StarLadder Major Rookie: forZe

Five teams will be Major rookies when the StarLadder Major begins with the New Challengers Stage, later this month. We have prepared a series of articles so that you can learn about each of them, where they came from and what you can expect from them in Berlin. Our third team on the list are forZe.

With all four regional Minors concluded, five teams have made their first-ever Major cut. On this occasion, CIS will be heavily represented in the opening stage of the Major, with a total of four teams from the region participating: forZe, DreamEaters, AVANGAR and Syman.

forZe stand the chance to qualify for the New Legends stage of the Berlin Major

In the run-up to the StarLadder Major we are putting together informational features, digging into the past of five rookie teams coming into their first Major event. In these articles, we take a look at the teams' history, how the effective rosters came into existence, receive insight from a member of the squad and present a brief prediction for the team's run at the New Challengers stage of the upcoming Major.

The third team we break down are victors of the CIS Minor, forZe.

Line-up:

Russia Dmitriy "facecrack" Alekseyev
Russia Almaz "almazer" Asadullin
Russia Jenya "FL1T" Lebedev
Russia Bogdan "xsepower" Chernikov
Russia Andrey "Jerry" Mekhryakov

Steady progression

The current roster of forZe comprises the ex-Spartak core, signed by the organisation in September 2017. Since then, the trio of Jerry, almazer and facecrack have remained a unit, adding xsepower and FL1T down the line in 2018, while former player Anatoliy "liTTle" Yashin has assumed an interim coaching role.

For a long period of time, forZe were considered a formidable online contender. The team gained significant international exposure during their PLG Grand Slam 2018 run, where the Russian squad demonstrated extraordinary results in the form of a playoffs run, besting established opponents, such as G2, AVANGAR and INTZ on their way. Moreover, the underdogs were able to take eventual champions fnatic to three maps in the semi-finals, pushing the Swedes to their limit with a triple-overtime Inferno as a conclusion to the series, but ultimately fell short, exiting the tournament in third-fourth place.

According to an interview with in-game leader Jerry, conducted at the recently-concluded CIS Minor, the results achieved against these international squads gave the team the needed confidence and belief to keep pushing forward, resulting in their subsequent ascent to the top competitive tier of the CIS region.

forZe gained massive international exposure after securing first at Copenhagen Games 2019

A lack of consistency had been a problem for forZe in times past, as prior to their spectacular run at the PLG Grand Slam 2018, the team had faltered in the closed qualifier for the CIS Minor leading to IEM Katowice 2019, despite projections for them to make the cut for the LAN event. The team opened their run with a victory over HOLLYWOOD, later falling short against fellow CIS squads Spirit and pro100, the latter considered underdogs in the match-up. Adding insult to injury was the fact that the team had managed to secure top six at the preceding CIS Minor, suggesting a downward trajectory in one of the most important tournaments for the ambitious Russian squad.

The performance that affirmed forZe as a serious contender was in Copenhagen, Denmark, where the squad secured their second large LAN victory at Copenhagen Games 2019. Once again, the team caught the eye of the international audience, having taken down Epsilon, Ambush, Tricked, and Sprout, in the grand final, all in best-of-three settings. This performance, in particular, showcased the team's tactical depth and individual capability, as well as mental resilience and ability to perform on LAN, something that was previously questioned due to predominantly online-based play.

Their most recent result saw the squad assert their dominance over other CIS rosters by qualifying for their first-ever Major after a flawless run at the CIS Minor. What makes the run particularly impressive is that the team effectively performed without a coach, as a last-minute decision from Rustam "5TRYK#R" Alimkulov to part ways with the organisation meant the team had to employ liTTle as an interim coach, additionally placing colossal amounts of pressure on the team's captain, Jerry.

Star player - xsepower

The 21-year-old AWPer has consistently proven to be a deciding factor in forZe's match-ups, and it was voiced in an interview that, indeed, the squad works around their AWPer to accommodate and allow for his incredible individual form to shine. Having joined in April 2018, xsepower had minimal experience, having previously been part of a few mix squads that aimed to do their best in open qualifiers for a variety of events. It was when he joined forZe did he truly shine, developing consistency through structure and a stable line-up.

xsepower was added as part of reconstruction efforts, post-departure of DreamEaters' current in-game leader, Svyatoslav "svyat" Dovbakh, who left forZe for pro100 at the time. Over his entire career with forZe, xsepower has maintained the ability to provide both consistent and explosive individual play. As the main impact player on the roster, he is allowed a calculated degree of freedom, making for an impressively effective round opener.

