FACEIT Major's new Challengers: What now?

Striker
September 11th, 2018 01:42

The New Challengers stage is over and that gives us the eight teams who have advanced to the New Legends stage, where they'll join the returning Legends from ELEAGUE Major Boston. We have looked back at the previous stage to explore the new challengers' chances of making it further at the Major.

The big dogs

There was no question ahead of the tournament that Astralis and Liquid would make it to the next stage. Ranked No. 1 and No. 3 in the world, respectively, they were the two obvious favorites of the first stage and they delivered by making it through.

The Danes' route was, however, not as straightforward as many had thought it would be. Astralis had few issues with compLexity, but, in the second round, they had to come back from an 11-5 deficit on the Terrorist side of Inferno against the second team coming from the North American Minor, Rogue. Lukas "gla1ve" Rossander's side then lost a quadruple-overtime match on Mirage to NiP after once again encountering issues on the CT side — where they had dominated before the player break —, before locking down a spot in the next stage with a convincing win over Spirit.

When we look at Astralis' shaky showings at DreamHack Masters Stockholm and in the New Challengers stage, we have to start questioning their position of the main favorite of the tournament. A significant part of their strength lies in being able to update themselves and having time to adjust in between tournaments, which has not been easy for them in this case due to the busy schedule, as they travelled directly from Stockholm to London. Some of their shaky CT sides are also worrying, although they've been able to make up for that on the offense in large part.

It wasn't all smooth sailing for Astralis in the New Challengers Stage

Don't get us wrong, Astralis should still be considered one of the favorites. There are few other teams who have a realistic chance of winning the Major, and the Danish squad have been the most consistent out of them, but they seem to be decelerating at the worst possible moment; when they're a Major win away from ultimate greatness.

Liquid, on the other hand, have looked quite comfortable. They passed OpTic and HellRaisers with flying colors, and even though Vega Squadron surprised them with a strong performance on Cache, the North American side have had nothing to worry about so far. They have shown no signs of rustiness and looked just as good, if not better, doing the same things that they did before the break.

Following the lead of Chad "SPUNJ" Burchill, some are starting to believe that Liquid will win this Major. Given their history and the glaring lack of big titles — or almost any titles, for that matter —, that statement might be a bit too optimistic, but there's no denying that Nick "nitr0" Cannella's team are among the biggest favorites to make a deep run at the Major, just as they had been at most big events throughout the last several months. And with Astralis looking a little deflated, this might just be the best chance Liquid have ever had of taking their first win in the rivalry, which could very well lead to more than that.

The mid-tier

The second tier consist of teams that we had expected to have a good chance of going through, and the majority of them delivered. NiP were at the forefront of that list, of course, as a team that had just come back from DreamHack Masters Stockholm as semi-finalists, and they even surpassed our expectations by going 3-0, defeating Astralis at the end of the New Challengers stage following a Mirage marathon.

Things are looking promising for the Swedes, who are passing Major milestones one after another after having to go through the online phase of the cycle. Naturally, things will get harder in the New Legends stage, where NiP will join the likes of FaZe and Natus Vincere, but even then they will have a reasonable chance of reaching the playoffs, as they'll be favored against around half of the teams in attendance.

GeT_RiGhT and co. were convincing in the New Challengers Stage

For BIG, this second stage will be a tall task. They struggled throughout the first with losses to Vega Squadron and compLexity, two teams who made it through but who will also go up against much more experienced competition in this upcoming week, and so Fatih "gob b" Dayik's team should belong in the bottom eight. What they do have compared to a large part of those bottom eight teams, however, is a well-rounded playstyle that largely relies on team play rather than individuals going off, as well as a capable leader whose strengths lie in preparation.

TYLOO also belong in that bottom category, and what they are missing in map pool depth and communication, they try to make up for with unpredictable individual plays. But that has historically not gone well for Hansel "BnTeT" Ferdinand's men against this level of competition. The only map teams should really be worried about against the Chinese-Indonesian side is Mirage, and most will immediately veto that just to be safe. And given TYLOO's issues on the T side of Inferno, there is very little else to be encouraged about when it comes to the Asian squad, as they'll have a hard time facing the favourites.

HellRaisers should be in a better position than that as a team that went 3-1 in the New Challengers stage after defeating North, Gambit, and OpTic. They did not look that convincing as all of their wins were incredibly close and none of the teams they defeated ended up making it through, so it would be hard to give them a good chance of making the playoffs at the Major. HellRaisers could at least give some of the top dogs a good run for their money and beat the teams on the lower end of the scale, but, ultimately, the odds are stacked against them.

