg
2018-02-16 19:00
#3
 | 
Norway mohzart 
OOF SO CLOSE
2018-02-16 19:00
cant wait
2018-02-16 19:00
+1
2018-02-16 19:11
#6
 | 
United States TwstE 
good luck!
2018-02-16 19:00
#7
 | 
Finland perkelemeister 
Glhf
2018-02-16 19:01
#8
Dosia | 
Poland WrzodX 
NA CS LUL Only 1 major.
2018-02-16 19:03
#1 edit: but i tried
2018-02-16 19:03
loveit
2018-02-16 19:02
Will fnatic extend their playoff streak? KEY STORYLINE XDD
2018-02-16 19:02
#34
 | 
Norway BigCannon 
had the same feeling while seeing that "key storyline" lol
2018-02-16 19:55
ez for NA
2018-02-16 19:02
ez 4 s1mple
2018-02-16 19:04
#14
 | 
United States Jrfaster 
Liquid thrash Device and Co
2018-02-16 19:04
+1
2018-02-17 01:06
vp vs fnatic final
2018-02-16 19:07
Would be amazing
2018-02-16 21:15
Virtus.pro still don't look on paper like a team capable of contending for titles. trigger me in a second
2018-02-16 19:08
#54
 | 
Canada _Dark__ 
+1
2018-02-16 21:14
#65
Sadokist | 
Poland tr1xx 
And ppl are always fed with the "high motivation" bs. Some teams have turned from good to terrible for a reason.
2018-02-16 22:34
They will in pubg
2018-02-16 23:53
#18
Xyp9x | 
Ukraine Bananagl 
not bad
2018-02-16 19:09
#19
 | 
Switzerland din0z0r 
NA teams won`t win because it is not in na
2018-02-16 19:09
#21
 | 
United Kingdom Fizzhaz 
The real story: How will thorin's analysing fair in 2018? Will he again be accepted as a proper analyst?
2018-02-16 19:13
#44
 | 
Brazil davidzor 
Biased as always. Rooting for Astralis but pretending to be impartial. Claiming it is Faze era regardless of its the results and unrecognizing north american team's efforts
2018-02-16 20:31
#55
 | 
Canada _Dark__ 
Faze doesn’t have an era yet. Nor does SK. Neither had a true “era” in fact
2018-02-16 21:15
#66
 | 
United Kingdom Fizzhaz 
Or you could say SK has had a longer, all be it weaker era.
2018-02-16 22:39
#68
 | 
Brazil davidzor 
Thats Thorin narrative not mine.
2018-02-16 23:21
#101
 | 
Canada _Dark__ 
Ik i'm just expressing my disapproval of Thorin's dumb narrative.
2018-02-20 20:59
i assume you speak about the last 5 months when you say " Neither had a true “era” in fact" because sk definitely had 2 eras, summer 2016 (half of it as luminosity) and summer 2017 (with felps)
2018-02-17 13:25
#98
 | 
Canada _Dark__ 
Summer 2016 maybe u can say they had a small one. Summer ‘17 not at all.
2018-02-19 23:18
2016: columbus, (didn't win malmö), epl s3, (didn't win ecs s1), cologne 2017 with felps: sydney, (didn't win epl s5), ecs s3, cologne what's the difference? O_o
2018-02-20 12:50
#100
 | 
Canada _Dark__ 
The major Looking back that's a dumb difference. Ill just hold onto my original expression of SK not really having any noteworthy "era". Winning a few tourneys over a (relatively) short period of time does not qualify for an era imo.
2018-02-20 21:02
so for you fnatic didn't have an era with dennis either? because that also had 3 big events (dh winter, epl s2, kato) and lasted 3 months (early dec - early mar), no major too.
2018-02-20 23:12
#103
 | 
Canada _Dark__ 
Ok so lets see... 1) Im a newfag and wasnt here at that time. 2) If it was just 3 months I personally wouldn't qualify it as an era. 3) According to my limited knowledge, tge fnatic era was throughout 2015 and not just 3 months?
2018-02-21 00:39
the fnatic era in early/middle of 2015 was with pronax, not dennis. the last win with pronax was in cologne 2015 (august), so that's 3 months before dennis joined. being new doesn't disqualify your opinion, setting unrealistic standards out of that inexperience does to a degree.
2018-02-22 14:34
In By The Numbers #22, Thorin said "NA could definitely be the dominant region in 2018." Not in the sense that NA will win all/most events but NA will have the most top teams in the top 10. He thinks C9 and Liquid could be top 5/4 and one team is not better than the other. He also agreed with Richard that C9's Major win was not a fluke at all. Don't know where you're getting all this stuff from.