When looking at the numbers, xsepower is forZe's highest impact player by a decent margin, sporting a a 1.22 rating since the start of the year across all competitions, followed by almazer and facecrack at 1.13 and 1.10, respectively. An opening kill ratio of 1.87 speaks volumes about the player's role on the team, further backed by a 78.3% round win percent post-first kill. Both statistics highlight the Russian AWPer's role on the team and just how crucial he is to forZe's success.

Five questions with xsepower

We briefly spoke to the team's star player ahead of the StarLadder Major, discussing the in-game impact of the PLG Grand Slam 2018 run, forZe's long-term progress as a unit, liTTle's role as interim coach at the Major and nervousness, or lack thereof, against competition at an international level.

forZe have developed into one of the most formidable sides from the CIS region. Talk about the team's journey to your current state.

Consistent training, gaining experience from LANs and official games. Irrespective of the level, it gave us progress, and everything that happened in the past six months is just the beginning of something big. Our motivation levels are through the roof, and we don't consider ourselves a particularly strong team, we're just doing what we love, and that's about it.

Jerry mentioned that PLG Grand Slam 2018 was a pivotal event, in that you realised you were capable of much more than you initially thought. How did this reflect on the team's in-game performance?

Jerry was spot on in what he said, it really was a pivotal tournament that led to this long and difficult road. We managed to defeat everyone aside from fnatic, and we faced off against pretty formidable teams. Furthermore, had we not made mistakes due to a lack of experience, things could've turned out differently.

When we arrived back home, we came to the realisation that we could play against established teams, but we lacked the experience and synergy. At the time we made a decision, which proved to be the correct one to make, where we started playing more officials instead of practicing 24/7. I think that this LAN specifically, where we faced the first and second competitive tier, coupled with lots of official games, gave us this boost.

liTTle is the team's interim coach - has he introduced new mechanics to the team that have contributed to its short-term growth?

It's difficult to pin due to the short period of time, but he definitely has. liTTle only recently started working with the team in full capacity but has already found the time to work with everyone on an individual basis to rectify issues. At the Minor, he really helped Jerry coordinate. I think that in large thanks to Anatoliy's [liTTle] analysis and Jerry's good calls we managed to show such a confident performance.

Is there an additional sense of nervousness due to international competition, or do you feel the team has grown accustomed to it?

What's the point of being nervous if it won't help you in anyway. It's been a while since I remember being nervous before a game, even if we take PLG or officials against Liquid. Regardless of whom you face, you're playing against people just like you - what they have on you are experience and practice. As for the team, even if someone does experience nervousness, we make sure to reinvigorate and support one another, but generally, we don't experience these issues whether facing a tier 1 or tier 3 opponent.

Looking at the list of contenders for the New Challengers stage, how do you weigh up your chances of making Legends?

I feel the minimum for us is to advance to the New Legends stage of the Major. Obviously the favourites to advance are Vitality, mousesports, NRG and G2, and it will be difficult to play against them, but it will depend on whether we play to our potential or lock up and get knocked out. If we play like we know we can, then we should be able to advance into the New Legends Stage.

Writer's prediction

The Russian team have proven to have an extensive playbook and demonstrated the ability to adapt mid-game - both of these components, coupled with clear leadership and firepower, make forZe a dangerous opponent for even the most established squads lined up to contend for the eight New Legends Stage spots. Presence of mind, mental resilience and experience playing against the higher tiers of competition vastly improve the underdogs' chance at a deep run in the New Challengers stage.

As such, the prediction is for the team to breach into New Legends, albeit not in quite the same flawless fashion as demonstrated at the CIS Minor. As one of the more stable CIS rosters that have stuck through thick and thin, the team exude a sense of confidence, one rarely seen in up-and-coming squads from the region. This equips forZe with the ability to withstand adversity and keep a cool head in important match-ups, and with a record of convincing victories, in both Bo1 and Bo3 settings, forZe stand every chance to realise their dreams, given the roster comes prepared and shows up when it matters most.