The underdogs

The last group of teams features two underdogs, compLexity and Vega Squadron. The North American squad made it to the New Legends Stage with a 3-1 score, opening up the tournament with a heavy defeat to Astralis before beating Space Soldiers and BIG, and edging past Vega Squadron in overtime. During the first stage of the tournament, compLexity played only one map, Inferno, which sets up an interesting storyline for the Legends Stage. They are obviously confident on the map and have perhaps been able to make it even stronger after going over the demos, but those same demos will be analysed by the teams they will face —making them an easy target for anti-stratting—, or Inferno could simply be banned out.

Aside from compLexity not having assured us that they can play any other map well, it is also worrying that the only two players on the team with a positive rating from this event are Shahzeb "ShahZaM" Khan and Peter "stanislaw" Jarguz, the most experienced names on the roster. Jaccob "yay" Whiteaker has managed a highlight moment or two, but he and Bradley "ANDROID" Fodor will have to provide much more to their squad if they wish to stand up against the level of opposition that is ahead of them in the New Legends Stage.

Is another Shark Week ahead of us?

On the other hand, Vega Squadron have lived up to the legacy of FlipSid3, a CIS sleeper team who always delivered at Majors. Vega Squadron's unconventional approach to the game once again shook teams, seeing them go 2-0 quickly. After that, the team under Dmitriy "jR" Chervak's leadership struggled to make the final step and ended up playing North for the final spot in the next stage. But even then, when everyone seemed to be aware of the threat posed by Vega Squadron, they beat Mathias "MSL" Lauridsen's side convincingly, showing they are in no way easy to contain.

The aggression that is hard to comprehend will work the best against teams who rely more on tactics than on pure firepower. Vega Squadron beating BIG and forcing overtime against one of the favorites for the event, Liquid, backs that up, and they will be facing Cloud9 in the first round, a team we still don't know much about but who seem to be leaning in that direction, based on their roster. Overall, even though both compLexity and Vega Squadron have a low chance of making it to the playoffs, the CIS side, especially if they get a good start, shouldn't be completely counted out.