2018-02-17 07:13
#22
 | 
Brazil HueyNewton 
G(old)
2018-02-16 19:13
#24
XeqtR | 
Hong Kong wqnxy1 
no/yes/no/yes/no
2018-02-16 19:17
Navi, Hellraisers or VP will win this Event
2018-02-16 19:18
Would be nice to see but 3/100 chance
2018-02-16 19:25
I honestly hope for a more disparity of winning team, like at least 7/8 team winning big titles and not just 3/4, would be super cool
2018-02-16 23:55
2017 in a nutshell?
2018-02-17 00:47
2017 kinda lost that on the last part, where faze and sk were simply dominating all.
2018-02-17 03:07
#26
 | 
Brazil ^7|1 
This arena sucks, i was there
2018-02-16 19:24
#28
 | 
Canada Matomoto 
Let's go Na`Vi!
2018-02-16 19:28
"Is it time for Natus Vincere to go big?" loled at that one, no it's not and it will not come.
2018-02-16 19:29
#37
 | 
Ukraine SuperMetal 
Will see, my friend, will see
2018-02-16 20:02
#41
 | 
Estonia mr_abdul 
They will atleast get to playoffs imo
2018-02-16 20:23
easy as fuck for FaZe
2018-02-16 19:46
I honestly expect SK to be much, MUCH better at StarSeries than they have been the past month or two. I don't think they really put any pressure on themselves for the major ('cause Felps) and summit ('cause Boltz is still so relatively new and hasn't played for so long), and I think they were more just getting back into it - both physically and mentally - at summit. I expect them to cook up something way better - and put in way more effort - at StarSeries. I expect Cloud9 and Liquid to have a slight downturn after the major (and seeing as summit really wasn't that big of an event), as the top teams know more how they play and get over whatever goosebumps they had against Cloud9's meteoric major showing. I have some hopes that Liquid pulls out a miracle run though, 'cause NAF is a fuuuckin' revelation. As long as the others pull through, they could have a great run. Astralis and VP are literally IMPOSSIBLE to predict. Even before their FIRST roster change in FOUR YEARS, VP was always a completely unpredictable presence at all events. You never know what you'd get with them (though most of the time they would come up short). With the addition of MICHU, they could go on another world-sundering rampage, like they did at the beginning of 2017, or they could just...still be the same old uninspired old people's home that could that they have been for the past year. Astralis could also be invigorated, or they could try to follow their old tactics and tendencies too hard (as "tactical" as they are), and fail to impress or surprise anyone. I fully expect fnatic to make top 8 at least at StarSeries, and probably even a bit higher than that. They're one of the more stable presences in the scene right now. As for Na'Vi? Well...they did have decent results at EPL season 7 or whatever, but those were online matches (and they had Edward majorly contributing, which literally only happens, what, twice a year at this point). They will probably still get a decent placing at this event, but I do not expect them to get anywhere near the championship title.
2018-02-16 19:57
#80
 | 
Italy Gio_bose 
I agree with most of the things u said but two questions 1. Who do u think will win and 2. Who do u want to win?
2018-02-17 01:45
Ehhh, it's the first big event after the major and after roster changes and decently-long breaks for most teams (barring online matches), so it's kinda hard to say who will win (especially seeing as CS is such a volatile and unpredictable game anyway), but I would expect the eventual winner to be SK, really. I fully predict them to come back hard after the major loss and a quiet tournament of just trying out some new shit at summit. Of course, I think it could be any of the teams on the left side of the first round Swiss draw, with the exception of maybe NaVi, fnatic, G2 and Astralis. Those four have had pretty good results recently, but always seem to fade away somewhere in the quarters, or at best semis, and none of the four have shown consistent championship potential. I would WANT for either FaZe or mousesports to win, 'cause I just like the players in the teams (and I've been rooting for FaZe for the past year and a half or so, in large part also because they have been the most credible competitor to SK, and I am the kind of person who generally roots for underdogs, as FaZe are in the FaZe vs SK bubble). I also wouldn't mind Liquid winning it ('cause despite not being from NA, I think the storyline of the rise of NA CS is great, and I hope it will continue at least a little bit beyond the major and a low-key event in the form of summit) or Virtus.Pro (because despite kicking TaZ - who was one of the best personalities in the scene, publicly at least - it still has Pasha and Neo and Snax, who are all players I really like and want to see at least succeed a little in their dark times).