Also read:

CIS StarLadder Major Rookie: Syman
Brazil StarLadder Major Rookie: INTZ

Russia Anatoliy 'liTTle' Yashin
Anatoliy 'liTTle' Yashin
Age:
31
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
1.12
Maps played:
453
KPR:
0.77
DPR:
0.64
APR:
0.10
Kazakhstan Rustam '5TRYK#R' Alimkulov
Rustam '5TRYK#R' Alimkulov
Age:
29
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
0.96
Maps played:
28
KPR:
0.65
DPR:
0.67
APR:
0.14
Russia Andrey 'Jerry' Mekhryakov
Andrey 'Jerry' Mekhryakov
Age:
21
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.01
Maps played:
641
KPR:
0.70
DPR:
0.68
APR:
0.14
Russia Almaz 'almazer' Asadullin
Almaz 'almazer' Asadullin
Age:
20
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.05
Maps played:
563
KPR:
0.71
DPR:
0.66
APR:
0.14
Russia Svyatoslav 'svyat' Dovbakh
Svyatoslav 'svyat' Dovbakh
Age:
24
Team:
Rating 1.0:
0.94
Maps played:
306
KPR:
0.63
DPR:
0.67
APR:
0.14
Russia Dmitriy 'facecrack' Alekseyev
Dmitriy 'facecrack' Alekseyev
Age:
25
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.01
Maps played:
1054
KPR:
0.71
DPR:
0.71
APR:
0.15
Russia Jenya 'FL1T' Lebedev
Jenya 'FL1T' Lebedev
Age:
18
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.02
Maps played:
409
KPR:
0.69
DPR:
0.65
APR:
0.13
Russia Bogdan 'xsepower' Chernikov
Bogdan 'xsepower' Chernikov
Age:
21
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.11
Maps played:
483
KPR:
0.72
DPR:
0.59
APR:
0.09
forze ez 0-3
2019-08-18 16:07
Ez surprise 3-0
2019-08-18 16:10
Who?
2019-08-18 17:05
#57
Dima | 
Russia L0sk^^ 
Forze can win mouz lul
2019-08-18 19:48
3-1 most likely but capable of 3-0
2019-08-18 20:18
3-0 you mean
2019-08-18 16:25
stfu
2019-08-18 16:25
#56
Zeus | 
Russia V9l1k 
sry but complexity and intz ez 0-3
2019-08-18 19:38
complexity can win 2 matches
2019-08-21 08:57
#59
 | 
Lithuania microgam1ng 
-1
2019-08-18 20:41
they win trash teams like HR, INTZ etc so they can surprise and advance LOL, won't be surprised
2019-08-19 12:13
#2
 | 
Germany Oberleutnant 
lol
2019-08-18 16:07
gl!
2019-08-18 16:07
#4
meyern | 
Venezuela anx420 
ez win for forze
2019-08-18 16:07
#5
 | 
Asia dspr 
lul
2019-08-18 16:07
#6
 | 
Russia fmLchik 
gogogo sexpower&kamazer <3
2019-08-18 16:07
top 1 ez
2019-08-18 16:10
forze one of the few teams where people have some expectations left. I mean 80% of the challenger stages are real tier 3 material dunno what they make at the major.
2019-08-18 16:11
#12
 | 
Ukraine Sla1ter 
True
2019-08-18 16:16
Stickers and money mens)))
2019-08-18 16:47
#48
 | 
Serbia dj9lelele 
Still all of them are better than big lololo
2019-08-18 18:53
they are all like them, tier 3 teams.
2019-08-18 18:59
#11
 | 
Spain G3CK0 
Ez for forze, MDL teams are improving a lot :)
2019-08-18 16:13
#13
 | 
Ukraine Sla1ter 
sexpower carry forze to the New Legends stage
2019-08-18 16:16
#14
 | 
Latvia Geymaster 
Ez 3.1 for forze
2019-08-18 16:19
#15
 | 
Sweden meistr0 
Nice reading! Thanks Aleksei_L
2019-08-18 16:21
+1
2019-08-18 17:54
they are a team on the rise. definetely top 10 after major
2019-08-18 16:21
#17
 | 
