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Today I will be taking a look at the semifinals of the ESL Pro League Season 5 LAN Finals. After taking a look at the semis, I will predict the finalists, and predict how the final will play out.
Semifinal 1: G2 vs SK
In my mind, the winner of this semifinal will win the tournament. These teams are both in great form at the moment, with SK coming into this tournament as one of the hottest teams in the world. G2 have cooled off since their LAN debut at StarSeries, but are still an extremely dangerous team.
The pick/ban will most likely go like this. SK will ban out Nuke because it is their perma-ban. G2 will ban out Mirage, as it is their perma-ban. SK will pick Cobble, despite taking a rough, 16-6 group stage loss to G2 on this map. I predict they still have faith in what is looking to be their best map.
G2 should pick Train either way in this scenario, as SK have had a lot of struggles on the map since adding João ‘felps’ Vasconcellos. Second rotation SK ban Overpass, and G2 ban Cache (assuming SK pick Cobble). The third map ends up on Inferno.
Map one, Cobble, will most likely go to SK; however, I wouldn’t count G2 out, as they are no joke on the map themselves. G2 12-16 SK. Map two, Train, will go the way of G2. I don’t see any scenario that SK steal this map. G2 16-7 SK. Map three, Inferno, will also likely go the way of G2, but SK could potentially surprise here. G2 14-16 SK.
Semifinal 2: North vs Liquid
While whoever wins this semifinal is the underdog, neither of these teams are jokes. They have a good chance in their own rights. Both of these teams are very good tactically and have a good few players to pick up the headshots for them.
The pick/ban between these two teams is a bit difficult to predict, as MSL is known to make some strange pick/ban decisions. North will ban Train, they never play Train, and Liquid aren’t a terrible Train team. I’ll predict Liquid remove Overpass, this new-look lineup does not like it, despite it being a good map for Peter ‘stanislaw’ Jarguz tactically. North will pick Mirage, as it is a bad Liquid map and a great North map. Liquid will pick Nuke most likely, as they haven’t shown much map pool depth beyond Train, Cobble, and Nuke. North will likely ban Cache second rotation, and Liquid should ban Cobble, but will likely ban Inferno, making the third map Cobble.
Map one, Mirage, will be as one-sided as they come. This one is all North baby. North 16-5 Liquid. Map two, Nuke, could get interesting as Nuke is a bit of a joker map, meaning that North aren’t exactly a lock to pick up the win. Just for fun, I’m going to predict Liquid take us to a third map. North 12-16 Liquid. The third map, Cobble, should be close. Previous results from North would suggest that they are not able to make the Finals here despite being the favorite. North have been disappointing in the later stages of tournaments since Epicenter. Thus the North American dream will live on. North 14-16 Liquid. Liquid will advance to the Finals, and take on the Brazilians.
Grand Finals: SK vs Liquid
A rematch of the ESL Cologne 2016 Grand Finals, both teams with a new-look roster. The underdog here is definitely Liquid, but as I said before, that doesn’t mean this final won’t be close. Both of these teams are legit and have a chance at taking this final.
The pick ban here should, in theory, kill Liquid. SK will ban Nuke, Liquid will ban Overpass. From there things get a bit tricky, I would expect SK to pick Cobble, from there Liquid should pick Train. Following the Train pick, SK will likely pick Mirage. Liquid will probably choose Cache to follow, leaving Inferno for the final map.
Cobble should be a coin toss, the only thing that could be a saving grace for Liquid is if David ‘coldzera’ Marcelo doesn’t show up beast mode. That is not a good thing to bank on. SK 16-10 Liquid. I expect Liquid to come back swinging with a map two win on Train. SK 12-16 Liquid. Map three will be the defining map of this series, as if Liquid should manage a miracle, they could go on to win the whole thing. The keyword there is ‘miracle’. SK take Mirage 9 out of 10 times. SK 16-7 Liquid. Cache is a bit of a question mark. Historically Liquid have been very good on it, but it was never a good stanislaw map. SK have had decent form on it recently, so it could go either way. I’m going to predict SK close it out here though. SK 16-13 Liquid.
The Brazilians, after reclaiming their title, are one of the top tier teams moving forward.