2018-02-17 13:23
who actually reads these?
2018-02-16 19:58
#42
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Brazil davidzor 
People who enjoy the game, not just bettors, flamers and att whores who constantly make this site look bad for outsiders.
2018-02-16 20:26
lol brazilian VP fan looooool such a fake flagger
2018-02-16 20:38
#48
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Greece knk74 
LUL GERMAN FALLEN FAN SUCH A FAKE FLAGGER
2018-02-16 20:50
#56
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Sweden wyv0 
Lul greek VP fan such a fake flagger
2018-02-16 21:15
#58
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Greece knk74 
lul swedish sk fan such a fake flagger
2018-02-16 21:16
#69
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Brazil davidzor 
Top Kek.
2018-02-16 23:22
#96
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Ukraine 3mKa 
Ahahahahahahhaha
2018-02-17 20:00
#96
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Ukraine 3mKa 
Ahahahahahahhaha
2018-02-17 20:00
#39
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Denmark DanishDelight 
Ez for Magisk and Jugi2k
2018-02-16 20:18
#40
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Poland AiYokatashi 
#gonavi
2018-02-16 20:22
#43
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Brazil davidzor 
Is it time for Natus Vincere to go big? I sincerely hope, this roster deserves to be champion of some titles.
2018-02-16 20:27
Money whore Zeus doesn't deserve anything
2018-02-17 00:43
#46
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Brazil Juneco 
Spoiler, astralis champions
2018-02-16 20:38
hopefully
2018-02-16 20:57
#63
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Denmark Twick_ 
Would be great to see them win something again.
2018-02-16 22:06
#47
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Finland decem 
"The tournament also features a very stacked team list, as out of the current top 10, only NiP are missing" Will this be a story line for 2018 or will dennis carry NiP out of depression?
2018-02-16 20:44
#52
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Sweden wyv0 
Ofc VP gets the weakest of the top teams, rigged, carmac paying starladder off
2018-02-16 21:12
mousesports 16-2'd both Astralis and NaVi during the ELeague Major circuit (and lead them both with 6-4 and 6-3 head-to-head records, respectively) and hold equal head-to-head wins against FaZe. The only teams they don't have either equal or favourable match-ups against are SK, Cloud9, G2 and fnatic, and those are probably the four absolute favourites, especially if you exclude the teams I already mentioned mousesports has favourable match-ups against. If VP wanted the weakest of the top teams, then they could have gotten Natus Vincere instead (who have really only showed promise in...a few online matches).
2018-02-17 13:32
#59
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Germany b1azed 
cmon navi lets fucking do this ffs
2018-02-16 21:43
#60
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United States NA_CS_FAN 
LETS GOOOO NA
2018-02-16 22:02
1st
2018-02-16 22:03
#64
Thorin | 
Netherlands RafV 
Fnatic vs Virtus pro final incoming
2018-02-16 22:18
#67
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United States pepehands420 
another ez tournament with for NA
2018-02-16 22:41
#73
NiKo | 
Europe trey_ 
1 no 2 no 3 depends 4 yes 5 yes
2018-02-17 00:35
#76
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Netherlands !napz 
Remember how cocky North got when they won 1 tournament? Welp NA CS lul
2018-02-17 00:49
#78
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Brazil Lemonitos 
Great article, sums up the current scene just nicely. I like Cloud9 and Liquid and hope they push the meta forward with their run.
2018-02-17 01:12
Cloud9 vs Heroic ez c9
2018-02-17 01:25
#81
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Korea wohnnyR 
Mvp pk will win
2018-02-17 01:51
Will Na`vi go BIG ??? Will S1mple go BIG ???!! Real question here S1mple is just playing out of his mind right now with only having negative rating in 3 out of his last 50 Maps despitecollecting multiple loses with his team Sauce: hltv.org/stats/players/matches/7998/s1mp..
2018-02-17 01:55
Torqued > SK, bad tournament
2018-02-17 03:25
#87
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Brazil FaZe_Top_One 
ez for nip
2018-02-17 03:57
#88
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Brazil cadik 
main storyline can navi win with ghosting or not?
2018-02-17 05:16
C9 xdddd
2018-02-22 12:45
#106
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Sweden lagcats 
cmon fnatic u guys got this
2018-02-22 14:34
After this tournament it turns out the answer to every single question of the storylines is: No.
2018-02-27 02:08
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