Poland zJe 
forze 1-3 dreameaters 0-3 mark my words
2019-08-18 16:22
Forze 3-1
2019-08-18 16:27
Pies zamkne pizde
2019-08-18 16:35
#47
 | 
Russia Mike_Shinoda 
Ahahah, n1
2019-08-18 18:34
#78
 | 
Russia seized_goat 
Go clean my toilet . . . Said I to my personal janitor once (not you)
2019-08-21 01:06
#18
 | 
Germany MaaaXIMuuuZ 
ez for forZe
2019-08-18 16:23
#22
 | 
Sweden Trkmag 
ez for forZe
2019-08-18 16:35
gl 4ze
2019-08-18 16:39
#25
 | 
Europe wherowhero 
goat team
2019-08-18 16:40
3-2
2019-08-18 16:41
Nice name lmao
2019-08-18 16:42
But s1mple 0 majors aswell, wtf mens(((
2019-08-18 16:57
Onliners, actual trash individual players
2019-08-18 16:42
lul russia hater spotted
2019-08-18 17:27
#32
Xyp9x | 
Europe Ynnh0jDK 
Forze vs mouz who can win can anyone analyze for me?
2019-08-18 17:16
Forze 16-13
2019-08-18 17:28
so random match up, dont bet on this better try ur luck on Col vs avangar, col have very good chances or even HR. they have chances even if odds is 2.7 on them now
2019-08-18 17:40
2 maybe 4 - 16 for mouzzzzz
2019-08-18 18:13
forZe ban Vertigo Mouz ban Overpass forZe ban Train Mouz ban Inferno forZe ban Dust2 Mouz ban Mirage Nuke decider (Mouz win 16-10) if Mouz will not ban Inferno and Mirage forZe has great chances
2019-08-18 21:22
Noobs
2019-08-18 17:24
GL and ez4Ze
2019-08-18 17:49
GL boys!
2019-08-18 17:53
#44
Zeus | 
Finland 0lter 
holy shit maximus major champion soon
2019-08-18 18:01
starladder major winners :)
2019-08-18 18:30
forZe will be legends easy for SEXPOWER
2019-08-18 18:59
Hope forze will do it great. Fun to watch they play
2019-08-18 19:05
#52
 | 
Russia Volodimor 
EZ44ZE, Lets move from the throne ENCE's fans "ez4ence"
2019-08-18 19:21
go forze
2019-08-18 19:27
Forze top 1 cis Soon to be top 10 in the world
2019-08-18 19:36
#62
 | 
Canada thelegend27 
how did you even come up with that nickname
2019-08-18 22:31
I don't even know tbh
2019-08-19 00:44
#65
 | 
Canada thelegend27 
that’s hot.
2019-08-19 00:45
thx men
2019-08-19 00:45
#55
 | 
Bulgaria Omaiguudnes 
ruski yes))?
2019-08-18 19:36
#60
Vegi | 
Poland Kazk 
Cheaters
2019-08-18 21:19
lEZGO!
2019-08-19 00:25
Nice
2019-08-19 01:50
go faZe
2019-08-19 04:17
No way 3-0, coz they will against mouz at the first round.
2019-08-19 04:39
#70
Jame | 
China cncsLUL 
good team
2019-08-19 08:00
Hey guys For teams to reach new legends stage, do they need to win 3 games in the first "gauntlet" or do they need to do that, and then win 3 games again vs the already qualified teams??? It is for this bet... To reach new legends stage - ForZe "yes" 2.53
2019-08-19 08:06
#74
 | 
Russia dogmazer 
they have to win 3 games for 2 times gl btw, will pray for u
2019-08-19 15:10
I got 4 odds on Forze
2019-08-19 23:41
Let's go forZe!!!
2019-08-19 14:29
3-1 or 3-0 pls
2019-08-19 23:41
#77
 | 
Canada thelegend27 
ugly stickers but deserved spot
2019-08-20 19:04
#81
mir | 
Russia Juicysauce 
Stickers so hot. Maximalism, not fucking minimalism
2019-08-23 16:17
Gl
2019-08-21 01:37
LUL
2019-08-29 02:21
Login or register to add your comment to the discussion.