United States Jaccob 'yay' Whiteaker
Jaccob 'yay' Whiteaker
Age:
20
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.04
Maps played:
458
KPR:
0.73
DPR:
0.71
APR:
0.13
United States Shahzeb 'ShahZaM' Khan
Shahzeb 'ShahZaM' Khan
Age:
25
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.09
Maps played:
830
KPR:
0.74
DPR:
0.65
APR:
0.10
United States Nick 'nitr0' Cannella
Nick 'nitr0' Cannella
Age:
23
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.02
Maps played:
986
KPR:
0.70
DPR:
0.67
APR:
0.15
Germany Fatih 'gob b' Dayik
Fatih 'gob b' Dayik
Age:
31
Team:
Rating 1.0:
0.85
Maps played:
867
KPR:
0.57
DPR:
0.67
APR:
0.13
Ukraine Dmitriy 'jR' Chervak
Dmitriy 'jR' Chervak
Age:
25
Rating 1.0:
1.04
Maps played:
409
KPR:
0.70
DPR:
0.65
APR:
0.11
Canada Bradley 'ANDROID' Fodor
Bradley 'ANDROID' Fodor
Age:
24
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.04
Maps played:
652
KPR:
0.71
DPR:
0.67
APR:
0.13
Australia Chad 'SPUNJ' Burchill
Chad 'SPUNJ' Burchill
Age:
29
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
0.88
Maps played:
152
KPR:
0.62
DPR:
0.73
APR:
0.18
Indonesia Hansel 'BnTeT' Ferdinand
Hansel 'BnTeT' Ferdinand
Age:
23
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.23
Maps played:
467
KPR:
0.83
DPR:
0.62
APR:
0.15
Denmark Mathias 'MSL' Lauridsen
Mathias 'MSL' Lauridsen
Age:
23
Team:
Rating 1.0:
0.91
Maps played:
1376
KPR:
0.64
DPR:
0.72
APR:
0.16
Denmark Lukas 'gla1ve' Rossander
Lukas 'gla1ve' Rossander
Age:
23
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.01
Maps played:
1079
KPR:
0.68
DPR:
0.66
APR:
0.17
Canada Peter 'stanislaw' Jarguz
Peter 'stanislaw' Jarguz
Age:
24
Team:
Rating 1.0:
0.99
Maps played:
818
KPR:
0.67
DPR:
0.66
APR:
0.15
I dont know?! What know???
2018-09-11 01:43
#13
 | 
Netherlands unluko_maluko 
Ill tell you, mibr ez win major
2018-09-11 01:47
0/8 good try
2018-09-11 01:48
#59
 | 
Austria shaakeh 
mibr winning anything at all LUL
2018-09-11 06:41
#65
 | 
Indonesia Astranesia 
not mibr but Brazil winning anything
2018-09-11 08:02
#84
 | 
Netherlands unluko_maluko 
Brazil 2 majors, indonesia 0
2018-09-11 10:53
Poland 1*
2018-09-11 13:43
ez is to be indonesian and support astralis when they lose their first place, you probably gonna change and support the new one
2018-09-17 13:15
+1 LUL
2018-09-11 15:10
#18
jasonR | 
Germany dzynK 
Ez
2018-09-11 01:55
I love this article, hype NiP !
2018-09-11 02:02
#46
NiKo | 
Europe NeO_RiGhT 
+1
2018-09-11 03:29
+1
2018-09-11 15:06
#54
 | 
Russia NOD777 
Who is mibr? I don't see them in ranking
2018-09-11 04:45
#57
JZFB | 
Australia legesex 
Expected from gaystralis gayboy
2018-09-11 05:57
Expected from gaystralis gayboy
2018-09-11 09:49
#85
 | 
Netherlands unluko_maluko 
Expected from gaystralis gayboy
2018-09-11 10:54
+1 mibr lmao
2018-09-11 15:10
#67
cyx | 
Denmark VojenZ 
MIBR, Liquid and Faze are favorites. Astralis, MOUZ and NAVI are outsiders to make the win.
2018-09-11 08:20
#74
 | 
Indonesia Cleostar 
mibr will lose against tyloo mark my words
2018-09-11 09:12
And C9 too
2018-09-11 09:45
#86
 | 
Netherlands unluko_maluko 
nt Clown9
2018-09-11 10:56
#45
NiKo | 
Europe NeO_RiGhT 
Ez nip
2018-09-11 03:28
#87
 | 
Brazil Gunzel 
i was dont know this details
2018-09-11 11:05
#2
 | 
Sri Lanka Emory10 
Who do you thinks winning the major? Leave you condolences in the comments below
2018-09-11 01:44
#9
 | 
Asia n0val 
tyloo vs complexity grandfinal, tyloo win. somebody mvp
2018-09-11 01:45
#26
smooya | 
United Kingdom trtr098 
Who MVP?
2018-09-11 02:02
Somebody
2018-09-11 02:04
#31
 | 
Bulgaria j9restt 
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH xDDDDDDD
2018-09-11 02:05
who?
2018-09-11 02:33
somebody
2018-09-11 04:12
somebody who??xd
2018-09-11 04:23
Can u properly say the MVP's Name?
2018-09-11 07:00
i just take a joke hehe. take it easy dude.
2018-09-11 09:45
Somebody from tyloo
2018-09-11 10:14
Yeah but there are 5 players from Tyloo so can you dont play with us and write his nick properly with out joking?
2018-09-11 10:38
Too easy for C9? Honestly though, Mibr.
2018-09-11 01:49
Liquid vs MIBR grand finals is a finals i would love to see.
2018-09-11 15:17
Would be a great Bo3 tbh, but won't happen, EU scene too stronk
2018-09-12 01:30
Astralis will take it.
2018-09-11 02:40
Liquid might actually be able to take it tho. Not saying this as an NA fangay but as someone with an IQ above 7. The only other teams with any chance other than Liquid and Astralis are NaVi, FaZe and maybe BiG (really low chance) with Vega, NiP and coL with upset potential
2018-09-11 04:16
#55
 | 
Libya Eruptor 
coL over mouz? I aren't think that
2018-09-11 05:51
Sorry they escaped my mind. They'd be apart of the favorites more than likely or an in between with favs and upset potential
2018-09-11 21:55
#104
 | 
Libya Eruptor 
Does make sense TBH
2018-09-12 15:30
i dunno i can’t decide on my pick ums :/
2018-09-11 04:12
I'm calling it bois, this is FaZe's Major - NiKo will blow everyone out of the water, get MVP, and become better than simple lmao
