ELEAGUE Premier 2018 enters into the Playoffs stage on Saturday as Astralis take on mousesports in the first semifinal. The match will be followed by Navi taking on Liquid in the second of the semifinals.
There is much to be discussed about the two matches. Astralis look solid as ever, but mousesports are finally peaking after the addition of Janusz “Snax” Pogorzelski. Liquid had a comfortable victory over MiBR, booking them a place in the semifinals.
Navi, on the other hand, shrugged off Fnatic and mousesports to top Group B. Let’s take a look at how each team stacks against the other, starting with Astralis and mousesports.
Astralis vs mousesports
Astralis started slow at ELEAGUE Premier 2018. The Danish stack struggled over the line in overtime against Cloud9 in Inferno. However, smooth and confident Counter Strike has been put on display from gla1ve & co. ever since.
Nicolai “device” Reedtz highlighted the importance of winning ELEAGUE Premier 2018 for Astralis while talking to HLTV. Device seems to have taken it upon himself to lead Astralis to victory at the event. The Danish AWPer has a cumulative record of +53 over the course of four maps thus far. Device leads the charts at ELEAGUE Premier 2018 by a country mile.
Mousesports have stuttered through the Group Stage at ELEAGUE Premier 2018. But, their resistance is proven by the fact that the European stack have managed to be competitive across all maps. This will be of huge help to them against Astralis in terms of map choices.
Snax showed glimpses of what he is capable of during their win over Faze. However, his arrival seems to have an ill effect on ropz, at least on the server. The Estonian prodigy has not managed to be as consistent as he was before the arrival of Snax.
Despite this, his performances against Faze and Fnatic show that it might just be a matter of time before the prodigious rifler manages to acclimatize himself with the presence of Snax.
Potential Map Veto:
Overpass is an automatic ban for mousesports, although Astralis could play with their first ban, if needed. Astralis do tend to ban Cache against teams with major firepower. Mousesports are often shy to pick Cache, which might make Astralis ban Train – a map that the European stack loves to pick into.
We should see Astralis pick Inferno, with Nuke also a questionable choice against mousesports. Chris “chrisJ” de Jong and the rest of the mousesports team could respond to this by going back to Mirage for their pick. Cache and Dust2 are likely to be banned out, leaving Nuke as the decider.
Astralis should take this 2-0, if the first two maps do come out to be Inferno and Mirage. Mousesports are not the same force they once were on Mirage and it is likely to show on the server. A hard-fought sweep beckons for Astralis.
Navi vs Liquid
Navi have continued their consistent record of going through to the playoffs of every event after the addition of Denis “electronic” Sharipov. With another top four placing secured, the CIS stack will be looking to win successive events after landing ESL One Cologne 2018.
Oleksander “s1mple” Kostyliev looks on point again. However, electronic has really impressed everyone with his consistent showings throughout the last couple of months.
As far as Liquid are concerned, the practice time they received before ELEAGUE Premier 2018 seems to be paying off. The team looks like a well-oriented unit on the server. The highlight though, has been the performance of NAF and Twistzz.
The Canadian duo have dominated the server for Liquid and their showings provide hope that the North American organisation will be able to compete against the duo of s1mple and electronic on form.
Liquid are quietly confident of beating Navi as they have done recently at ESL Pro League Season 7 Finals.
Potential Map Veto:
Navi have a perennial weakness in terms of map vetoes. Cache is their permanent ban and they have looked shaky on Inferno lately. Denylo “Zeus” Teslenko should still ban Cache, with Liquid likely to take out Train from the map pool.
Navi have picked inferno in both their Group Stage matches at ELEAGUE Premier 2018. Expect Zeus to throw in a surprise Overpass or Nuke pick against Liquid. With Cache not an option, Liquid should go for Mirage as their map pick.
They could also go for Inferno, but given Navi’s persistence to pick Inferno, they might leave it open as a decider. If Zeus does his homework, he will ban Inferno, which will throw a spanner in Liquid’s plans. Liquid should remove Overpass or Nuke, whatever is left, with Dust2 remaining as the decider.
This match will go down to all three maps. If Zeus does decide against Inferno as their first pick, Navi should prevail. s1mple and electronic will have to step up again to lead Navi to the final in what will be a hard-fought series win.
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