2018-09-11 08:08
#81
 | 
Spain Zeta03 
I agree with you bro, look at niko's aim, and faze's strats. #EZ4FAZE
2018-09-11 10:21
#69
 | 
Germany Youdontknowme 
This major is prob the most unpredictable one Astralis Faze Liquid (Na vi , Nip, mouz)
2018-09-11 08:19
#3
nexa | 
Serbia GODKipato 
Idk
2018-09-11 01:44
#4
shroud | 
Hungary Chantii 
let's go
2018-09-11 01:44
k
2018-09-11 01:44
#100
 | 
Sweden Ivorn 
Soon NiP 2 majors NaVi 0
2018-09-11 23:03
yeah, nip on form and navi playing bad, mibr not bad but not good, mouz (gotta respect them, a good team) fnatic washed up, g2 no chance, and faze will choke ez major for nip
2018-09-12 00:36
No one knows
2018-09-11 01:44
- Queens of the Stoneage
2018-09-11 02:01
#36
 | 
Australia CaZeR01 
Niiice
2018-09-11 02:27
#58
 | 
Denmark mindlink 
Good band: :-)
2018-09-11 06:11
#7
 | 
Germany zeolikk10years 
Yes what now?
2018-09-11 01:44
Qing Pai
2018-09-11 01:44
#10
 | 
Cyprus Swishh_ 
more delays thats for certain
2018-09-11 01:45
this is honestly the hardest group of major predictions probably ever
2018-09-11 01:46
#12
 | 
Andorra hltv_citizen 
so what? omega lul news
2018-09-11 01:46
#16
 | 
Europe vasseldomau 
What about MIBR?
2018-09-11 01:49
They don’t look very good since change roster, but yeah i think they can go through
2018-09-11 02:04
The article is about the teams that made through the challengers stage
2018-09-11 02:36
#17
 | 
France t3r4byt3 
Vega Squadron eating BIG lol
2018-09-11 01:52
2018-09-11 02:06
#19
 | 
Canada Matomoto 
Why is Winstrike not even mentioned?
2018-09-11 01:57
because they’ll probably flop
2018-09-11 02:00
#24
 | 
Canada Matomoto 
Yeah, that's why they should be brought up in "The Underdogs"
2018-09-11 02:01
did you do your pick ums already? what did you decide on
2018-09-11 02:02
#33
 | 
Canada Matomoto 
Liquid 3-0, Tyloo 0-3 (I did actually predict they get out of the challengers stage though). Could've done Na`Vi 3-0, but that's a bit sketchy since Astralis are their first opponent and Na`Vi always need a match or two to warm up at an event. Na`Vi, NiP, fnatic, FaZe, mouz, mibr, and Astralis for playoffs
2018-09-11 02:06
i thought the same about navi, i think it’ll be a close game seeing as they are bo1s starting. think astralis “should” take it though but both teams have been inconsistent lately...i’m kind of thinking C9 will 0-3
2018-09-11 04:07
Because the post is just about the New Challengers and not Legends
2018-09-11 02:04
#34
 | 
Canada Matomoto 
Okay that's a fail from me to not realize that
2018-09-11 02:07
problem is get right shouldn’t have to shine in a new challengers stage.
2018-09-11 01:59
#22
WorldEdit | 
Australia du5k 
“Vega Squadron eating BIG” good work hltv
2018-09-11 02:00
#35
Speed4k | 
Russia Shkek 
Winstrike win major
2018-09-11 02:19
#37
Netherlands itsm 
Bad article to read. Messy
2018-09-11 02:29
#41
shox | 
India iejesus 
Mibr And g2 Doesn't Exist Ok hltv
2018-09-11 02:41
They are not mentioned in this article because MiBr and G2 are returning Legends but this post is only relating to the teams who made it to the New Challenger Stage of this Major. FailFish
2018-09-11 06:48
#75
shox | 
India iejesus 
oops I guess u r right :D
2018-09-11 09:19
Imo, underrating BIG completely. They already showed in Cologne they can beat ALL the big teams if they show up and they didn't play in Stockholm showing what they had practiced. I expect playoffs from them. BIG imo, has one of the deepest mappools out there. Performance against optic was decent and showed they can grind out round after round.
2018-09-11 02:45
#73
 | 
United Kingdom INGEMARSSON_ 
+++ Also, so far in this Major - there hasn’t been a game where all five have showed up.
2018-09-11 08:58
Honestly TiziaN and nex have been horrible so far except a little bit better in last game against optic.
2018-09-11 12:08
#43
 | 
Canada Kenny2k_ 
ez for nip lul
2018-09-11 03:17
#53
 | 
China fu22Y 
EZ4SOMEBODY
2018-09-11 04:31
col, tyloo me dont think that vega, people might read their strats and just save their molotovs and rip vega
2018-09-11 05:54
Easy major win 4 Astralis - Legends in CSGO
2018-09-11 06:58
#62
 | 
Finland Konadonkki 
Major is winning either MIBR or NiP
2018-09-11 06:59
EZ for Vega Squadron.
2018-09-11 07:09
#68
 | 
Poland k@nios 
when VP game starts?
2018-09-11 08:18
30th Feb 2019, 8 AM GMT
2018-09-11 13:55
#70
 | 
France dAdji 
Where is best team Winstrike?
2018-09-11 08:46
Good title
2018-09-11 08:53
what i dont know what
2018-09-11 08:58
Expected from hltv to big up astralis, bottom 8 blow out incoming lmao no chance of getting close to the title
2018-09-11 09:58
lets go north.. Oops!
2018-09-11 10:43
#91
 | 
Sweden Niipr0 
NIP<3
2018-09-11 14:04
Vega ezz!
2018-09-11 14:16
#97
 | 
Estonia Chaostic 
Well idk you tell me
2018-09-11 16:52
>tyloo >tier 4 or higher team Pick one
2018-09-11 19:54
lil
2018-09-12 10:39
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